U.N. special rapporteurs seek information from the Government of India on alleged human rights violations in Jammu & Kashmir

Published : June 03, 2021 12:50 IST

PDP Youth President Waheed Para (centre) in Srinagar on September 16, 2020. Photo: Nissar Ahmad / The Hindu

A group of United Nations special rapporteurs has sought information from the Government of India on the continued detention of Waheed Para, youth president of the Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). They have also asked for information on the alleged custodial killing of a shopkeeper and the fate of a disappeared teenager in Jammu and Kashmir.

This communication from five U.N. experts, dated March 31, was made public recently. Para was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on November 25, 2020, on the charge of abetting terrorism. “His arrest has raised concern as it came three days after he filed his nomination to run for the District Development Council elections. Furthermore, on 30 July 2020, Mr. Para engaged with current and future members of the U.N. Security Council as a participant in a closed virtual meeting where he raised the alarm about the Government of India's actions in Jammu and Kashmir, its treatment of Muslim minorities, and the recent border tensions with China. Following this engagement, Mr. Para received threats from officials with the NIA indicating that he was inviting trouble by engaging in such events. They gave him an ultimatum that if he did not cease speaking out about the Government, action would be taken against him,” the report stated.

The report highlighted the oppressive treatment of the PDP youth leader while in detention. “He was subject to abusive interrogations after his arrest, which lasted up to 10 to 12 hours at a time and questioned about his participation at the event where he interacted with U.N. Security Council members. He was held in a dark underground cell at sub-zero temperature and was deprived of sleep, kicked, slapped, beaten with rods, stripped naked and hung upside down,” it said.

The report also questioned the government on the alleged custodial killing of 23-year-old shopkeeper Irfan Ahmad Dar, who, as per the report, was arrested on September 15, 2020, from Sopore. His family learnt of his death the next morning.

Further, it discussed the fate of disappeared teenager Naseer Ahmad Wani. The report stated that Wani’s house at Doompora village of Shopian in south Kashmir was raided by the Army on November 29, 2019. The Army had alleged that his phone was used by militants.

The report is signed by Nils Melzer, special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; Elina Steinerte, vice-chair of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD); Tae-Ung Baik, chair-rapporteur of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances; Agnes Callamard, special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; and Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor