New Delhi, January 27 (KMS): – Welcoming the recent United States Commission on International Religious Freedom’s (USCIRF) move including human rights defender, Khurram Parvez and journalist Siddique Kappan on the Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) Victims List, the National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations (NCHRO) shared the concern of the USCIRF.
The list is a database of persons who have been imprisoned or detained in what is referred to as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC), which USCIRF defines as a country that has engaged in or tolerated “systematic, ongoing, and egregious” violations of religious freedom. India has now been recommended as a part of this category for two years in a row.
The first name on the list was that of Khurram Parvez who was arrested by the Indian police in November 2020. Parvez is a human rights defender from Kashmir known globally for his work.
Parvez is also the coordinator of the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), an organization that has has been criticising the human rights abuses committed by the Indian security forces in Kashmir for quite some time. this is the reason the Narendra Modi government targeted him.
Siddique Kappan, the second name on the list, is a Kerala-based journalist who was arrested in October 2020 by the Uttar Pradesh police on his way to Hathras to cover a gangrape case there. He was, subsequently, charged under several sections of the Indian Penal Code as well as the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. He has been in jail ever since.
The NCHRO hailed the USCIRF’s acknowledgement of the abysmal state of affairs in India. At a time when any acknowledgement of the same gets dismissed by the government as international conspiracy to defame the country, it is all the more important to stick one’s neck out and call out the human rights abuses in the country.
Reiterating its stand that both Khurram Parvez and Siddique Kappan have been booked under trumped up charges, the NCHRO said it shares the concern of the USCIRF. There arrests are politically motivated, and hence we demand that Khurram Parvez and Siddique Kappan, along with all the other political prisoners, be released immediately.
We also call upon other justice-loving organisations and individuals to come forward in demanding the same, and in speaking up against the injustices happening across the country.