India replies on confidential basis to UN rights experts seeking explanation of Khurram Pervaiz’s arrest

Geneva, February 04 (KMS): After ignoring a series of joint communications from UN human experts seeking response to the grave human rights in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir and India, New Delhi has finally submitted its reply to a letter that denounced the arrest of Khurram Pervaiz, a leading Kashmiri rights activist, but requesting that it should not be made public.

“The (Indian) Government’s reply is not made public due to its confidential nature,” the Office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said on Thursday.

Diplomats in Geneva regarded the India’s request for keeping its response confidential “a well-calculated move” aimed at avoiding further scrutiny of the case by independent human rights experts.

Khurram Parvaiz was arrested on 22 November 2021 by India’s notorious National Investigation Agency prompting a group of UN human rights experts to demand an explanation from the Indian government about the circumstances leading to the action against him.

He was picked up from his house on charges related to conspiracy and terrorism under black law, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), and was detained at the Rohini Jail Complex, one of the three most overcrowded and unsanitary prisons in India, where there was a clear and immediate risk to his health and safety, in particular from COVID-19.

The amendment introduced in July 2019 to the UAPA, allows any individual to be designated as a “terrorist”, bypassing the requirement to establish membership or association with banned groups. This expansion of India agencies’ discretionary powers under the anti-terror law has resulted in a worrisome rise in the number of arrests across India – and especially in IIOJK.

The experts in their joint communications said, we regret that the Government continues to use the UAPA as a means of coercion to restrict civil society’s, the media’s and human rights defenders’ fundamental freedoms in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir as well as in India. We therefore once again urge the Government to bring this legislation in line with India’s international legal obligations under human rights law, they added.

 

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