Rights Advocates Criticize Arrest of Kashmir Activist

Human rights activists have criticized India’s arrest of prominent activist Khurram Parvez in Indian-controlled Kashmir.  The National Investigation Agency arrested Khurram Parvez late Monday, while also conducting searches of his home and office in Srinagar.    He is being held under India’s Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, which allows authorities to detain someone for up to six months without trial.   “The Indian Government’s policy has increasingly been to weaponize the law to go after the people who are speaking out and denouncing these abuses and by accusing brave and well-recognized human rights defenders such as Mr. Parvez,” Angelita Baeyens, vice president of international advocacy and litigation for the US-based Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, told VOA.  “It helps send a threatening message to the rest of the human rights community on what may happen if they dare continue their work.”  Parvez heads the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society, a rights group that has reported on violence involving Indian troops in the region.    The National Investigation Agency did not issue a public statement about Parvez’s arrest.  Human rights activist Angana Chatterji, an anthropologist at University of California, Berkeley, called the actions taken against Parvez “baseless.”  “The state’s security apparatus seeks to subjugate those in principled refusal to political malevolence,” Chatterji told VOA.  “Khurram is person of immense courage, brilliance, integrity, and grace. His work attests to his formidable capacity to dissent oppression. The state is fearful of human rights defenders, journalists, scholars, lawyers, and civil society who protest absolute nationalism.”  Shaikh Aziz Rahman contributed to this report.

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