The UN has asked New Delhi to repeal the black laws that empower the Indian army and paramilitary force to use force, with impunity, and detain any civilian in occupied Kashmir and four other troubled States on the pretext of maintaining law and order there. These laws, which have been the subject of criticism by human rights organisations, both local and international, and fair minded individuals, are the Public Safety Act, Armed Forces Special Powers Act and Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act. The UN has forwarded to the Indian External Affairs Ministry and Home Affairs Ministry its final recommendations in this regard, prepared on the basis of a report filed by the UN Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, Margaret Sekaggya, who undertook a survey to assess the situation of human rights defenders in the IHK and other States where the local people have risen to demand freedom. Human rights defenders have been defined as those who “promote and strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”.

That India has been guilty of the most egregious and brutal human rights violations committed in the part of Kashmir it has illegally and forcibly occupied has been no secret from the world. Instances of gruesome murders, torture and rape have been documented by impartial international bodies. The Kashmiris’ only fault has been their unremitting, but peaceful, struggle to get the occupation vacated and have the opportunity to decide their own fate in accordance with the UN resolutions stipulating a free and fair plebiscite to be held under UN auspices. It has simply ignored these demands and to suppress the voices of freedom in the Valley has sadly, though not unexpectedly, persisted in its cruel tactics. Thus, in furtherance of the motive to keep its hold on the disputed state, it even targets those who are committed to promoting and defending human rights.

The situation in the Valley is becoming worse by the day, as the Indian security forces get desperate in the face of continued peaceful movement on the part of Kashmiris to secure their birthright of freedom. It has prompted JUI-F leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who is also Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir, to call upon the world to pressurise India to end its stranglehold of the occupied state; it is not only holding the people under subjugation, but also perpetrating the gravest possible abuses of human rights. Alluding to US insincerity in commitments to democracy and human rights, he has criticised the sentence given to Dr Fai, who had been striving to remove the yoke of enslavement from his compatriot Kashmiris. However, the US, he says, goes on to interfere in Pakistan’s purely internal affairs like Balochistan. It is time powerful states in the world made sincere efforts to persuade India to honour its commitments about holding plebiscite.