ISLAMABAD   -   London-based global rights watchdog, the Amnesty International has vowed that it would not be silenced on raising concerns about the situation in occupied Kashmir despite facing intimidation by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi´s government.

Amnesty International Secretary-General, Kumi Naidoo, in a media interview in Washington said that the Modi government had made a very big attempt to crush Amnesty in India, stressing, “On the Kashmir question, on various human rights questions in India itself, we are not intimidated,” Kashmir Media Service reported.

“While our colleagues in our Indian office are under stress, they are as committed, motivated and courageous as ever, if not more, as a result of the repression that we face,” he maintained.

Pertinently, India´s financial crime investigators recently accused Amnesty´s local branch of violating foreign exchange regulations through taking money from its London-based parent. That claim came after Amnesty vocally criticised Modi´s Hindu nationalist government on Kashmir. Modi´s government has cracked down on foreign non-governmental organizations since coming to power in 2014, suspending or banning thousands of groups, many working in health or the environment, for receiving money from abroad.

Naidoo, however, said that Amnesty — whose Bangalore office was raided last year — would survive in India as it had funding from local donors.

Amnesty has faced heated criticism from India´s right wing for its stance on Kashmir, where authorities have shut down the internet, mobile and phone services, besides imposing severe military lockdown since August 5 following revocation of the territory’s special status.

Amnesty’s chief Naidoo said, “It is a horrific thing to actually cut people´s legitimate way of communicating with each other completely”. He added, “There are life-and-death issues associated with doing that. Whether it is family members needing to communicate with each other, being able to go to the doctor´s, this is something that governments need to stop doing, and we need to speak out against this very strongly”.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on the Indian government to immediately release detained people in occupied Kashmir.

“Indian authorities should immediately release detained Kashmiris who have not been charged with a recognizable offense.” It said, “Nearly 4,000 people, including supporters of political parties, separatist leaders, lawyers, journalists” have reportedly been detained in Jammu and Kashmir since Aug. 5 when the government scrapped the special status of the Muslim-majority region,Kashmir Media Service (KMS) reported.

“There have been serious allegations of torture and beatings. Many detainees have not been allowed to contact their families or lawyers,” the statement read.

The New York-based rights group underlined that the authorities “in many cases detained people or placed them under house arrest without providing a legal basis.”

Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at the HRW, said that anyone who has been detained in Kashmir “without evidence of a crime should be immediately and unconditionally released,” calling on authorities to allow “every detainee access to lawyers and family members”, according to the statement.

“India is making a mockery of its human rights commitments by denying Kashmiris a voice in their future, jailing political leaders, and suspending basic freedoms,” Ganguly added.

Meanwhile, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate the Indian Journalists Union have strongly condemned the internet shutdown in the disputed region, saying it as “a violation of the right to information.”

“We again, reiterate our calls to the Indian government to end the internet shutdown that has stifled the flow of information in and out of the Kashmir for over a month now,” said a statement by the IFJ.

Indian occupied Kashmir has been under a near-complete lockdown since Aug. 5, after India scrapped its special status. Since then the Indian government has also blocked communication access and has imposed restrictions to thwart any protests in the Muslim-majority region.

Several rights groups including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have repeatedly called on India, to lift restrictions and release political detainees. Indian authorities, however, claim that daytime restrictions have been lifted in 90 percent of the region.