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Monday, June 17, 2024

The way forward must prioritize the protection of human rights for the people of Jammu and Kashmir

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Supreme Court Upholds Decision on Article 370 Abrogation in Jammu and Kashmir

Amnesty International India’s chair, Aakar Patel, has responded to the Supreme Court’s recent verdict upholding the central government’s 2019 decision to abrogate Article 370, which granted special status to the region of Jammu and Kashmir. Patel emphasized the human rights abuses faced by the people of Jammu and Kashmir, including arbitrary detention, unlawful killings, and restrictions on freedom of expression and movement.

Patel highlighted the reported house arrest of regional political leaders ahead of the verdict, underscoring the continued fear and uncertainty in the region. He called for initiatives to fully respect the human rights of the people of J&K, including access to justice, truth, and reparations. Patel also urged the Indian government to establish an impartial Truth and Reconciliation committee to investigate human rights abuses in Jammu and Kashmir since the 1980s, both by state and non-state actors.

Supreme Court Verdict and Background

On 11 December 2023, a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court upheld the central government’s 2019 decision to abrogate Article 370 and revoke Jammu & Kashmir’s statehood, splitting it into two separate union territories directly governed by the central government. The Court also ordered the restoration of Jammu and Kashmir’s statehood and directed the Election Commission of India to hold elections to the state’s Legislative Assembly by 30 September 2024.

Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul recommended the establishment of an impartial Truth and Reconciliation committee to investigate human rights violations by state and non-state actors in Jammu and Kashmir since the 1980s and promote measures for reconciliation.

House Arrest of Political Leaders

Leaders of prominent political parties in Kashmir, including former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, claim they have been put under house arrest following the Supreme Court verdict. However, authorities have denied these allegations.

Amnesty International’s Stance

Amnesty International has documented the continued repression of rights in Jammu & Kashmir since the abrogation of Article 370 in 2019 and called for the Indian government to end the use of unlawful measures and unjust barriers impeding the exercise of various human rights in the region.

In light of the Supreme Court’s decision, Patel and Amnesty International have emphasized the need to prioritize the human rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and establish a transparent and consultative process to address past human rights abuses through an independent Truth and Reconciliation committee.

FAQ

What was the Supreme Court’s decision regarding Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir?

The Supreme Court upheld the central government’s 2019 decision to abrogate Article 370 and revoke Jammu & Kashmir’s statehood, splitting it into two separate union territories directly governed by the central government.

What did Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul recommend in relation to human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir?

Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul recommended the establishment of an impartial Truth and Reconciliation committee to investigate human rights violations by state and non-state actors in Jammu and Kashmir since the 1980s and promote measures for reconciliation.

Conclusion

The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir has sparked conversations regarding the protection of human rights in the region. Amnesty International’s call to prioritize human rights and establish a Truth and Reconciliation committee reflects the ongoing concerns surrounding the situation. The need for a transparent and consultative process to address past human rights abuses remains a significant aspect of the discourse.


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