Indian policemen rapes a girl in Qazigund area of Kulgam

Thursday – April 8, 2021
SRINAGAR (India): In Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), two Indian policemen disgraced and molested a young girl in Kulgam district, the two policemen raped the girl in Qazigund area of the district.

According to Kashmir Media Service (KMS), reportedly, after the incident, the girl came to primary health centre (PHC) in Qazigund for check up where doctors told that she is pregnant.

She filed a first information report (FIR) at Qazigund police station against the criminal policemen.

Separately, a team of Indian paramilitary central reserve police force (CRPF) and police was attacked in Shopian district.

The attack was carried out in Imamsahib area of district.

An Indian official told media that no loss of life or injury was reported in the attack on CRPF and police team.

Meanwhile, Indian troops launched cordon and search operations (CASO) in the area.

Meanwhile, Indian troops have launched massive CASOs in Srinagar, Pulwama and Shopian areas of the occupied territory.

The troops and paramilitary personnel cordoned off Inder, Midora, Melhora Wachi, Chitragam and Gulab Bagh areas and launched house-to-house searches.

A senior police official told media that CASOs have been jointly launched by the personnel of Indian army and CRPF.

Pertinently, an overnight CASO launched in Gulab Bagh area of Srinagar outskirts continued till last reports came in.

Meanwhile, the bomb disposal squad diffused the explosives which were found in Samba district.

“Three anti-personnel mines were recovered in farming land of Dera village. A team of bomb disposal squad has diffused them in a controlled manner. However, the bombs were old and rusted,” Rajpura chowki in-charge Dutt Khajuria said, while speaking to reporters.

Furthermore, the London-based rights’ watchdog, Amnesty International (AI) has slammed India for its clampdown on civil liberties in IIOJK as well as punitive lockdown in response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, use of force against the anti-CAA (Citizenship (Amendment) Act) protests, farmers’ protests and handling of Delhi riots.

The AI’s report “The State of the World’s Human Rights 2020/2021,” examines the human rights’ situation in 149 countries.

The report said that a year after the Indian prime minister (PM) Narendra Modi government revoked the special status of IIOJK and split it into two union territories, the clampdown on civil liberties and restrictions on communications services continued.

It maintained that the Indian government continued to silence those who demanded accountability and imposed a harsh media blackout in the territory.

The report pointed out that at least 18 journalists in IIOJK were physically attacked by Indian police or summoned to police stations.

It said that dissent was further suppressed when a new media policy was introduced by the government to create “a sustained narrative on the functioning of the government in media” by checking “anti-national activities”.

The report said that on October 20, the occupation authorities closed the office of the Kashmir Times, without prior notice, after its editor, Anuradha Bhasin, had challenged the communications blockade in the Indian Supreme Court.

It said that the national investigation agency (NIA) also raided the offices and residences of civil society activists including Khurram Parvez and three of his associates, and Parveena Ahanger, who had reported extensively on human rights’ abuses in Kashmir alleging that the activists had raised funds for carrying out secessionist activities in IIOJK.

The report pointed out that on September 30, AI India was forced to halt its operations after the government froze its bank accounts without notice. The organisation was forced to lay off all its staff and pause all its campaign and research work. This occurred shortly after AI India had published briefings demanding accountability for grave human rights’ violations carried out by the Delhi police and the government during the Delhi riots and in Jammu and Kashmir (JK), it said.

The AI said that in July in Kashmir, three young labourers in an apple orchard were unlawfully killed by the Indian army personnel enjoying impunity under draconian law, armed forces special powers act, for their brutal actions.

The report said that there was widespread impunity and lack of accountability for murders and attacks carried out by vigilante mobs and police officers against religious minorities.

Swift and extreme restrictions were placed on freedom of movement in response to the COVID-19, leaving thousands of migrant workers stranded without adequate food and protection. Some restrictions to curb the pandemic also threatened the right to privacy, it added.

On the freedoms of expression and assembly in India, the AI said that new restrictions were imposed on freedoms of expression and assembly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It said that freedom of expression was guaranteed selectively, and dissent was repressed through unlawful restrictions on peaceful protests and by silencing critics.

It said that human rights’ defenders, including students, academics, journalists and artists, were arbitrarily arrested, often without charge or trial. “Despite a Supreme Court ruling to reduce prison overcrowding to curb the spread of COVID-19, the authorities continued to incarcerate many who were critical of the government,” it added.

The report maintained that during the nationwide lockdown imposed after the COVID-19 outbreak, more than 50 journalists were arrested or charged under emergency laws for spreading “misinformation” or “fake news”.

“The government’s strategy to curb COVID-19 included a punitive lockdown at very short notice, lack of transparency in disbursing relief funds, threats to privacy, and demonisation of religious minorities,” it added.

The AI said that on September 28 the Indian government amended the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA), banning large non governmental organisations (NGOs) from passing to grassroots NGOs funds received from foreign donors.

It said that in December 2019, the Indian government passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) enabling irregular migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan to obtain Indian citizenship, excluding Muslims.

The discriminatory nature of the CAA sparked peaceful protests across the country, which were met with arbitrary arrests and detention and widespread demonisation of those protesting.

The AI said that more than 160 farmers died after three laws on farming were passed by Indian parliament in August with minimal consultation. The causes of death included suicides, as well as heart attacks and road accidents during protests. In November, as the farmers marched towards Delhi to protest the laws, the Delhi police indiscriminately used water cannons and fired tear gas shells, injuring protesters.

On arbitrary arrests and detentions, the AI said that 7 human rights’ activists – Stan Swamy, Jyoti Raghoba Jagtap, Sagar Tatyaram Gorkhe, Ramesh Murlidhar Gaichor, Hany Babu, Gautam Navlakha and Anand Teltumbde – were arrested by the NIA for their alleged involvement in violence during the Bhima Koregaon celebrations near the city of Pune in 2018.

Those arrested worked with marginalised groups, including Adivasi (Indigenous) communities, and had criticised government policies. The government accused them of breaching the penal code by “waging war against the country”.

The report said that many arrested activists were elderly and in poor health. However, they were held in overcrowded prisons where several inmates had either tested positive or died from COVID-19. Nevertheless, the courts continued to reject the bail pleas of the activists. At least 9 students peacefully protesting against the CAA were arrested and jailed under counter-terrorism and sedition laws. Many other anti-CAA protesters were subjected to intense intimidation and harassment by the police.

Meanwhile, the report said, the authorities ignored violence and hate speech by the supporters of the CAA against those protesting draconian counter-terrorism laws, including the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and National Security Act (NSA).

Safoora Zargar, a research scholar who was three months’ pregnant at the time, and Umar Khalid, a former student union leader, were among those arrested.

The report pointed out that on June 26, the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights called on India to immediately release human rights’ defenders who had been arrested for protesting against the CAA. However, the majority remained in detention at the end of the year, it added.

In December, the AI said, Uttar Pradesh police arbitrarily arrested 10 Muslim men under a law introduced by the Uttar Pradesh government that targets consensual interfaith marriages, and allegedly tortured them. The legislation, which has been termed the “love jihad” law by right-wing nationalists and leading politicians, had not been approved by the Indian parliament or the state legislature.

Mentioning the unfair trials, the report maintained that the courts, particularly the Supreme Court, failed to monitor the government’s response to the COVID-19 crisis in a timely manner.

“On March 13, even before the national lockdown was imposed, the Supreme Court declared that the courts — for public health reasons — will function at reduced capacity. Between March 23 and July 4, the Supreme Court only took up cases of “extreme urgency,” barring physical hearings and relying on video conferencing facilities,” it said.

The AI deplored that no qualifying criteria or definitions were laid down for cases of “extreme urgency,” leaving judges with wide discretion, resulting in many significant cases involving grave human rights’ violations either not being heard or being seriously delayed.

The report said that the Supreme Court routinely undermined its own impartiality and independence. “In August it convicted Prashant Bhushan, a lawyer and human rights’ defender, under the outdated provisions of criminal contempt laws. Prashant Bhushan had criticised on Twitter the court’s functioning since 2014,” it added.

On unlawful attacks and killings, the AI said that in February, communal violence broke out in the capital, New Delhi.

According to government data, 53 people — mostly Muslims – died in the riots, and more than 500 were injured.

It said that in the build-up to the legislative assembly elections in Delhi, held on February 8, several political leaders made hate speeches against the anti-CAA protesters.

On January 27, referring to the protesters at Shaheen Bagh, the Delhi epicentre of peaceful sit-ins against the CAA, the union minister of state for finance, Anurag Thakur, encouraged the crowd to chant “shoot the traitors of the nation”.

On January 28, Parvesh Verma, member of parliament for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), promised to “not leave even one of [the mosques] standing” after the BJP’s election win in Delhi. These speeches were followed by violence on university campuses against those protesting against the CAA, it said.

Referring to the excessive use of force, the AI said that the police used unlawful force and committed various other human rights’ violations, abusing laws to intimidate people and silence dissent on behalf of the government.

It said that during the February communal violence in Delhi, members of the Delhi police pelted stones alongside rioters, tortured people in custody, dismantled sites of peaceful protests and stood by as rioters attacked peaceful protesters and destroyed public and private property. No independent investigation was launched into these acts.

The report maintained that as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, the discriminatory enforcement of the lockdown restrictions by the police heightened human rights concerns.

The majority of those arrested for violating the lockdown guidelines belonged to marginalised communities such as scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, de-notified tribes, Muslims or low-income workers.

In March, migrant workers who were travelling back home were forced by the Uttar Pradesh police to crawl on the road carrying their belongings, as punishment for breaching the lockdown guidelines.

Mentioning the impunity, the AI said that the police continued to carry out unlawful killings — some amounting to extrajudicial executions with impunity.

It said that in another extrajudicial execution in July, Vikas Dubey was allegedly killed while being escorted to the city of Kanpur after his arrest by Uttar Pradesh police. Four of his associates were also killed unlawfully by the Uttar Pradesh police.

It said that hate crimes including violence against Dalits, Adivasi (indigenous) communities and religious minorities were also committed with impunity.

In September, a Dalit woman was allegedly raped and murdered by a group of dominant-caste men in Hathras district in Uttar Pradesh, and cremated by the Uttar Pradesh police without her family’s consent. The accused men were arrested only after nationwide protests. Later, several first information reports (FIRs) were registered by the Uttar Pradesh police against the protesters for criminal conspiracy and sedition.

On the right to health and livelihood, the AI said that the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic exposed weaknesses in the public health care system. It also resulted in unsafe and poor working conditions for those who lack adequate social and economic protection, such as community health care workers and religious minorities.

It said that the government accused members of the Muslim tablighi jamaat minority of spreading COVID-19, and as a result, health care facilities denied access to Muslims.

Instances of hospitals refusing Muslim pregnant women and cancer patients surfaced in April 2020. In the months following the nationwide lockdown of March, social media and WhatsApp groups were flooded with calls for social and economic boycotts of Muslims, alongside fake news stories and other misinformation.

The report pointed out that the Supreme Court delayed a hearing in public interest case urgently seeking transport, food and shelter for migrant workers who were left stranded for over a month by the sudden imposition of the lockdown.

It said that at least 200 migrant workers were killed in road accidents while walking long distances home in other districts or states during the lockdown.

The report said that during the lockdown, workers in the informal sector — who constitute more than three-quarters of India’s workforce — faced enormous difficulties due to rampant job losses. However, many states suspended the legal protections otherwise afforded to workers, such as regulation of working hours, the right to form trade unions, and safe working conditions.