Those detained include approximately 400 elected officials and political leaders, as well as former chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir belonging to the National Conference and the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Democratic Party. The authorities have reportedly detained nearly 4,000 people, including supporters of political parties, separatist leaders, lawyers, journalists, and people who allegedly had records of participating in violent protests. There have been serious allegations of torture and beatings. Many detainees have not been allowed to contact their families or lawyers. According to an official document seen by Reuters, as of September 6, the authorities had arrested more than 3,800 people, and of them, 2,600 had been released. The government should release a list of all detainees and their whereabouts, Human Rights Watch said.
“Anyone who has been detained in Kashmir without evidence of a crime should be immediately and unconditionally released,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “It is essential for the authorities to allow every detainee access to lawyers and family members.”
In addition to the arbitrary detention, the government has also imposed broad restrictions on freedom of movement and banned public meetings. It has continued the shutdown of the internet and mobile phone services.
The authorities have in many cases detained people or placed them under house arrest without providing a legal basis. Shah Faesal of the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement was prevented from leaving India and detained after he criticized government actions. A senior police officer said on Twitter that Faesal was spreading “hopelessness” instead of accepting “new realities.” And the authorities told the court in response to a habeas corpus petition that he was detained for “instigating” people against the country. Neither allegation is a sufficient basis for detention, Human Rights Watch said. He remains in custody. On September 13, Faesal withdrew his petition in solidarity with other detainees that “have no legal counsel or other remedies.”
Lawyers contend that the authorities have delayed responses to drag out the cases in court. “Habeas corpus petitions should have been decided with great speed, but there is no credible response of the state showing legality of custody,” one lawyer told Human Rights Watch. “Similarly, in the petitions challenging the lockdown, the government is yet to file in court even the orders that form the basis of the mass clampdown.”
Read the full report athttp://hrw.org/news/2019/09/16/india-free-kashmiris-arbitrarily-detained