Srinagar: One year since the abrogation of Article 370 and the reorganization of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories, Amnesty International India (AII) on Wednesday demanded a complete halt to the protracted clampdown in the erstwhile state.
In the press release, the AII highlighted the attacks/detentions faced by journalists in Kashmir.
“The draconian media policy introduced by the government in the region which openly aims to create ‘a sustained narrative on the functioning of the government in media’ by checking on ‘anti-national activities, fake news and plagiarism’ has further extinguished independent media in the region,” Amnesty said.
While highlighting the curbs on press freedom in the region, Amnesty asked the Indian government to launch a prompt and independent investigation into the attacks on journalists.
Avinash Kumar, Executive Director, Amnesty International India said that “over the last one year the Government of India has been systematically dismantling all avenues for justice for the people of Jammu and Kashmir- it’s been a complete year since we have heard the people of J&K speak.”
Amnesty demanded that the authorities immediately release all political leaders, journalists and activists from administrative detention and restore 4G internet connectivity in the region.
“The Government’s ruthless attempts to create a public opinion of ‘normalcy’ while curbing the freedom of independent press, imprisoning the entire political leadership, arbitrarily arresting those likely to dissent and imposing communication restrictions have usurped the voice of the region,” Avinash added.
Amnesty demanded the end of criminal investigations against journalists under PSA and UAPA and withdrawal of the new media policy.
It further called on the Indian government to “immediately and unconditionally” release all persons, including political leaders, deprived of their freedom solely for the peaceful enjoyment of their rights to freedom of expression, association, peaceful assembly, belief or equality and non-discrimination as they should not have been detained in the first place.
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