Srinagar: The Amnesty International on Tuesday said that demolitions in Kashmir must be immediately halted and those affected compensated.
Responding to the demolition of homes and businesses in Srinagar, Budgam, Anantnag and Baramulla in Jammu and Kashmir that are ongoing since 4 February, Aakar Patel, chair of board for Amnesty International India said, “The ongoing demolitions appear to be an extension of the brutal human rights violations the region of Jammu and Kashmir, the only Muslim majority region of India, has historically witnessed. These demolitions could amount to forced evictions which constitute a gross violation of human rights”.
He said, “Under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to which India is a state party, everyone has the right to adequate housing which includes a prohibition on forced evictions. Where justified, evictions should be carried out in accordance with general principles of reasonableness and proportionality and include safeguards of reasonable and adequate notice; provision of legal remedies for infringement of rights; and provision of legal aid to people who need it to seek redress from the courts. No one should be made homeless or vulnerable to other human rights violations because of evictions.”
No one should be made homeless or vulnerable to other human rights violations because of evictions, he said.
“The Indian authorities must immediately halt the demolition drive and ensure that safeguards against forced evictions as outlined in international human rights standards are put in place before any evictions are carried out. They must offer adequate compensation to all those affected without discrimination, ensure that victims of forced evictions have access to effective remedy, and those responsible are held to account,” Patel said.
Pertinently, the district municipal corporation and state revenue authorities in collaboration with the police demolished the homes and properties of residents in at least in four districts of Srinagar, Budgam, Anantnag and Baramulla in Jammu and Kashmir between 4 to 5 February 2023.
Residents allege that they did not receive any prior notices from the administration. Many of them also allege that they had documents proving ownership of their properties, but the authorities did not give them an opportunity to present their claims before running bulldozers over their homes.