HRW condemns NIA raids in Kashmir

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 11/1/2020 12:40:53 AM

JAMMU, Oct 30: Human Rights Watch, in a statement, today said that the Indian government was using counterterrorism operations to silence peaceful dissenters, human rights activists, and journalists.
The statement comes in the wake of several raids carried out by National Investigation Agency (NIA) on the offices of nongovernmental organizations, activists’ homes, and a newspaper office in Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi, and Bangalore.
HRW said that the raids are part of a crackdown by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on civil society groups, “The authorities have increasingly brought politically motivated criminal cases, including under broadly worded terrorism and sedition laws, against activists, journalists, academics, students, and others and used foreign funding regulations to target outspoken groups for their human rights work,”
“India faces serious security challenges, but instead of addressing the problems in a rights-respecting manner, the authorities appear determined to crush peaceful criticism and calls for accountability,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Using authoritarian tactics against outspoken critics and journalists needs to stop.”
The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which conducted the raids, has accused the targeted groups of “raising funds in India and abroad in the name of charitable activities and then using those funds for carrying out secessionist and separatist activities in Jammu and Kashmir.”
Those whose offices and homes were raided include the human rights defender Khurram Parvez, coordinator of Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society; his associates Parvez Ahmad Matta and Bangalore-based associate Swati Sheshadri; and ParveenaAhangar, chairperson of the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), whose son is among those forcibly disappeared in Kashmir. Both groups have long worked for justice for victims of security force abuses.



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