Jeddah 26th February 2019: The OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) strongly condemns the intensified targeting of innocent Kashmiri civilians including students, businessmen and political activists in various parts of India by the Indian Government, media and far right nationalist groups in the aftermath of a suicide attack in Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK), causing serious violations of right to life, right to freedom of expression, right to peaceful protests and assembly and other fundamental human rights.
The media reports have suggested that more than 700 Kashmiri students and traders from different parts of India have returned to their homes to escape reprisals for the suicide attack. The social media is replete with video footages of Kashmiris being bullied or beaten on the instigation of the right-wing Hindu nationalist groups and media outlets. The unchecked hate speech is so rampant that even Muslim prisoners are beaten up by their inmates in different prisons including the killing of a prisoner by stoning him to death in Jaipur Central Jail. The failure of the Indian Government to protect the lives, properties and businesses of Kashmiris against mob attacks and vandalism is deplorable and a blatant violation of the international human rights and humanitarian laws and Geneva Conventions.
The situation has become so grave that lately India's Supreme Court has to intervene to order the Indian Government to provide protection for Kashmiris who continue to face vitriolic hate speech, discrimination and violent backlash from security search operations and harassment in the aftermath of the Pulwama suicide attack. It may be recalled that Pulwama is the same place where on 15 December 2018 Indian security forces indiscriminately opened fire on innocent Kashmiri civilians peacefully protesting against the human rights abuses and in support of their inalienable right to self-determination.
The OIC-IPHRC continues to emphasize that violence begets violence and denial of basic human rights provide space for extremist elements to operate and strike. The legitimate and peaceful struggle of Kashmiri people to exercise their right to self-determination continues to face brutal repression, which at times results in violent reactions. The Indian government must avoid using these violent reactions as a pretext to grant a ‘carte blanche’ to its occupation forces to intensify its atrocities over innocent Kashmiris. With the help of draconian Armed Forces Special Power Act, Indian forces continue to detain, torture and even kill suspects without any fear of investigation thus promoting a culture of impunity, which is a serious violation of international human rights law. Such human rights violations by the Indian occupation forces in IoK are bound to further inflame the sentiments of the local population.
The IPHRC shares the concerns of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms. Bachelet for using Pulwama attack as a justification for threats and violence targeting Kashmiris and other Muslims living in different parts of India and calls upon the Government of India to immediately bring an end to these hostile actions as well as to provide access to the international human rights bodies including OIC and OHCHR to visit the IoK to objectively assess the human rights situation.
The Commission welcomes the holding of emergency meeting of the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir on 26 February 2019 in Jeddah and fully endorses its concerns and recommendations on ongoing human rights situation in the IoK.