UN criticises ‘disturbing’ arrest of rights activist in occupied Kashmir

SRINAGAR: Rights groups including the United Nations have criticised the arrest of a prominent activist in Indian-occupied Kashmir on trumped-up terror funding charges.

Khurram Parvez was arrested late on Monday by India’s federal National Investigation Agency (NIA), an Indian official briefed on the situation told Reuters.

His residence and office were searched and a mobile phone, laptop and books seized, he added.

A spokesperson for the NIA confirmed Parvez’s arrest on Tuesday.

He is being held under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, which allows for the detention of up to six months without trial.

His lawyer, Parvez Imroz, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Mary Lawlor, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, called Parvez’s arrest “disturbing”.

“He’s not a terrorist, he’s a human rights defender,” she said in a tweet.

Parvez, one of Kashmir’s best-known activists, is head of Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society, a group of rights organisations working in the region.

He was arrested and detained on similar charges in 2016, after being prevented from boarding a flight to attend a UN human rights forum in Geneva. He was eventually released without being convicted of any crime.

The Muslim-majority Kashmir region has been the source of decades of tensions between nuclear-armed neighbours Pakistan and India.

Both countries claim the Himalayan territory in full but rule it in part, and have fought two wars against each other there.

India has long faced allegations of gross rights abuses in the occupied portion of the territory. It tightly controls access to Kashmir for foreign observers, including the UN.

The post UN criticises ‘disturbing’ arrest of rights activist in occupied Kashmir appeared first on Pakistan Today.

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