Anti-terror laws are being misused to stifle dissent in India’: Amnesty International condemns arrest of Kashmiri activist Khuram Parvez

Amnesty International, a human rights organization on Tuesday condemned the arrest of Kashmiri activist Khurram Parvez by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), saying that anti-terror laws are being misused to stifle dissent in the country.

Amnesty International tweeted, “The arrest of Kashmiri activist Khurram Parvez is yet another example of how anti-terror laws are being misused to criminalize human rights work & stifle dissent in India. Instead of targeting HRDs [Human Rights Defenders], authorities should focus on bringing accountability for human rights violations.”

On Monday, the NIA had arrested the human rights activist under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) on the charges of terror funding.

Several other activists, including politicians, and journalists, two United Nations Special Rapporteurs, have also criticized Parvez’s arrest.

Swaraj India President and farmers’ rights activist Yogendra Yadav said, “Arrest of Khurram Parvez should be a matter of shame. A lifelong human rights defender is now being accused of terrorism and will be in jail without trial. In 2016, after being jailed for more than 2 months, the court called his detention ‘illegal’. Should the State never learn?”

Taking it to Twitter, several others also voiced a similar sentiment,

Former United Nations Special Rapporteur, David Kaye said, “If, as reported, Khurram Parvez has been arrested by India’s ‘counter-terrorism’ NIA, it’s yet another extraordinary abuse in Kashmir.”

“I’m hearing disturbing reports that Khurram Parvez was arrested today in Kashmir & is at risk of being charged by authorities in #India with terrorism-related crimes. He’s not a terrorist, he’s a Human Rights Defender,” said Mary Lawlor, a UN Special Rapporteur.

Robert F Kennedy (RFK) Human Rights organisation also called out on India to immediately release the Kashmiri human rights activist, “We call on #India to immediately release #Kashmiri human rights defender KhurramParvez. Documenting human rights abuses and providing assistance to the victims of such abuses must be encouraged and lauded, NOT punished,” RFK tweeted.

“Khurram Parvez and @jkccs_ (Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Services) are leading human rights defenders in Kashmir. They have done quiet work in grim circumstances. The NIA raid on JKCCS & arrest of Khurram are an attempt by the Modi regime to gag those witnessing & documenting the unrelenting rights violations in J&K,” tweeted, Kavita Krishnan Secretary of All India Progressive Women’s Association and Politburo member, CPIML Liberation.

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