Washington: The US State Department’s annual report on human rights while highlighting 32 extrajudicial killings in the first half of 2020 in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir has said that following New Delhi’s August 2019 abrogation of the special status for Jammu and Kashmir, Indian “authorities used a public safety law to detain local politicians without trial.”
The report, which covers incidents reported in 2020, also referred to a study by the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), which reported 229 killings in 107 incidents in the first six months of the year. “JKCCS also reported 32 extrajudicial killings in the first half of the year in Jammu and Kashmir.”
The US report noted that Indian authorities permitted limited access to prisoners, although some family members claimed authorities denied access to relatives, particularly in restive areas, including the occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
The report pointed out that the National Human Rights Commission of India (NHRC) received prisoner complaints of human rights violations throughout the year. “But civil society representatives believed few prisoners filed complaints due to fear of retribution from prison guards or officials,” it added.
Following New Delhi’s August 2019 abrogation of a special constitutional provision that provided autonomous status for Jammu and Kashmir, Indian “authorities used a public safety law to detain local politicians without trial,” the report added. Those released were required to sign bonds agreeing not to engage in political activity.
The US report noted that the Public Safety Act (PSA), which applies only in occupied Jammu and Kashmir, “permits authorities to detain persons without charge or judicial review for up to two years without visitation from family members.” HRW