Supreme Court dealing slowly with petitions on Kashmir situation: United Nations panel

The Asian Age.

India, All India

The European Union MPs are the first high-level foreign delegation to Kashmir since August 5.

Photo: Representational image

New Delhi: The United Nations, on Tuesday, urged the Narendra Modi government to “fully restore the rights” of people in Kashmir, and remarked the Supreme Court of India was slow in dealing with petitions concerning freedom of movement and media curbs, The Indian Express reported.

“The Supreme Court of India has been slow to deal with petitions concerning habeas corpus, freedom of movement and media restrictions,” PTI quoted Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, as saying.

On October 16, the SC asked the Centre to produce orders concerning the shutdown and detentions in J&K. The three-Judge Bench of Justices NV Ramana with R Subhash Reddy and BR Gavai was hearing a petition filed by Kashmir Times Editor Anuradha Bhasin challenging the restrictions placed on media and communications in the Valley.

The bench asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that why the orders concerning the imposition of restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir were not placed on record.

“We are extremely concerned that the population in Kashmir continues to be deprived of a wide range of human rights and we urge the Indian authorities to unlock the situation and fully restore the rights that are currently being denied. Although some of these measures have been relaxed, their impact on human rights continues to be widely felt,” Colville said.

The EU MPs are the first high-level foreign delegation to Kashmir since August 5.

So far, the J&K administration has restored mobile telephone services for post-paid connections in the Valley without SMS facility as the lockdown in Kashmir entered the 86th day on Tuesday.

The UN human rights body further said that lockdown was still in place in large parts of the Kashmir Valley, hampering the ability of Kashmiris to exercise their right to peaceful assembly, and restricting their rights to health, education and freedom of religion and belief.

“We have also received reports of armed groups operating in Kashmir threatening residents trying to carry out their normal business or attend school, as well as several allegations of violence against people who have not complied with the armed groups’ demands,” Colville said.

The UN body also said it had received reports regarding allegations of torture and ill-treatment of people held in detention. “These must be independently and impartially investigated. Torture is totally and unequivocally prohibited under international law,” Colville said.

The UN statement coincides with the visit of a delegation of 23 European Union MPs in Kashmir to assess the situation in the state. The EU MPs are the first high-level foreign delegation to Kashmir after the August 5 decision of the Centre to scrap the state’s special status under Article 370 and bifurcate the state into the Union Territories.