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Draconian laws in IoK

Indian atrocities continued unabated in occupied Kashmir despite the nation reeling from the effect of the coronavirus pandemic. India is using draconian laws against innocent Kashmiris – from cricketers to journalists – aimed to stifle dissent.

Last week, it was proven that Indian forces had killed three innocent Kashmiri youth in a fake gunfight and dubbed them as militants. Their DNA samples matched their families and the Indian police could not deny the evidence. The youth including two cousins use to visit Shopian district for the past few years during the apple harvest for their livelihood then they were killed by the occupying Indian forces.

India has been arbitrarily invoking the Public Safety Act (PSA) and other stringent laws that allow detention for up to two years without trial. This law is rampantly used against Kashmiris on mere suspicion. Now a more draconian law called UAPA had been introduced which denies bail and gives unregulated power to the police.

These laws have been use to terrorize Kashmiris and the police can act with impunity. In August, ten cricketers were booked under this law for being part of a memorial cricket match. The match organizer, who has been arrested, had claimed he had organized the match in memory of his brother who loved to play cricket and was shot dead by Indian forces.

The laws are contrary to the basic principle of innocent until proven guilty and violation of human rights. Indian police have used them sporadically and arrested Kashmiri youth chanting pro-freedom during a Muharram procession. Even journalists have targeted under this law for merely posting an image or a message on social media. A female journalist Musarrat Zehra, who used to document the Kashmir conflict, was booked just because she purportedly had a picture of a slain Kashmiri militant.

Last year, three Kashmiri men who were wrongly convicted for the 1996 bombings in Delhi and Rajasthan were released after 23 years. When they returned, they had lost their families and livelihoods but still have not found the answer to why they were arrested. Indian forces are rounding up scores of Kashmir youth on flimsy reasons. Kashmir is a lost battle for India but still, the world has not pressed hard enough for introducing such regressive laws and policies.

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