SRINAGAR: Authorities in India-held Kashmir have charged a leading human rights activist under a controversial security law and rearrested him, shortly after a court ordered to release him, a police officer said on Thursday.
Khurram Parvez was formally charged on Wednesday night under the Public Safety Act (PSA) that allows detention for up to six months without trial, and he was rearrested after he left prison.
“He was sent to Kotbalwal jail under PSA last night,” a senior police officer told AFP on condition of anonymity, without giving more details.
Parvez, coordinator of the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), was first arrested last week for “breach of peace” and sent to a different jail, but a court on Tuesday ordered his release.
It came after he was prevented by Indian immigration authorities from travelling to Geneva, where he had been due to brief UN officials on the strife-torn region.
“Detaining a person right after he is released, without any intention to bring him to trial, amounts to using a revolving door of persecution,” Amnesty International India executive director Aakar Patel said in a statement.
“This kind of arbitrary use of the law suggests that the Jammu and Kashmir police are determined to lock up Khurram Parvez at any cost,” Patel said.
JKCCS has long campaigned for repeal of the PSA and also reported torture, rape, custodial murder and other rights abuses blamed on government forces.
Uptick in violence
In the worst civilian violence to hit the restive region of Indian-held Kashmir since 2010, at least 90 Kashmiri civilians have been killed and thousands more injured in Indian-held Kashmir in clashes with security forces after the killing of a prominent Kashmiri separatist leader Burhan Wani, in a military operation on July 8.
Wani, a 22-year-old commander of Kashmir’s largest pro-independence militant group Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), was killed along with two other separatists during a gun battle with Indian government forces.
Kashmir has been divided between rivals India and Pakistan since 1947, but both claim the territory in its entirety.
Tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, have died in the fighting since 1989.
Violence had sharply declined in recent years following a major crackdown by the hundreds of thousands of Indian forces deployed in the region.
But a recent uptick in militant attacks has galvanised frustrated young Kashmiris, majority of whom deeply resent the Indian military’s presence.