Indian Supreme Court orders Modi govt to restore normalcy in occupied Kashmir

The Indian Supreme Court on Monday ordered the Narendra Modi led government to restore normalcy in occupied Kashmir.

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Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi issued these orders while hearing a petition filed by child rights expert Enakshi Ganguly and Professor Shanta Sinha, first Chairperson of the National Commission for Child Rights (NCPCR), stating that there have been reports about the abduction of children by Indian forces’ personnel during house raids in the occupied valley, as per Kashmir Media Service.

The petitioners have appealed that there have been certain reports specific to children, which describe violations that include loss of life and liberty and that the reports are serious enough to merit judicial review of the situation with respect to children and to enforce and monitor certain immediate corrective action.

The Supreme Court also sought a report from occupied Kashmir High Court Chief Justice on allegations that people are finding it difficult to approach the apex court.

The Indian Chief Justice said he will visit the occupied valley personally, if needed, to check on allegations of human rights abuses amid security restrictions that have been in place since August 5, when Indian government revoked special status to the state.

The top court of India had earlier heard a bunch of petitions dealing with different aspects of the situation in the Himalayan region.

According to a report in Indian news publication India Today, the petitions included pleas against the validity of scrapping Article 370 and 35(A) of the Indian Constitution without proper discourse in the parliament.

In addition, there are petitions regarding the media and communications blackout in the occupied valley which have put the area under siege, and disrupted business and health facilities.

On August 5, Indian PM Modi had passed a bill that divided occupied Kashmir into two Indian Union territories. A military curfew was imposed in the occupied valley after the decision and thousands imprisoned.

The petitioners include former Indian-occupied Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, who has been stopped by the Indian government from traveling to occupied Kashmir to visit his relatives.

Other prominent politicians, including two former chief ministers and the mayor of capital Srinagar, had also been placed under house arrest by Indian security forces in August to repeal opposition against the move.

Besides politicians, there are also journalists who have sought the help of the Indian court against the draconian steps of the Modi government. The editor of Kashmir Times, Anuradha Bhasin, is also a petitioner.

Bhasin told India Today that journalists in the Himalayan region are prohibited to move freely.  “It is difficult for journalists to travel beyond Srinagar, making it difficult to report,” the editor further alleged.

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