SHAFAQNA- Hundreds of people arrested in the Kashmir lockdown have been held without trial by the Indian authorities and moved to jails far from home.
India’s portion of the Kashmir Valley – a Muslim-majority territory also claimed by Pakistan – has been under lockdown since the region’s statehood and autonomy were revoked on Aug. 5. Authorities have cut off mobile communications in the valley and detained nearly 4,000 people.
At least 300 people have been arrested under the Public Safety Act (PSA), which allows for detentions of up to two years without trial, the government said. Most have been sent to jails across the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.
Indian officials say the policy of transporting detainees, which started last year but has snowballed since August, is required to cut off the rebels from their networks, according to aljazeera.
One is a 19-year-old construction worker charged with aiding militants against Indian troops, the other is one of Kashmir’s most prominent lawyers, accused of being “an incorrigible secessionist”.
Despite their different backgrounds, Uzair Maqbool Malik and Nazir Ahmad Ronga have something in common: they are among hundreds of people who have been detained without trial by Indian authorities following a crackdown in the disputed region of Kashmir and moved to jails far from home.
Many are young men like Malik, a high-school dropout who works in construction. But there are others like Ronga, a former head of the bar association in IOK, and dozens of other lawyers, academics and leaders of political parties, tribune mentioned.
The transportations are often conducted without warning, and families say they are allowed little contact with detainees once they find them. Proving innocence is difficult even for those with resources given the communications situation in Kashmir and the number of cases.
Reuters followed several families, including the Maliks, as they traveled to Agra last month to visit detained relatives. Around a dozen relatives and friends of four men held in Agra said they were not informed about the transfers, and that prohibitive travel costs and limited visiting hours meant they had little contact with those detained.
On August 5, Kashmir, a region north of India, was taken over by Indian armed forces. Since then Kashmir has been subject to a curfew, some people have been placed under house arrest and a state-wide internet and mobile ban has left the international community blind to what the million-strong army are doing there, cambridge-news told.
This started with a political move in which India revoked article 370, which protected Kashmir as a semi-autonomous state, a rule which has held since the original partition of India and Pakistan in 1947.
The global watchdog, Human Rights Watch has urged India to release political prisoners, end crackdown operations and restore internet and mobile services in occupied Kashmir.