Geneva: As the lock-down in Kashmir entered the 86th day on Tuesday, the United Nations expressed concern over the situation and urged India to fully restore the rights of citizens in the region.
The UN statement comes at a time when 23 European Union (EU) MPs are visiting the Valley to carry out a first-hand assessment of the situation in Kashmir.
“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,” said Rupert Colville, Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Although some of these measures have been relaxed, their impact on human rights continues to be widely felt, he said.
Colville acknowledged that an “undeclared curfew” had been lifted from much of Jammu and Ladakh regions within a few days.
But he noted that it was reportedly still in place “in large parts of the Kashmir Valley, preventing the free movement of people, as well as hampering their ability to exercise their right to peaceful assembly and restricting their rights to health, education and freedom of religion and belief.”
Further, he highlighted several allegations of excessive use of force against protesters that involved the use of “pellet-firing shotguns, tear gas and rubber bullets”.
Hundreds of political and civil society leaders, including three former Chief Ministers of Jammu and Kashmir, have been detained on a preventative basis, he said.
Colville’s statement comes amid reports of five non-local workers being shot dead by terrorists in Kulgam district of Jammu and Kashmir.