The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) while reacting on Indian government’s move to withdraw special status of Kashmir by abolishing article 370 of the constitution, condemned the legislative steps taken by India in occupied Kashmir and urged the Indian government to “respect, protect and fulfill the human rights of people in Jammu and Kashmir.”
“The Indian Government’s revocation of the autonomy and special status of Jammu and Kashmir violates the rights of representation and participation guaranteed to the people of Jammu and Kashmir under the Indian Constitution and in international law and is a blow to the rule of law and human rights in the state and in India,” the ICJ said in a press release.
“The Indian Government pushed through a legislative package effectively eliminating the special status accorded to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, which granted autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir and limited the Indian Government’s legislative powers in the state. The move was preceded by a communication blackout, arbitrary detention of political leaders, banned movement and meetings of people, and increased military presence, purportedly to quell protests.
“The Indian Government has pushed through these changes in contravention of domestic and international standards with respect to the rights of people in Jammu and Kashmir to participate and be adequately represented, accompanied by draconian new restrictions on freedoms of expression, assembly, and travel, and with an influx of thousands of unaccountable security personnel,” said Sam Zarifi, ICJ’s Secretary General.
“The legality of the Indian Government’s measures to eviscerate Article 370 will certainly be tested before the Indian judiciary, which should look closely at the serious violations of proper legislative and Constitutional processes,” Zarifi said. “All eyes are now on the Indian Supreme Court to fulfill its functions in defense of the rights of people of Jammu and Kashmir and the Indian Constitution.”
“The procedure adopted to revoke the special status and autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir appears to be incompatible with judgments and observations of high courts and the Indian Supreme Court, who have clarified that the President of India would need the agreement of the government of Jammu and Kashmir to change its status. The amendments effectively render Article 370 inoperative in its entirety, without meeting the Constitutional requirements in spirit.