Keeping Kashmir in the spotlight

With air strikes in Libya (see the Sun and the BBC), mass demonstrations across North Africa and the Middle East (Mail and the Independent) and the natural and nuclear disasters in Japan (Telegraph and Express) dominating the news pages, it’s been difficult – although not surprising – for other international stories to make any headway.One such story is our new report, ‘A Lawless Law: Detentions under the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act’.The report reveals that authorities in the Indian state are holding hundreds of people each year without charge or trial in order to ‘keep them out of circulation’. The report was launched this morning in Srinagar. And with all the competing international news, it was like banging your head against a brick wall to get coverage, so credit to Sunrise Radio and the Financial Times for bucking the trend and reporting on it today. To explain the report in simple terms, the authorities in Jammu and Kashmir are using the act to hold people they don’t like for one reason or another – indefinitely.From January to September last year, 322 people were held using the act.Detainees included political leaders and activists, suspected members or supporters of armed opposition groups, lawyers, journalists and protesters, including children. Legally they are all only supposed to be held for a maximum of two years – which is a ridiculous length anyway – but the moment they are released the authorities frequently just start the process all over again by detaining them once more.So much for free speech. If they are believed to have committed a crime there is one simple solution, give them a free trial.We’re calling on the Government of Jammu and Kashmir to repeal the legislation immediately and end the illegal detentions. Until that happens, we in the media unit at Amnesty will continue to try and keep the spotlight on the situation – even if the rest of the media are preoccupied elsewhere.

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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