South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

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South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR), a regional human rights defenders’ network, is shocked at the BJP led government’s unilateral decision on 5 August 2019 to abrogate article 370 of the Constitution thereby ending the special status enjoyed by the state of Jammu & Kashmir. The state has now been downgraded and divided into two Union territories. The government has proceeded with strengthened military occupation, keeping senior politicians in house arrest as well as a blanket blocking of communication channels in the state depriving the peoples’ rights and freedoms. SAHR believes that this unliteral decision will have deep and disturbing repercussions to peace between India and Pakistan and the entire region at large. 

Being a state with a Muslim majority, it is ambiguous whether the people of Jammu & Kashmir will gain positively by this abrogation of special status by the government in power which has been openly and forcefully promoting a Hindutva led India. SAHR has learnt that this surreptitious and rushed move of the government will in the future enable the Hindus to appropriate land in Jammu & Kashmir changing the demography by which eventually the current unresolved issues will be further complicated, including an increase in violence. 

This unilateral decision contradicts the concept of the secular and inclusive Indian state which was promoted by the leadership upon independence in 1947. SAHR is concerned of the regional reaction to this decision, specifically from the countries with a Muslim majority, and its impact on South Asia. We believe that the revoking of the special status of Jammu & Kashmir should have taken place with the consensus of the people of that state. SAHR calls upon the Government of India to refrain from acting drastically in this context and receive the concurrence of the people of Jammu & Kashmir in finding a sustainable resolution to the ongoing issues in the state. 

On behalf of the members of South Asians for Human Rights, 

Sultana Kamal

Mohamed Latheef