The Jammu and Kashmir police have arrested Khurram Parvez, a leading human rights activist, who has spoken out against the Indian government over the persisting violence in the Kashmir Valley. The 39-year-old activist was arrested from his home in Srinagar on Thursday, one day after he prevented from boarding a plane to the Geneva to attend the ongoing session of the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC).
The Indian Express reported that the authorities allowed Parvez’s colleagues, Parvez Imroz and Kartik Murukutla, to travel to Geneva. Greater Kashmir reported that Murukutla, a lawyer, had spoken to a packed hall of rights experts and activists about the violence in Kashmir, and said that they feared being banned from future travel.
While Parvez, program coordinator for the Srinagar-based Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society Organisation, has been placed under preventive detention for five days, the police have not yet provided any details, according this lawyers. Sections 107 and 151 of the Code of Criminal Procedure allow the government to take a person into a custody in order to prevent an imminent breach of peace or public tranquility.
The Hindustan Times reported that he is presently lodged at the Kothibagh station.
More than 80 people have been killed in the Kashmir Valley after security forces killed Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on July 8.
On September 14, Parvez was stopped at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, and prevented from traveling to Geneva to attend the ongoing session of the UN Human Rights Council Session.
“Despite having invitation, valid visa and other necessary documents, Khurram Parvez was detained for one and a half hours, and subsequently told that due to orders from the Intelligence Bureau, he cannot travel to Geneva,” JKCC President Imroz said in a press statement.
Imroz said, ‘It appears that Khurram Parvez is not being allowed to travel because he has been… highlighting violations of human rights.”
Amnesty International India, which was recently slapped with sedition charges for organizing an event to discuss the plight of the families in Kashmir Valley, condemned Parvez’s arrest.
“Preventing a well-known activist from traveling abroad for human rights advocacy, and then locking him up on spurious grounds, is a shameful attempt to suppress a peaceful dissenting voice from Kashmir,” Aakar Patel, Executive Director of Amnesty India, said in a press release.