forum for human rights in jammu and kashmir releases annual report, calls for immediate assembly elections
Last updated on August 5th, 2023 at 08:16 am
Five years since Jammu and Kashmir has been without an elected government and four years since the cancellation of its special status under Article 370, human rights violations have continued to be reported in the region, the Forum for Human Rights in Jammu and Kashmir said.
The independent body of concerned citizens released its fourth annual report on Thursday, stressing the need for the Union government to hold assembly elections there.
The report was launched by the Forum along with members of parliament Supriya Sule, Manoj Jha, Sitaram Yechury, Shashi Tharoor, Mohammad Yusuf Tarigami and Kanimozhi, and National Conference president Farooq Abdullah.
Continued Human Rights Violations & Worrying Rates Of Unemployment
While the Ministry of Home Affairs has said the reading down of Article 370 and the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act of August 9, 2019, had introduced stability, security and development to the region, the facts suggest otherwise, the report found.
While improvement has been recorded on some parameters, human rights violations continue on most, it said. Although the number of fatalities from armed attacks and counter-insurgency operations was relatively low, the number of police personnel who died continues to be high.
The report also underscored the resurgence of militancy in Jammu after a long period of peace. It shed the spotlight on the alarming rates of unemployment in the region, adding the region’s prisons can accommodate 3,629 inmates but lodged 5,300 as of June 2023.
While last year saw a promising revival of tourism that has boosted the economy, Jammu and Kashmir still has a long way to go to match the national average on per capita income and rates of growth, it further mentioned.
‘Regular Elections – A Fundamental Right’
Among its main demands, the report highlights the need to hold assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir and a legislative assembly in Ladakh. “Right to vote and periodic and regular elections is a fundamental right,” said Radha Kumar, the co-chair of the Forum.
Meanwhile, Sule said the report points out the failed promise of Home Minister Amit Shah who had promised to hold elections a year after cancelling Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370. “Now four years on that has not happened,” she said.