WASHINGTON: UN human rights experts urged India on Thursday to end the crackdown on freedom of expression, access to information and peaceful protests imposed in occupied Kashmir this month.

In Washington, another global organisation issued a Genocide Alert for the occupied territory, calling upon the United Nations and its members to “warn India not to commit genocide in Kashmir”.

In a report issued in Geneva by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN experts warned that the measures imposed after India revoked the constitutionally mandated status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir “would exacerbate tensions in the region”.

The Washington-based Genocide Watch noted that since Aug 5, when India merged the disputed territory with the union, New Delhi has deployed over 600,000 troops in Kashmir.

Genocide Watch also identified 10 early warnings of massacres in occupied Kashmir, which include: classifying Muslims as “them” and using documents, such as ID cards, to identify them; Hindu economic dominance; dehumanization of Muslims as terrorists and separatists; sending 600,000 heavily armed troops to the region.

In a report issued in Geneva, experts warn that measures imposed by India ‘would exacerbate tensions in the region’

Other points include Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP inciting anti-Muslim hatred; social media spreading falsehoods; preparing for genocide by sending troops and BJP leaders speaking of the “final solution” for Kashmir; persecution of Kashmiri Muslims such as lockdown, subject to arrest, torture, rape and murder.

The report notes that the extermination of Kashmiri Muslims began in 1990 and since then there have been at least 25 massacres by Indian troops.

Another key point on the list is denial, which began with PM Modi and BJP saying their goals were to “bring prosperity” and “end terrorism”; they deny any massacres. No Indian Army troops or police are ever tried for torture, rape or murder.

The report notes that the Kashmir State Human Rights Commission has evidence of 2,730 bodies buried in 40 mass graves. The commission reported over 8,000 disappearances.

The Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society said that by 2016, there were over 70,000 killings, most by Indian forces.

Amnesty International reports that disappearances, torture and rape by Indian Army units against Kashmiri Muslims are common.

In the report issued in Geneva, UN human rights experts noted that the Indian government has imposed a curfew across Jammu and Kashmir, bringing in massive numbers of troops to enforce restrictions on the freedom of movement and of peaceful assembly, particularly in the occupied Kashmir Valley.

The report also noted an increase in the arrest of political figures, journalists, human rights defenders, protesters and others.

The experts said they were deeply concerned by reports that security forces were conducting night raids on homes leading to the arrests of young people.

The experts also expressed serious concern over the use of excessive force against protesters, including the use of live ammunition, which could amount to violations of the right to life.

Genocide Watch noted that it was India that took its dispute with Pakistan over Kashmir to the UN Security Council, which passed Resolution 47 of 1948.

“It called for withdrawal of Pakistani fighters and reduction of Indian troops in Jammu and Kashmir. It also called for a plebiscite to determine Jammu and Kashmir’s future. The plebiscite has never been held,” the report added.

Published in Dawn, August 23rd, 2019