'Hey Modi!': Musician Roger Waters calls out Indian PM over arrest of Kashmiri rights activist

Published December 23, 2021
Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters recites poetry by Aamir Aazim, a 30-year-old poet from Jamia Millia Islamia. — AFP/File
Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters recites poetry by Aamir Aazim, a 30-year-old poet from Jamia Millia Islamia. — AFP/File

Roger Waters, British musician and founding member of former rock band Pink Floyd, on Thursday called out Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the arrest of rights activist Khurram Parvez in occupied Kashmir.

"Hey Modi, leave Khurram alone!" the musician said. His statement was in response to a tweet by an account demanding the release of the activist.

This is not the first time Waters has called out the Indian regime. In a video shared by Prime Minister Imran Khan in Feb 2020, the musician spoke out against the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act introduced by the Indian government at a London protest demanding the release of Julian Assange.

Parvez, 42, is the programme coordinator for a widely respected rights group in the occupied territory, the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society, and chairperson of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances.

He was arrested last month by India's federal National Investigation Agency (NIA) on terrorism funding charges. According to his wife, officials also confiscated Parvez's mobile phone, laptop, some books and also her cellphone.

He is being held under the highly contentious Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, which allows for the detention of up to six months without trial.

The United Nations and several rights group have criticised Pervez's arrest. Mary Lawlor, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, called Parvez's arrest “disturbing”.

British parliamentarians, who voiced their concern about human rights violations in the occupied valley in a letter to the Indian High Commission, have also expressed shock at the incarceration of the prominent rights activist and sought an explanation for his detention.

Parvez was arrested and detained on similar charges in 2016, after being prevented from boarding a flight to attend a UN human rights forum in Geneva. He was eventually released without being convicted of any crime.

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