WASHINGTON: A US court has asked Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other members of his government to respond within 21 days to the charge that they have occupied Kashmir and are committing gross human rights violations there.
The action has been taken on a complaint filed by the Kashmir Khalitsan Referendum Front in a US district court, in Houston, Texas, where Mr Modi is scheduled to address a joint rally with President Donald Trump on Sept 22.
The Front has complained that the Modi-led government has occupied Kashmir and on Aug 5 when it annexed the disputed territory in violation of international laws.
It has also nominated Indian Interior Minister Amit Shah and another functionary, Kanwal Jeet Singh, as the accused responsible for this illegal occupation and for committing gross human rights violations.
The violations include imposition of a long and unprecedented curfew, complete communication lockdown, denial of basic necessities to the inhabitants, illegal detention, enforced disappearances, torture and extrajudicial killings.
The complainant has quoted a Sept 14 report by the Associated Press news agency, which describes the situation in the area under the defendants’ control as alarming. It quotes personal accounts of violence and intimidation committed by Indian soldiers.
In more than 50 interviews, residents in a dozen villages told AP that the Indian government has imposed a severe security crackdown in the region and Indian soldiers have been beating up the local people and, in some cases, subjecting them to electric shocks.
AP reported that people in Kashmir had been forced to eat dirt or drink filthy water.
For compensatory damages, the defendants have been asked to pay $100 million. For punitive and exemplary damages, the court has been asked to order relevant punitive measures.
Published in ThePublic, September 20th, 2019