Khurram Parvez

Kashmiri human rights activist and defender Khurram Parvez was arrested in late November 2021 by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

Background

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Hindu nationalist party led by current Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been strategically targeting Indian activists and journalists, specifically those critical of the Indian government, since it took power in 2014. The state uses laws like the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) to detain people—as they did with Khurram Parvez—without a formal charge or trial, according to AlJazeera.

Activists and human rights advocates have expressed grave concerns over the immense crackdown on free speech in India, according to Wired. Specifically, the UAPA is a tool to silence and remove voices of dissent — especially Kashmiri, Muslim, Dalit, and Adivasi voices of dissent — without the need for evidence. In May 2022, some UN experts spoke out about how many aspects of the UAPA oppose international human rights law and standards.

Life and Activism

Khurram Parvez is a Kashmiri human rights activist and defender, and co-founded the Jammu-Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) in 2000. At the time of his arrest, he was the programme coordinator at JKCCS and the chairman of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD). On November 22, 2021, the NIA raided his home and office for about 14 hours and seized his and his family members’ laptop, phones, and books. According to his wife Sameena Mir, Parvez was then asked to come to the NIA office in Srinagar for questioning, which is where he was then arrested.

This is not the first time Parvez has been targeted by Indian authorities. He has repeatedly been subject to arrests due to his human rights work. He was jailed for 76 days in 2016 under the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act. In December 2021, some UN experts urged Indian authorities to stop targeting Khurram Parvez and release him. Amnesty International published a news report in November 2022 calling on the Indian state to immediately release Parvez.

Charges and Allegations

Parvez was charged under the Indian Penal Code and the UAPA. He was charged with “criminal conspiracy,” “waging, or attempting to wage war, or abetting waging of war, against the Government of India,” “punishment for conspiracy to wage war against the Government of India,” “raising funds for terror activities,” “punishment for conspiracy,” “recruiting any person or persons for commission of a terrorist act,” “offense relating to membership of a terrorist organization,” and “offense of raising funds for terrorist organizations.”

Current Status

In January 2023, Parvez won the Martin Ennals Award, which is considered to be one of the most prestigious human rights prizes around the world, according to Aljazeera. When he was awarded this, he was still detained. He remains behind bars today.

Last Update

Parvez still remains detained today.

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