The United Nations Human Rights expert body has told the Indian Government that the information blackout in Jammu and Kashmir is a form of collective punishment on the people there and is inconsistent with the fundamental norms of necessity and proportionality.
The experts expressed concern that the curfew measures imposed in the area after the Centre revoked the special status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir were "intrinsically disproportionate".
A statement issued on Thursday by the Office of the High Commissioner, UN Human Rights, said :
"The shutdown of the internet and telecommunication networks, without justification from the Government, are inconsistent with the fundamental norms of necessity and proportionality," The blackout is a form of collective punishment of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, without even a pretext of a precipitating offence."
Taking note of the massive deployment of military troops and imposition of curfew there, the global body added :
"We remind the Indian authorities that the restrictions imposed by the Indian Government are intrinsically disproportionate, because they preclude considerations of the specific circumstances of each proposed assembly,"
The experts said they were deeply concerned by reports that security forces were conducting night raids on private homes leading to the arrests of young people. "Such detentions could constitute serious human rights violations," the experts said. "The allegations must be thoroughly investigated by the authorities, and, if confirmed, those responsible must be held accountable.
"We are gravely concerned about allegations that the whereabouts of some of those detained is not known as well as the general heightened risk of enforced disappearances, which may proliferate against the backdrop of mass arrests and restricted access to the internet and other communications networks," added the experts.
They also expressed serious concern about the use of excessive force against protesters, including the use of live ammunition, which could amount to violations of the right to life. "India has the responsibility to use the minimum force necessary when policing protests," the experts said. "This means that the use of deadly force is a measure permissible only as last resort and to protect life."
Few writ petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the restrictions imposed in the state. However, the Supreme Court refrained from passing any orders, and deferred hearing saying that it would like to give government some time to restore normalcy in the region.