As part of the ongoing crisis and crackdown in Kashmir by Indian authorities, it has been reported that children and minors are being arrested and held in jails – often without any access to legal aid or family visits. According to a report by the NDTV news channel, 144 Kashmiri minors have been detained since August 5th, the day the Indian government abolished Article 370, which gave relative autonomy to the region of Kashmir.
Many of the juvenile detainees are being held by Indian authorities under the controversial Public Safety Act, which allows officials to arrest people for up to two years with any charges or judicial review, all in the name of national security. The minors that are arrested and held under this Act are often left to cases of torture, threat of indefinite arrest, and lack of legal aid or family communication.
Indian authorities have also reportedly moved many of the Kashmiri minors held in detention to different jails across India, making it more difficult for their families to visit them or offer any kind of support due to costly travel and time. One such case is Abrar Ahmad Ganai, a 16 year old, who was held for two months in a jail thousands of kilometers away from Kashmir in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Ganai was held under the controversial Public Safety Act, for allegedly holding up signs that were “anti-national”. Speaking to Al Jazeera, his father recounts:
He was in a 6×7 cell…He has lost seven kilogrammes and looks pale. He is very depressed and frightened. His whole body aches and there are scars on his back. He said: ‘I was waiting for my death’.”
Two months now after India began its brutal crackdown in Kashmir after protests erupted over the stripping of their autonomy from Article 370, there have been numerous reports on grave human rights abuses being committed by Indian authorities in the region. Tortured and beaten for information, in many cases Indian authorities arrest and detain young men from villages as a public display of warning to others to not engage in further protests.
In addition to the torture and detentions, Indian authorities have severely restricted and shut down internet access across Kashmir, with an estimated seven million Kashmiris currently cut off from the world. With restricted access into the region, human rights groups worry the situation is only worsening inside Kashmir.
Last month, India ordered the Jammu and Kashmir High Court’s Juvenile Justice Committee to investigate the reports of the detentions of minors inside the region, however as of yet no real change or decision has been made in stopping the illegal detention of minors in the region. India continues to act with impunity in regards to the human rights abuses happening on a daily occurrence in Kashmir, as the world’s governments turn a blind eye to yet another atrocity of the modern age.