The daughter of one of Indian Held Kashmir (IHK)’s most prominent politicians has pleaded with the international community to act over an unprecedented clampdown on millions of people in the territory, warning that Kashmiris are being “caged like animals” and treated as “cannon fodder”, international media reported on Friday.
“Kashmiris have been caged like animals and deprived of basic human rights,” Iltija Javed, daughter of Peoples Democratic Party’s President Mehbooba Mufti, wrote in a letter to India’s Home Minister Amit Shah.
Speaking to the Guardian while under house arrest, Iltija Mufti said as many as 25 armed security personnel had surrounded her house last week. All entrances to the house have been locked, she said, defying a communications ban by the Indian government.
Mufti said no legal basis had been provided for her detention but she had been told her previous comments to the media, criticising India’s actions in Kashmir, had angered officials. She said she had been denied a lawyer and prevented from seeing visitors.
Her mother was placed under house arrest hours before the Indian government made a dramatic announcement on 5 August that it would withdraw IHK’s special status. She is understood to have been taken to a makeshift jail. About 500 people have reportedly been detained, ostensibly to prevent unrest.
“I’ve quite clearly been told: first of all we make sure you don’t get your voice out, and you’re not heard, and if you do, be ready to suffer the consequences,” said Mufti, who managed to speak to the Guardian from her home.
“Those consequences will be that you will be detained indefinitely and that I won’t have the right or access to even a lawyer.
I feel really scared for my life. I don’t think I am safe any more because I don’t trust this government. The way they have gone after even elected representatives is quite frightening.”
There has been a massive crackdown on political leaders including that of pro-India parties since Aug. 5 when India scrapped special status of Jammu & Kashmir.
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