Detention of political leaders, internet gag worrying in J&K

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi addresses the United Nations General Assembly in 2019

Enlarge Indian prime minister Narendra Modi addresses the United Nations General Assembly

Since August 5, 2019, Kashmir valley has been under severe restrictions following the Narendra Modi-led central government decision to abrogate the Article 370.

The envoys of 15 countries, including United States Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster, arrived in Srinagar on a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday, the first by diplomats since August past year, when the erstwhile state " s special status was revoked and it was split into two Union territories. "We look forward to a return to normalcy", she added.

Wells will be in New Delhi from January 15-18.

The chief United States diplomat for South Asian affairs, Alice Wells, has expressed concern over continued detentions and internet-shutdown in occupied Kashmir, days before her visit to New Delhi for bilateral talks.

"Closely following US Ambassador to India and other foreign diplomats' recent trip to Jammu and Kashmir".

The foreign envoys interacted with select political representatives, civil society members as well as military top brass with the Indian government rejecting criticism that it was a "guided tour".

Al Jazeera reported that diplomats from the European Union countries backed out of the trip as they wanted to reach out to their contacts on ground and visit areas that weren't in the Indian government-prepared itinerary which was organised by the Indian ministries of External Affairs, Home Affairs and Defence. She is then due to proceed to Islamabad for a similar, three-day visit from January 19 in which regional concerns, as well as the Afghanistan peace process, are slated to be discussed.

The trip included meetings with the army, politicians, civil society groups and journalists selected by the security services. At the same time, political leaders have been placed in detention, while hundreds of locals have reportedly been arrested without formal charge.

Declaring that access to the Internet is a constitutionally protected right under Article 19 (1)(a) of the Constitution, the Supreme Court today ordered the Jammu and Kashmir Administration to review within a week all orders imposing curbs in the newly created Union Territory following nullification of Article 370. "We think it necessary to reiterate that complete broad suspension of telecom services, be it the Internet or otherwise, being a drastic measure, must be considered by the State only if "necessary" and 'unavoidable, '" the court said in another passage.

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