Roger Waters, British Musician and founding member of former rock band Pink Floyd has called out Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the arrest of Khurram Parvez, a well-known Kashmiri human rights activist.
“Hey Modi, leave Khurram alone!” the musician said while retweeting a tweet demanding the release of the activist.
The tweet from Rogers comes amid calls from the various international human rights organisations seeking an immediate release of Parvez.
Rogers has always been vocal about Kashmir, in a video shared in February 2020, the musician spoke out against the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act introduced by the Government of India during a protest in London demanding the release of Julian Assange.
On Wednesday, a Twitter storm was started by various human rights organizations calling on Modi government to release the activist on an immediate basis as the activist had completed a month in the NIA custody.
The campaign was initially started by Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) for two days- December 21, and 22, urging the GoI for the activist’s release.
However, a number of organizations later joined in, seeking Parvez’s immediate release. 28 British parliamentarians have also written to the Indian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom expressing their concerns over “human rights violations and the illegal detention of Khurram Pervez”.
UN Special Rapporteurs has also urged the Indian authorities to stop “targeting” Parvez, who completed one month in the prison on December 22.
“Parvez has worked extensively to document serious human rights violations, including enforced disappearances and unlawful killings in Kashmir. In his search for accountability, Parvez has been the victim of a number of incidents of reprisals reportedly for sharing this information with the United Nations, as documented in various reports of the Secretary-General and communications from UN special procedures mandate holders,” UN said in its latest statement.
“We are concerned that one month after Parvez’s arrest, he is still deprived of liberty in what appears to be a new incident of retaliation for his legitimate activities as a human rights defender and because he has spoken out about violations,” it said.
“In view of this context of previous reprisals, we call on the Indian authorities to immediately release him and ensure his rights to liberty and security.”
Parvez, who was arrested on 22 November 2021 on charges related to conspiracy and militancy under Indian counter-terrorism legislation — the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) — is presently detained at the Rohini Jail Complex.
Parvez was arrested on 22 November, 2021, following a raid by the sleuths of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) of India at his residence and office in Srinagar.
After spending a month in NIA jail, the Delhi court has now extended his custody, Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) said in a tweet.
Who is Khurram Parvez
Khurram Parvez, a journalist by education, serves as the programme coordinator of the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS). He is 44 years old.
He had been one of the founding members of JKCCS, which is an amalgam body of various non-funded, non-profit, campaign, research and advocacy organisations based in Srinagar. Launched in 2000, JKCCS has been documenting socio-political issues and human rights interests in J&K for the past two decades.
He is also recipient of the prestigious Chevening Fellowship at the University of Glasgow, United Kingdom.
Parvez also serves as the chairperson of the Philippines-based Asian Federation against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD), an international human rights organisation which focuses on the issue of forced disappearance in Asia.
In 1996, as a student at the Kashmir University, Parvez had started a helpline which provided peer counselling and guidance to students affected by conflict in the Valley, as per a JKCCS document.
By 1999, he was actively engaged in the activities of the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons, a Srinagar-based group working on issues of enforced disappearances.
On 20 April 2004, while monitoring elections in north Kashmir’s Lolab, a car carrying Parvez and his associates was targeted using a high-intensity improvised explosive device (IED).
While his colleague and fellow rights defender Aasiya Jeelani succumbed to the injuries of the blast, Parvez survived with an amputated leg, reported The Quint.