Prominent Kashmiri Human Rights Activist Khurram Parvez Arrested by NIA

Nov 24, 2021 | Kashmir Coverage (General News)

The JKCCS coordinator was arrested in a terror funding case under the IPC and the UAPA.

Srinagar: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested prominent Kashmir-based human rights activist and programme coordinator of the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) Khurram Parvez in a terror funding case following a raid at his residence and office in Srinagar on Monday. 

Parvez was arrested in the case, FIR RC-30/2021/NIA/DLI, filed on November 6, under Sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 121 (waging, attempting to wage, abetting waging of war against the government), and 121A (conspiracy to commit offences punishable by Section 121) of the Indian Penal Code; and Sections 17 (raising funds for a terrorist act), 18 (conspiracy), 18B (recruiting of any person or persons for a terrorist act) and 40 (raising funds for a terrorist organisation) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

According to the award-winning activist’s family, NIA officers arrived at his Gupkar residence around 7:45 am and began questioning him and also confiscated some of his electronic gadgets, including his wife’s cell phone. “The raid continued till about 1:30 pm, and we were told later that he would be shifted to Delhi,” one of Parvez’s relatives told Newsclick. The agency returned the mobile devices of the family members at the end of the raid except for his wife’s phone. 

The arrest memo, received by his family members, reads that Parvez was arrested around 6 pm at NIA camp office in Srinagar. The NIA also simultaneously raided the office of JKCCS, a key human rights group with which Parvez Khurram has been attached for more than two decades. JKCCS founder and senior human rights lawyer Parvez Imroz was present throughout the raid, which ended around 10 pm. 

Parvez’s family fears that he may be lodged in a Delhi jail on grounds that are likely to be flimsy. The arrest of the activist, whose work has been significant in monitoring and investigating human rights abuses in Kashmir, is seen by many as part of a larger crackdown on such campaigners in the region. He is also the chairperson of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances. 

Parvez’s arrest has been flagged by many global human rights groups and defenders, including Mary Lawlor, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders. “I’m hearing disturbing reports that Khurram Parvez was arrested today in Kashmir & is at risk of being charged by authorities in #India with terrorism-related crimes. He’s not a terrorist, he’s a Human Rights Defender,” she tweeted. 

Parvez was first arrested for about two-and-a-half months in 2016 following a mass protest in the region that continued for months against the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. He was booked under the controversial Public Safety Act a day after he was stopped from travelling to Geneva to participate in a UN Human Rights Council session. His arrest was widely condemned following which the United Nations, Amnesty International and intellectuals like Noam Chomsky sought for his release. Parvez lost a leg in an IED blast in 2004 while his colleague Aasia Jeelani was killed. He was conferred with Reebok Human Rights Award two years later. 

This is the second time the NIA raided the JKCCS premises and questioned the activists. The agency had raided the premises in October 2020 in connection with a case related to the funding of “secessionist and separatist activities”.

JKCCS’s work has been lauded in conflict-hit Kashmir as important especially with regards to documenting the violence and abuse against its people at the hands of government forces and the non-state actors, something that has made the establishment uncomfortable at times.

Anees Zargar | News Click