U.S.-based Kashmiri Rights Group Condemns Arrest of Activist Mohammad Ahsan Untoo
“On Friday, January 14, Kashmiri freedom activist Mohammad Ahsan Untoo was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), legislation notorious for silencing Kashmiri and Jammu indigenous voices who have called for the region’s right to self-determination. Untoo, the chairperson for the International Forum for Justice and Human Rights Jammu and Kashmir, was arrested under UAPA for speaking against the Indian occupation and supporting the free Kashmir movement on Twitter. Untoo is an active participant and speaker at Twitter spaces titled ‘Radio Resistance Kashmir’ led by two fellow Kashmiri rights activists Muzammil Ayyub Thakur and Dr. Asif Dar.
Untoo’s arrest comes just days after journalist Sajad Gul, a journalism student who works at The Kashmir Walla, was arrested after posting a video of a family shouting anti-Indian slogans after their relative was shot and killed in a gunfight in Srinagar. The video showed that they were protesting against the killing of Salim Parray who was shot and killed earlier this month in Srinagar.
For more than 75 years, Kashmiri and Jammu citizens have suffered under India’s illegal occupation of the region. Wielding a slew of systematic oppression through violent acts, including sexual assaults of indigenous women and the harassment and unlawful arrest of activists, politicians and journalists, Indian occupying forces have sought to silence Kashmiri voices and their calls for self-determination. Such cruel actions have only exposed India’s wrath on the region and unwillingness to peacefully relinquish our people from its control.
We demand that those who have been wrongly imprisoned for voicing their opposition to the Indian occupation of Kashmir and Jammu and support a free and fair plebiscite of the region be immediately released and unharmed. We demand that Kashmiris’ freedom of speech be upheld both in traditional media and social media. We call on the international community to stand against India’s cruel oppression of our people who are now facing a crisis, verging on genocide. We call on the United Nations to help Kashmiris break free of India’s tyranny and institute peaceful resolutions and self-determination.
To those on the ground of Kashmir and Jammu continuing to fight against Indian tyranny, we support you and your efforts are not in vain. We hear your calls for justice, peace and freedom and we proudly stand with you until Kashmir and Jammu are once again free from India’s grip.”
About WKA (the World Kashmir Awareness Forum)
Founded in 2005, the World Kashmir Awareness Forum is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization focused on providing information on the conflict in Kashmir and advocating for Kashmiris in the region and throughout the diaspora. To accomplish its mission, World Kashmir Awareness Forum produces, aggregates and amplifies news articles and events relevant to the region, organizes and participates in demonstrations and rallies, and engages in advocacy efforts with diplomatic, civic, religious, human rights, political and advocacy organizations, confronting the human rights abuses perpetrated in Kashmir and supporting the region’s right to self-determination. Learn more at kashmirawareness.org.