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India: Detention

House of Lords written question – answered on 6th April 2011.

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Photo of Lord Hylton Lord Hylton Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government what evidence they have received that individuals are being held in Kashmir by the Indian authorities without charge or trial.

Photo of Lord Howell of Guildford Lord Howell of Guildford Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (International Energy Policy)

We are aware that in Indian administered Kashmir, the Public Safety Act (PSA) and the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) provide for detention (which can include house arrest) without trial for up to two years. According to state government figures, 4,064 people were arrested from March 2010 to January 2011 and 3,900 of those arrested have been released. During a recent visit to Indian administered Kashmir, officials from our high commission in New Delhi discussed this issue with the Jammu and Kashmir state police and human rights groups. The issue of security legislation operating in certain regions of India, including the AFSPA, was raised with the Indian Government during the recent EU-India Human Rights dialogue.

We also note the findings of a recent report by Amnesty International. This estimates that between 8,000 and 20,000 people have been detained under the PSA or AFSPA over the past 20 years.

We welcome and are closely following the initiative of the Indian Government to appoint three interlocutors to take forward a dialogue between Delhi and Srinagar to help resolve the situation in Indian administered Kashmir. Prime Minister Singh issued a statement last summer that violations of human rights abuses by security forces in Kashmir would not be tolerated. The UK continues to call for an improvement in the human rights situation on both sides of the line of control and for an end to external support for violence in Kashmir. UK funding supports human rights, conflict prevention and peace building efforts on both sides of the line of control.

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