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Kashmiri journalist released on bail after spending more than a year in illegal detention

On January 2nd, a special court in Delhi granted bail to Kashmiri photojournalist Manan Dar who was illegally and arbitrarily arrested on 22 October 2021. In an official statement, Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR) who were fighting the case for Dar in the notorious National Investigation Agency court said, “that their efforts ensured bail to him.”[1]

The Kashmiri journalist had been detained last year under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 has its origin rooted in the draconian colonial laws that were instituted by the British Colonial Government to suppress freedom of expression of the Indian population. Ironically, these colonial laws are still being deployed by the Indian state against Kashmiris, including human rights defenders like Khurram Parvez and many journalists.[2]

The UAPA legitimizes the detention of an individual without any trial for six months and instead of the government justifying the detention, it turns the burden of proof on the accused.The surging use of the UAPA points to its misuse, with the statistics revealing that of 796 UAPA cases registered nationwide throughout India, 287 or ​​36% were registered in occupied Kashmir alone. In Kashmir, the rampant use of the UAPA resulted in many Kashmiris jailed for crimes never committed or crimes that never translated into conviction. After spending years in prison, many of them were declared innocent and released.[3]

750 people were detained under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in Jammu and Kashmir in a period of three years till 2020, according to the most recent submission to India’s parliament by the Home Ministry of India. 346 persons were arrested in 2020 while 177 and 247 were arrested in 2018 and 2019 respectively, marking an increasing rate of the use of UAPA by the Indian state[4]. In the same submission, the government also declared that it has no intentions of amending the UAPA, let alone abandoning its use.





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