Indian NIA Crackdown on Jammu & Kashmir’s Muslims Ahead of G20 Meeting

National Investigation Agency Headquarters

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) of India Came into existence in 2008. Its basic aim was to prevent a terror attack by probing into terrorist-related crimes without taking any special permission from the state. It works directly under the declaration of the Indian Home Ministry. Since 2019 the NIA has come into the limelight when BJP provided them extra teeth by passing an “NIA amendment bill 2019” in July 2019. Which provided it extra powers and make arrests on suspicions and held individuals under custody, especially in Jammu & Kashmir. The timing of this bill was selected very cunningly by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). As if they already knew the consequences of the next step that they were going to make in August 2019 in Jammu & Kashmir’s disputed territory against Muslims. Since then there has been witnessed an increase in the number of detentions by NIA. India scheduled its September meeting of G20 leaders in Kashmir which is a disputed territory between Pakistan and India to which India is trying to make its own part by unlawful means since 1947. The BJP government due to its hatred against Muslims has been facing resistance from the Kashmiri resistance group since its announcement of the meeting especially from the People Anti-Fascist Front in Kashmir. To counter the resistance according to KL News Network NIA started a massive crackdown against Kashmiri Muslims across the valley. 

BJP and its hate for Muslims in India have been prevailing for a very long time. It is pursuing the “Akhand Bharat” ideology of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) under the leadership of Narendra Modi. Its primary example is the Gujarat Hindu-Muslims Riots (2002) which led to the death of 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus. So after coming to power in the center, BJP had expanded its ambition of “Akhand Bharat” across all union states of India. For that purpose, it took various harsh measures, especially against the people of Jammu & Kashmir. The Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir under BJP rule are victims of complex and sensitive topics and subject to harassment of NIA that require careful consideration of multiple factors including political, social, and historical contexts.. 

Moreover, under the BJP government, which has been in power in India since 2014, there have been reports of human rights abuses against Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir. These include arbitrary detentions, torture, extrajudicial killings, and the use of pellet guns against protesters, which have led to permanent blindness in some cases. Additionally, the government imposing restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly, including the use of internet shutdowns and the detention of journalists and activists has further aggravated the condition in which NIA and Unlawful Activities Protection Acts and Public Safety Act played important roles. The revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status in August 2019 and the subsequent bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories has intensified the situation, leading to protests and a clampdown on dissent. 

To crackdown on the protestor and to suppress the feared uprising the BJP government implemented the UAPA and PSA act in the valley under which NIA can make arrests of anyone in J&K on the suspicion of individual’s involvement in any unlawful activity and can hold under its custody for at least 2 years without any judicial remand. Under the UAPA the government can designate individuals as terrorists and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) can seize properties acquired from proceeds of terrorism. These acts were mainly used by BJP to target the Kashmiri activists and Journalists who were raising their voices against the Indian atrocities and occupation in Jammu & Kashmir. Under these acts, NIA arrested many political activists and journalists. . In April 2022, the press reported that more than 500 persons remained in detention under the PSA in Jammu and Kashmir. The report noted journalists working in Jammu and Kashmir continued to face barriers to free reporting through communications and movement restrictions. As of July 21, two journalists from The Kashmir Walla, an online newspaper, remained in detention.  In June, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested Abdul Alaa Fazili, a one-time contributor to The Kashmir Walla, under the UAPA for a November 2011 article. Kashmiri human rights defender Khurram Parvez, who was arrested by the NIA for “terror funding” and “conspiracy” in November 2021, continued in detention. 

BJP’s move to counter the ongoing resistance in the valley against the G20 meeting through the use of its old tool NIA and force can receive backlash from the countries which are the part of G20 meeting, especially China. China is also a member of G20 and a close ally of Pakistan and it has already shown its reservation over G20 meetings in J&k and Arunachal Pradesh. Moreover, The USA has also criticized BJP for suppressing religious freedom according to the 2022 Report on International Religious Freedom: India of the US states department 2022 there were incidents of violence and forced conversion of religions in various states of India which against religious freedom. In this regard, the massive crackdown against Muslims in Jammu & Kashmir can damage India’s international image as it is violating the right of freedom of expression of the Kashmiri Muslims. 

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