Jailed Kashmiri rights defender Khurram Parvez named in Time’s list of 100 Most Influential People

Parvez, who serves as chairperson of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances, was arrested in November of last year and he is still in jail in the capital city Delhi.

The well-known human rights defender in Kashmir Valley, Khurram Parvez, who has been imprisoned by the authorities under draconian laws, has been named by the Time Magazine in its list of “100 Most Influential People of 2022.”

Journalist and author Rana Ayyub, who has penned the piece for TIME magazine, says, “He (Khurram Parvez) had to be silenced, for his was a voice that resounded around the globe for his fierce fight against human-rights violations and injustices in the Kashmir region.”

Parvez, who serves as chairperson of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances, was arrested in November of last year and he is still in jail in the capital city Delhi.

“It was not the first time that Parvez was forcibly silenced. The attacks against him speak volumes of the truth he represents at a time when the world’s largest democracy is being called out for its persecution of the more than 200 million Indian Muslims,” read Rana’s article.

Time Magazine called Parvez “a modern-day David who gave a voice to families that lost their children to enforced disappearances,” allegedly by the Indian state.

“Khurram is the story and the storyteller of the insurgency and the betrayal of the people of Kashmir,” it said.

The United Nations months ago had said that the Narendra Modi government was targeting Kashmir’s prominent human rights defender Khurram Parvez for speaking about rights violations.

Parvez was arrested under the draconian UAPA by National Investigation Agency on 22 November 2021. Parvez who has been accused by NIA of criminal conspiracy and waging war against the government, is in Delhi’s Rohini Jail now.

According to UN rights experts, Parvez had been a victim of a number of incidents of reprisals reportedly for sharing information regarding rights violations with the UN, “as documented in various reports of the Secretary-General and communications from UN special procedures mandate holders.”

Parvez, 44, is the program coordinator of the Jammu-Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), a prominent local rights advocacy group that has frequently published reports on human rights abuses in Kashmir. Parvez is also the chairman of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD).

In 2006, his work got international recognition when he was awarded the Reebok Human Rights Award. He was prevented from traveling to Geneva, in 2016, to attend a session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. He was later slapped with the Public Safety Act (PSA) and was arrested for 76 days.

“How is history written? If you are looking at the positive side of it, somebody has to look at the negative also. Such people should be allowed to work when you say it’s a democracy,” Sameena Mir, wife of arrested activist earlier said to Maktoob.