As many as 52 activists, scholars, writers and lawyers have written an open letter demanding the immediate release of Khurram Parvez, a Kashmiri human rights activist who was arrested on Friday. According to the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society, where Parvez is a programme coordinator, he was not given any reason for his arrest.

He will be produced before a local court on Wednesday. On September 15, Parvez was stopped by authorities at Delhi airport from boarding a flight to Geneva, where he was to attend a session of the United Nations Human Rights Commission. He was not offered any reason for the action at that time either, he had said.

In their letter, the signatories called the move by the Jammu and Kashmir police "symptomatic of the escalated repression in Kashmir by institutions of the state". The letter pointed "with horror" to the 80 people who have been killed and thousands injured in the states in protests since Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed on July 8. "The rights to freedom of speech and movement and the right to dissent and self-determination are being imperilled," it added.

Here is the full text:

We, the undersigned, call for the immediate release of Khurram Parvez, a distinguished and courageous human rights defender, and write in support of the statements issued by Advocate Parvez Imroz.

As we write this, Khurram Parvez has been remanded to preventive custody in a sub-jail in the highly militarized Kupwara District of Kashmir. He is expected to be produced before the court on 21 September 2016.

An executive magistrate in Srinagar issued the order against Khurram Parvez, invoking Sections 107 and 151 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) (pertaining to detention for breach of peace and design to commit a cognizable offence).

The actions against Mr. Parvez are symptomatic of the escalated repression in Kashmir by institutions of state since July 8.

We note with horror that since July 2016, over 80 persons have been killed, over 11,000 persons have been injured, over 1,000 persons have been arrested and over 100 ambulances have been attacked. For 70 days now, curfew has been imposed in various parts of Kashmir.

Pellet cartridges with about 400-500 pellets each have been fired, aimed above the waist, permanently blinding youth at civilian protests. Communication systems have been repeatedly shutdown; mobile Internet and pre-paid calls have been repeatedly banned, post-paid phone lines have been suspended for a number of days, and even newspapers have been shutdown for a couple of days.

The rights to freedom of speech and movement and the right to dissent and self-determination are being imperiled.

We are gravely concerned by the repeated abrogation of international law and the disregard for India’s constitutional provisions, and by the unceasing targeting of civilians and the continued denial of their civil and political rights.

We urge that the above conditions of collective internment within Kashmir require urgent attention and intervention.

The undersigned:

  1. Abdul R. JanMohamed, Professor, English Department, University of California, Berkeley

  2. Ahmed Sohaib, Jamia Millia Islamia

  3. Amitava Kumar, Helen D. Lockwood Professor of English, Vassar College

  4. Angana Chatterji, Feminist Scholar

  5. Ania Loomba, Catherine Bryson Professor, Department of English, University of Pennsylvania

  6. Arundhati Roy, Author

  7. Ather Zia, Anthropology and Gender Studies Program, Assistant Professor, University of Northern Colorado

  8. Basharat Peer, Writer

  9. Basil Fernando, Asian Human Rights Commission

  10. Bijo Francis, Asian Human Rights Commission

  11. Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Chair and Distinguished Professor, Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, Dean’s Professor of the Humanities, Syracuse University

  12. Deepti Misri, Associate Professor of Women and Gender Studies, University of Colorado-Boulder

  13. Dibyesh Anand, Professor of International Relations, University of Westminster

  14. Fawzia Afzal-Khan, Professor of English and University Distinguished Scholar, Montclair State University

  15. Gautam Navlakha, Member of People’s Union for Democratic Rights.

  16. Ghazala Jamil, Jawaharlal Nehru University

  17. Ghazi Shahnawaz, Jamia Millia Islamia

  18. Gloria Steinem, Co-founder Ms. Magazine, Writer, Feminist Organizer

  19. Goldie Osuri, Associate Professor in Sociology and Director of Undergraduate Studies, University of Warwick

  20. Haley Duschinski, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Center for Law, Justice & Culture, Ohio University

  21. Harsh Mander, Writer and Activist

  22. Kavita Krishnan, Politburo Member, CPI (ML)-Liberation and Secretary, All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA)

  23. Mallika Kaur, Lecturer, School of Law, University of California, Berkeley

  24. Manisha Sethi, Jamia Millia Islamia

  25. Mansi Sharma, Activist

  26. Mary Aileen Diez Bacalso, Secretary General, Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances

  27. Mihir Desai, Senior Counsel, Supreme Court of India and Mumbai High Court

  28. Mirza Waheed, Novelist

  29. Mohamad Junaid, The Graduate Center, City University of New York

  30. Mona Bhan, Associate Professor of Anthropology, DePauw University

  31. Mridu Rai, Professor of History, Presidency University, Kolkata

  32. Noam Chomsky, Institute Professor & Professor of Linguistics Emeritus, Department of Linguistics and Philosophy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  33. Paola Bacchetta, Associate Professor and Vice Chair for Pedagogy, Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, University of California, Berkeley

  34. Paramjit Kaur Khalra, Patron, Khalra Mission Organization

  35. Partha Chatterjee, Professor of Anthropology, Columbia University

  36. Piotr Balcerowicz, Professor and Chair of South Asia, University of Warsaw

  37. Rahul Govind, Delhi University

  38. Rajvinder Singh Bains, Counsel, Punjab High Court and Haryana High Court

  39. Richard M. Buxbaum, Professor Emeritus, School of Law, University of California, Berkeley

  40. Ruchira Gupta, Women’s Right Activist, Founder of Apne Aap and Adjunct Associate Professor, Center for Global Studies, School of Professional Studies, New York University

  41. Sanghamitra Misra, Delhi University

  42. Sanjay Kak, Filmmaker

  43. Shabnam Hashmi, Social Activist, Anhad

  44. Shohini Ghosh, Sajjad Zaheer Professor, AJK MCRC, Jamia Millia Islamia

  45. Shubh Mathur, Independent Scholar

  46. Suddhabrata Sengupta

  47. Suvir Kaul, A. M. Rosenthal Professor, Department of English, University of Pennsylvania

  48. Tanweer Fazal, Jawaharlal Nehru University

  49. Teesta Setalvad, Civil Rights Activist, Journalist and Educationist

  50. Urvashi Butalia, Writer

  51. Veena Das, Krieger-Eisenhower Professor, Department of Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University

  52. Vrinda Grover, Lawyer, Supreme Court of India