International United Nations Watch expresses deep concern over the recent statement by India’s General Bipin Rawat that suggests “deradicalization camps” for Kashmiris. The comments were delivered on Thursday at a New Delhi conference on international affairs in the presence of government officials, scholars, business executives, and foreign diplomats. The General did not make clear the exact meaning of the comments or whether there have been taken any steps toward this direction.
IUNW considers the comments to have an eerie similarity to the “re-education camps” employed by China to detain members of the Muslim Uyghur community in internment camps the Xinjiang region. Such ploy carried out by a government to hold an entire ethnic group hostage, directly or indirectly, is a grave violation of human rights. General Rawat stated that “Girls and boys as young as 10 and 12 are now being radicalized,” and while he added that some could “still be isolated from radicalization in a gradual way,” these comments raises questions about the possibility of Kashmiri children being detained in such camps, and whether they, too, should “be taken out separately, possibly taken into some deradicalization camps.”
Maya Garner, spokesperson for IUNW, stated: “This is a dangerous suggestion, risking the possibility of Kashmiris being detained in internment camps, promoted as “deradicalization.” Such camps have been used many times throughout history as a means of oppression and punishment against ethnic or religious minorities and dissidents. They do not work, they are contrary to universal basic rights, and the international community has an urgent obligation to prevent them.”
Kashmir was formerly the only state in Indian with a Muslim majority population until last year, when the Indian government revoked Kashmir’s statehood. The result was protests, leading to a lockdown of the area, blocking the internet and preventing journalists from entering the area, as well as carrying out mass arrests of Kashmiri intellectuals. These events have been happening under the Modi government, stepping into power in 2014. Recently, India has also seen the introduction of the Citizen Amendment Act, which offers citizenship pathways to persecuted minorities with the particular exception of Muslims. This raises concern about the predicament India’s Muslim communities, causing uproar nationally and in the international community.