On April 17, 2022, the State Investigation Agency (SIA) of India, which recently created anti-terror branches in the country’s prominent political conflict zones Jammu and Kashmir, arrested the Kashmir University scholar Abdul Aala Fazili for promoting the secession of the Union Territory from the country through his writings.
Dr. Abdul Aala Fazili, Twitter.
Dr. Fazili is a senior research fellow in pharmaceutical science at Kashmir University and was a recipient of the UGC’s Maulana Azad National Fellowship from 2016 to 2021. Known as a prominent voice in Kashmir’s human rights circuit, his arrest was linked specifically to an article, ‘The Shackles of Slavery Will Break’ published in 2011 in the digital magazine, Kashmiri Walla. The magazine's editor has been indicted under the Public Safety Act (PSA) which concerns anti-national activities. The SIA described Fazili’s article as “highly provocative, seditious, and intended to create unrest in Jammu and Kashmir”, claiming it was written, “with the purpose of abetting the youth to take the path of violence by glorifying terrorism.”
According to SIA reports, before his arrest, SIA raided Fazili’s residence in Humhama, while simultaneously searching The Kashmir Walla office and the home of its detained editor-in-chief Fahad Shah in Srinagar on Sunday, April 17, 2022, who has been detained under the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act (PSA) since February 4, 2022. Shah has been acquitted of past criminal accusations regarding his editorial activity and is currently facing life imprisonment at a jail in Kupwara.
These cases are only the last examples of an ongoing purge by the Jammu and Kashmir government, which led to many dismissals due to alleged separatist and militant links in the last months. A week before Fazili’s arrest, a prominent law professor, Sheikh Showkat Hussain, was dismissed from his principal role at Kashmir Law College, on charges of being a “hard-line ideologue of Pakistan-backed separatist organizations”.
Endangered Scholars Worldwide (ESW) condemns the unwarranted detention, persecution, conviction, and mistreatment of academics, researchers and journalists in Jammu and Kashmir and India, and calls for the immediate release of Abdul Aala Fazili, as well as all the other intellectual and academic detainees held under false charges.
ESW calls on the Indian government to respect, guarantee, and implement the provisions and principles of human rights as specified in international conventions and treaties in accordance with India's obligations under international law. Please write to the following representatives and to the diplomatic missions of India in your respective countries urging the Indian government to drop the charges and immediately release Dr. Fazili and other detainees:
Prime Minister of India
Fax:+ 91 11 2301 685
Chief Justice of India
Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu
Indian Embassy to the United States
2107 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008
T. S. Tirumurti
Indian Permanent Representative to the United Nations
235 East 43rd Street
New York, 10017