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Kashmiri activist says blocked from leaving India

NEW DELHI: Delhi airport authorities barred a prominent Kashmiri activist Wednesday from flying out of India despite holding a valid visa, a move his group described as an attempt to deny human rights in the violence-hit region.

Khurram Pervez, coordinator of the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), was on his way to Switzerland when immigration officials detained and blocked him from boarding his flight at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International airport.

He was scheduled to attend a UN Human Rights Council session from September 14-24 in Geneva, where he was expected to brief officials on the ongoing situation in Kashmir — an area that has been reeling from almost daily protests and violence.

Authorities “told (Pervez) that due to orders from the Intelligence Bureau, he cannot travel to Geneva”.

“It appears that Khurram Parvez is not being allowed to travel because he has been highlighting violations of human rights,” Parvez Imroz, president of JKCCS, said in a statement.

“The Indian State seeks to isolate the people of Kashmir at all costs, and disallowing human rights activists access to the UN is a part of this attempt to isolate and ensure impunity for violence and denial of human rights.”

More than 80 people have been killed since July 8 when a young separatist leader was shot dead by Indian soldiers, making it one of the deadliest bouts of violence in decades.

Both India and neighbouring Pakistan lay claim to the whole of the Himalayan territory, which has been divided between the two since they separated seven decades ago.

The two countries, which are both now nuclear powers, have twice gone to war over the territory and accuse each other of stoking violence.

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