Kahsmiri activist freed after court cancels detention

SRINAGAR, Indian-held Kashmir: A leading Kashmiri human rights activist has been released from prison on Wednesday, more than two months after he was arrested at the peak of Kashmiri pro-independence protests.

After his release Khurram Parvez told Anadolu Agency said he had been held under "completely false charges", which were dismissed by a regional high court that decided on Friday his imprisonment under an administrative detention order was illegal.

This detention was a difficult time for me, my family and colleagues. But this prison time was also an opportunity for me that has enabled me to reflect, read and plan my future work for justice and peace, said Parvez, the Program Coordinator of the J-K Coalition of Civil Society.

He had been held under the Public Safety Act (PSA), which allows a person to be detained without trial for six-month periods and has been called "draconian" by human rights groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

A day before he was arrested, the Indian government had barred him from boarding a flight to Geneva, where he was scheduled to attend the 33rd session of the U.N. Human Rights Commission.

Parvez was one of the most prominent names among the more than 600 Kashmiris who were detained with PSA orders during the last four months as the Indian-backed government cracked down on pro-Independence protests in the disputed Himalayan region.

Over 10,000 Kashmiri civilians, according to sources in the police department, have been arrested for participating in the pro-Independence protests.

At least 100 civilians have so far been killed by Indian forces during clashes and over 10,000 wounded, according to figures from the health department, since July 8 when the unrest began after a Kashmiri militant commander was killed by Indian forces.

Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full.

The two countries have fought three wars � in 1948, 1965 and 1971 � since they were partitioned in 1947, two of which were fought over Kashmir.

Since 1989, Kashmiri resistance groups in IHK have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.

More than 70,000 people have reportedly been killed in the conflict so far, most of them by the Indian Armed forces. India maintains more than half a million troops in the disputed regions.

Source: Anadolu Agency