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Amnesty Calls On UK-Giant JCB To Shed Light On J&K's Demolition Drives And Evictions

Ongoing evictions and demolition drives in J&K are a 'gross violation' of human rights, says Amnesty International, asking UK’s construction giant JCB to step in.

Eviction drive by a JCB. (Representative image)
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With regional political parties across Jammu and Kashmir condemning the demolition drive of the State government in Jammu and Kashmir, human rights group Amnesty International on Wednesday chipped in, saying bulldozers are destroying homes despite many residents providing proof of ownership. It asked UK construction equipment giant JCB’s bulldozers that it should be horrified that their equipment is being used in some of these demolitions. “They must take active steps to prevent this,” Amnesty said.

Additionally, Amnesty remarked, "Numerous demolitions taking place in Jammu and Kashmir, India’s only Muslim-majority region. No one should be made homeless or vulnerable to other human rights violations because of evictions."

It described the ongoing evictions and demolitions as a “gross violation” of human rights.

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Peter Frankental, Amnesty International UK’s Economic Affairs Director, said, “JCB should be horrified that their equipment is being used in some of these demolitions. They must take active steps to prevent this.”

“At the very least, JCB should use their dealer and customer contracts and their diagnostic technology to prevent such misuse, including by decommissioning machines remotely where possible. If JCB fails to act over Kashmir it would be another example of the company falling short of its obligation to conduct proper human rights due diligence over how its machines are being used around the world," he added.

Amnesty said during February 4-5, the district municipal corporation and state revenue authorities in collaboration with the police demolished the homes and properties of residents in at least four districts of Jammu and Kashmir - Srinagar, Budgam, Anantnag and Baramulla.

"According to media reports, several residents allege say they did not receive prior notification from the local authorities. Many also said they possessed documents proving ownership of their properties, but the authorities denied them the opportunity to present their claims before bulldozers destroyed their homes," the organisation noted.

Aakar Patel, Amnesty International India’s Chair, said, “The ongoing demolitions appear to be an extension of the brutal human rights violations the region of Jammu and Kashmir, the only Muslim-majority region of India, has historically witnessed.

These demolitions could amount to forced evictions which constitute a gross violation of human rights. "No one should be made homeless or vulnerable to other human rights violations because of evictions."

The organisation urged the Indian authorities to immediately halt the demolition drive. And while they do, "they must offer adequate compensation to all those affected without discrimination, ensure that victims of forced evictions have access to an effective remedy, and those responsible are held to account."

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