Media Persons , Lawyers are seen inside the premises of Supreme Court during the final Verdict of Jammu and Kashmirs Article 370 in New Delhi India on 11 December 2023

India: Protection of the human rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir must guide the way forward 

Responding to Supreme Court’s verdict upholding the central government’s 2019 decision to abrogate Article 370 of the Indian Constitution which granted special status to the region of Jammu and Kashmir, Aakar Patel, chair of board at Amnesty International India, said: 

“For decades, the people of Jammu and Kashmir have faced grave abuse of their rights to physical and mental integrity, including arbitrary detention and unlawful killings, and to their freedoms of expression movement and from discrimination. The situation only exacerbated for them following abrogation of Article 370 in 2019. Today’s reported house arrest of regional political leaders ahead of the verdict is a stark reminder of the fear and uncertainty that persists in the region.  

The people and their human rights need to be at the heart of the steps taken ahead in Jammu and Kashmir.

Aakar Patel, chair of board at Amnesty International India

“In this context, while the Supreme Court’s decision today can provide hope in restoring the inclusion of Kashmiri voices, any initiative must fully respect the human rights of people of J&K, including access to justice, truth and reparations. 

“In this regard, the call for setting up of an ‘impartial Truth and Reconciliation committee’ to investigate the human rights abuses in Jammu and Kashmir by state and non-state actors since the 1980s presents an opportunity to the Indian government to right the wrongs. The government needs to take up this call and demonstrate a strong political will to ensure there is a transparent and consultative process to set up an independent committee with a strong legal foundation, and funding and powers consistent with international law and standards. 

“The people and their human rights need to be at the heart of the steps taken ahead in Jammu and Kashmir.” 


On 11 December 2023, a Constitution Bench headed by the Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud unanimously upheld the 2019 decision of the central government to abrogate Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. The revocation in 2019 was followed by the deprivation of Jammu & Kashmir’s statehood within India and splitting it into two separate union territories directly governed by the central government. 

Further, the Court today ordered the restoration of statehood of Jammu and Kashmir as soon as possible and proceeded to order the Election Commission of India to hold elections to the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly by 30 September 2024. 

In a concurring opinion, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul recommended “the setting up of an impartial Truth and Reconciliation committee to investigate and report on the violations of human rights” both by state and non-state actors at least since the 1980s and “measures for reconciliation”.  

Leaders of prominent political parties in Kashmir and former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti claimed they have been put under house arrest in the state. However, the Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor and police denied placing anybody under house arrest. 

Amnesty International has documented the continued repression of rights in Jammu & Kashmir since the change in status of the region in 2019 through abrogation of Article 370 and has called for the Indian government to end the use of unlawful measures and unjust barriers impeding the exercise of various human rights in the region.