Pakistan’s prime minister, Imran Khan, is to follow a speech by his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, at the United Nations general assembly by accusing him of being complicit in the torture and mass detention of protesters in India-administered Kashmir.
Khan will use his address in New York next week to highlight alleged atrocities being carried out by the Indian army in the Jammu and Kashmir state since Modi’s government revoked the region’s autonomy by abrogating article 370 of the constitution.
Sardar Masood Khan, Pakistan’s former permanent representative to the United Nations who now acts as president of the Pakistani-administered Azad Kashmir state, said his government believed as many as 10,000 people had been detained by Indian security forces. Those numbers have been rejected by the Indian government.
Khan said: “These detainees include children, young men, and people of all ages, and people from all walks of life. They have been tortured. There is a BBC documentary with evidence: people have been beaten up in detention, beaten up with sticks and cables and excessive force has been used against them. And some of the witnesses have said in testimony to the BBC and other news outlets, that they would lose their consciousness and police officers would then use electric shocks to revive them.
“It is not hearsay, it is not rumour. Despite all the restrictions, the [internet] blackout, the international media has managed to establish a pattern of gross and consistent violation of human rights and systematic torture.”
Indian government sources said that decisions on detentions were being made at a local level to maintain law and order.
The detentions were preventive in nature and were being continuously reviewed and appropriate decisions will be made based on law and order assessments, a spokesperson said. The Indian army responded to the allegations of torture of villagers in Jammu Kashmir aired by the BBC, by describing them as “baseless and unsubstantiated”.
India’s supreme court ordered the country’s government on Monday to restore normal life in Kashmir as soon as possible but added that the government should bear in mind the national interest.
India stripped its only Muslim-majority state of autonomy on 5 August, shutting off phone networks and imposing a curfew in moves that were said to be necessary to remove the threat of terrorism and to keep law and order.
India’s attorney general, KK Venugopal, told the court that not a single bullet had been fired and that communications restrictions were being lifted.
Speaking to the Guardian during a visit to Brussels, Khan, the 27th president of neighbouring Azad Kashmir, said the Indian government were “congenital liars” and suggested that there was a danger of India arranging a “false flag” terror attack in Kashmir to justify its actions.
He said: “The situation is as bad as it was, it is in fact deteriorating. The Indians are trying to put a spin on what is happening there and mislead the world that everything is normal and I can tell you that everything is not normal. People have been protesting and they have been hiding these protests.”
Khan said Pakistan’s prime minister would use the stage at the UN general assembly in New York to expose the situation in Indian-administered Kashmir a “direct and forthright” manner.
By coincidence, the leaders of India and Pakistan are both scheduled to address the UN next Friday afternoon.
“We would of course highlight the ongoing atrocities in Kashmir and the responsibility of the international community to avoid a genocide there,” he said. “To be very candid: there is terrorism but this is from the Indian side. Nine hundred thousand troops brutalised the people of Jammu Kashmir. I call it terrorism and it is being practised by the indian state apparatus.”
The Azad Kashmir president defended the recent arrests of 22 independence protesters in Pakistani-administered Azad Kashmir, where he insisted there was “tolerance of dissent”.
“They wanted to cross the line of control [to go to India-administered Kashmir] and in some incident, prior incidents … if they had crossed the line of control the Indians would have opened fire and killed them. This was the main reason [for the arrests]. I don’t have the latest information but I think they are being released.”
Daniel Boffey is the Guardian's chief reporter
Rebecca Ratcliffe is the Guardian's south-east Asia correspondent
Daniel Boffey in Brussels and Rebecca Ratcliffe in Delhi