As communication blackout in Indian-held Kashmir entered its 19th day on Thursday, the human rights experts of the United Nations called upon India to end the crackdown on freedom of expression, access to information and peaceful protests in the occupied valley. Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion David Kaye (USA), Special Rapporteur on human rights Michel Forst (France), Chair-Rapporteur Working Group on enforced disappearances Bernard Duhaime, Special Rapporteur on right to peaceful assembly Clement Nyaletsossi Voule and Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions Agnes Callamard expressed concerns over the human rights situation after Indian parliament revoked the constitutionally-mandated status of Jammu and Kashmir. Reports have described a near total communications blackout in Jammu and Kashmir since the evening of August 4 with internet, mobile phone networks, and cable and Kashmiri television channels cut off. They said shutdown of the internet and telecommunication networks, without justification from the government, are inconsistent with the fundamental norms of necessity and proportionality.The experts reminded the Indian authorities that the restrictions are intrinsically disproportionate, because they preclude considerations of the specific circumstances of each proposed assembly. They expressed deep concerns over reports that security forces are conducting night raids on private homes leading to the arrests of young people, as such detentions can constitute serious human rights violations. They also expressed grave concerns over the fact that the whereabouts of some of those detained is not known. At the same time, the experts said, information received suggests that there has been an increase in the arrest of political figures, journalists, human rights defenders, protesters and others. “The allegations must be thoroughly investigated by the authorities, and, if confirmed, those responsible must be held accountable,” they asserted. “We are gravely concerned about allegations that the whereabouts of some of those detained is not known as well as the general heightened risk of enforced disappearances, which may proliferate against the backdrop of mass arrests and restricted access to the internet and other communications networks,” they said.They also expressed serious concerns about the use of excessive force against protesters, including the use of live ammunition, which can amount to violations of the right to life. “India has the responsibility to use the minimum force necessary when policing protests,” the experts said. “This means that the use of deadly force is a measure permissible only as last resort and to protect life,” they maintained.