Back to top

Aakash Hassan

HRD; Independant Journalist

Aakash Hassan is an independent journalist based in Srinagar in Indian administered Kashmir.  He has contributed to reports in the Guardian, Al Jazeera, Intercept and other international publications. His reporting is focused on the impact of the conflict and militarisation on the lives of ordinary citizens in Kashmir, especially women. Recently he has written on increasing surveillance by State police and military on ordinary civilians, and human rights violations including torture by the Jammu and Kashmir police and military. Hassan has been targetted in the past, by local police, through summons and interrogation, based on his reporting on human rights issues.

Human rights defenders in India face a diverse range of attacks and harassment from state and non-state actors alike, including killing, physical assault, arbitrary detention, threats and judicial harassment. Police officials are often the perpetrators of violence against HRDs, which is usually carried out with impunity. Armed groups and private companies also target HRDs for work related to economic development projects and their impact on the local communities or the environment. HRDs are increasingly the targets of online smear campaigns by radical nationalists.

HRDs making use of the Right to Information (RTI) Act are liable to be killed, assaulted or harassed for exercising their fundamental right to demand and receive information from public authorities. Women HRDs are targeted with gender-specific threats – death, gang rape or acid attacks – both online and offline. They are particularly vulnerable in regions with a heavy presence of the military and armed groups.