Khurram Parvez, a jailed Jammu and Kashmir activist, is one of the few prominent Indian names on TIME’s list of the 100 most influential people in 2022, which was published on Monday, May 23. The list also includes Indian billionaire Gautam Adani and lawyer Karuna Nundy.
Parvez, the chairperson of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) in the Philippines, was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in November of last year.
He was charged with funding terrorist activities under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
Parvez, one of the Valley’s most powerful voices, has been a vocal critic of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party as well as the prevailing regime in the Union territory for decades.
In 2016, the human rights activist was arrested under another draconian law.
In writing Khurram Parvez’s profile for TIME, journalist Rana Ayyub stated that Parvez’s voice ‘had to be silenced’, because of his fight against human rights violations in the Jammu and Kashmir region resounded around the world.
“The attacks against him speak volumes of the truth he represents at a time when the world’s largest democracy is being called out for its persecution of the more than 200 million Indian Muslims,” she said.
Ayyub referred to Parvez as a “modern-day David,” saying that he gave a voice to families who had lost their children due to enforced disappearances by the Indian state.
Khurram Parvez is a former programme coordinator for the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) and a recipient of the Reebok Human Rights Award, which honours activists “under the age of 30 who have fought for human rights through nonviolent means.”
The news of his arrest sparked outrage around the world, with United Nations special mandate holders weighing in with scathing words.
On Monday, November 22, United Nations Special Rapporteur Mary Lawlor tweeted, “I’m hearing disturbing reports that Khurram Parvez was arrested today in Kashmir & is at risk of being charged by authorities in #India with terrorism-related crimes. He’s not a terrorist, he’s a Human Rights Defender.”
The TIME’s list includes US President Joe Biden, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, tennis icon Rafael Nadal, Apple CEO Tim Cook and media mogul Oprah Winfrey.