India, responding to the UN Human Rights chief’s statement on Kashmir, emphasised its claim on the whole state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) adding that the current violence has been instigated from across the border.
“The whole state of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India. Pakistan remains in illegal occupation of a part of our territory. The two cannot and should not be equated,” the Indian ambassador to the UN office at Geneva Ajit Kumar told the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Wednesday.
Unlike Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, India has an elected democratic government in place in J&K and, therefore, the UN’s usage of the term “Indian-administered Kashmir” is “artificial”, India argued.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein had delivered an update to the UNHRC on 13 September where he had referred to the ongoing conflict in Kashmir and had publicly urged both the countries to grant his office access to “India-administered Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-administered Jammu and Kashmir”.
“I believe an independent, impartial and international mission is now needed crucially and that it should be given free and complete access to establish an objective assessment of the claims made by the two sides,” Zeid told the Council on Tuesday.
India said that it had “noted” the High Commissioner’s statement on J&K.
The current violence in the Valley has been “choreographed” from across the borders since the death of a “known terrorist belonging to an internationally proscribed terrorist organisation” — India has shared evidence of terrorists coming from across the border to mingle with the crowds and target Indian security troops and use human shields, India said in its response during a general debate on the High Commissioner’s update to the UNHRC.
High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein had said that it continues receiving reports of Indian military troops using “force excessively against civilian population under its administration”.
“Jammu and Kashmir has started to move towards normalcy after sustained and system-wide efforts by both the Central and the state governments, including the exercise of maximum restraint by our security forces, 7,000 of whom have sustained injuries till date,” Kumar added.
Regarding the UN’s public request for access to the troubled region, India only stated that it extends “full cooperation” to the High Commissioner — and the OHCHR — for the discharge of his mandate.
Pakistan has sent a letter to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on 9 September that it was willing to grant access to its side of the line of control but only if there is in tandem a similar mission to the Indian side of the line of control.
Kashmir has erupted into violence after a Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed by security forces in July this year. Since then, tensions have erupted in the Valley killing and injuring scores of civilians and military troops. This is one of the bloodiest conflicts the region has seen in the last five years.