The Union Ministry of External Affairs on Tuesday defended India's position on recent developments in Jammu and Kashmir and Assam in emphatic terms at the United Nations Human Rights Council. In her statement, Vijay Thakur Singh, Secretary (East) with the ministry, condemned "false allegations and concocted charges" by Pakistan, albeit without naming the neighbouring country.
"They (Pakistan) cry victim when they actually are the perpetrators," Singh said in her address.
India's statement came a day after United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet Jeria expressed concern about the impact of the Indian government's recent actions in Jammu and Kashmir, and urged the Union government to ease the lock down. This was in the backdrop of the invalidation of Article 370 of the Constitution, and the bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories."
Decision on Article 370 'internal to India,' says MEA
The initial part of Vijay's statement sought to defend India's position on the recent legislative changes in Jammu and Kashmir, which Pakistan has heavily criticised at global fora. Referring to welfare schemes on women empowerment, financial inclusion and others, she said, "The recent legislative measures taken by India within the framework of its Constitution will ensure that these progressive measures will also be fully applicable to our citizens in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. As a result, there will be an end to gender discrimination, including on property rights and local bodies representation."
Vijay further said that the decisions were internal to India and asserted, "No country can accept interference in its internal affairs, certainly not India."
The ministry also pointed out that the decisions on Jammu and Kashmir were taken "by our Parliament after a full debate that was televised and enjoyed widespread support."
On the restrictions in Kashmir, the ministry said that the curbs "are being eased continuously." The statement further said, "Temporary preventive and precautionary measures were necessitated to ensure safety and security of our citizens in the face of credible threats of cross-border terrorism."
Earlier in the day, Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had asked the Council to constitute a commission of inquiry into the situation in Kashmir, as recommended by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Qureshi said that the Kashmiri people were denied the "basic and inalienable human rights" and added that basic amenities and means of communication were not accessible to the people of Kashmir.
MEA terms Pakistan 'epicentre of of global terrorism'
A significant portion of her address to the UN Human Rights Council was aimed at highlighting Pakistan's lack of global credibility and its support to terrorism. She remarked, "The world, in particular India, has suffered greatly on account of the activities by practitioners of State-sponsored terrorism and it is time to collectively take decisive and firm action against terror groups and their abettors who threaten the fundamental human right to life. We must speak out. Silence only emboldens terrorists."
In a clear reference to Pakistan, she said, "We should call out those who are misusing this platform for malicious political agendas under the garb of human rights. Those who are attempting this speak on the human rights of minorities in other countries whilst trampling upon them at will in their own country."
Incidentally, the reference to minorities in Pakisan came on a day that Baldev Kumar, a former MLA in the neighbouring country, alleged that minorities, including Hindus and Sikhs, are being persecuted in Pakistan. Kumar has sought political asylum in India and said that he no longer wants to return to his home country.
Condemning Pakistan's "concocted charges" against India, she added, "The world is aware that this fabricated narrative comes from the epicentre of global terrorism, where ring leaders were sheltered for years. This nation conducts cross-border terrorism as a form of ‘alternate diplomacy’."
'NRC will comply with Indian law'
With respect to the National Register for Citizens in Assam, Singh said it is a "statutory, transparent, nondiscriminatory legal process mandated and monitored by the Supreme Court of India". "Any decision that is taken during the process of its implementation will comply with the Indian law and will be in consistent with India's democratic traditions," she said.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet Jeria, in her statement on Monday, said that the NRC process has caused great uncertainty and anxiety, with some 1.9 million people excluded from the final list published on 31 August.
Updated Date: Sep 11, 2019 07:28:42 IST