India on Wednesday reacted strongly to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein reiterating the need for international access to Kashmir "on both sides of the Line of Control" to investigate allegations of human rights violations. The Ministry of External Affairs had responded to the UN Human Rights Council's (UNHRC) first report on alleged human rights violations in the region, saying it legitimises terror activities in Kashmir and also criticising the body for referring to terror organisations as "armed groups" and terrorists as "leaders".
India called it a matter of deep concern that such a report determines the council's consensus on terror, which remains the "pernicious violator of fundamental rights", reported DNA.
Rajiv K Chander, permanent representative of India in the UN, highlighted that governments in the state are elected through free and fair elections and are sworn to protect the Constitution, the bedrock of all freedoms. He also pointed out that last week's gruesome assassination of journalist Shujaat Bukhari and the abduction and killing of Indian Army rifleman Aurangzeb were chilling reminders of the cross-border terrorism that the UN sought to endorse.
Commissioner Zeid has urged the UN Human Rights Council to set up a Commission of Inquiry for a more comprehensive investigation into the human rights situation in Kashmir, reiterating the need for international access to the region.
Although the first UNHCR report on Kashmir mentions both sides of the LoC, it focusses mainly on alleged serious violations in Jammu and Kashmir between July 2016 and April 2018, claiming that security forces had killed some 145 civilians and armed groups had killed up to 20 civilians, without mentioning terrorists, including Pakistan-sponsored ones. Commissioner Zeid called for maximum restraint and denounced the lack of prosecution of Indian forces in Jammu and Kashmir because of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, calling it "virtual immunity".
India's Ministry of External Affairs rejected the report, calling it "fallacious, tendentious and motivated" and also questioning its intent in bringing out a selective compilation of largely unverified information to build a false narrative.
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Updated Date: Jun 20, 2018 14:07:55 IST