India slams UN report on J&K as ‘motivated’
Indian foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said the report was a ‘selective compilation of largely unverified information. It is overtly prejudiced and seeks to build a false narrative’
New Delhi: India on Thursday described a rare UN report, slamming India and Pakistan for human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), as “fallacious, tendentious and motivated”.
The report has spelt out recommendations for both countries and, very controversially, asked India to “respect the self-determination of the people of Kashmir”.
The UN human rights body chief, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, has called for an investigation into “all civilian killings since July 2016” and also into “the excessive use of force by security forces, including serious injuries caused by the use of pellet guns”. It has also sought to “immediately stop the use of pellet guns for crowd control”.
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said he would urge the Human Rights Council, which opens a new session next week, “to consider establishing a Commission of Inquiry (CoI) to conduct a comprehensive independent international investigation into allegations of human rights violations in Kashmir”.
A CoI is one of the highest-level probes by the UN, generally reserved for situations such as the conflict in Syria.
Indian foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said the report was a “selective compilation of largely unverified information. It is overtly prejudiced and seeks to build a false narrative”.
“India rejects the report. It is fallacious, tendentious and motivated. We question the intent in bringing out such a report,” Kumar said, adding: “The report violates India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
“The entire state of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India. Pakistan is in illegal and forcible occupation of a part of the Indian state through aggression. We have repeatedly called upon Pakistan to vacate the occupied territories. The incorrect description of Indian territory in the report is mischievous, misleading and unacceptable,” he said.
Pointing out that “terrorism is the most egregious violation of human rights,” Kumar said that the UN report “conveniently ignored the pattern of cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan and territories under its illegal control. Cross-border terror and incitement is aimed at suppressing the will of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, disrupting its political and social fabric, and undermining India’s integrity”.
“It is disturbing that those behind this report have chosen to describe internationally designated and UN-proscribed terrorist entities as ‘armed groups’ and terrorists as ‘leaders’. This undermines the UN-led consensus on zero-tolerance to terrorism,” he said.
“Our protest and views in the matter have been conveyed unequivocally to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. We are deeply concerned that individual prejudices are being allowed to undermine the credibility of a UN institution,” Kumar said.
The UN report, which comes amid clashes along the Line of Control and repeated violations of a 2003 ceasefire pact by Pakistan, said the UN body chief met with representatives of both governments following an upsurge in violence in July 2016 after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani by Indian security forces.
On territory under Pakistan’s control, the UN report identifies “a range of human rights abuses”, but notes they “are of a different calibre or magnitude and of a more structural nature”.
The rights office also said restrictions on the freedom of expression and assembly make it difficult to get information about conditions in PoK. Pakistan should “end the misuse of anti-terror legislation to persecute those engaging in peaceful political and civil activities and those who express dissent”.
The Pakistani foreign office welcomed the UN report. “This proposal is consistent with Pakistan’s several calls to this effect since 2016, even as India has continued to ignore legitimate demands for probe into gross and systematic violations, including pellet guns and excessive use of force, arbitrary arrests and detentions, as well as continued sexual violence, as part of the overall impunity enjoyed by Indian security forces,” according to a statement from the Pakistan foreign office made available by the high commission in New Delhi.
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