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OIC asks New Delhi to allow fact-finding mission to Kashmir

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Pulwama killings…

Srinagar, Dec 17: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has condemned the civilian killings in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district and asked New Delhi to allow its human rights wing to send a fact-finding mission to the Valley.

In a series of tweets, OIC General Secretariat said: “OIC General Secretariat expressed strong condemnation of the killing of innocent Kashmiris by #Indian forces in Indian-occupied #Kashmir (#IOK) where direct shooting at demonstrators in Pulwama region claimed the lives of a number of innocent citizens.”

In another tweet, the group of 57 Muslim countries said the Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) of OIC received a detailed briefing on the worsening human rights situation in Kashmir Valley.

“OIC_IPHRC recently received detailed briefing on the worsening #human rights situation in the #Indian occupied #Kashmir (#IoK). @OIC_IPHRC condemned the recent wave of violence against civilians & called on Indian Government to allow #OIC & IPHRC fact finding mission to visit IoK,” it said in another tweet.

Later, a statement OIC-IPHRC said it strongly condemned the “deplorable extrajudicial killings of innocent Kashmiris in Pulwama district of Kashmir by the Indian security forces.”

The statement urged the Government of India to put an end to the human rights abuses.

“The excessive and arbitrary use of force by Indian forces against innocent civilians, peacefully protesting for their legitimate rights, is deplorable and a blatant violation of their human rights including the right to life, right to freedom of expression, right to peaceful protests and assembly and other fundamental human rights,” the statement said.

It said the commission notes that the modern history of Kashmir has become synonymous with “insidious systematic and systemic ethnic cleansing and genocide of the Kashmiris where all possible means of violence including mass blinding through pellet guns, rape and molestation against women, enforced disappearances and extra judicial killings of youth are used to quell their legitimate and well recognized demand for self-determination.”

“The objective report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, issued in June this year, aptly covers these violations in detail. The High Commissioner for Human Rights also called for establishing a Commission of Inquiry under UN auspices to comprehensively investigate the confirmed allegations of human rights violations, which are fully supported by the IPHRC,” it said.

The Commission also urges the Government of India to abide by its international human rights obligations by bringing an end to the “gross human rights violations” and allow the international human rights community including the UN and OIC to visit Kashmir to objectively and independently report on the human rights situation, it said.

It also urged the UN, the OIC and the international community to exert pressure on the Indian government to immediately stop the “heavy handedness of its security forces”, guarantee protection of human rights of innocent Kashmiris and accede to UN mandated plebiscite for durable peace in the region.

The condemnation statement from OIC has come a day after Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that he had written a letter to the OIC Secretary General along with letters to the United Nations Secretary General and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Qureshi while condemning the civilian killings in Pulwama by the government forces over the weekend had said he had asked the officials to intervene with haste “so that people could get relief from this brutality”.

Qureshi added that he had asked the OIC to immediately convene an inter-ministerial meeting of its Contact Group on Kashmir, saying Pakistan was ready to host the event.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday also condemned the killings of civilians in Pulwama.

“We will raise [the] issue of India’s human rights violations in IOK & demand UNSC [UN Security Council] fulfill its J&K plebiscite commitment,” the premier had tweeted.

“Kashmiris must be allowed to decide their future,” Khan added, stressing that the Kashmir conflict could only be resolved through dialogue and “not violence & killings”.

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