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India slams UN rights office report on J&K as continuation of ‘false narrative’

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New Delhi/Geneva, Jul 08 (PTI) India on Monday lodged a strong protest with the UN rights office over its report on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir while asserting that the document is a continuation of the earlier “false and motivated” narrative and ignores the core issue of “terrorism emanating from Pakistan”.

Last year, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released its first-ever report on Kashmir and in an update of that report it claimed on Monday that “neither India nor Pakistan have taken any concrete steps to address the numerous concerns raised”.

A UN human rights report on the situation in Kashmir and Pakistan-administered-Kashmir from May 2018 to April 2019 says “the number of civilian casualties reported over the 12-month period may be the highest in over a decade,” the new report released in Geneva by the OHCHR said.

Hitting out at the report, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in New Delhi that the update of the earlier OHCHR report is “merely a continuation of the earlier false and motivated narrative” on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

The report’s assertions are “in violation of India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and ignore the core issue of cross-border terrorism,” he said in response to media queries on the report.

“A situation created by years of cross-border terrorist attacks emanating from Pakistan has been ‘analysed’ without any reference to its causality,” Kumar said.

“The update seems to be a contrived effort to create an artificial parity between the world’s largest and the most vibrant democracy and a country that openly practices state-sponsored terrorism,” he said.

“We have registered our strong protest regarding the update with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The release of such an update has not only called into question the seriousness of OHCHR but also its alignment with the larger approach of the United Nations,” Kumar said.

The report also calls on the 47-member UN Human Rights Council to consider “the possible establishment of a commission of inquiry to conduct a comprehensive independent international investigations into allegations of human rights violations in Kashmir”.

Coming down on the report, Kumar said it is a matter of deep concern that it seems to accord legitimacy to terrorism that is in complete variance with UN Security Council positions.

“The UNSC had, in February 2019, strongly condemned the dastardly Pulwama terror attack and subsequently proscribed Masood Azhar, the self-styled leader of terrorist entity Jaish-e-Mohammed. However, in the update, terrorist leaders and organisations sanctioned by the UN are deliberately underplayed as ‘armed groups’,” Kumar said.

“The legitimisation of terrorism has been further compounded by an unacceptable advocacy of the dismemberment of a UN member state,” the MEA spokesperson said.

Asserting that the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir is an “integral part of India”, Kumar said “Pakistan is in illegal and forcible occupation of a part of the Indian state, including the so-called ‘Azad Jammu and Kashmir’ and ‘Gilgit-Baltistan’.”

India has repeatedly called on Pakistan to vacate these territories, he said.

The report, by distorting India’s policies, practices and values, has undermined its own credibility, he said.

The report’s failure to recognise an independent judiciary, human rights institutions and other mechanisms in Jammu & Kashmir that safeguard, protect and promote constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights to all citizens of India is “unpardonable”, Kumar said.

“Even more so, as it belittles constitutional provisions, statutory procedures and established practices in an established functioning democracy,” Kumar said.

“The prejudiced mindset of the update has also chosen to willfully ignore the determined and comprehensive socioeconomic developmental efforts undertaken by the Indian government in the face of terrorist challenges,” the MEA spokesperson said.

The Indian government follows the policy of zero tolerance towards terrorism and will take all measures to protect its territorial integrity and sovereignty against cross-border terrorism, Kumar said.

“Motivated attempts to weaken our national resolve will never succeed.”

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