A team of Indian diplomats on Tuesday addressed the United Nations Human Rights Council in the Swiss city of Geneva to explain New Delhi’s position on Jammu and Kashmir, whose special status was revoked on August 5. India once again reiterated that Kashmir was an internal matter and restrictions were a preventive measure which were being eased in the Valley.
The Indian delegation was led Ajay Bisaria, the high commissioner to Pakistan who was expelled in response to New Delhi’s moves, and Secretary (East), Ministry of External Affairs, Vijay Thakur.
“My government is taking affirmative action by adopting progressive policies to promote socio-economic equality and justice,” Thakur said at the 42nd session of the Human Rights Council.
“As a result of recent legislative measures progressive policies will now be fully applicable to our citizens in Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh,” she added. “These will end gender discrimination, better protect juvenile rights, make applicable rights to education, information, and work.”
Thakur said the Pakistan delegation gave a commentary with false allegations and concocted charges against India. “World is aware that this fabricated narrative comes from epicentre of global terrorism, where ring leaders were sheltered for years,” she said, according to ANI.
Thakur said that despite challenging circumstances, democratic processes had been initiated in Kashmir, PTI reported. “Restrictions are being eased continuously,” she 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.”
Pakistan, which addressed the council before India, said the global body should conduct an international investigation into the situation in Kashmir. Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who led the delegation from Islamabad, said UN rights body must not remain “indifferent” and should not be embarrassed on the world stage by its inaction over the Kashmir dispute.
“Today, I have knocked on the doors of the Human Rights Council, the repository of the world’s conscience on human rights, to seek justice and respect for the people of Kashmir,” Qureshi said.
“We must not allow this august body to be embarrassed on the world stage,” the Pakistan foreign minister said. “As a founding member of this Council, Pakistan feels morally and ethically bound to prevent this from occurring.”
Qureshi said the basic amenities and means of communication were not accessible to the people of Kashmir, and even shops and hospitals in the region were running out of supplies and the political leaders of the state have been placed under house arrest or imprisoned.
Earlier in the day, the Ministry of External Affairs rejected the reference to Jammu and Kashmir in the joint statement issued after Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to Pakistan earlier in the day.
Meanwhile, Thakur told the council that the National Register of Citizenship exercise in Assam was a statutory, transparent, and nondiscriminatory legal process mandated and monitored by the Supreme Court. Her comment was a response to United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet’s remark that the NRC process had caused great uncertainty and anxiety among the people of the state.
India and Pakistan have witnessed a massive escalation in tension ever since Jammu and Kashmir’s special status was revoked. Pakistan, which has fought three wars with India for Kashmir since Independence, downgraded diplomatic ties and suspended trade.
India has reached out to 47 members of the United Nations Human Rights Council to gain support for its stand on Kashmir. Last week, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said most countries viewed the Kashmir matter the same way.
Last month, Pakistan’s efforts for an international intervention in the Kashmir dispute also led to a rare closed-door meeting of the United Nations Security Council. This was the first time in over 50 years that the UN Security Council had a meeting exclusively to discuss the Kashmir matter, but it ended without any outcome.
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