India on Tuesday responded to the UN human rights chief’s criticism of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir by saying it had revived basic democracy and delayed economic development in the region despite Pakistan’s efforts to disrupt the process.
In her global human rights update Monday, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said both “incidents of military and police violence against civilians” and incidents related to militancy were continuing in Kashmir. , while legal changes to the Constitution and residence rules were “generating deep anxiety”.
Giving India the answer during the debate over the Bachelet update on Tuesday, India’s Permanent Representative Indra Mani Pandey said that when changes were made to the Jammu and Kashmir merger territory in August last year, people in the region have “enjoyed the same fundamental rights as people in other parts of India ”.
“We have been able to revive basic democracy and provide a new momentum for social and economic development, despite the challenge posed by [the] “Covid-19 pandemic and persistent attempts by a country to infiltrate terrorists to disrupt this process by all possible means,” Pandey said.
Although the envoy did not name the country, it was clear that he was referring to Pakistan, which India has blamed for supporting cross-border terrorism, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir.
Pandey also said the government’s efforts aimed at socio-economic development and ensuring better governance in Kashmir over the past year have “yielded unprecedented results”.
He added, “By expanding the coverage of positive and affirmative federal legislation and repealing discriminatory or outdated local laws, the government has reaffirmed its commitment to providing socio-economic justice to people in need in the Jammu and Kashmir unification territory, by including women, children, minorities and refugees. ”
Bachelet had also said in her update that “space for political debate and public participation continues to be severely limited” in Jammu and Kashmir, especially as new media rules ban vaguely defined “anti-national” reporting. .
She welcomed the release of several political and community leaders, but noted that “hundreds of people remain in arbitrary detention, with many petitions for habeas corruption still pending – including those of many political leaders in Jammu and Kashmir”.
She also welcomed initiatives to extend services to remote areas and the conditional restoration of full internet connection in the two districts, and said the measures “should be implemented immediately in the rest of Jammu and Kashmir”.
Bachelet noted that people in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir have “limited internet access, creating difficulties in accessing education and other vital services”. She said she was also concerned about restrictions on the Pakistani side’s right to freedom of expression and association.
“My office is committed to continuing its engagement with both India and Pakistan to uphold the rights of the Kashmiri people – which is the best way to prevent further tensions and conflicts,” she said.
Bachelet had also criticized the situation in Kashmir in its global update in 2019, when she also spoke out against the process of verifying the National Register of Citizens in Assam, saying it had caused “great uncertainty and anxiety”.
Pandey also said in his speech that India remains committed to respecting all human rights and is of the opinion that the human rights agenda and discourse “should be pursued in a transparent and impartial manner in relation to national sovereignty”. and territorial integrity and non-interference in the internal affairs of states ”.
India also exercised its right to respond to statements from Pakistan, Turkey and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) during the debate on updating the UN High Commissioner.
He said it had become “commonplace” for Pakistan to malign India with false and fabricated stories of “malicious self-serving intentions” and that India and other countries did not deserve an “unsolicited human rights lesson” from a country that has persecuted its ethnic and religious minorities, is an epicenter of terrorism, has the distinction of providing pensions to individuals on the UN sanctions list, and has a prime minister who proudly accepts the training of tens of thousands of terrorists to fight in Jammu and Kashmir “.
“It is not surprising that other relevant multilateral institutions have raised serious concerns about his failure to stop terrorist financing and the lack of effective action against all terrorist entities in Pakistan,” the Indian representative said in response.
Pakistan’s “bad designs” also continue in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, and its “zeal to reconfirm its theocratic ideology” has ensured that “ethnic and religious minorities have no future through systematic persecution, blasphemy laws, conversions.” forced killings, targeted killings, sectarian violence and trust based discrimination, ”said the Indian representative.
India also stressed that “thousands of Sikh, Hindu and Christian minority women and girls have been subjected to kidnappings, forced marriages and conversions in Pakistan”.
India also noted that Pakistan has “misused” various UN human rights mechanisms and platforms to raise issues that are “foreign to the mandate” of the Human Rights Council and that relate to the affairs of the Interior of India.
New Delhi also dismissed the OIC reference to Jammu and Kashmir and said the organization has no place to comment on India’s internal affairs. The OIC has also allowed itself to be “misused by Pakistan,” India said in its response. India also advised Turkey to “refrain from commenting on India ‘s internal affairs”.
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