NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India has criticized UN rights experts for voicing concerns over constitutional changes made in the Muslim-majority territory of Kashmir, where militants have been fighting for independence for three decades.
A statement issued by the two special rapporteurs on minority issues and freedom of religion or belief on Thursday questioned their neutrality and objectivity, Foreign Ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava said.
In their statement, the special rapporteurs said that a decision by the Indian government last year to end the autonomy of the state of Jammu and Kashmir and pass new laws could limit the political participation of Muslims.
Muslims and other minority groups also lost out on issues such as employment and land ownership, they said.
Srivastava said Jammu and Kashmir was an integral part of India and the changes made to its status were approved by parliament. One of the changes was that the laws in force in the rest of India would apply to the people of Kashmir, allowing them the same legal rights as the rest of India, he said.
This press release calls into question the greater principles of objectivity and neutrality that RS (Special Rapporteurs) are mandated by the Human Rights Council to adhere to, Srivastava said in a statement Thursday night.
He said the special rapporteurs’ statement was issued as India received international diplomats in Kashmir. Officials said the visit was intended to show efforts to restore normalcy a year after the region was stripped of its special status.
The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modis has said it revoked the special status of Kashmiris in a bid to fully integrate the region with the rest of India and open it up to faster economic growth.
In a new violence in Kashmir on Friday, militants killed three police officers in two separate attacks in the main city of Srinagar, hours after security forces killed three militants in a raid on a village in southern Kashmir, police chief Vijay said. Kumar.
More than 50,000 people have been killed in the uprising against New Delhi rule in Kashmir that began in 1989, according to government taxes. Others estimate their number is over 100,000.
Pakistan opposes Indian sovereignty over Kashmir and has twice gone to war with India over territory.
Additional reporting by Fayaz Bukhari in Srinagar and Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva; Edited by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Timothy Heritage
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