India reacts sharply to UNHCHR’s comments on Jammu & Kashmir

External Affairs minister also asserted that the unrest in the Valley has been "aggravated by sustained cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan".

By: PTI | New Delhi | Updated: September 13, 2016 8:26 pm
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, of Jordan, arrives for the opening of the 33rd session of the Human Rights Council, at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016. (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP) UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said Pakistan has already handed over a letter formally inviting a team to the Pakistani side of the line of control, but in tandem with a mission to the Indian side. (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP)

India on Tuesday reacted sharply to remarks by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, saying terrorism is the “grossest violation” of human rights and should be so acknowledged by any impartial and objective observer.

It also asserted that the unrest in the Valley has been “aggravated by sustained cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan”.

Maintaining that the UNHCHR has received conflicting narratives on the cause for the confrontations in the Valley, External Affairs Ministry said there is no comparison between the situation in the Indian state of J&K and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

“The former has a democratically elected Government, while the latter has seen a Pakistani diplomat arbitrarily appointed as its head,” it said reacting to UN High Commissioner on Human Rights’ suggestion asking India and Pakistan to grant it “unconditional access” to both sides on the Line of Control to establish an “objective assessment” of the situation in Kashmir.

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein also said Pakistan has already handed over a letter formally inviting a team to the Pakistani side of the line of control, but in tandem with a mission to the Indian side.

In a statement, the MEA said the present situation arose from the death of a self-acknowledged commander of the terrorist organization, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, who was wanted for several terrorist acts.

“It was further aggravated by sustained cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan. Terrorism is the grossest violation of human rights and should be so acknowledged by any impartial and objective observer. The high number of casualties sustained by Indian security forces is a reflection of the tremendous restraint they have displayed in difficult circumstance,” it said.

The ministry said the issue of an external mission was considered by the All-Party Conference on August 12, 2016 to discuss the situation in J&K.

“It was unanimously felt that Indian democracy has all that is required to address legitimate grievances. Accordingly, an all-party delegation visited Srinagar. Despite cross-border terrorist infiltration that saw an encounter only on Monday, the government remains fully engaged in normalizing the situation as soon as possible,” it said.

India hopes that the connection between terrorism and violation of human rights would be recognized and deliberated upon in Geneva, the ministry added. The 33rd session of the Human Rights Council got underway in Geneva on Tuesday.

In his opening statement at the meet, Hussein said,”We had previously received reports, and still continue to do so, claiming the Indian authorities had used force excessively against the civilian population under its administration. We furthermore received conflicting narratives from the two sides as to the cause for the confrontations and the reported large numbers of people killed and wounded.

“I believe an independent, impartial and international mission is now needed crucially and that it should be given free and complete access to establish an objective assessment of the claims made by the two sides.”