Rebutting Pakistan’s claims at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), India Tuesday reiterated that the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status is its internal matter.
“The recent legislative measures taken by India in Jammu and Kashmir is within the framework of the country’s Constitution. It was a sovereign decision and an internal matter of India. No country can accept interference in its internal affairs,” said Vijay Thakur, Secretary (East) MEA.
Describing Pakistan as the epicentre of “global terrorism”, India called out the Pakistani delegation for “giving a running commentary with offensive rhetoric of false allegations and concocted charges” against New Delhi. “The world is aware that this fabricated narrative comes from epicentre of global terrorism, where ring leaders were sheltered for years,” Thakur said.
In a clear reference to Pakistan, Thakur said there was a need to call out those who are misusing the UNHRC for malicious political agenda under the garb of human rights. “They cry victim when they actually are the perpetrators,” she said.
India also called out terrorism, “We must speak out. Silence only emboldens terrorists. It also encourages their intimidatory tactics. India appeals to the international community to work together in the fight against terrorism and their sponsors.”
“Today, terrorism poses a grave challenge to the commitment of the international community to protect the right to life and security of people globally. It is extinguishing innocent lives and spreading fear and uncertainty.”
In a bid to allay apprehensions of the international community, India further asserted that the J&K’s administration is ensuring basic services, normal functioning of institutions, mobility and nearly full connectivity.
“The government is taking affirmative action by adopting progressive policies to promote socio-economic equality and justice. As a result of recent legislative measures, progressive policies will now be fully applicable to our citizens in J&K, and Ladakh. These will end gender discrimination, better protect juvenile rights and make applicable rights to education, information, and work,” she said.
On the National Register of Citizenship exercise, Thakur said the citizenship document is a statutory, transparent, nondiscriminatory legal process mandated and monitored by the Supreme Court. Her remark came a day after the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet expressed concerns over the NRC exercise in Assam and communication shutdown and detention of political leadership in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).
Earlier in the day, Pakistan had raked up the issue of Kashmir, asking the rights body not to remain “indifferent” to the situation and demanded an international investigation into the situation. Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who led the country’s delegation, had urged the rights body “to seek justice and respect for the people of Kashmir.”
“Today, I have knocked on the doors of the Human Rights Council, the repository of the world’s conscience on human rights, Qureshi said.
He also asked the Council to urge India to immediately stop the use of pellet guns, lift the curfew, reverse the clampdown and communications blackout, restore fundamental freedoms and liberties, release political prisoners and fulfil obligations under the UN Security Council Resolutions and various human rights instruments, as required by international law.
“We must not allow this august body to be embarrassed on the world stage. As a founding member of this Council, Pakistan feels morally and ethically bound to prevent this from occurring,” he said, adding that in order to do so the body should not remain indifferent to the situation that was unfolding. “We must act decisively and with conviction,” he said.
Tensions between the two countries escalated ever since India revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 and bifurcate into two union territories of Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir. Weeks after the revocation on August 5, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) held a closed-door meeting after Pakistan, backed by its all-weather ally China, requested “closed consultations” on the issue.
While Pakistan has sought to internationalise the issue, India has maintained that Kashmir is an internal matter. New Delhi on Tuesday also rejected a reference to Kashmir in a joint statement by Pakistan and China, reiterating J&K is an integral part of India
On Monday, US President Donald Trump reiterated his offer to help the two South-Asian neighbours ease the situation. The comments by Trump were his first since his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the G7 summit in France on August 26 where Modi had made it clear that all issues with Pakistan are bilateral, and India doesn’t bother any other country about them.