Rights groups leave India red-faced at UNHRC

MIRPUR: India faced severe criticism at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva where reputed international rights groups during a day-long debate took a dig at the BJP government for human rights violations in the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJ&K).

The Council was urged to impress upon New Delhi to hold accountable members of its security forces involved in heinous crimes such as torture, arbitrary detentions, killings, and forced disappearances. Taking part in a debate held under agenda item 3, the representatives of International Muslim Women Union (IMWU), World Muslim Congress (WMC), Community Human Rights and Advocacy Center (CHR&AC) and Amnesty International voiced their serious concern over the dire political and human rights situation in the disputed territory, says a press message reaching and released to the media here on Sunday.

Speaking on the occasion the CHR&AC representative Ms Eemaan Gilani said Jammu and Kashmir was a disputed territory. The UN, she said, had passed a number of resolutions calling for a free and impartial plebiscite under its auspices to allow Kashmiris to determine their political future in an atmosphere free of coercion. These resolutions, she said, were endorsed by the then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the Indian representative in the UN Security Council. Despite these fact, India had been always been reluctant to implement these resolutions, she added.

Notwithstanding the international commitments, she said, India forcibly occupied the territory and deployed over 900,000 military and paramilitary troops in the region, which made it the highest military zone in the world. Urging the world body to take effective notice of the situation, she said, “It was high time that the pressure was built on the Government of Indian to stop human rights violations in Kashmir and abide by the international laws.

Terming denial of right to self-determination a violation of human rights, IMWU representative Ms Warda Najum said, “Kashmiris are subjected to the worst kind of violence and subjugation for demanding this right.” Asking the world to hear the cries of suffering humanity in Kashmir, she said, “In the middle of media blackout and clampdown on civil society and human rights defenders, I can hear the mournful wails of millions of Kashmiris under the Indian occupation for more than 10 months now.”

“If India thinks it can prevent itself from censoring its evil, it is mistaken,” she said, adding the Indian occupied territory was a place where people were denied justice, where occupation was enforced and dejection prevailed, where people were made to feel robbed, degraded and humiliated. Referring to the situation in the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, WMC representative Raja Saeed uz Zaman said, “What defines today’s Kashmir is extra-judicial killings, fake-encounters, forced disappearances, detention of Kashmiri youth and torture”.

He said harassment of civilians, and killing and blinding people by pellet-firing shotguns had become a new normal in Kashmir. Expressing his grave concern over the rising tide of fascism, intolerance, and racism in India, Amnesty International representative said, “We are alarmed by the deteriorating situation in India where draconian laws are being used to detain and arrest the human rights defenders and peaceful protesters. Regarding the arrests and torture of peaceful protesters by the Indian police, he said, “People who were protesting against the Citizenship Act were subjected to excessive force”. This reality, he said, could no longer be ignored. He said, “We urge the council to hold India accountable for human rights obligations and commitments.”