India defends decision on denying UN access

NEW DELHI, Sep 14, 2016, DHNS
New Delhi argued that sustained anti-India terrorism launched from Pakistan had aggravated the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. India on Tuesday defended its decision to reject the request of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to allow him or his representatives to visit Jammu and Kashmir.New Delhi argued that sustained anti-India terrorism launched from Pakistan had aggravated the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Terrorism is the grossest violation of human rights and should be so acknowledged by any impartial and objective observer,” spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Vikas Swarup said.

New Delhi expressed hope that the UN Human Rights Council should recognise and deliberate upon “the connection between terrorism and violation of human rights”.

Arguing that India’s democracy had “all” that was “required to address legitimate grievances”, New Delhi defended its decision to turn down the request of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein for “unconditional access” to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Pakistan has launched a campaign against India accusing the Indian Army and security forces of violating human rights of the protesting Kashmiris.

In his remarks at the opening of the 33rd session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Tuesday, Zeid said he had “requested the governments of India and Pakistan to grant an unconditional access to both sides of the Line of Control, namely the India-administered Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-administered Kashmir, in order to conduct an independent, impartial and international assessment of the claims made by the two sides as to the cause for the confrontations and the reported large numbers of people killed and wounded”.

Zeid’s remarks on Kashmir came just a day after Awais Ahmad Khan Leghari, a special envoy of Pakistan Prime Minister M Nawaz Sharif, met him in Geneva and briefed him about the “atrocities” committed in the Valley by security forces of India.

India had in early August rejected Zeid’s request for unconditional access to Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

New Delhi also objected to Zeid’s move to put Jammu and Kashmir and PoK in the same bracket.

“As regards the suggestion for a visit of a mission to both sides of the Line of Control, we would underline that there is no comparison between the situation in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir,” said Swarup.

The MEA spokesperson noted that Jammu and Kashmir had a democratically elected government, while the PoK had seen a Pakistani diplomat arbitrarily appointed as its head.

‘Hub for terror’
“The Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir is part of a pluralistic and secular democracy, where freedoms are guaranteed by an independent judiciary, an active media and a vibrant civil society. In contrast, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir is administered by a ‘deep state’ and has become a hub for the global export of terror,” said Swarup.

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