THE WRONGS IN KASH­MIR

It is hard to imag­ine a more even-handed re­port than the “Sit­u­a­tion of Hu­man Rights in Kash­mir” by the Of­fice of the United Na­tions High Com­mis­sioner for Hu­man Rights, which the In­dian en­voy to the U.N. cited dis­hon­estly as “re­ly­ing on un­ver­i­fied sources

FrontLine - - ESSAY - BY

THE out­break of chau­vin­is­tic fury, which burst forth in In­dia on June 14, 2018, ex­plains fully the 70-year-old im­passe in a so­lu­tion to the Kash­mir dis­pute. Kash­mir arouses colo­nial emo­tions, not un­mixed with Hin­dutva. On that day was pub­lished the “Re­port on the Sit­u­a­tion of Hu­man Rights in Kash­mir: De­vel­op­ments in the In­dian State of Jammu and Kash­mir from June 2016 to April 2018, and Gen­eral Hu­man Rights Con­cerns in Azad Jammu and Kash­mir and Gil­git–baltistan” by the Of­fice of the United Na­tions High Com­mis­sioner for Hu­man Rights (OHCHR).

The sub­ti­tle it­self should in­di­cate its even-hand­ed­ness. U.N. Sec­re­tary-gen­eral An­to­nio Guter­res did well to de­clare on July 13 that “all the ac­tions of the Hu­man Rights High Com­mis­sioner is an ac­tion that rep­re­sents the voice of the U.N. in re­la­tion to that is­sue”. This is what the as­per­sions cast on the in­tegrity of the uni­ver­sally re­spected High Com­mis­sioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hus­sein “ac­com­plished”. He has won high praise for his con­sis­tent record of im­par­tial and thor­ough pro­nounce­ments on vi­o­la­tion of hu­man rights. In­dia’s Deputy Per­ma­nent Rep­re­sen­ta­tive to the U.N. Tan­maya Lal’s as­ser­tion that the re­port “re­lies on un­ver­i­fied sources of in­for­ma­tion” is a brazen false­hood. Its 49 pages have 388 foot­notes, cit­ing, mostly, In­dian records such as of­fi­cial state­ments in Par­lia­ment. It is dis­hon­est to de­ride the re­port for its “re­mote mon­i­tor­ing of the hu­man rights sit­u­a­tion” while re­fus­ing the U.N’S re­peated re­quests for on-site in­spec­tion. This is of a piece with In­dia’s ba­sic pol­icy on the U.N’S over­sight on hu­man rights. China and Rus­sia have a bet­ter record.

The out­bursts are akin to those on the pub­li­ca­tion of books which go against the “na­tional” con­sen­sus by peo­ple who had not, per­haps could not, read it. One is as­ton­ished at the Kash­miri Pan­dits’ com­plaint, on June 26, that the re­port ig­nored their plight (The Tri­bune, June 27). The re­port has a whole page of three para-

A.G. NOORANI THE REL­A­TIVE of a “dis­ap­peared” per­son takes part in a protest to mark In­ter­na­tional Hu­man Rights Day, in Srinagar in De­cem­ber 2017. The protest was or­gan­ised by the As­so­ci­a­tion of Par­ents of Dis­ap­peared Per­sons.

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