Ease curbs, urges UN rights chief

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Nation -

Geneva: UN hu­man rights chief Michelle Bachelet on Mon­day ex­pressed “deep con­cern” over the im­pact of re­stric­tions in Kash­mir, and asked In­dia to ease the cur­rent lock­downs to en­sure peo­ple’s ac­cess to ba­sic ser­vices.

Bachelet, the UN high com­mis­sioner for hu­man rights, also asked Pak­istan and In­dia to en­sure that the hu­man rights of the Kash­miri peo­ple are re­spected and pro­tected, amid ten­sions be­tween the two neigh­bours af­ter the ab­ro­ga­tion of spe­cial sta­tus of Jammu &Kash­mir by New Delhi.

In her open­ing state­ment at the 42nd ses­sion of the hu­man rights coun­cil, she also asked In­dia to en­sure that the Na­tional Reg­is­ter of Cit­i­zens (NRC) ver­i­fi­ca­tion in As­sam does not leave the peo­ple state­less.

On Kash­mir, she said her of­fice con­tin­ues to re­ceive re­ports on the hu­man rights sit­u­a­tion on both sides of the Line of Con­trol.

“I am deeply con­cerned about the im­pact of re­cent ac­tions by the govern­ment of In­dia on the hu­man rights of Kashmiris, in­clud­ing re­stric­tions on in­ter­net com­mu­ni­ca­tions and peace­ful assem­bly, and the de­ten­tion of lo­cal po­lit­i­cal lead­ers and ac­tivists,” she said.

“While I con­tinue to urge the gov­ern­ments of In­dia and Pak­istan to en­sure that hu­man rights are re­spected and pro­tected, I have ap­pealed par­tic­u­larly to In­dia to ease the cur­rent lock­downs or cur­fews; to en­sure peo­ple’s ac­cess to ba­sic ser­vices; and that all due process rights are re­spected for those who have been de­tained,” she said.

As­sert­ing that the ab­ro­ga­tion of Ar­ti­cle 370 of its Con­sti­tu­tion to with­draw J&K’s spe­cial sta­tus was its “in­ter­nal mat­ter”, In­dia has de­fended im­po­si­tion of re­stric­tions in the Kash­mir Val­ley on the grounds that they were put to pre­vent Pak­istan from cre­at­ing more mis­chief through prox­ies and ter­ror­ists.

On Satur­day, na­tional se­cu­rity ad­vi­sor Ajit Do­val said mo­bile phone and In­ter­net ser­vices can eas­ily be used by Pak­istan and ter­ror­ists for subversive ac­tiv­i­ties, but the de­nial of these ser­vices should not pre­vent peo­ple from go­ing about their lives.

“Even be­fore In­ter­net came into our lives peo­ple were go­ing about their lives do­ing busi­ness,” he said.

Michelle Bachelet

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