Ease curbs, urges UN rights chief
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.