10 September 2019
Geneva: India tore into Pakistan at the UN Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) on Tuesday for raking up the Jammu and Kashmir issue, saying it had presented a "false" and "concocted" narrative and asserted that New Delhi will accept no foreign interference on the issue, which is its internal matter.
A top Indian diplomat, speaking at the UNHRC hours after Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi's address to the world body here, highlighted that Pakistan is the "epicentre of terrorism", which conducts cross-border terrorism "as a form of 'alternate diplomacy' vis-a-vis India.
Asserting that India "firmly believes in a constructive approach to promote and protect human rights", Secretary (East) in the External Affairs Ministry Vijay Thakur Singh targeted Pakistan, saying: "Those who abet, finance and support terrorism in any form on territory under their control are in truth the worst violators of human rights."
She said Pakistan was crying victim when it actually is the "perpetrator" of human rights violations and cautioned the world body against its platform being misused.
"We should call out those who are misusing this platform for malicious political agendas under the garb of human rights. Those who are attempting this speak on the human rights of minorities in other countries whilst trampling upon them at will in their own country. They cry victim when they actually are the perpetrators," Singh said.
She said terrorism and its "abettors" threaten the "fundamental human right to life" and asked the world community to "speak out" as "silence only emboldens terrorists" and "encourages their intimidatory tactics".
"Today, terrorism poses a grave challenge to the commitment of the international community to protect the right to life and security of people globally. It is extinguishing innocent lives and spreading fear and uncertainty.
"Those who abet, finance and support terrorism in any form on territory under their control are in truth the worst violators of human rights. The world, in particular India, has suffered greatly on account of the activities by practitioners of state sponsored terrorism and it is time to collectively take decisive and firm action against terror groups and their abettors who threaten the fundamental human right to life," Singh said.
Talking about the abolition of special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcation of the state, she said the "legislative measures" were taken by India "within the framework of its Constitution" to ensure that "these progressive measures will also be fully applicable to our citizens in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh".
The diplomat said these decisions were taken by the Indian Parliament after "a full debate that was televised and enjoyed widespread support".
"We wish to reiterate that this sovereign decision, like other legislations passed by Parliament, is entirely internal to India. No country can accept interference in its internal affairs, certainly not India," she declared.
Justifying the steps, Singh said these will end gender discrimination, including on property rights and local bodies representation, ensure better protection of juvenile rights and laws against domestic violence, provide for rights to education, information and work besides ending longstanding discrimination against refugees and underprivileged sections.
On restrictions imposed in Jammu and Kashmir, she said "temporary preventive and precautionary measures were necessitated to ensure safety and security of our citizens in the face of credible threats of cross-border terrorism".
The diplomat said restrictions are being eased continuously and democratic processes have been initiated.
"Despite challenging circumstances, Jammu & Kashmir's Civil Administration is ensuring basic services, essential supplies, normal functioning of institutions, mobility and nearly full connectivity," she added.
Slamming Pakistan whose Foreign Minister spoke earlier, the External Affairs Ministry official said: "One delegation has given a running commentary with offensive rhetoric of false allegations and concocted charges against my country."
"The world is aware that this fabricated narrative comes from the epicentre of global terrorism, where ring leaders were sheltered for years. This nation conducts cross-border terrorism as a form of 'alternate diplomacy'."
Singh also spoke on the issue of National Register for Citizens (NRC), over which UNHRC chief had made some remarks on Monday.
"It is a statutory, transparent, non-discriminatory legal process mandated and monitored by the Supreme Court of India. Any decision that is taken during the process of its implementation will comply with Indian Law and will be consistent with India's democratic traditions," she said.
Highlighting India's rich democratic credentials dating back centuries, Singh said the country, as a responsible member of the international community, "believes in a constructive approach to promote and protect human rights".
She said India believes that human rights are best protected when national institutions are strengthened.
"We do so as a nation of 1.3 billion people, which embodies the highest principles of democracy, tolerance and unity in diversity."