India on Tuesday rejected Pakistan’s allegations at the UN Human Rights Council and hit back saying a “fabricated narrative” on Jammu and Kashmir has come from “the epicentre of global terrorism” and from a nation, which conducts cross-border terrorism as a form of ‘alternate diplomacy.’
Making the national statement during the general debate at the UNHRC session, Vijay Thakur Singh, Secretary (East) in External Affairs Ministry, strongly defended the government’s decision to abrogate Article 370 and reorganise Jammu and Kashmir, saying that legislative decisions on Jammu and Kashmir were “sovereign” and “entirely internal to India.”
She responded to Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s claim earlier in the day that India has transformed Jammu and Kashmir into a largest “caged prison on this planet” after the abrogation of Article 370 and that the human rights were being “trampled with impunity” there.
Maintaining that the Indian delegation will separately exercise the right to respond, Singh said the 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 legislation passed by Parliament is entirely internal to India. No country can accept interference in its internal affairs, certainly not India,” she said.
She said the Council 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,” she said.
Without naming Pakistan, she 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,” she said.
Singh said 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,” she said.
The senior MEA official said that 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.
“We must speak out. Silence only emboldens terrorists. It also encourages their intimidatory tactics. India appeals to the international community to work together in the fight against terrorism and their sponsors,” she said.
Singh said despite challenging circumstances, Jammu and Kashmir’s civil administration was ensuring basic services, essential supplies, normal functioning of institutions, mobility and nearly full connectivity.
“Democratic processes have been initiated. Restrictions are being eased continuously. 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,” she said.
Singh said the legislative measures taken by India within the framework of its Constitution will ensure that “the progressive legislative measures will also be fully applicable to our citizens in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.”
“As a result, there will be an end to gender discrimination, including on property rights and local bodies representation and there will be better protection of juvenile rights and laws against domestic violence. The rights to education, information and work will now be applicable. Longstanding discrimination against refugees and underprivileged sections will end,” she said
She said India firmly believes in a constructive approach to shape the human rights discourse in the Council. “We need to find practical measures to protect and promote the economic, social and cultural rights of the people globally,” she added.