– India has taken strong offense to UN Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein referring to the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir as “Indian-administered Kashmir”.
Ajit Kumar, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Office in Geneva, said on Thursday the phrase was “artificial” when referring to a part of India.
Al Hussein, who was presenting his report to the annual meeting of the Human Rights Council on Wednesday, had said "both sides of the Line of Control in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-administered Kashmir" were among areas the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) could not get access. Kumar reacted to this saying, "The whole state of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India. Pakistan remains in illegal occupation of a part of our territory. The two cannot and should not be equated.”
"The neutrality of the phrase 'Indian-administered Kashmir' is, therefore, artificial. Furthermore, the State of Jammu and Kashmir has an elected democratic government that represents all sections of the people, unlike the situation in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir," IANS quoted him as saying.
Kumar said "the robust and mature Indian democracy" had proved again that it had the strength and the mechanisms to deal with internal problems resulting from external incitement.
Pakistan's Law Minister Zahid Hamid had last week brought up Al Hussein's request to send a team to Kashmir.
On Thursday, Kumar tore into Pakistan’s claims. He said Islamabad was the "epicenter" of terrorism and carried out "an intense campaign to destabilize" Jammu and Kashmir with "infiltration and cross-border terrorism; inciting, promoting and glorifying violence".
In this vein, Kumar also charged Al Hussein of being "silent" on the Pakistani state’s sponsorship of terror. "The central problem in Jammu and Kashmir is cross-border terrorism, and hence, we are a little surprised that the High Commissioner was silent regarding Pakistan that uses terrorism as an instrument of state policy," he was quoted by IANS as saying.
During last year’s unrest in Kashmir, the UNHRC had cited his concerns over alleged human rights violations and had asked India and Pakistan to allow the OHCHR to visit the state. While India did not respond to Al Hussein’s concerns, Pakistan said it was prepared to let the UN team in if India did so. But since both sides didn’t allow access to the OHCHR, Kashmir found a mention in Al Hussein’s speech along with areas where the organization could not access. The other areas being Ethiopia, Syria, parts of Turkey and Venezuela.
Never miss a story again — sign up to our Telegram channel and we'll keep you up to speed!