Skip to main content

As Rajnath reaches Srinagar, scholars' group asks UN for "internationally mediated" Kashmir solution

By Our Representative
Amidst Union home minister Rajnath Singh along with a group of senior leaders belonging to opposition parties reaching Srinagar for “healing touch”, the Kashmir Scholars' Action Group (KSAG) has asked the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to work for “internationally mediated political solution” to the Kashmir problem.
The letter to Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein also comes close on the heels of the Government of India reportedly downplaying the offer of a UN fact-finding mission  to monitor the situation in Kashmir.
Calling itself an interdisciplinary group of scholars of various nationalities engaged in research on the Kashmir, KSAG in its letter insists that there there is a need for the civil society groups to provide him with “regular updates on the situation.” The names of the signatories to the letter, however, have not been revealed.
Claiming to be actively engaged with civil society groups in Kashmir, KSAG says, “We have undertaken to document and communicate the situation on ground since the Indian state’s violence against civilians has continued to mount from July 7, 2016 onwards.”
Expressing “particular concern” about the present conditions of violence, the letter clarifies, “We are calling not only for the resumption of basic civil services, the rule of law, and the restoration of human rights in Kashmir, but, most importantly, for an internationally mediated political solution.”
“We believe”, the letter sates, “that the Kashmir conflict is not an internal matter for India to resolve on its own terms. Neither is it a matter to be resolved bilaterally by negotiations between India and Pakistan.”
The letter insists, “The conflict cannot be resolved without determining the wishes of the Kashmiri people, through direct means such as the referendum promised by UN Security Council resolutions in 1948, the conditions of which both Pakistan and India have failed to comply.”
It notes, “The militarized Line of Control adds to the economic, social and political alienation of many communities and divides the people on both sides of Kashmir”, blaming what it calls “divide and rule policies and propagandist use of mass media” for “obfuscating the political demands of the people.”
Giving “details” of violence, the letter says, in the Kashmir valley, over the last three months, “nearly 70 people have been killed, over 500 blinded by pellet-shotguns, and over 6000 maimed and wounded. There were extensive communication blockades; phones and the Internet were routinely suspended.”
Alleging blockade of Kashmir, the letter says, “On August 20, the Jammu Transporters’ Union and Oil Tanker Owners’ Association has formally refused to supply petrol and cooking gas to the Kashmir valley”, at a time when “the only access road to Kashmir since 1947 runs through Jammu.”
It adds, “The elected government and civil administration more broadly has been missing through this period, with all decisions seemingly in the hands of Indian security personnel. Nor is there any attempt being made to return to civilian authority.”
Asking the OHCHR does “not shelve its plans for a fact-finding mission”, the letter says, till then, it should invite “representatives of civil society to visit Geneva to testify” before it, such as “the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons, the Srinagar High Court Bar Association, Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society , as well as members of the doctors, journalists, photographers and traders associations.”
Saying that it would facilitate such visits, KSAG says, the UN and the international community, meanwhile, should take steps to end “violence against Kashmiri civilians”, set up a “UN Commission of Inquiry that investigates all incidents of firing on unarmed protesters”, and “work forcefully to demilitarize both sides of the Line of Control between India and Pakistan.”
Copies of the letter have been forwarded to Agnes Callamard, UN Special Rapporteur on extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions; Juan Mendez, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; and the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, among others.

Comments

TRENDING

India under Modi among top 10 autocratizing nations, on verge of 'losing' democracy status

By Rajiv Shah
A new report, prepared by a top Swedish institute studying liberal democracy, has observed that there has been a sharp “dive in press freedom along with increasing repression of civil society in India associated with the current Hindu-nationalist regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.” The report places India among the top 10 countries that “have autocratized the most”. Other countries that have been identified for rolling towards autocracy are -- Hungary, Turkey, Poland, Serbia, Brazil, Mali, Thailand, Nicaragua and Zambia.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Gujarat link of controversial US doctor who 'forced' WHO quiz Trump's wonder drug

By Rajiv Shah
A top American doctor, Sapan Sharankishor Desai, born and raised in the “affluent” North Shore (Chicago) region of Illinois by Indian parents, at one point of time involved in NGO activity through  dedicated to “improving” the lives of the impoverished in Gujarat, is in the eyes of a major international storm following his paper (retracted) in a “Lancet” questioning Donald Trump-promoted drug hydroxychloroquine.

Border conflict? RBI nod India's 'brotherly' help to China internationalise its currency

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
In the middle of a global pandemic, China started an unprovoked border conflict with India. It unraveled trust deficit and ties between the two neighbours. As thousands of Chinese troops tried occupying Indian territory, the Narendra Modi-led BJP government directs the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to allow the Bank of China to start regular banking services in India. The Bank of China will now operate in India like any other commercial banks.

RSS supremo Deoras 'supported' Emergency, but Indira, Sanjay Gandhi 'didn't respond'

By Shamsul Islam*
National Emergency was imposed on the country by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on June 25-26, 1975, and it lasted for 19 months. This period is considered as ''dark times' for Indian democratic polity. Indira Gandhi claimed that due to Jaiprakash Narayan's call to the armed forces to disobey the 'illegal' orders of Congress rulers had created a situation of anarchy and there was danger to the existence of Indian Republic so there was no alternative but to impose Emergency under article 352 of the Constitution.

Dalits in India, Blacks in US suffer 'similar' humiliation: Macwan drafts letter to Trump

Counterview Desk
Well-known human rights activist Martin Macwan, recipient of the prestigious Robert F Kennedy Human Rights Award in 2000, has drafted an open letter to US President Donald Trump following the disturbing turn of events with the murder of George Floyd, leading to widespread protests in the US. He has sought signatures of concerned citizens before sending it to Trump.

Clean chit to British rulers, Muslim League? Karnataka to have Veer Savarkar flyovers

By Shamsul Islam*
The BJP government of Karnataka led by BS Yediyurappa is going to honour Hindutva icon VD Savarkar by naming two of the newly built major flyovers in Bangalore and Mangalore after him. There was a huge uproar against this decision of the RSS-BJP government as many pro-Kannada organisations with opposition parties and liberal-secular organizations questioned the logic to ignore so many freedom fighters, social reformers and others from within the state.

Hurried nod to Western Ghat projects: 16 lakh Goans' water security 'jeopardised'

Counterview Desk
Taking strong exception to "virtual clearances" to eco-sensitive projects in the Western Ghats, the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) in a statement has said urged for a review of the four-lane highway, 400 KV transmission line and double tracking of the railway line through the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park in Goa.

Disturbing signal? Reliance 'shifting focus' away from Indian petrochemical sector

By NS Venkataraman*
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), a large Indian company, has expanded and grown in a spectacular manner during the last few decades, like of which no industrial group in India has performed before. RIL is now involved in multi various activities relating to petroleum refineries, petrochemicals, oil and gas exploration, coal bed methane, life sciences, retail business, communication network, (Jio platform) media/entertainment etc.