Rights violations in disputed Kashmir continue unchecked, UN report says
Story Code : 803957
In the report released on Monday, the UN Human Rights Council said that arbitrary detentions during search operations by Indian troops were leading to a range of rights violations in the Muslim-majority region.
Despite the high numbers of civilians killed in the vicinity of gun battles between Indian troops and Kashmiri fighters, "there is no information about any new investigation into excessive use of force leading to casualties," it noted.
The report was also critical of emergency laws used by New Delhi in the Indian-controlled part of the scenic valley, saying accountability for violations committed by troops remains virtually non-existent.
The report also called for the repeal of special powers protecting troops from prosecution.
There has not been a single prosecution of armed forces personnel granted by the central government in a civilian court in nearly three decades, it pointed out
The United Nations also flagged a spike in hate crimes against Kashmiris in the rest of India following the February attacks, calling on India to do more to prevent the violence.
In response, India's Foreign Ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said in a statement that the report presented a "false and motivated narrative" on the state of the region.
"Its assertions are in violation of India's sovereignty and territorial integrity and ignore the core issue of cross-border terrorism," he said of the report.
Though the majority of the allegations in the report pertain to Indian-administered Kashmir, it was also critical of Pakistan.
It noted that four major armed groups in Kashmir "are believed to be based on the Pakistan side of the Line of Control," and that civil society organizations blame Pakistani security forces for a series of "enforced disappearances," in the region.
Senior officials in Islamabad have yet to comment on the report.
India regularly accuses Pakistan of arming and training militants and allowing them across the restive frontier in an attempt to launch attacks. Pakistan strongly rejects the accusation.
Relations nosedived in February when over 40 Indian paramilitaries were killed in a bomb attack in Kashmir.
The Indian military conducted airstrikes inside Pakistan later in February against what was said to be a militant training camp belonging to the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militant group.
Pakistan retaliated and shot down an Indian fighter jet that it said had violated its airspace. It also captured an Indian pilot during that operation, but released him shortly in a “peace gesture.”
India has said Pakistan was to blame for the deaths of Indian troops in Kashmir, which is divided between the two nuclear-armed states but is claimed in its entirety by both sides. Islamabad has denied any role in the bloodshed.
Tensions have since been running high between the two neighbors which have fought four wars since their partition in 1947, three of them over Kashmir.