(PTI) The United Nations on Thursday released the first of its kind report on alleged human rights violations in both "Indian-administered and Pakistan-administered Kashmir" and sought an international inquiry into these abuses.
The report drew a strong reaction from India which called it "overtly prejudiced". The global human rights watch body also asked Pakistan to end its "misuse" of anti-terror legislation to persecute peaceful activists and quash dissent.
Asserting that there was an "urgent need" to address the past and ongoing human rights violations, the report said, "any resolution to the political situation in Kashmir should entail a commitment to ending the cycles of violence and accountability for past and current human rights violations."
The report said, "the people on both sides of the Line of Control have been detrimentally impacted and suffer from limitations or denial of a range of human rights."
While there was no immediate reaction from India on the latest report, but the government has been maintaining that the Indian democracy has all that is required to address legitimate grievances.
There can't be any comparison between Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir as "the former has a democratically elected government while the latter has seen a Pakistani diplomat arbitrarily appointed as its head", Indian officials have been maintaining.
In a strong reaction, India's Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said the report is "overtly prejudiced" and seeks to build a "false narrative".
It violated the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity, it said.
"India rejects the report. It is fallacious, tendentious and motivated. We question the intent in bringing out such a report," the MEA said. It added that the report is a selective compilation of largely unverified information.
"The report violates India's sovereignty and territorial integrity. The entire state of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India. Pakistan is in illegal and forcible occupation of a part of the Indian state through aggression," the MEA said.
The UN "Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Kashmir: Developments in the Indian State of J-K from June 2016 to April 2018, and General Human Rights Concerns in Azad J-K and Gilgit-Baltistan" also noted since the late 1980s, "a variety of armed groups has been actively operating in the Indian state of J-K."
The report also talked about killing of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani by the Indian forces which triggered unprecedented protests in the Valley during this period.
There has been documented evidence of these groups committing a wide range of human rights abuses, including kidnappings and killings of civilians and sexual violence, it added.
"Despite the Government of Pakistan's assertions of denial of any support to these groups, experts believe that Pakistan's military continues to support their operations across the Line of Control in Indian-Administered Kashmir," the report said.
The report also sought repealing of the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act, 1990 "urgently" and also "immediately remove the requirement for prior central government permission to prosecute security forces personnel accused of human rights violations in civilian courts."
This is for the first time the UNHRC has issued a report on the alleged human rights violations in Kashmir and PoK.
Given that India has been maintaining that people in J-K were victims of cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan, which was training and arming militants and helping them infiltrate across the Line of Control (LoC), the UN report may not go down well with New Delhi.