Agency Geneva: Describing Pakistan as the “pernicious cradle of terrorism”, India on Thursday slammed the neighbouring country for raising concerns over human rights in Jammu and Kashmir and said that before preaching others, it must remember that terrorism is the worst form of rights abuse. Exercising the right of reply after Pakistan raised concerns over human rights in Jammu and Kashmir at the 43rd Session of the Human Rights Council, First Secretary in India’s Permanent Mission Vimarsh Aryan said that over the past seven months India has undertaken a series of democratic and progressive legislative reforms in Jammu and Kashmir.
He said the reforms are aimed to further protect the overall human rights of Indian citizens and to curb Pakistan’s “nefarious designs” aimed at damaging the syncretic fabric of Indian society.
“The international community has abundantly witnessed the subsequent hysterical reactions of Pakistan at various fora, that only attempted to create storm in the tea cup, but unwittingly implied that democratic traditions and religious tolerance are not Pakistan’s cup of tea,” Aryan said.
“As the biggest victim of the cross-border terrorism emanating from this pernicious cradle of terrorism we would like to inform this Council that Pakistan is a country whose former president and prime ministers including the incumbent have openly acknowledged the support and inter-operational linkages between their state machinery and the UN proscribed terrorist organizations,” he said.
Pakistan is a country that has considerably shrunk the size of its minority communities since independence, and has subjected Christians, Sikhs, Ahmadis, Hindus, Shias, Pashtuns, Sindhis and Baloch, to draconian blasphemy laws, systemic persecution, blatant abuse and forced conversions, he said.
“Jammu & Kashmir has been, is and will continue to be an integral part of India and Pakistan should cease to covet it,” Aryan said.
“We ask Pakistan that instead of spewing lies for a self-serving mendacious propaganda, work constructively and devote equal attention to protection and promotion of human rights of minorities in Pakistan,” he said.
Before preaching others on human rights, Pakistan must remember that terrorism is the worst form of human rights abuse, he said.
“Human Rights Council is responsible for promotion and protection of all human rights universally, however, quite ironically, what we heard from the Pakistani delegation was an attempt to polarise and politicise this august forum in order to propagate an illegal, immoral and inhuman territorial ambition,” he said.
India’s strong statement came after UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Thursday voiced “great concern” over India’s amended citizenship law and reports of “police inaction” in the face of communal attacks in Delhi, urging political leaders to prevent violence.
Indian representative, who read out India’s National Statement, said the country’s engagement with the global discourse on human rights has always favoured an inclusive and constructive approach based on dialogue, consultation and cooperation.
“We encourage the OHCHR to develop a better understanding and appreciation of the freedoms and rights that are guaranteed and protected daily in a vibrant democracy like India before coming to any conclusions.
“We would continue to engage constructively with the Council and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) for the promotion and protection of human rights across the world,” the statement said.
Referring to Bachelet’s statement on the violence in Delhi, the statement noted that peaceful protests and demonstrations are part of India’s democratic traditions.
“However, at the same time, violence has no place in the democratic ethos of India. We have taken all measures and restored peace and normalcy in the affected areas in Delhi,” the statement said.
It also noted that India is committed to reduce statelessness and has recently enacted legislative measures to address historical grievances of a group of persecuted persons to ensure that they enjoy full rights as citizens of India and are not pushed into statelessness.
Earlier, Bachelet said the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) adopted last year by India’s Parliament was of “great concern”.
“Indians in huge numbers, and from all communities, have expressed – in a mostly peaceful manner – their opposition to the Act, and support for the country’s long tradition of secularism,” she said.
“This has now widened into broader inter-communal attacks…… I appeal to all political leaders to prevent violence,” said the former Chilean president.
The statement also pointed out that India recently celebrated 70 years of the adoption of its Constitution, one of the longest such written documents, which has stood the test of time.
“It provides for extensive collective and individual fundamental rights and freedoms to the people of India. This human rights-based approach which has been enshrined in India’s Constitution has been the moral guide of the government,” it added.
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