A report by two Human Rights experts of the United Nations on the end of autonomy in Jammu and Kashmir and participation of minorities in politics of the region had received a strong response from India. Actor-critic Kamaal Rashid Khan was among those who expressed his displeasure over the report and called it as ‘targeting of the country.’ He even suggested that India should 'boycott' the UN.
Taking to Twitter, KRK wrote that that the 'Human Rights Watch' was ‘targeting’ the country by ‘blaming the government’ for many policies, in this case, the abrogation of the Article 370 of the Constitution. The Ek Villain actor termed it as India’s ‘internal matter’ and was unhappy about the government being accused of 'targeting minorities.' Calling it ‘unacceptable’, he tweeted that India should 'boycott the UN.'
Human rights watch is again targeting our country and blaming government for many policies. It’s our internal matter. How can human rights watch blame our government for targeting minorities like Sikh, Dalits and Christians. It’s un acceptable. India should boycott UN. 🙏😁— KRK (@kamaalrkhan) February 21, 2021
Special rapporteur (SR) on minority issues, Fernand de Varennes and SR on freedom of religion or belief, Ahmed Shaheed in a joint statement released in Geneva had expressed concern on the new legislation leaving people of Jammu and Kashmir losing their power to legislate or amend laws for 'protection of their rights as minorities', 'altering the demographics' of the region and 'undermining' the minorities ability to exercise their human rights.
The two UN experts had claimed, “The loss of autonomy and the imposition of direct rule by the Government in New Delhi suggests the people of Jammu and Kashmir no longer have their own government and have lost power to legislate or amend laws in the region to ensure the protection of their rights as minorities.
The duo were “concerned about India’s decision to end Jammu and Kashmir’s autonomy and enact new laws could curtail the previous level of political participation of Muslim and other minorities in the country, as well as potentially discriminate against them in important matters including employment and land ownership”, though they didn't cite any evidence for this. There have been times earlier where negative reports such as this have been published and even gone so far as to cite that they are based on news reports and not primary research.
They stated that these legislative changes “may have the potential to pave the way for people from outside the former state of Jammu and Kashmir to settle in the region, alter the demographics of the region and undermine the minorities’ ability to exercise effectively their human rights”.
The Ministry of External Affairs had termed it ‘deplorable’ that the experts went ahead with the statement without knowing the Government's and termed it as ‘inaccurate assumptions’.
The MEA statement read, "We have seen the Press Release on J&K issued today by Special Rapporteur on minority issues and the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief. ... It is deplorable that the SRs, after sharing their questionnaire on 10 February, did not even wait for our response. Instead, they chose to release their inaccurate assumptions to the media. The Press Release has also been deliberately timed to coincide with the visit of a group of Ambassadors to Jammu and Kashmir.”
It highlighted that the new legislations aimed at ‘ending decades of discrimination, enshrining democracy at the grassroot level through successful conduct of local elections for the District Development Councils, and ensuring good governance through back to village program and on fears of demographic change due to the issuance of domicil certificates as ‘baseless and unfounded.’
The MEA continued, “The Press Release disregards the fact that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral and inalienable part of India and the decision of 05 August 2019 regarding the change in the status of the State of Jammu and Kashmir into a Union Territory of India was taken by the Parliament of India. The Press Release fails to take into account the steps aimed at ending decades of discrimination, enshrining democracy at the grassroot level through successful conduct of local elections for the District Development Councils, and ensuring good governance through back to village program. The Press Release has ignored the positive impact of extending Laws applicable to the rest of India to Jammu and Kashmir, enabling the people of Jammu and Kashmir to enjoy the same rights as available to people in other parts of India.”
“As for the apprehensions of demographic change, the fact that an overwhelming majority of domicile certificates issued in J&K are to the erstwhile Permanent Resident Certificate (PRC) holders shows that these fears are baseless and unfounded. This press release calls into question the larger principles of objectivity and neutrality that the SRs are mandated by the Human Rights Council to adhere to. We expect the Special Rapporteurs to develop a better understanding of the issues under their consideration before jumping to hasty conclusions and issuing press statements,” the statement concluded.
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