New Delhi: An all-party meeting called to discuss the recent violence in Kashmir unanimously rejected a move by the UNHRC to send a team to the state to investigate alleged human rights violations by Indian security forces.
While PM Modi asserted that PoK “is ours”, foreign minister Sushma Swaraj told party leaders that the government had received a letter from the UN Human Rights Council, exploring the possibility of a visit to J&K. This was in apparent response to Pakistan writing to the body. All parties in one voice rejected any outside probe into the violence and allegations of human rights violations.
Party leaders said the move could amount to interference in India’s internal affairs. CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury, however, said India’s own human rights bodies could visit the state.
The UNHRC letter comes days after Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif wrote to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, urging efforts to “end the persistent and egregious violation of the basic human rights of the Kashmiri people”.
The prime minister ruled out any major concessions in dealing with the protests in Kashmir in terms of engagement with Pakistan and also made it amply clear that talks with separatists were not on his to-do list.
Responding to suggestions that a dialogue be initiated, Modi said the government was willing to talk to anyone with an “open mind” and he was keen to normalise the situation, a reference that indicates that the Hurriyat remains off limit. In a firm rebuttal of Pakistan’s bid to present itself as an involved party, Modi made the point that Islamabad’s own human rights record did not give it such leeway.
Modi also said there was a need to track persons who had fled PoK so that their accounts could be publicised. PoK, he said, was the fourth part of Jammu and Kashmir, along with Ladakh, Jammu and the valley. “Foreign ministry should take initiatives to develop contact with citizens of PoK settled abroad and apprise them about how their family and friends are treated there,” Modi said.
Similarly, the violation of human rights in Balochistan should be brought to the attention of the global audience, he said. Modi’s tough stance towards Pakistan and the desire to engage only moderates and the backing of political parties for measures to ensure security summed up the mood at the meeting where most leaders rejected Islamabad moving the UN human rights commission and pledged to maintain national unity in the face of foreign interference.
Former PM Manmohan Singh, in a brief intervention, called for normalcy and said the Centre should show that it was a caring government while opposition leaders like BJD’s Bhartruhari Mahtab said all four parties in J&K, BJP, PDP, NC and Congress, must speak in a united voice. The meeting saw PDP and BJP converging over religious motivation for the violence in Kashmir.
Modi said Pakistan was using fighter jets to kill its own people and held the neighbour responsible for sponsoring terror in Jammu and Kashmir. Briefing the media, home minister Rajnath Singh and finance minister Arun Jaitlely said the PM did not mince words on Pakistan and the situation in Balochistan and PoK.
“Pakistan forgets killing its own people by fighter planes. Time has come for Pakistan to explain to the world community about excesses committed in PoK and Balochistan,” Modi said at the meeting which had leaders from the entire political spectru