India today came down heavily on the update of the Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) by calling it “merely a continuation of the earlier false and motivated narrative on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir”.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) response came soon after the update was published. Addressing the media, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, “The situation created by years of cross-border terrorist attacks from Pakistan has been ‘analysed’ without reference to its causality. The update seems to be a contrived effort to create artificial parity between the world’s largest democracy and a country that practises state-sponsored terrorism.”
The report says, “Authorities in Indian-Administered Kashmir continue to use various forms of arbitrary detention to target protesters, political dissidents and other civil society actors. OHCHR was informed that despite the J&K High Court setting aside numerous the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act (PSA) detention orders, the Jammu and Kashmir authorities continue to detain people by imposing new PSA orders even before suspects leave prisons.”
It also questions the Armed Forces (J&K) Special Powers Act 1990 (AFSPA) and mentions that the Act “remains a key obstacle to accountability”. Section 7 of the AFSPA prohibits the prosecution of security forces personnel unless the Government of India grants a prior permission or “sanction” to prosecute. In nearly three decades that the law has been in force in Jammu and Kashmir, there has not been a single prosecution of armed forces personnel granted by the central government.
The report claims that in Indian-administered Kashmir, “Despite the high number of civilians being killed near encounter sites in 2018, there is no information about any new investigation into excessive use of force leading to casualties.”