UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has voiced support for the UN human rights chief’s call for an independent international investigation into the human rights situation in Kashmir, saying his action “represents the voice of the UN” on the issue.
“As you can imagine, all the action of the Human Rights High Commissioner is an action that represents the voice of the UN in relation to that issue,” Guterres told reporters at a press conference yesterday.
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He was responding to questions whether he supports an independent international probe into the human rights situation in Kashmir as recommended by High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein in his report on Kashmir last month.
India has rejected Al Hussein’s report in which he had called for a commission of inquiry by the Human Rights Council to conduct an independent international investigation into the human rights situation in Kashmir.
India’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Tanmaya Lal said this week that the “so-called” report reflects the “clear bias of an official who was acting without any mandate whatsoever and relied on unverified sources of information.”
Lal had said the report “was not even found fit to be considered by the membership of the forum where it was submitted.”
India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin, responding to the Secretary General’s remarks, said the Human Rights chief’s report was not followed up by anyone in the Human Rights Council.
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“That the High Commissioner for Human Rights represents the UN Secretariat on the issue of human rights is a factual issue. But that his report was not followed up by anyone is also a reality that no one sees it as something they are ready to support. So referring to the report is like flogging a dead horse,” Akbaruddin told PTI.
Guterres was asked by PTI about India’s assertion that Al Hussein was acting without any mandate and that Kashmir is a bilateral issue that needs to be resolved between India and Pakistan.
He said, “one thing is the definition of the mechanism for a political solution of a situation in a country. The other thing is the general mandate of human rights instruments in relation to human rights everywhere.”
“And so what the Human Rights High Commissioner did was the use of its own competencies and capacities, as it does in all other parts of the world, to report on what he considered to be relevant human rights violations.
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“It doesn’t mean that there is in that a preference for any kind of methodology for a political solution. They are two completely different things, and the same applies in relation to the other report,” he said, referring to his report on children and armed conflict.
India has also expressed its disappointment that the Secretary General’s report on children and armed conflict included situations that do not meet the definition of armed conflict or of threat to international peace and security.
The report had mentioned the Indian states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir, saying children continued to be affected by incidents of violence between armed groups and the government, particularly in the three states.
Noting “grave violations”, the report had said three incidents of the recruitment and use of children were reported in Jammu and Kashmir in the context of clashes with national security forces.
“One case was attributed to Jaish-e-Mohammed and two to Hizbul Mujahideen,” the report said, adding that “unverified” reports also indicate the use of children as informants and spies by national security forces.
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The report added that the United Nations also continued to receive reports of the recruitment and use of children, including by the Naxalites, particularly in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.
“The other report is a report about situations in which the rights of children have been put into question,” Guterres said.
When asked if he has made any attempt to bring about dialogue between India and Pakistan, Guterres said, “It is clear for me that only political solutions can address political problems.”
He added that whenever he meets the leaders of both India and Pakistan, he always offers his good offices, and “I hope that the future will be able to create the mechanisms of dialogue that will allow for this problem to find also an adequate political solution that the people can benefit from.”
Participating in a Security Council debate on Children and Armed Conflict this week, Lal had said that the UNSC Resolution 1379 requests the Secretary General to report on situations that are on the agenda of the Security Council or that may be brought to the attention of the Security Council by the Secretary General, which in his opinion threaten the maintenance of international peace and security.
“In spite of the clear mandate provided under the UNSC Resolution 1379, we are disappointed that the Report of the Secretary General includes situations, which do not meet the definition of armed conflict or of threat to maintenance of international peace and security,” Lal had said.
ASI among three cops injured in Rajbagh grenade blast
Srinagar, Jan 17: Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) of police and two traffic cop were injured in a grenade blast near Zero Bridge in Rajbagh area of Srinagar city in Central Kashmir on Thursday afternoon.
Reports said that suspected militants lobbed a grenade on police party near Zero Bridge in Rajbagh.
In the blast, three policemen including an ASI of police and two traffic policemen sustained splinter injuries and were evacuated to SMHS hospital for treatment.
The injured has been identified as Iqbal Singh (ASI of JKAP 14 Bn) and traffic policemen Haris Manzoor (SPO) and Sanullah (Head Constable).
While ASI Iqbal has sustained splinter injuries to both of his legs, Haris suffered an injury to the back side of his neck and Sanullah suffered injuries in his right leg.
SSP Srinagar Imtiaz Ismail Parray confirmed the attack and subsequent injuries to the ASI and two traffic cops.
Soon after the attack, the government forces cordoned off the area and launched a hunt to nab the attackers.
Security forces have launched a massive search operation in Rajbagh and adjoining areas near Zero Bridge after three police personnel including assistant sub-inspector were injured in a grenade attack by the terrorists on Thursday.
Homes and hotels in the area were searched frisking was also carried out. It was the first major terrorist attack in the Srinagar city this year. The injured cops are undergoing treatment at the hospital.
Meanwhile Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) has claimed responsibly of the grenade attack on the forces’ party at Raj Bagh area of Srinagar.
A JeM spokesperson Muhammad Hassan in a statement claimed that two forces personnel were killed and 6 critically injured in the attack.
An ASI of police and two traffic cops were injured in a grenade blast near Zero Bridge, Raj Bagh in Thursday afternoon.
2018 has been remarkable year for forces: Army commander
Srinagar, Jan 17: A top army commander on Thursday described 2018 as “remarkable year” for government forces, saying that more than 250 militants were killed, 54 others were arrested and four others surrendered in Kashmir Valley.
“The year 2018 has been a remarkable year for armed forces on the security front. As per the record of last ten years, army along with other forces have neutralized many militants. Many militants have surrendered under pressure and many others were arrested alive,” said Lt Gen Ranbir Singh, GoC-in-C Northern Command told reporters after inaugurating Kalai Bridge constructed by Border Roads Organization.
“More than 250 militants were killed, 54 others arrested and four others have surrendered,” he said, adding, “This speaks about the strength of our security establishment,” the officer said.
He said that the army was giving “befitting reply” to Pakistan army along the Line of Control whenever there were instances of any ceasefire violation or snipping.
“As per wireless and other intercepts, Pakistan army and militants suffered a huge loss in our retaliatory action.”
The Kalai Bridge spans over Suran River and connects Kalai area to Chandak area in Poonch district. During the inaugural function, the Army Commander addressed the gathering of Army, GREF and local residents and said that the Kalai bridge is an important milestone towards enhancing the road communication in the area.
“The bridge is an important strategic asset as it enhances the movement of military equipment and troops in a faster time frame,” he said. The Indian Army and BRO have been working towards infrastructure development in the remote and far-flung areas and improving the road connectivity, he said.
“The bridge will reduce traffic congestion in the city and ease out inconvenience caused to the people specially those moving towards Budha Amarnath Shrine in Mandi as it reduces the travelling time considerably.”
The Army Commander appreciated the contribution of the District Administration for their support and cooperation during the construction of the bridge.
Beg to differ: Omar Abdullah
Srinagar, Jan 17: Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and National Conference (NC) vice-president Omar Abdullah on Thursday lashed out at the Northern Command Chief Lt General Ranbir Singh, on his “great year for security forces” remark.
Taking to Twitter, Abdullah wrote, the compulsion of killing militants/terrorists shouldn’t be treated as a cause for celebration.
“I beg to differ, a great year would be one in which no young man would join militancy, no terrorists would be killed & no security personnel would lose their lives in encounters. The compulsion of killing militants/terrorists shouldn’t be treated as a cause for celebration,” Abdullah wrote.
Abdullah was reacting to a statement by Gen Singh on the sidelines of the inauguration of the Kalai bridge in Poonch district. Gen Singh said 2018 had been a great year for the security forces as they had managed to kill 250 terrorists.
Heartening to meet Kashmiri students in Bangladesh: Shahid Afridi
Srinagar, Jan 17: Star Pakistan cricketer Shahid Afridi on Thursday met Kashmiri students in Bangladesh and interacted with them.
Afridi said that it was heartening to see Kashmiri students in Bangladesh who are studying medicine.“Heartening meeting with some Kashmiri students who are in Bangladesh on scholarship, studying Medicine. Keep up the hard work and making your people proud!,” he tweeted.
Afridi in the past has been in controversies over Kashmiri over his support to the Kashmir cause. He has been vocal about letting the people of Kashmir decide their future.