New Delhi: As the lockdown in Kashmir entered its sixth week, the chief of the United Nations Human Rights Council on Monday said she was “deeply concerned” about the severe restrictions ordered by the centre since it scrapped Jammu and Kashmir’s special status last month.Tensions between India and Pakistan spiked after India abrogated provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution to withdraw Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and bifurcated it into two Union Territories, evoking strong reactions from Pakistan.
“I am deeply concerned about the impact of recent actions by the Government of India on the human rights of Kashmiris, including restrictions on internet communications and peaceful assembly, and the detention of local political leaders and activists,” the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said in her opening statement at the 42nd session of the Human Rights Council.
“While I continue to urge the Governments of India and Pakistan to ensure that human rights are respected and protected, I have appealed particularly to India to ease the current lockdowns or curfews; to ensure people’s access to basic services; and that all due process rights are respected for those who have been detained,” she said.
Bachelet said it was important that the people of Kashmir are consulted and engaged in any decision-making processes that have an impact on their future. Asserting that abrogation of Article 370 was its internal matter, India has strongly criticised Pakistan for making “irresponsible statements” and provocative anti-India rhetoric over issues internal to it.Last month, the Indian government had scrapped provisions of Article 370 of the constitution, withdrawing Jammu and Kashmir’s decades-old special status. It also divided the state into two union territories.