UN and India’s human rights record


That United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has chided India over its worst human rights violations in the illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir has, on the one hand, brought glad tidings to the majority Muslim community living under the yoke of subjugation and, on the other hand, reinforced Pakistan’s moral and diplomatic stance that Kashmiris have been waging a legitimate freedom struggle to break India’s inhuman grip over the valley.
The UN chief’s visit to India, though purely connected with the initiatives related to climate change, and his speech in Mumbai are seen as a major success for Pakistan on the international front with regard to the lingering Kashmir issue and the unabated human rights violations taking place there under well-hatched conspiracy of the Hindu nationalist central government.
Since August 2019, when the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi stripped the valley of its special constitutional status, India has unleashed a renewed reign of terror and repression to turn the Muslim majority into a minority and cement its death grip over the occupied valley.
The United Nations (UN), which has been onboard on the Kashmir issue from the very outset and has passed several resolutions on Kashmiris’ right to self-determination, can neither wriggle itself out of the commitments made with Kashmiris, Pakistan and the international community to seek a peaceful solution to the issue, nor it can absolve itself of the horrible violations of human rights by the Indian government in the Jammu and Kashmir valley.
Guterres said in Mumbai that as an elected member of the UN Human Rights Council, India has a responsibility to shape global human rights, and to protect and promote the rights of all individuals, including members of minority communities in the country. But, the ground reality is altogether different.
Guterres’s speech maybe termed as a major success for Pakistan’s young foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who through its vocal agenda on Kashmir, compelled the UN General Assembly and its delegates to highlight the plight of people of Kashmir living under the suppression of India for decades.
It is worth-mentioning that in April this year the US state department had in its latest report on human rights had highlighted major violations in the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir, which included extra-judicial killings, fake encounters, violence against Muslims and killings by the occupation forces.
Citing incidents from the recent submissions made by the state in UN, Geterres held the Indian authorities responsible for failing to protect and promote the rights of all individuals, including members of other religious minority communities.
Antonio Guterres’s speech has also substantiated concerns of India’s religious minorities about the increasing violence against them by the Hindu nationalists. It should be taken as a call for an end to sectarian and religious violence and physical attacks on Muslims in different states of India.
Crackdown on media and civil society groups, assaults on fundamental freedoms and, particularly, the attacks by Hindu zealots affiliated with the Modi government smashed the secular image of India and raised serious reservations over its membership in the UN human rights council.
In fact, India has failed to conceal the real face of BJP government. The UN needs to take the initiative and bring into force its resolutions on Kashmir plebiscite, Kashmiris’ right to self-determination and stop the BJP government from its ill-conceived steps, such as abolition of Kashmir’s autonomous constitutional status and attacks on Muslims in various other states.
Critics and diplomatic circles view that the approach of New Delhi to curtail the indigenous Kashmir freedom struggle through its illegal constitutional amendments and increasing the number of forces already stationed in the disputed valley will bear no fruits at all. However, the destructive path taken by Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatya Janata Party to usurp the rights of Kashmiris and alter the demography of the region by force will have serious repercussions in future.