Friday July 13, 2018
On July 7 and Sunday July 8, 2018, Friends of Kashmir Committee Canada (FKCC), and the Canadian Council for Justice and Peace in collaboration with a number of other organizations held two successful conferences on Kashmir in Toronto and Hamilton. President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Masood Khan was the chief guest.
Naturally, the UNHCHR report released on June 14, 2018 was also mentioned during conference deliberations.
The Indian government has rejected the report calling it “fallacious, tendentious and motivated” and a “compilation of unverified information,” without explaining why.
Indian media outlets (IndiaToday and the Times of India) added their own twist to the facts in their July 10 reports of the conferences in Canada.
They made the ludicrous assertion that Friends of Kashmir Committee Canada had ‘initiated’ a petition and its representatives were in ‘constant communication’ with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR).
This is completely false.
The petition was launched by the UK-based human rights campaigner, Dr Rita Pal. Thousands of people from all over the world including the Friends of Kashmir Committee Canada and Kashmir Welfare Society, supported it and their members signed it.
FKCC also communicated with the Office of the UN High Commissioner urging them to launch an inquiry into human rights abuses in Indian occupied Kashmir (IOK).
The UN High Commissioner’s office stated that they have been denied access to both sides of the Line of Control in Kashmir.
Upon inquiry from the Pakistan Foreign Office through its spokesperson, FKCC was informed that Pakistan would welcome a visit by UNHCHR representatives provided India did likewise.
India refused to allow the UNHCHR to visit Indian occupied Kashmir.
Indian media reports have alleged that FKCC and its representatives were in ‘constant touch’ with the UN High Commissioner implying that the report was compiled under their influence.
This is utterly false and reflects the depths to which the RSS-inspired Indian media outlets and the rightwing Indian government would sink to distort the truth.
FKCC’s involvement with Dr Rita Pal’s petition to the UNHCR was to urge as many people as possible to sign. Of this we are proud and would do so again if there were another opportunity.
Representatives of UNHCHR contacted human rights organizations, hospital sources and civil society groups in Indian occupied Kashmir directly to compile the report. This is stated in their report.
Launching and signing a petition to investigate allegations of human rights abuses is the most natural way to urge officials to deal with an issue.
The rightwing BJP Indian government and its RSS-inspired media outlets are trying to discredit the UNHCHR report by resorting to half-truths and outright lies. This they have done publicly including at the UN.
Indulging in name calling of representatives of FKCC is a despicable attempt to divert attention from India’s gross human rights violations in Kashmir.
More than 700,000 heavily armed Indian occupation troops have indulged in heinous crimes against the hapless Kashmiris. More than 11,000 women and young girls have been gang-raped. Indian occupation forces act with complete impunity without fear of prosecution.
Human rights organizations including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch as well as civil society groups in Kashmir and India have documented these abuses.
The International Committee of the Red Cross also reported that torture of imprisoned civilian Kashmiri youth was widespread. ‘Militants’ were killed instantly (WikiLeaks documents from US Embassy in Delhi to the State Department, April 2005).
Tens of thousands of civilians including women and children have been killed in cold blood, while thousands of Kashmiri youth have simply disappeared. More than 6,000 unmarked mass graves have also been discovered.
These constitute crimes against humanity.
Instead of trying to divert attention from its crimes, India should allow independent international investigators, such as representatives of the UNHCHR, to visit Indian occupied Kashmir to ascertain the truth. Failing that, one can only draw one conclusion: India is guilty as charged!