Delhi coercing Kashmiri activities going abroad
Geneva—The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein, in his opening remarks here at the first session of Human Rights Council’s second decade since its formation, criticized India for failing to allow a UN team to visit victims in Kashmir. He accused India of ‘excessive use of force’ and demanded an international probe into continued killings in Kashmir.
This was the harshest assessment of Indian role in Kashmir from the UN in half a century, and dealt a blow to Indian diplomacy over Kashmir.
A top Kashmir civil rights activist who testified earlier in European Parliament, and an Indian lawyer who served in the UN tribunal on Rwanda, succeeded in reaching the United Nations in Geneva to challenge India’s narrative on Kashmir. But Parvez Imroz, Kashmir’s best known rights defender, and Kartik Murukutla, the Indian civil rights lawyer, expressed fear they may be banned from international travel in future by New Delhi.
Their third colleague, Khurram Parvez, a leading Kashmir youth activist, was not allowed by India at New Delhi airport to board a plane for Geneva. Parvez and his team in the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) created the first Kashmiri document of human rights violations by Indian army officers and soldiers in a three-year effort that resulted in a 700-page document.
A young Indian lawyer, Kartik Murukutla, also arrived in Geneva and addressed a packed hall of rights experts and activists who are monitoring the recent escalation in Indian-occupied Kashmir. Murukutla, who is not a Kashmiri, has been active in defending the Kashmir freedom movement. He acts as the legal counsel for the JKCCS and is one of the rare Indian civil society voices that speak openly in defense of Kashmiris in India.
Parvez Imroz is a veteran civil rights activist who has testified at European Parliament on mass graves in Kashmir.
The side event at the UN Building in Geneva was the first in a series of weeklong meetings that Imroz and Murukutla are expected to hold with diplomats, rights defenders and international law experts here.