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For once govt, opposition on the same page; Congress slams UN report on Kashmir

By Vikas

In times when the opposition parties are on their toes to oppose any stand taken by the government, it is nice to see that the Congress has decided to back the Centre over sensitive Kashmir issue. The Congress on Thursday rejected the United Nations' report on alleged human rights violation in Kashmir.

File photo of senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel

India earlier today rejected the UN report alleging human rights violations in Kashmir as "fallacious, tendentious and motivated". In a strong reaction, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said the report is "overtly prejudiced" and seeks to build a "false narrative".

"UNHRC report on Jammu and Kashmir is mischievous and misleading. We reject any such ploy to interfere in the internal affairs of India as Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India. The government deserves our full support to deal with the report," senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel told ANI.

Condemning the United Nations report, the Congress said the UN report needs to be junked as it has not taken into account the ground realities in Kashmir and has encouraged terrorists by terming them militant groups. The report has been prepared without understanding the ground situation in Jammu and Kashmir, Congress communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala said and asked if the United Nations should overlook state-sponsored terrorism being exported on Indian soil by Pakistan.

"Jammu and Kashmir is an integral and inseparable part of India. We reject UN Human Rights Report as a prejudiced attempt by vested interests to hurt India's sovereignty and national interests," he said.

"Congress party supports the government's stand in dismissing the report," he added.

Addressing reporters at the AICC headquarters, Congress leader and former Union minister Rajeev Shukla also condemned the report and said the Congress party supports the stand taken by the government of India on the issue. He also said terrorists cannot be termed militant groups fighting for their cause.

"I feel the United Nations report has been prepared without visiting the ground and I do not consider it right. The Congress supports the stand taken by the government of India... terming terrorists as militant groups and encouraging them should be rejected and condemned. The report is "not right" and should be rejected outright," he said.

Earlier in the day, the United Nations released the first of its kind report on alleged human rights violations in both "Indian-administered and Pakistan-administered Kashmir" and sought an international inquiry into these abuses.

The global human rights watch body also asked Pakistan to end its "misuse" of anti-terror legislation to persecute peaceful activists and quash dissent. Asserting that there was an "urgent need" to address the past and ongoing human rights violations, the report said, "any resolution to the political situation in Kashmir should entail a commitment to ending the cycles of violence and accountability for past and current human rights violations."

The report said, "the people on both sides of the Line of Control have been detrimentally impacted and suffer from limitations or denial of a range of human rights." The UN "Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Kashmir: Developments in the Indian State of J-K from June 2016 to April 2018, and General Human Rights Concerns in Azad J-K and Gilgit-Baltistan" also noted since the late 1980s, "a variety of armed groups has been actively operating in the Indian state of J-K."

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