India on Thursday said raising the issues of Kashmir and the status of minorities by the U.N. Special Rapporteurs on minority issues and freedom of religion was “deplorable”. The strong response from the spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, Anurag Srivastava, came soon after the experts connected the Indian policy on Kashmir with the status of religious minorities in India and said they could face discrimination in “employment and land ownership”.
“It is deplorable that the SRs after sharing their questionnaire on February 10 did not even wait for our response. Instead, they chose to release their inaccurate assumptions to the media. The press release has also been deliberately timed to coincide with the visit of a group of Ambassadors to Jammu and Kashmir,” said Mr. Srivastava.
The UN rapporteurs on minority issues and religious freedom spoke out on a day when India had taken a delegation of resident diplomats to Kashmir days after the restoration of 4G service in the region.
“The loss of autonomy and the imposition of direct rule by the government in New Delhi suggests the people of Jammu and Kashmir no longer have their own government and have lost power to legislate or amend laws in the region to ensure the protection of their rights as minorities,” said Fernand de Varennes, Special Rapporteur on minority issues, and Ahmed Shaheed, Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief on Thursday.
In response, Mr. Srivastava said, the press release from the U.N. experts “disregards the fact that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral and inalienable part of India” and that the decision to alter the status of Article 370 was taken on August 5, 2019 by the Parliament of India.