Indian diplomats at the United Nations were left speechless on Tuesday under a barrage of accusations, backed by evidence, coming from exiled Kashmiri leaders who unfolded a horror list of things that India is doing and hiding from the world.
The day began when Syed Faiz Naqshbandi addressed the 30th session of UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. World diplomats and human rights activists were stunned when Naqshbandi mentioned a little known fact about Indian jails.
“More than 5,000 Kashmiris are languishing in Indian jails without trial,” Naqshbandi told the UN. This, he said, is in clear violation of the provisions of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Indian diplomats had some relief after Naqshbandi’s speech as other rights defenders drove the discussion toward other pressing issues.
Then another Kashmiri from the Indian-occupied region took to the floor and startled the audience with another piece of information about India that few knew: the mass graves.
Altaf Hussain Wani’s presentation came as a surprise to many, since India uses its films and culture to conceal its dark human rights record. Wani, the convener of Jammu and Kashmir National Front (JKNF), reminded the world community that India was hiding another ugly secret: mass graves.
India is the only democracy in the world where mass graves have been found in areas where the Indian army has a large presence.
India was not cooperating with UN Special procedures despite repeated reminders from UN officers, said Wani, quoting official UN documents.
“The height of Indian arrogance is such that it had not replied to Working Group’s letter wherein serious concern was expressed regarding the continuing construction work on the site of a newly discovered mass grave,” Wani told the UNHRC. And despite a number of requests seeking a formal approval from the government of India, the Working Group on disappeared persons was not allowed undertaking a visit to take stock of the worsening human rights situation in Kashmir.
It may be recalled here that the Working Group emphasized the importance of preserving mass graves sites, including ensuring that an effective criminal and forensic investigation can take place and to take appropriate measures to assist victims to achieve truth and justice. The Working Group regrets that it has not received a reply to a letter, transmitted jointly with two other special procedures mandate holders on 23 January 2015, concerning the allegations of continuing construction work on the site of newly discovered mass graves. On the other hand the Working Group, on 16 August 2010, had requested an invitation to undertake a visit to the country. No positive response has been received yet in spite of reminders sent. The Working Group hopes that a positive reply will be received soon from the Indian government.
The Kashmir Delegation consists of Altaf Hussain Wani-Delegation leader and senior Kashmir freedom leader, senior APHC leader-Syed Faiz Naqshbandi, Sardar Amjad Yousaf Khan-Executive Director Kashmir Institute of International Relations (KIIR), Ahmed Quraishi-Executive Director Youth Forum For Kashmir (YFK); an international Kashmir Lobbying Group, Prof. Shagufta Ashraf-human rights defender working with women & children and Zartasha Niazi-human rights defender.