Asia - Pacific

India flayed for portraying false image of Kashmir

- New Delhi vainly tried to project image of normalcy in Kashmir to foreign diplomats, says Azad Kashmir president

Islamuddin Sajid   | 19.02.2021
India flayed for portraying false image of Kashmir

ISLAMABAD

The president of Azad Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday termed a recent "guided tour" for foreign diplomats of Indian-administered Kashmir as an attempt by India to "project a false image of normalcy" in the disputed territory.

President Masood Khan denounced what he called "India's stage-managed" visit of a group of Delhi-based envoys to the "Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir."

"Kashmir is burning and India has vainly tried to project an image of normalcy in the territory," Khan, president of Pakistan-administered Jammu and Kashmir, also called Azad Kashmir, said in a statement.

India flew a group of foreign envoys to Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday for a two-day trip -- the third such visit of foreign envoys since Aug. 5, 2019, when New Delhi scrapped the Himalayan valley's autonomous status, and imposed a security and communications lockdown.

While parts of Kashmir remained shut in protest, the dignitaries were taken on Wednesday to a government college in the Budgam district, as well as to the holy Muslim shrine in Hazratbal.

"The visit is a farce because the envoys know the bitter truth about the occupied valley," Khan said, adding: "They went out of sheer courtesy."

"Their presence in selected and 'sanitized locations' of Srinagar will not underwrite the occupation authority's crime against humanity being committed with impunity in the territory," the president said.

"It was totally stage-managed event. Sufferers barricaded and silenced," said Khan. "Envoys are not stupid; they knew what was being hidden under a thick pall of tyranny," he added.

"No access was given to common Kashmiris to meet the visiting envoys," the president said.

The visiting envoys also met with some elected counselors, journalists, and business leaders in the evening. However, many senior journalists representing both foreign and local media were not invited to "interaction."

Before the visit, the authorities concerned removed military bunkers manned by Indian armed forces and paramilitary soldiers in Srinagar and its outskirts.

Khan asked: "If India is so confident," why doesn't it receive a delegation of the Human Rights Council as recommended by the High Commissioner of the UN Human Rights Council in its reports of 2018 and 2019?

He also criticized the international community's silence on alleged human rights violations in Kashmir.

"The Indian fascism -- Hindutva -- is threatening the stability of South Asia," he warned.

"Unfortunately, the authors and custodians of the world, [...] have started either backtracking from their commitments to protect human rights or soft-pedaling them because of political expediency leading to glaring double standards," the president lamented.

- Disputed region

Kashmir is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also controlled by China.

Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars, two of them over Kashmir.

Some Kashmiri groups have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or unification with neighboring Pakistan.

According to several human rights organizations, thousands of people have been killed and tortured in the conflict that flared up in 1989.

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