J&K shall forever be integral part: India at UNHRC

Jammu and Kashmir, Vikas Swarup at UNHRC, UN Human Rights Council, UNHRC jammu akshmir, Indian express

“Jammu and Kashmir was, is and shall forever remain an integral part of India,” Vikas Swarup said. (File)

Jammu and Kashmir “was, is and shall forever” remain an integral part of India, top Indian diplomat Vikas Swarup asserted at the UN Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) meeting in Geneva on Wednesday, a day after Pakistan sought the international community’s intervention on the Kashmir issue.

Speaking at the 43rd session of the UNHRC, being held from February 24 to March 20, Swarup, Secretary (West), Ministry of External Affairs, described Pakistan as the “epicentre of global terrorism”.

He called for decisive action against those who direct, control, fund and shelter terrorists - an obvious reference to Pakistan, which is accused by its neighbours of providing safe havens to terror groups.

“It is more than a little ironical that a nation that has become the world’s leading exporter of terror and violence seeks to lecture others about human rights,” Swarup said.

“Jammu and Kashmir was, is and shall forever remain an integral part of India,” he said.

This comes a day after Pakistan’s Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari alleged that India continues to violate human rights of Kashmiris and demanded immediate repeal of all actions by New Delhi on August 5 last year, when special status granted by the Constitution to the erstwhile state was scrapped.

Swarup said transformative changes “wrought by our Parliament last August were meant to strengthen the integration of the state. It was intended to ensure the extension of all progressive legislation passed for the entire country to cover this region, and to resume the pace of socioeconomic development in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.”

Despite Pakistan’s best efforts over the decades to destabilise J&K through externally instigated terror and a campaign of canards and untruth, the situation on the ground is quite normal, he said.

“Most temporary restrictions —- imposed solely to ensure safety of the people from Pakistani-trained terrorist attacks —- have already been removed, political processes have resumed, telecom facilities have been largely restored, development activities are being undertaken at a rapid pace, and there is access for all to education and healthcare,” Swarup said.

He said schools, colleges and universities have resumed and regular examinations are being held. Hospitals, clinics and pharmacies are well-stocked and staffing is at full capacity, he added.

“These have been achieved despite Pakistan’s frenetic attempts to promote both violence within our territory —- with an 81-per cent increase in infiltration attempts since last August —- and disinformation outside.