India hits out at OHCHR for comments on J&K

New Delhi, Dec 2: India on Thursday hit out at the UN human rights body OHCHR for its adverse comments on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, saying it “betrays” a complete lack of understanding of the security challenges in the region due to cross-border terrorism.

Arindam Bagchi, the spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), said authorities in India act against violations of law and not against legitimate exercise of rights.

Bagchi’s comments came in response to a statement made by the spokesperson of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on specific incidents in Jammu and Kashmir.

He said “baseless and unfounded” allegations were made against law enforcement authorities and security forces of India in the statement.

“It also betrays a complete lack of understanding on the part of the OHCHR of the security challenges faced by India from cross-border terrorism and its impact on the most fundamental human right, ‘the right to life’ of our citizens, including in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

“Referring to proscribed terrorist organisations as ‘armed groups’ demonstrates a clear bias on the part of OHCHR,” the MEA spokesperson said.

He said as a democratic country with an abiding commitment to promote and protect the human rights of its citizens, India takes all necessary steps to counter cross-border terrorism.

Bagchi said national security legislations like the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA) were enacted by Parliament to protect the sovereignty of India and ensure the security of its citizens.

“The arrest and subsequent detention of the individual referred to in the statement was done entirely as per the provisions of law,” he said.

“Authorities in India act against violations of law and not against legitimate exercise of rights. All such actions are strictly in accordance with the law,” the MEA spokesperson added.