Mon, 06 Apr 2020

Geneva [Switzerland], Feb 28 (ANI): India on Thursday encouraged the United Nations' human rights body to develop a "better understanding and appreciation" of the freedoms and rights that are guaranteed and protected daily in a vibrant democracy like India before coming to any conclusions regarding Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and Kashmir.

India's statement comes after UN high commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Thursday expressed great concern over the CAA that was adopted last December.

"In India more broadly, the Citizenship Amendment Act adopted last December is of great concern. Indians in huge numbers, and from all communities, have expressed - in a mostly peaceful manner - their opposition to the Act, and support for the country's long tradition of secularism," said Bachelet.

Bachelet gave an oral update at the 43rd session of the Human Rights Council at the UN's European headquarters in Geneva.

"I am concerned by reports of police inaction in the face of attacks against Muslims by other groups, as well as previous reports of excessive use of force by police against peaceful protesters. This has now widened into broader inter-communal attacks, with 34 people killed since Sunday 23 February. I appeal to all political leaders to prevent violence," she said.

India in its reply that was read out by a representative, said, "We encourage the OHCHR to develop a better understanding and appreciation of the freedoms and rights that are guaranteed and protected daily in a vibrant democracy like India before coming to any conclusions.""We would continue to engage constructively with the Council and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) for the promotion and protection of human rights across the world," the statement said.

Referring to Bachelet's statement on the violence in Delhi, the statement noted that peaceful protests and demonstrations are part of India's democratic traditions.

"However, at the same time, violence has no place in the democratic ethos of India. We have taken all measures and restored peace and normalcy in the affected areas in Delhi," the statement said.

At least 38 people, including a police head constable, have died, while around 200 people were injured in the violence which erupted on February 23.

On Kashmir, Bachelet said "no steps" have been taken by the Indian government to address allegations of excessive use of force and other serious human rights violations by security forces.

On this, New Delhi said that the situation in Jammu and Kashmir is fast returning to normalcy despite serious provocations and attempts made by one country--signalling towards Pakistan.

"I would like to take this opportunity to inform the council that the situation in Jammu and Kashmir is fast returning to normalcy despite serious provocations and attempts made by one country to derail this process through its active support to terrorist groups and related entities," said the statement.

"Security forces have exercised maximum restraint and not a single live bullet has been fired and no civilian life has been lost in police action. India's democratic institutions are robust enough to respond to these external challenges while protecting and respecting the human rights of all," it added.(ANI)

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