With the general elections coming up in 2019, the Congress and the BJP are busy taking pot shots at each other, but the two finally seem to have found an issue of national importance to agree upon. The United Nations report that was released on Thursday seems to have achieved the impossible and witnessed the two parties coming together to protest it.
The UN released its first ever human rights report on Kashmir accusing security forces of gross human rights violations on both sides of the border. The report demanded Pakistan stop using its anti-terror legislation to crack down on activists. On the other hand, it accused India of using excessive force on civilians. "In responding to demonstrations that started in 2016, Indian security forces used excessive force that led to unlawful killings and a very high number of injuries," the report stated.
The report suggested that an inquiry committee be set up to investigate accusations of human rights violations in Kashmir and also suggested that Kashmiris' right to self-determination be respected, as international law allows it.
In response, India's ministry of external affairs issued a statement, calling the report "fallacious, tendentious and motivated". They also registered their protest with the United Nations and expressed concern over "individual prejudices are being allowed to undermine the credibility of a UN institution."
In a tweet posted by Raveesh Kumar, official spokesperson for the ministry of External Affairs, the government questioned the intent behind and report and also called it a 'compilation of unverified information'.
Though the report focuses on alleged human rights violations over two years starting July 2016 -- that is, under the Narendra Modi government -- the Congress didn't take its usual route of lambasting the BJP. Instead it issued a statement that echoes the government's concerns. It is important to point out that allegations of human rights violations and atrocities by the armed forces go long back in time and includes several years the Congress has been in power at the Centre.
"We reject the UN human rights report as a prejudiced attempt by vested interests to hurt India's sovereignty and national interests. The Congress supports the government's stand in dismissing the report. UNHRC has prepared the report remotely with zero understanding of the situation in J&K. How does the report justify terrorism by self-styled militants of JeM and Hizbul Mujahideen? Should the UN overlook the state-sponsored terrorism being exported to Indian soil by Pakistan?," the Congress statement said.