Channel 4 has accused India of war crimes in Jammu and Kashmir.
The hour-long TV documentary, ‘Kashmir’s torture trail’ telecast late Tuesday lashed out at India over atrocities committed by its troops, while UK’s Guardian newspaper, too, attacked the Indian government also on the same issue.
The UK is yet to respond to Channel 4 allegations against India. Analysts noted that the latest UK human rights report, too, avoided commenting on India’s human rights record, though two senior UN officials lambasted India over rights violations.
Diplomatic and political sources, based in Geneva, said that UN demand that India abolish the National Security Act, the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, and the Unlawful Activities Act etc highlighted the insensitivity of those in the UN system.
Addressing the 19th sessions of the UNHRC Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, Margaret Sekaggya accused India of failing to implement existing law instruments. The former Ugandan judicial officer alleged that some of the relevant Indian laws were out-dated and not in conformity with international human rights standards.
India also came under fire for targeting journalists. The UN official went to the extent of accusing the judiciary and human rights commissions, both at the central and state level of failing to do their duty. She asserted that the judiciary and human rights commissions needed to do much more to ensure a safe and conducive environment for defenders.
The UN also recommended that the ‘highest authorities of the state’ recognise the importance and legitimacy of the work and work accordingly.
Sekaggya said that Indian security forces, police and intelligence agencies should be made aware of and trained in the role and rights of human rights defenders. She stressed the need to train Indian forces on international human rights standards to ensure they comply with required standards.
Sources said that it would be important to establish how the Channel 4 production team had been in the Kashmir valley at the time of last year’s stone-pelting incidents in which over 100 youths were killed.