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Sunday, May 19, 2024

UN Special Rapporteur Fernand de Varennes makes multiple false claims about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir

This tweet thread in response to a misleading statement by Fernand de Varennes, UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues with multiple false claims about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

Claim: Human rights violations have risen dramatically in Jammu and Kashmir since 2019 (after the abrogation of Article 370).
Fact: NOT a single civilian was killed in Law & Order problem since the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir however based on the 32-year statistics, it is evident from the facts and figures mentioned below about the false claim raised by the Special Rapporteur on minority issues and about the killings since 2019.
Claim: Denial of political participation rights of Kashmiri Muslims and minorities, following the suspension of democratic rights and local elections.
Fact: Kashmir division which has Muslim majority population have witnessed almost highest ever turnout in the Political Participation since last three decades of terrorism in the first-ever Election of District Development Council (DDC) in Jammu and Kashmir, which significantly is the first electoral exercise post abrogation of Article 370. The delimitation process was completed after 27 years since 1995, and these grassroots electoral processes are historic milestones in the history of J&K.
Claim: By holding a G20 meeting of the working group on tourism on 22-24 May, the Government of India is seeking to normalize what some have described as a military occupation by instrumentalising a G20 meeting and portray an international ‘seal of approval” in Kashmir.
Fact: G-20 meetings are being organised in entire India. It is neutral to hold a meeting in Kashmir as Kashmir is an integral part of India. The government of India has announced Srinagar as the venue for the G20 Tourism Working Group meeting scheduled to take place from May 22 to 24.

Hosting the G20 event in Kashmir shall also be the first step of major investments across the globe. In such a situation, the summit is considered to be very important from the point of view of the tourism sector. Along with the publicity campaign, various tourist places are being made attractive.

This meeting will not only host international events like G-20 but also will attract tourists across the globe to strengthen the tourism economy of J&K, which has highly being affected by terrorism since 1990. Tourism comprises approximately 10-15% of the GDP of Jammu and Kashmir, and also 50-60% of the total population of J&K is directly or indirectly engaged in tourism related activities.

Therefore Special Rapporteur on minority issues statement at this juncture is not only counterproductive for the economic stability of J&K but has further created negative image of J&K which is shaping as an investment hub and tourist destination internationally particularly after abrogation of Article 370.

Claim: The situation there has – if anything – become much worse since myself and fellow UN independent experts transmitted a communication to the Government of India in 2021…

Fact: The Special Rapporteur on minority issues misleading statement when he is ignoring the fact that not only the grassroot level elections, decentralization and democratization of power through good governance and developmental agenda is in place since 2019 in J&K.

The Parliament of India introduced J&K Reorganization Act, 2019, rendering Article 370 obsolete. This legislation enabled 890 central laws to become applicable to the region. These progressive legislations and policies were previously not available for use in J&K.

The progress of the women’s rights, child protection and juvenile justice system, disability rights , transgender rights, minority rights and other rights based legislations in the former State of J&K advanced at a slower pace than the rest of India.

J&K has had a sluggish attitude towards adopting and executing laws concerning women, children, disabled, transgender and other vulnerable groups compounded by terrorism which has affected thousands of women, children and other vulnerable groups in the region. This delay in enforcing central laws meant that implementation was slow to start.

These 890 central laws have now comprehensively increased and strengthened the rights-based framework in Jammu and Kashmir to safeguard the rights of all the Kashmiri and other minorities previously not exercising in the former state of J&K.

Claim: The Independent Expert noted that there have been reports of significant numbers of Hindus from outside the region moving into the region so that dramatic demographic changes are under way in J&K
Fact: The Special Rapporteur on minorities is also facilitating the propaganda and spreading unjust fear of demographic change in Jammu and Kashmir. There is no demographic change in J&K.

As per the data, a total of 185 persons from outside the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir have bought land in the UT during the years 2020, 2021, and 2022. The properties are located in Jammu, Reasi, Udhampur, and Ganderbal districts.

Therefore, this propaganda and misinformation is also baseless, mainly promoted by interest groups, particularly is the Pakistan based anti-India narrative.

Claim: The G20 is unwittingly providing a veneer of support to a facade of normalcy.
Fact: Hundreds of regional, national and International media houses and Journalists are working in Kashmir freely, there is nothing like “media suppression” in Kashmir, no one was illegally or arbitrary arrested in J&K as mentioned by UN Special Rapporteur.

According to data, 310 companies made investments in 2020-21, followed by 175 in 2021-22 and 1,074 in 2022-23 in J&K. J&K government has also received private investment proposals worth Rs 66,000 crore within two years.

Kashmir Valley is witnessing an exponential increase in the tourism flow due to successful campaigns to attract maximum tourists towards the region. In the first two months of 2023, over 2.5 lakh tourists have already visited Kashmir, and with the onset of spring, the numbers are increasing with each passing day. With FDI investment for the Mall of Srinagar and further upcoming projects, J&K’s development will boost the economy.

Therefore sweeping and misleading statements like this that too from the institution like UN should have at least been crosschecked, the sanctity of such statements can only harm the interests of the people of J&K who are on the receiving end by portraying this negative image before the international community rather to facilitating and safeguarding the Human Rights, this statement in turn can impede the tourism economy and socio-economic wellbeing of people of J&K.

(This article has been compiled from the tweet thread posted by @JKCDC_ on May 15, 2023, with minor edits to improve readability and conform to HinduPost style guide)

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