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UNSC urged to focus on violence against women in ‘India held Kashmir’

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WASHINGTON: Pakistan’s permanent representative Munir Akram has urged UN Security Council to focus on the ongoing violence against women in India-held Jammu and Kashmir.

During a Security Council debate on the week-long International Women’s Day, Munir Akram underlined the need to stop using sexual violence as a weapon in armed conflicts.

“Less visible in the Security Council’s debate is the ongoing violence against women and girls in India-occupied Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

“There’s documented evidence of rape and sexual violence being used as a weapon of war (in the region).”

The issue was highlighted at a recent virtual summit in Washington on ‘‘genocidal hate speech and the state’s responsibility”.

Adama Dieng, a former registrar of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, informed the gathering that “genocide is already underway in India” and asked the participants to suggest how to end it.

“Today, the fabric of inter-faith harmony is vandalized by increasing religious intolerance in India,” he said. “Unfortunately, authorities appear indifferent to the threat posed by intolerance and discrimination.”

Noting that there were over 200 million Muslims in India, Dieng said he was “disappointed when the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) targeting the Muslim minority was enacted”.

He urged world leaders to warn Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that “massacre in India will seriously endanger international relations”.

Alishaan Jafri, an Indian journalist who contributes to Wire and Al Jazeera, said that after 2014, there was a spate of hate crimes against Muslims, who were killed for eating beef.

“Most of the people, attacked from 2014 to 2019, were the most vulnerable as well, employed in the dairy and meat industry and they were simply killed by mobs.”

He pointed out that during the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown, Muslims were blamed for spreading the disease and were accused of trying to plot and take over India by killing Hindus.

“Even an influential Muslim Congress MP Salman Khurshid, India’s former minister for external affairs, was attacked and his house was burnt,” he recalled.

“India’s most famous Muslim superstar Shahrukh Khan was blamed for spitting at a funeral and this propaganda was spread by members of the ruling party.”

Kaushik Raaj, an Indian journalist and poet, told the gathering that things had changed drastically in India since the inception of the BJP regime in 2014.

He pointed out that the mob lynching of Muhammad Akhlaq in Uttar Pradesh drew a swift response from the international community, but the local president of the ruling party met the suspects and “promised them government jobs and they got government jobs”.

Raaj told the gathering that none of the culprits arrested for killing dozens of Muslims in New Delhi in 2020 had been punished.

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