Srinagar: The joint resistance leadership (JRL) on Monday urged UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to take note of rights abuses by the armed forces in the state, and to play his role in resolving the long pending Kashmir dispute.
In a letter addressed to the UN Chief, senior JRL leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik have said that India’s refusal to talk was doing unimaginable harm not only to Kashmir, but to the entire South Asian region at a time during which interconnectedness culturally, economically and politically was the driving force in international relations.
“We would like to urge you to advocate that New Delhi engage with us in Kashmir and with Pakistan, with whom India’s relations are also deteriorating by the day. We have a right to self-determination. Delhi would like us to abdicate that responsibility before they talk. To cede to that demand would be to concede before talks, rendering talks unnecessary,” the JRL letter reads.
The JRL leaders also drew attention of UN Chief Guterres to the alleged human rights violations committed by the Indian armed forces.
“Indian forces continue to shower pellets and bullets indiscriminately on the unarmed civilian population. According to estimates, more than 16000 people in Kashmir have been seriously injured by pellets while hundreds have been permanently blinded,” the letter adds.
The JRL leaders write that during the cordon and search operations, the forces assault residents and damage their properties.
“A warlike situation exists in Anantnag, Bandipora, Baramulla, Kulgam, Pulwama and Shopian districts,” the letter reads.
It adds that Jammu and Kashmir was not a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan but primarily a question of the rights of the peoples of the State of J&K
“And that resolution must be sought within the parameters of that definition as well. In this regard, we would like to emphasize that this facet of the dispute can only be addressed if we, the peoples of the state, are permitted to represent our case and therefore ask you to champion our right to be heard on the dispute as the primary party to it,” the letter adds.