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KASHMIR: UN Chief Appeals to India, Pakistan

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United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks in November, 2018, at an event to mark International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on the theme
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

Guterres met representatives of India and Pakistan at their request to discuss the situation and he has appealed to both sides to deal with the situation through dialogue …. Writes Arul Louis

KATOWICE, Dec. 3, 2018 (Xinhua) -- United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addresses the UN Climate Change Conference in Katowice, Poland, Dec. 3, 2018. Delegates from nearly 200 countries began talks on Sunday on urgent actions to curb climate change three years after the landmark Paris Climate Change Agreement set a goal of keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius. The two-week UN Climate Change Conference, known as COP24, is held in the southern Polish city of Katowice. (Xinhua/Jaap Arriens/IANS) by .
United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is concerned about the situation in Kashmir and is clear that it can only be resolved when human rights is respected, according to his Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq.

Asked by a reporter at the noon briefing on Thursday about Kashmir being made into a Union Territory and losing its flag and Constitution, Haq said he was reiterating “our basic concerns that the Secretary-General has previously expressed, his concerns about the situation in Kashmir”.

“We make clear, particularly as the Human Right Commissioner (Michele Bachelet) has made clear, the situation in Kashmir can only be solved with full respect for human rights,” he said.

Guterres has met with representatives of India and Pakistan at their request to discuss the situation and he has appealed to both sides to deal with the situation through dialogue, he added.

At the stroke of midnight on October 31, what was the state of Jammu and Kashmir was split into two Union Territories — Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

This follows the central government’s decision in August to revoke Article 370 of the constitution that gave Kashmir special status and Parliament passing the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act to make the change.

Congressman Supports Modi

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George Holding

A US Congressman has praised Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Parliament for “promoting stability” in Jammu and Kashmir by revoking Article 370 which “created a polarising environment and was exploited politically”.

George Holding, a Representative for North Carolina’s 2nd Congressional District, said in the House: “Up until recently, Kashmir had been governed by Article 370, which was an outdated provision of law that the Indian constitution recognised as ‘temporary’.”

He said the Indian Parliament “modified provisions that were an obstacle to economic development and promoted a sense of separatism”, by revocating Article 370 on August 5.

“Article 370 might have worked well for those with political connections, but it denied economic opportunities for the people. It also created a polarising environment that was exploited politically.”

He said during the past decades, “thousands of people lost their lives due to terrorist attacks. Several groups based in Pakistan were able to conduct cross-border terrorism that wreaked havoc on individuals and families, and led to a morbid economy”.

“The Modi government had to make a decision on whether to continue with the policy or to pursue progress by changing the region’s status.

“Madam Speaker, the people of Jammu and Kashmir deserve better and Prime Minister Modi was right to take bold steps to address this situation.

“Changes to the status of Jammu and Kashmir passed Parliament by a two-thirds majority, which highlights the consensus on the need for this reform.

“Even with these changes, those seeking to cause disruption have continued to promote violence,” Holding added.

“Pakistan-based terror groups have recently floated posters warning common citizens against venturing out, going to work, and visiting public places. The groups have continued to engage in cross-border terrorism and have attacked civilians and children. The militants have also attacked migrant workers and those who are involved in the apple business, which is the chief crop of Kashmir.”

He said that in order for Jammu and Kashmir to flourish, “there must be peace and stability”.

“Individuals and families need to feel safe when they leave their homes and go to work.

“The steps that Prime Minister Modi and the Parliament have taken are needed. They are good for the long-term stability of the region and they should be applauded,” he added.

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