Hardly Any Information Coming Out of Kashmir is of Great Concern: UN Human Rights Spokesman

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A CRPF jawan stands guard in Srinagar. —  PTI file photo

NEW DELHI (Agencies) — The United Nations Human Rights spokesperson has expressed “great concern” over the information blackout in Jammu and Kashmir which continued after India scrapped its special status earlier this week.

In a statement shared on Wednesday via a video on Twitter, the spokesperson said that what had already been observed to be a pattern, was taken to a “new level” with the latest restrictions placed by India which he said “will exacerbate the human rights situation in the region”.

“We are deeply concerned that the latest restrictions in Indian-Administered Kashmir will exacerbate the human rights situation in the region. The fact that hardly any information at all is currently coming out is of great concern in itself,” said Rupert Colville, spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Wednesday.

Jammu and Kashmir has been on lockdown since Sunday night as India imposed severe restrictions in the region and next day abrogated all special provisions guaranteed to the state through a presidential decree.

The Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government further lowered down the status of the region dividing it into two centrally-controlled “Union Territories”.

“We are seeing again blanket telecommunications restrictions, perhaps more blanket than we have seen before; the reported arbitrary detention of political leaders and restrictions on peaceful assembly,” Colville said.

“What we are witnessing in the region “takes what was already a bit of a pattern to a new level.

“These restrictions will prevent the people of Indian-administered Kashmir and their elected representatives from participating fully in democratic debate about the future status of Jammu and Kashmir,” the spokesman added.

Internet, social media, mobile and landline telephone services have been cut off in the region since last Sunday.

Meanwhile, a UN official has said that they were making contacts with India and Pakistan at “various levels”.

Responding to questions at the regular noon briefing in New York, spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Stephane Dujarric said Wednesday: “There is no reluctance on the part of the secretary-general [to engage]… We are very well aware and following the situation with a lot of concern.”

Dujarric did not specify at what level the contacts were taking place.

However, he confirmed that Pakistan foreign minister has sent a letter to the UN secretary-general which has been received.

“The letter, seeking UN intervention in resolving the crisis, would also be circulated to the 15 members of the [UN] Security Council, as requested,” he added.

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