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UN Official Calls for Probe of Kashmir Human Rights Abuses


FILE - Indian army soldiers patrol a street near a site of a gunbattle between Indian security forces and suspected militants in Khudwani village of South Kashmir's Kulgam district, April 11, 2018.

The U.N. human rights chief is calling for an international inquiry into alleged human rights abuses in Kashmir.

Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein issued the call Thursday in conjunction with the first report issued by his office on the situation in Kashmir, which it says highlights "chronic impunity for violations committed by security forces" in both the Indian and Pakistani controlled regions of the Himalayan territory since 2016.

The report accuses troops in the Indian-held region of committing as many as 145 unlawful killings between July 2016 and April of this year, while 20 people were estimated to have been killed by armed militants.

Zeid said he will urge the U.N. Human Rights Council to open an inquiry into Kashmir when the council opens a new session in Geneva next week.

The report said human rights violations in Pakistan-administered Kashmir "are of a different caliber or magnitude," while calling attention to restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly. It said Pakistan's military continues to support the operations of armed groups across the Line of Control.

People carry the body of Ghulam Hassan Wagay, a policeman who according to local media was killed in a militant attack in south Kashmir's Pulwama district on Monday night, during his funeral at Wohlutra village in north Kashmir's Baramulla district, June 12, 2018.
People carry the body of Ghulam Hassan Wagay, a policeman who according to local media was killed in a militant attack in south Kashmir's Pulwama district on Monday night, during his funeral at Wohlutra village in north Kashmir's Baramulla district, June 12, 2018.

India's Foreign Ministry strongly rejected the report as "fallacious, tendentious and motivated. "It said the report is a selective compilation of "largely unverified information," which seeks to build a false narrative and questioned the intent in bringing out the report.

New Delhi says the report ignores the pattern of cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan and territories under its control.

There was no immediate comment from Pakistan.

India and Pakistan both claim Kashmir, and have fought two wars over the disputed region since the split of Hindu-dominated India and Muslim-dominated Pakistan after India gained its independence from Britain in 1947.

Both sides in recent months have exchanged gunfire and artillery fire across the Line of Control that divides Kashmir between the two nuclear-armed rivals, forcing tens of thousands of civilians on the Indian side to flee their homes.

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