EU Committee assails abuses in held Kashmir
23 August 2004
Strasburg: Human Rights abuses by the Indian troops in the occupied Kashmir continue to feed cycle of violence and the average custodial killings of innocent Kashmiris stands at 17 per day. This was disclosed at a press briefing here by members of an ad hoc delegation of the European Union Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, Common Security and Defence Policy which was sent to both parts of Kashmir with a view to formulating inputs to future EU policy on the region and the Jammu and Kashmir. The delegation, which was headed by Mr John Cushnahan, presented its report at a press briefing in the presence of representatives of the Brussels-based Kashmir Centre for Human Rights US Embassy and Charge d' Affairs of Pakistan Embassy. No one from the Indian side attended. Mr Gahrton, a member of the delegation, told newsmen that he was at bay to understand visible antagonism on the part of Indian officials towards holding of plebiscite in Kashmir and said that such a negative approach was not understandable as the plebiscite was the part of the firm commitment given by the UN as well as late Indian Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru. Mr David Bowe, another member of the delegation who toured held Kashmir, was amazed at the concentration of Indian troops in the valley, which, he said, he had not seen anywhere in the world. He also said that 'Kashmir has been turned into the most beautiful prison in the world'. The delegation, in its report to the EU Parliament Committee, recommended that three parties are involved in Kashmir and all must be fully associated to find out its resolution; human rights abuses by the Indian troops must be stopped; ceasefire violations by Indian must stop as there have been at least 1,000 deaths since early 2004; Kashmiris' struggle is indigenous and must be respected; draconian POTA law must be scrapped; and the UN be permitted entry into held Kashmir through United Nations Observers Group in Indian and Pakistan. The delegation members were of the firm conviction that process of dialogue must continue, as it can be meaningful in the long run. They also proposed that a conference involving experts from both sides of Kashmir, India, Pakistan and European Union be held to examine options for resolution of the issue. They also expressed their dismay that the international community had not shown any enduring commitment to the problem of Kashmir whose early resolution was vital for peace in the South Asia.