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UN rights chief concerned by India violence, Kashmir situation

GENEVA: UN high commissioner for human rights Michelle Bachelet on Thursday raised concerns over the failure of Indian authorities to stop attacks against Muslims in the country.
The UN’s top human rights official was giving an update at the 43rd session of the Human Rights Council at the UN’s European headquarters in Geneva. She said the Citizenship Amendment Act passed by India was “of great concern.”
“Indians in huge numbers, and from all communities have expressed — in a mostly peaceful manner — their opposition to the act, and support for the country’s long tradition of secularism,” she said.
“I am concerned by reports of police inaction in the face of attacks against Muslims by other groups, as well as previous reports of excessive use of force by police against peaceful protesters,” said Bachelet.
“This has now widened into broader inter-communal attacks, with 34 people killed since Sunday. I appeal to all political leaders to prevent violence.”

Bachelet called on Indian political leaders to prevent further violence. The human rights chief also said that in Jammu and Kashmir, though some political leaders have been released and ordinary life has returned to normal in some ways, 800 people still remain under detention.
“Schools, businesses and livelihoods have been disrupted by the continued heavy military presence, and no steps have been taken to address allegations of excessive use of force and other serious human rights violations by security forces,” Bachelet alleged.
Bachelet said that while internet and mobile services have been partly restored following an order from the Supreme Court, the authorities in Jammu and Kashmir continue to impose excessive restrictions on the use of social media.
India had scrapped the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution on August 5 last year, and imposed a curfew in the state.
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