Saturday, February 23, 2019 | 8:54 AM

India suffers two major diplomatic setbacks in a week

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Indian media has started pointing towards a “global conspiracy” after the country suffered two big diplomatic setbacks last week when the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) called for an international investigation into abuses in Indian-Held Kashmir (IHK) and America's Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) labelled the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal as “militant religious outfits”.

Media reports said that Indian mission tried its best to lobby the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) but all its efforts failed. India lobbied at the UNHRC for more than three months but its relentless lobbying to get support from countries on the OHCHR’s report turned futile as only Mauritius and Bhutan delivered statements in India’s favour, said a source in Geneva.

Indian media has posted pictures of UNHRC officials with Pakistani and Kashmiri delegates to suggest that the UN’s western officials were influenced by Kashmiris against India. Some Indian channels have blasted the US administration for being in cahoots with the so-called anti-India lobby for publicly stating, for the first time, that two Indian Hindutva groups were militant and involved in extremist activities.

Indian media has cried that at the international front, India is being targeted while Pakistan is being favoured and not criticised enough. Pakistani officials have often said that it’s a victim of anti-Pakistan lobbying at the international level while the world community has been silent on India’s acts of terrorism against its own people. Indian politicians are so upset that they have said that reports by UN and CIA must be “binned” and that these reports are a conspiracy against India.

The UN human rights chief has called for an international investigation into abuses in Indian Held Kashmir as his office released its first-ever report on alleged rights violations committed by India.

Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said he would urge the Human Rights Council, which opens a new session next week, "to consider establishing a Commission of Inquiry (COI) to conduct a comprehensive independent international investigation into allegations of human rights violations in Kashmir".

"Alleged sites of mass graves in the Kashmir Valley and Jammu region should be investigated," he said in a statement. According to the 49-page report, Indian security forces have used excessive force in Kashmir and killed and wounded numerous civilians since 2016.

Pakistan's Foreign Office welcomed the report, saying it was consistent with Islamabad's demands for an investigation into "gross and systemic violations, including pellet guns, excessive use of force, arbitrary arrest and detentions...".

"The contents, scale and the narrative of killings, maiming, abuse and impunity articulated in the report is a reaffirmation of what Pakistan has long highlighted for the international community.”

Also last week, the CIA labelled the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal as 'militant religious outfits'. The CIA has also called the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) and Jamiat Ulema-e Hind (Mahmood Madani) as nationalist groups while referring to the All Parties Hurriyat Conference as a separatist group. The APHC says it’s a legitimate resistance movement fighting against the occupation of Kashmir by India.

The CIA said in its World Factbook - which feeds intelligence or factual reference material on a country or issue to the US government – that the Hindutva groups were involved in militant activities and targeted members of non-Hindu communities, using extremist and militant means.

The Bajrang Dal and VHP have been associated with incidents of communal polarisation across India. Their members are known for issuing death threats, beating activists, women and minority members and journalists. They have raised funds abroad to use against local communities.