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Indian defence minister dismisses UNHRC Kashmir report as 'baseless'

India's defence minister, Nirmala Sitharaman dismissed the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) report on Kashmir as "baseless", ANI reported. 

"The report was prepared while sitting somewhere else. The assessment made by UNHRC has no basis. They are not aware of the ground realities in Kashmir," Ms Sitharaman said. 

"The army is able to eliminate terrorists on the borders itself," she added. 

The report published last month by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights noted that "in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir from July 2016 to April 2018 over which period allegations of widespread and serious human rights violations were received, notably excessive use of force by Indian security forces that led to numerous civilian casualties."

"In responding to demonstrations that started in July 2016, Indian security forces used excessive force that led to unlawful killings and a very high number of injuries. Civil society estimates are that 130 to 145 civilians were killed by security forces between mid-July 2016 and end of March 2018, and 16 to 20 civilians were killed by armed groups in the same period. One of most dangerous weapons used against protesters during the unrest in 2016 was the pellet-firing shotgun, which is a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun that fires metal
pellets."

"There remains an urgent need to address past and ongoing human rights violations and to deliver justice for all people in Kashmir who have been suffering seven decades of conflict. Any resolution to the political situation in Kashmir should entail a commitment to ending the cycles of violence and accountability for past and current human rights violations and abuses committed by all parties and redress for victims. Such a resolution can only be brought about by meaningful dialogue that includes the people of Kashmir."