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UN releases first of its kind report on the status of Rights in Kashmir, PoK

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The UN today released the first of its kind report on alleged human rights violations in both “Indian-administered and Pakistan-administered Kashmir” and sought an international inquiry into these abuses.

The global human rights watch body also asked Pakistan to end its “misuse” of anti-terror legislation to persecute peaceful activists and quash dissent.

Asserting that there was an “urgent need” to address the past and ongoing human rights violations, the report said, “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.”

The report said, “the people on both sides of the Line of Control have been detrimentally impacted and suffer from limitations or denial of a range of human rights.”

While there was no immediate reaction from India on the latest report, but the government has been maintaining that the Indian democracy has all that is required to address legitimate grievances.

There can’t be any comparison between Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir as “the former has a democratically elected government while the latter has seen a Pakistani diplomat arbitrarily appointed as its head”, Indian officials have been maintaining.

The UN “Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Kashmir: Developments in the Indian State of J-K from June 2016 to April 2018, and General Human Rights Concerns in Azad J-K and Gilgit-Baltistan” also noted since the late 1980s, “a variety of armed groups has been actively operating in the Indian state of J-K.”

The report also talked about killing of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani by the Indian forces which triggered unprecedented protests in the Valley during this period.

There has been documented evidence of these groups committing a wide range of human rights abuses, including kidnappings and killings of civilians and sexual violence, it added.

“Despite the Government of Pakistan’s assertions of denial of any support to these groups, experts believe that Pakistan’s military continues to support their operations across the Line of Control in Indian-Administered Kashmir,” the report said.

The report also sought repealing of the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act, 1990 “urgently” and also “immediately remove the requirement for prior central government permission to prosecute security forces personnel accused of human rights violations in civilian courts.”

This is for the first time the UNHRC has issued a report on the alleged human rights violations in Kashmir and PoK.

Given that India has been maintaining that people in J-K were victims of cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan, which was training and arming militants and helping them infiltrate across the Line of Control (LoC), the UN report may not go down well with New Delhi.

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Government likely to make announcement on RBI soon: Finance Secretary

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RBI

New Delhi | The government is likely to make an announcement regarding Urjit Patel’s successor as Reserve Bank of India’s Governor later in the day, Finance Secretary A N Jha said.

RBI has been rendered headless following Patel’s unexpected resignation, with immediate effect, Monday. Patel, who is the first governor since 1990 to step down before his term ends, in a brief statement, cited “personal reasons” for the decision.

The decision to quit comes four days ahead of a crucial meeting of the board of the central bank that could have discussed issues of simmering differences with the government. It is expected that the board meeting may be deferred as there is no regular governor.

Speaking to reporters, Jha said, some communication from the government on RBI is expected.

Patel’s three-year term was to end in September 2019, and he was eligible for a second term like most of his successors, barring a few like his outspoken predecessor Raghuram Rajan.

A Kenyan national who acquired an Indian citizenship prior to being appointed Deputy Governor of RBI in January 2013, Oxford-trained Patel was initially seen as toeing government line after he backed the November 2016 shock decision to overnight junk 86 per cent of the currency in circulation.

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Former Kerala Minister C N Balakrishnan dead

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Kochi | Veteran Congress leader and former Kerala minister C N Balakrishnan died at a private hospital here, party sources said Tuesday.

He was 84. Balakrishnan, a former Cooperation minister, undergoing treatment for pneumonia at a private hospital here and the end came late Monday night, the sources said.

He is survived by his wife and two daughters.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly Ramesh Chennithala were among those who condoled his death.

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Eminent economist Surjit Bhalla resigns from EAC-PM

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New Delhi | Eminent economist and columnist Surjit Bhalla on Tuesday said that he had resigned as part-time member of Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister(EAC-PM) on December 1.

“I resigned as a part-time member of PMEAC on December 1,” Bhalla said on social networking site Twitter.

The EAC- PM is headed by Niti Aayog member Bibek Debroy. Economists Rathin Roy, Ashima Goyal and Shamika Ravi are other part-time members.

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