The human rights body of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) demanded Tuesday that India be compelled to “halt rights violations” in Jammu and Kashmir.

In a statement on Twitter, the Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) “urged the OIC to compel India to halt its gross and systematic human rights violations; refrain from altering the geographic and demographic status of Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir; provide access to UN/OIC fact-finding missions and let Kashmiris exercise their legitimate right to self-determination.”

The IPHRC said it made these demands during an emergency meeting of the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir which was held via a video link on Monday.

It welcomed a statement by the group which urged India to “immediately” halt security operations against the people of Jammu and Kashmir and respect basic human rights, refrain from changing the demographic structure of the disputed territory as well as settle the conflict under the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

There are 20 UN resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir which include seeking a plebiscite in the disputed region to decide its political future.

“The IPHRC highlighted the sufferings of Kashmiri Muslims due to a communication blackout in IOJ&K [Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir],” the statement said, adding it also condemned “extrajudicial killings” of Kashmiris and rejected newly notified “Reorganization” and “Domicile Rules 2020” which are “violative of #IHRL [international humanitarian laws] including the 4th Geneva Convention.”

On Aug. 5, 2019, the Indian government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi scrapped two pieces of legislation that guaranteed Kashmir an autonomous political status besides barring people outside Jammu and Kashmir from buying land or applying for government jobs in the disputed region.

The OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir was formed in 1994 to coordinate OIC policy on the Kashmir dispute and has Turkey, Azerbaijan, Niger, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia as its five members.

Disputed region

The latest surge in violence in the disputed Himalayan valley this year has left over 100 suspected Kashmiri militants dead. Some 72 militants have been killed since the coronavirus pandemic emerged in the region on March 20.

Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.

Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars – in 1948, 1965, and 1971 – two of them over Kashmir.

Also, in the Siachen Glacier region in northern Kashmir, Indian and Pakistani troops have fought intermittently since 1984. A ceasefire took effect in 2003.

Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting Indian rule for independence or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.

According to several human rights groups, thousands have been killed in the conflict since 1989.

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