Article 370 & Article 35-A

SRINAGAR — The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Monday backed the Kashmiri people’s demand for self-determination and rejected the Indian government’s decision to scrap the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, reported Hindustan Times.

OIC’s contact group, in a virtual meeting, which was held on Pakistan’s call, adopted a communique that also expressed concern over ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC) and called on India to “rescind its unilateral and illegal actions, and allow the Kashmiri people to freely exercise their right to self-determination through an UN-supervised plebiscite”.

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The OIC has asked India to halt anti-militancy operations in Kashmir, respect basic human rights, “refrain from changing the demographic structure” of the region and settle the issue under UN Security Council resolutions, read the statement.

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A separate statement issued by the OIC said the contact group reaffirmed continued support for the Kashmiri people and called on the UN Secretary General to make India abide by the UN Security Council resolutions and “engage in dialogue to calm the situation in the region”.

There was no immediate response to the developments from Indian officials. India has traditionally described such actions by the OIC as interference in the country’s internal matters.

Pakistan has been pushing for such a meeting on the Kashmir issue since the Indian government scrapped the special status of Jammu and Kashmir last August and split the erstwhile State into two Union territories.

However, India’s close friends within the OIC, including several Arab states, had stymied these efforts.

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The contact group also demanded India should halt “human rights violations; stop indiscriminate use of force; lift the unabated military siege and inhuman lockdown; repeal its draconian emergency laws…and release all illegal detainees”.

OIC Secretary General Yousaf Al-Othaimeen chaired the virtual meeting that was joined by the Foreign Ministers of Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and a senior representative of Niger.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi led the Pakistani delegation, which included the “president” of Pakistan-administered-Kashmir and representatives of Hurriyat from there.

Qureshi conveyed Pakistan’s concern about the new domicile rules in Kashmir, alleging they were meant to change the demographic structure. He alleged India had intensified ceasefire violations along the Line of Control.

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