UN asks India to stop using its tag in Kashmir


Srinagar, India : When New Delhi recently inducted new contingents of paramilitary forces in Kashmir to quell the spiraling street protests against its rule residents were puzzled to see them wearing United Nations gear.

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Gun wielding Rapid Action Force (RAF) in blue with UN helmets and shields staged flag marches in the curfew bound streets of Srinagar for days after police and other paramilitary agencies failed to restore calm on the streets.

The conspicuous presence of the UN mark however raised disturbing questions about the UN’s possible complicity and endorsement of New Delhi’s military action on protestors in the troubled Himalayan region.

Local newspapers questioned the squad’s use of the UN tag and a US policy group—Policy and Communications for United Progressives (PCUP)—took up the matter with a United Nations representative following the reports that the RAF was “misusing” UN gear in Kashmir.

In a letter to Department of Peacekeeping Operations of the United Nations, the Director PCUP, Paul Barrow wrote: “It’s my understanding that you may oversee matters pertaining to international human rights issues, and I would like to know if you have been informed of the problems in Kashmir, the nature of the uprising there, the level of violence, the casualties, and the grave nature of humanitarian conditions after weeks of curfews and a complete shutdown of normal services to the community from health to water to electricity”.

United Nations finally moved to ask Indian authorities to stop making insinuations of a wholly unwarranted nature.

According to the UN, authorities in New Delhi have now ordered the force to discontinue the use, or rather the abuse, of the globally recognised sign.

The United Nations maintains a symbolic presence in Kashmir.

United Nations’ peacekeeping mission here, one of the oldest, has been deployed since 1949 to monitor the dividing Line of Control for any ceasefire violations between India and Pakistan.