On Kashmir to Afrophobia: Here's how India was grilled by 20 countries on its human rights record

Pakistan expressed concern on the use of pellet guns in the Kashmir and demanded that it should be stopped

A number of issues prevalent in India such as women’s rights, Kashmir, caste-based violence, LGBT rights were raised at the UN  Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Thursday in Geneva while reviewing India’s human rights record. HRC is an inter-governmental body which protects human rights around the world.

During the hearing of “Universal Periodic Review”, many member countries raised concern on the issues in the country like attacks on Dalits, religious intolerance, behaviour towards LGBTQ people. However, some neighbouring countries like Bhutan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka came out in support of India for its human rights records.

Meanwhile, Pakistan expressed concern on the use of pellet guns in the Kashmir and demanded that it should be stopped. India replied to it by stating the country has zero tolerance towards terrorism and it is Pakistan which is responsible for the current situation in the valley.

Group of countries such as Germany, Vatican, Kazakhstan, Kenya, UK, South Korea and the Netherlands were apprehensive on the issues of religious intolerance and rights of minorities. Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi who led the Indian delegation said, no distinction is made on the basis of caste, creed, colour or religion of a citizen. “India is a secular state with no state religion,” he added.

India was scrutinised for the recent attacks on African nationals in the country, Haiti brought up the matter of “Afrophobia” the charge was denied by the Indian delegation which termed the country as “land of Buddha”.

On the issue of women’s rights in the country, Japan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan and Liechtenstein expressed their concern. Israel and Ireland raised the issue of equal rights for the LGBTQ community.  On LGBTQ issue, Rohatgi said,  The Supreme Court of India gave a landmark judgement in 2014 by ordering government to declare trans-genders a “third gender”

Mukul Rohatgi denied such claims. Giving the reference of Yakub Memon case. Rohatgi told UNHRC, “I was summoned by the Supreme Court at 2 in the morning to hear a last-ditch petition, after several rounds of litigation, by a convict who was guilty of terrorism to escape punishment, This shows the importance attached to upholding of human rights by India”.