UNITED NATIONS: A spokesperson for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has declined to comment on claims that scrapping of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status by India is in violation of the Security Council resolutions, reiterating only that the UN chief is following the developments in the region with concern.

The Indian government on Monday revoked Article 370 of the Constitution that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the state into two Union Territories — Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

“I think we’ve expressed our… we said very clearly that we are following the developments in the region with concern. We…the Secretary General’s position at this point is to urge all parties to exercise restraint,” Secretary-General’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters on Tuesday.

He was asked if the Secretary General believed India’s decision to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status is a violation of the UN resolutions. When pressed again on the question, Dujarric said, “No, no, I understand what you asked, but unfortunately, at this point, you’ll have to settle for that as my answer.”

When asked if the Secretary General has received a letter from Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on the issue, Dujarric said he is aware of the press reports that the letter has been sent to the UN chief.

“As of a short while ago, we were not able to confirm that the letter had actually been received. Obviously, once it is, it will be looked at and studied and acknowledged.”

Guterres on Monday said he was following “with concern” the tense situation in the region and urged India and Pakistan to exercise restraint.

Answering another question on whether the UN chief intends to play a role in resolving the issue, Dujarric had said, “We are very concerned about the rise in tensions. As for the Secretary General’s role, he has often expressed his position on that and his position remains the same,” a reference to the UN chief’s position that his good offices are always available should “both sides” ask for it.

Meanwhile, the UN Human Rights Council spokesman said, “We are deeply concerned” about the situation in the region.

“We are seeing again blanket telecommunications restrictions, perhaps more blanket than we have ever seen before, the reported arbitrary detention of political leaders and restrictions on peaceful assembly,” he said.

“The fact that hardly any information at all is currently coming out” from Kashmir is of “great concern in itself,” he added.

There was no official reaction to the statement from the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi.



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