India has rejected a proposal of the Jedda-based Organization of Islamic Cooperation to send a delegation to volatile Kashmir, which remains under siege following the ending of its special status in August 2019.
The OIC proposal came during a meeting of the OIC Secretary General Yusef Al-Othaimeen with the Indian ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Ausaf Sayeed.
The OIC said in a statement that the Secretary-General reviewed with Ausaf Sayeed a number of issues "concerning the situation of Muslims in India, along with the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, and relevant UN and OIC resolutions opposing any unilateral actions on the issue".
He also conveyed to the Indian ambassador the "desire" of the OIC General Secretariat to dispatch a delegation to the "disputed territory" in line with relevant resolutions of the OIC Council of foreign ministers.
The rare meeting is significant as OIC has repeatedly criticized India's decision to reorganize the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir.
Referring to the meeting, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said at a media briefing that "During the meeting, a wide range of issues were discussed. Our ambassador conveyed the need to correct some of the misperceptions about India that are perpetrated by vested interests in the OIC."
The OIC, he said, should be "watchful that their platform is not subverted by these vested interests for comments on internal affairs of India or for anti-India propaganda through biased and one-sided resolutions".
Responding to media queries regarding a meeting between the OIC Secretary General and the Indian Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the spokesperson stated:
"During the meeting the Secretary General underscored the OIC's principled position on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute during the meeting.
"The OIC Foreign Ministers in Niamey in November 2020 categorically rejected India's unilateral actions since 5 August 2019. It also demanded that India rescind its illegal actions and respect the inalienable right of the Kashmiri people to self-determination, as promised by numerous UNSC resolutions.
"The OIC resolutions, inter alia, call on the Secretary General to dispatch a Fact-Finding Mission to IIOJK to ascertain the situation on ground and report its findings to the next CFM. The OIC Foreign Ministers resolutions also call on the Secretary General to take up the matter with the Indian authorities.
"India has consistently ignored OIC resolutions and evaded its responsibility of protecting the fundamental rights of the Kashmiri people. This is the first time that the principled position of the 57 OIC members states has been duly conveyed to India. India should review its policies in Jammu & Kashmir and fully implement UNSC and OIC Resolutions on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute."
Abrogation of Article 370
On August 5, 2019, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government abrogated Article 370 of India's constitution that granted the Muslim-majority region a special status, with powers to make its own laws in all matters except finance, defense, foreign affairs and communications.
The region was placed under an unprecedented security lockdown and internet shutdown for months following the decision, drawing condemnation from rights organizations and the United Nations.
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