India is seeking to normalise the “brutal and repressive denial of democratic and other rights of Kashmiri Muslims and minorities” by holding G20 meetings in Jammu and Kashmir, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues, Fernand de Varennes, said on Monday.

India assumed the presidency of G20, or Group of 20 countries, on December 1. The presidency of the intergovernmental forum of 20 major developed and developing economies is assumed by member nations on a rotational basis.

The third meeting of the G20 tourism working group is scheduled to be held in Srinagar between May 22 and 24. This will be the first major international summit to be held in Jammu and Kashmir since the erstwhile state’s special status was taken away by abrogating Article 370 of the Constitution on August 5, 2019.

The G20 meeting in Srinagar will see the participation of delegates from guest countries and several international organisations, besides representatives from the member nations.

“…The Government of India is seeking to normalise what some have described as a military occupation by instrumentalising a G20 meeting and portray an international ‘seal of approval’,” Varennes said in a statement on Monday.

The UN expert said that “massive human rights violations” have been reported in Jammu and Kashmir since the Union Territory came under the direct rule of the Centre in August 2019. “These included torture, extrajudicial killings, denial of political participation rights of Kashmiri Muslims and minorities,” he said.

Varennes added that in 2021 him and other independent experts of the UN had expressed grave concerns to the Indian government that the loss of political autonomy and the implementation of new domicile rules in Jammu and Kashmir could alter its demographic composition…

This story was originally published in Read the full story here