MIRPUR (AJK)-A Kashmiri right activist and an Indian lawyer reached the United Nations in Geneva to challenge India’s narrative on Kashmir.

The former testified earlier in European Parliament and the latter served in the UN tribunal on Rwanda. Parvez Imroz, Kashmir’s best known rights defender, and Kartik Murukutla, the Indian civil rights lawyer, expressed fear they may be banned from international travel in the future by New Delhi.

Their third colleague Khurram Parvez, a leading Kashmir youth activist, was not allowed by India to board a plane for Geneva. Parvez and his team in the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) created the first Kashmiri document of human rights violations by Indian army officers and soldiers in a three-year effort that resulted in a 700-page document.

Murukutla also arrived in Geneva and addressed a packed hall of rights experts and activists who are monitoring the recent escalation in Indian-occupied Kashmir. Murukutla, who is not a Kashmiri, has been active in defending the Kashmir freedom movement. He acts as the legal counsel for the JKCCS and is one of the rare Indian civil society voices that speak openly in defence of Kashmiris in India. Parvez Imroz has testified at European Parliament on mass graves in Kashmir. The side event at the UN Building in Geneva was the first in a series of weeklong meetings that Imroz and Murukutla are expected to hold with diplomats, rights defenders and international law experts here.

The visit to the UN is the first international trip by Imroz in 12 years. India has been denying him travel documents all these years in order to stop him from speaking on Kashmir at international forums. The year 2016 will be remembered as the worst year so far for India on Kashmir, a territory that India invaded and occupied in 1947. The Kashmiri uprising has entered its third month and shows no signs of letup.

On Sept 13, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein, in his opening remarks at the first session of Human Rights Council’s second decade since formation, criticised India for not allowing a UN team to visit victims in Kashmir. He accused India of excessive use of force and demanded an international probe into killings in Kashmir. This was the harshest assessment of Indian role in Kashmir from the UN in the half century, and dealt a blow to Indian diplomacy over Kashmir.