Kashmiri Lives also Matter


By Malik Muhammad Ashraf :-

The 5th of August marks the completion of 365 days since the people of Indian Occupied Kashmir (IO&JK) have been living under siege, cut-off from the outside world and bearing the brunt of the brutalities of the Indian security forces who relish indulgence in extra-judicial killings and torture. Reportedly during the last five months of this year Indian security forces have martyred over 120 Kashmiris during cordon and search operations while the world by and large remains oblivious to the situation in IO&JK.

What is amazing is that the global community and the UN which adopted a number of resolutions regarding settlement of the question of accession of Kashmir through a plebiscite– which are legally binding–did not react the way they should have against Indian action to scrap Article 370 of the Indian constitution, amalgamation of the state in the Indian Union through Jummu and Kashmir Re-organization Act 2019 and the promulgation of new domicile law designed

to change demographic realities in IO&JK. India has already issued domicile certificates to 25,000 non-Kashmiris. All the foregoing actions taken by India in IO&JK constitute blatant violation of the UNSC resolutions on Kashmir, bilateral agreements between India and Pakistan and 4th Geneva Convention.

People of IO&JK are living under inhuman conditions since 5th of August 2019. The Indian government has tried its best to keep IO&JK out of the focus of the global community by denying access to foreign journalist other independent observers to travel to the region including a US Senator Chris Van Hollen. But the international media has been successful in unraveling Indian atrocities in IO&JK and discrediting the Indian actions. The Guardian, The New York Times, Washington Post and other eminent publications have been regularly reporting on the human rights abuses after 5th of August though the Indian government remains in the denial mode.

Washington Post in an editorial portrayed the situation in IO&JK in these words “There are persistent reports of indiscriminate detentions, beatings and torture by security forces, including of children as young as 13. The Post interviewed 19 people in 13 villages who said they had been abused in the days after Aug. 5; they recounted beatings with rods, sticks and cables, electric shocks, and being hung upside down for long periods. India prides itself on being the world’s largest democracy, but these are not the actions of a democratic regime”.

The same paper in its photography blog ‘Insight’ also published a number of photographs taken by an Indian photographer Jayanta Roy on 10th April 2020 with regards to the permeating situation in the Indian Occupied Kashmir with the caption ‘Land of permanent Sorrow’. As the title suggests these photographs provided a harrowing visual narrative on the inhuman conditions under which eight hundred thousand Kashmiris are forced to live. A commentary on those photographs said “As conditions around the world continue to evolve because of the corona virus people must remember that a large population is suffering from the same pain we are facing now but for longer than us much before the covid-19 outbreak and their suffering is like a never-ending nightmare”

India under Modi, a diehard proponent of RSS ideology of Hindutva which believes in racial superiority of Hindus and India for Hindus, has not only violated the UNSC resolutions and trampled 4th Geneva Convention in IO&JK but it has also enacted discriminatory laws against Muslims within India itself. The implementation of National Register of Citizenship in Assam which rendered 1.9 Muslims stateless and the promulgation of the Citizenship Amendment Act speak volumes about hatred against Muslims. Although the Muslim minority in India has all along been subjected to discriminatory treatment and from time to time also had to endure the wrath of the Hindu zealots in the shape of massacres during anti-Muslim riots, but what has been happening since the BJP came into power, knows no parallel in the history of the sub-continent. The Muslim minority is at the receiving end of the wrath of hate ideology.

Former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in an article published in the Indian newspaper ‘The Hindu’ on 6 March 2020 referring to the killing of 50 Muslims in the riots over the Citizenship Amendment Bill observed ”Delhi has been subjected to extreme violence over the past few weeks. We have lost nearly 50 of our fellow Indians for no reason. Several hundred people have suffered injuries. Communal tensions have been stoked and flames of religious intolerance fanned by unruly sections of our society, including the political class. University campuses, public places and private homes are bearing the brunt of communal outbursts of violence, reminiscent of the dark

periods in India’s history. Institutions of law and order have abandoned their dharma (duty) to protect citizens. Institutions of justice and the fourth pillar of democracy, the media, have also failed us. Just in a matter of few years, India has slid rapidly from being a global showcase of a model of economic development through liberal democratic methods to a strife ridden majoritarian state in economic despair.”

It is pertinent to mention that even the UN rights chief in Delhi Michelle Bechelet moved the Indian Supreme Court against the controversial legislation passed by the Indian parliament by becoming third party in a petition brought by a former civil servant.

The hate philosophy against Muslims within India has had its spill over to Muslim Pakistan. India has adopted a belligerent posture towards Pakistan as is evident from her continued violations of the ceasefire line and the indiscretion of sending its planes to Balakot to hit the imaginary terrorist camps on 26 February last year which nearly brought the two nations to the brink of war. The escalation was averted due to the restraint shown by Pakistan and the timely intervention of friendly countries.

India is using these tactics to cover up the state terrorism that it has unleashed against the people of IO&JK not realizing that it could have very serious repercussions for peace and security in the region. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan beginning from his address to the UN General Assembly last year has been sensitizing the world about the dangers lurking on the horizons due to the actions of Indian regime in IO&JK and its burgeoning animosity against Pakistan in pursuance of the supremacist RSS ideology of Hindutva.

As the killing spree and complete lockdown continues the people of IO&JK while resisting the Indian oppression are looking up to the UN and the international community to come to their rescue through concrete actions to stop India in her tracks instead of showing muffled concerns over the developing situation in the state, realizing that the Kashmiri lives also matter.

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