Year of torment

 
August 05, 2020

The past year has brought still more torment to the people of Kashmir, whose history is one of bloodshed and unending miseries. As the anniversary of the Indian government’s action to revoke...

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The past year has brought still more torment to the people of Kashmir, whose history is one of bloodshed and unending miseries. As the anniversary of the Indian government’s action to revoke the autonomy and basic rights of Kashmiris falls on August 5 (today), Human Rights Watch and other international watchdog bodies have condemned the discrimination and the restrictions placed on Kashmiris. These have included for the past 12 months the blocking of mobile communication services, the arrest of key leaders, violence against protesters and other actions which make the Kashmiris virtual prisoners in their own homeland.

On August 5, 2019 the New Delhi government had revoked the constitutional provision which granted Kashmir a measure of autonomy and placed the Muslim majority state into two separate union territories. In addition, permission was granted to thousands of non-Kashmiris to buy land within the Valley, suggesting the Modi government may be aiming for a major demographic shift by doing away with the Muslim majority status of the region or at least diluting the population drastically. New Delhi also imposed a tough curfew in Kashmir ahead of August 5 with mobile phone services once again suspended and in some cases the devices taken away from users. There are also strict restrictions on leaving home in most parts of the Valley.

A 1948 UN resolution laying down the right to plebiscite for Kashmiris has never been implemented. And under the BJP government rubber bullets have been used against people, blinding many including teenagers. The crackdown has also had a disastrous impact on Kashmir's economy with matters worsened by the coronavirus pandemic. But for every provocative act of wanton criminality from India, the resistance to the occupation becomes stronger. This entirely homegrown movement is working to win basic rights for its people despite Indian brutality and international indifference. But more will need to be done if the rights of the Kashmiri people are to be brought back even to levels they knew before 2019. The UN and nations of the world need to speak out over the massive violations of human rights taking place in Kashmir. It is the right of every occupied people to resist any way they see fit and it is our duty as Pakistanis and citizens of the world to stand behind them. Be it in Kashmir, Palestine or any other part of the world where an imperialistic power subjugates the local population, we must always stand not with those who have might on their side but those whose cause is just.



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