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India’s reign of brutality


April 5, 2018

Since the beginning of a new phase of resistance against the Indian forces in Occupied Kashmir in the wake of freedom fighter Burhan Wani’s killing on July 8 2016, nearly 200 people have been killed and 8,424 have been injured by pellet guns – resulting in loss of eyesight of 3,055 protestors. If this was not enough, 765 women have been raped and 65,861 homes among other infrastructure have been destroyed. Thousands have also been detained under the Public Safety Act.

But what happened in Shorpian and Anantnag districts of Indian-Held Kashmir (IHK) during police cordons and search operations this past weekend represented the ultimate barbarity of the Indian security forces. Reportedly, 20 people were killed in one day in state terrorism perpetrated against unarmed people of Kashmir whose only crime was that they were fighting for their right to self-determination. A right promised to them by the UN though its resolution and commitments made by the international community as well as the Indian leadership.

Pakistan’s government, which has been extending moral, political and diplomatic support to the cause of Kashmiris, very rightly condemned Indian brutalities and decided to observe a protest on April 6 to express solidarity with the people of Kashmir. The action has been taken to sensitise the international community about the oppression that India has been inflicting on the people of the valley under the cover of the Prevention Of Terrorism Act, Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, Public Safety Act and Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act. The protest is also being observed to urge the UN secretary general to appoint a special envoy for Jammu and Kashmir and facilitate the prime minister and the president of Azad Kashmir to send special envoys to selected capitals and highlight IHK’s deteriorating situation.

What is happening in Kashmir is an affront to the conscience of the world community, particularly to those nations who cry hoarse reiterating their abiding commitment to human rights causes like people’s right to self-determination. Their neglect of Kashmir for the sake of their strategic and commercial interests linked with India is the most inhuman act and also explodes the myth of their civility and much trumpeted humanitarian pursuits.

The dilemma is that even the UN finds itself helpless in having its own resolutions implemented because of the indifferent attitude of the world’s big powers, like the US and its western allies. One does, from time to time, hear some muffled voices calling for India and Pakistan to resolve their disputes through negotiations. But nobody has ever condemned Indian brutalities and human rights violations in Kashmir, or offered mediation to help the two countries resolve their disputes including the core issue of Kashmir.

Kashmir is an unfinished agenda of the Subcontinent’s partition. The people of Kashmir and Pakistan, as per the plan of partition and by all cannons of international law and UN resolutions, are right in seeking the settlement of Kashmir’s accession through a plebiscite. Perhaps it would be pertinent to mention some of the commitments made by Indian leaders about letting the people of Kashmir decide their future by exercising their right to self-determination.

In a telegram dated October 31, 1947, Jawaharlal Nehru wrote to the then prime minister of Pakistan: “Leave the decision regarding the future of this state to the people of the state. It is not merely a promise to your government but to the people of Kashmir and to the world”. Further, in a broadcast to the nation on All India Radio on November 2, 1947, Nehru had said, “Let me make it clear that it has been our policy all along that where there is a dispute about the accession of a state to either Dominion, the accession must be made by the people of that state”. These were his commitments before the adoption of the UN resolutions.

He had even repeated these commitments on a number of occasions after the resolutions had been adopted. Addressing a press conference in London on January 16, 1951, he said: “We have always right from the beginning accepted the idea of the Kashmiri people deciding their fate by referendum or plebiscite”. Furthermore, while making a statement in the Indian parliament on June 26 1952, he said, “If, after a proper plebiscite, the people of Kashmir said we do not want to be with India, we are committed to accept that. We will accept it though it might pain us. We will not send any army against them. We will accept that, however, hurt we might feel about it. We will change the constitution if necessary”. As late as August 20, 1953, Nehru while addressing a joint press conference with the prime minister of Pakistan in Delhi remarked that, “The most feasible method of ascertaining the wishes of the people is by fair and impartial plebiscite”.

There could not have been a more authentic proof of the legitimacy of the cause of the people of Kashmir, and Pakistan’s stake in having the issue resolved through the implementation of the UN resolutions. It is pertinent to note that the Indian government went back on its commitments and declared that the question of Kashmir’s accession had been settled by the constituent assembly of Kashmir and that the state constitution – upon which India started claiming Kashmir as its integral part – had been adopted. However, the UN through its resolutions 91 and 122 repudiated these claims and maintained that the question of accession of the state could not be determined by any method other than the plebiscite held under the auspices of the UN.

In view of the foregoing irrefutable facts, India’s stance on Kashmir has no legal basis and the killings of Kashmiris by Indian forces are nothing but an act of state terrorism which no human being or a nation with conscience can tolerate or endorse. In view of the apathy of the US and its allies, it is a good idea to sensitise the world community about what is going on in Kashmir and enlist their support for the people of Kashmir’s right to self-determination in conformity with the UN resolutions.

Apart from this the government of Pakistan should also consider the possibility of taking the issue to the UN, like India did in 1948. In spite of the Simla Agreement, that reiterates the resolution of all disputes between the two countries through bilateral channels, Pakistan retains the right to raise the issue in the world body in light of Article 103 of the UN charter. The Article maintains that, “In the event of a conflict between the obligations of the members of the UN under the present charter and their obligations under any other international agreement, their obligations under the present charter will prevail”.

What it means is that the UN resolutions on Kashmir will take precedence over all other international agreements on the same issue. So Pakistan is very much within its right to invoke UN resolutions – after having been frustrated to find a solution through a bilateral arrangement.

The writer is a freelance contributor.

Email: [email protected]