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August 9, 2019

An open prison

Opinion

August 9, 2019

The Modi government has turned Indian-occupied Kashmir into an open prison. India was occupying Jammu and Kashmir for the last 70 years but the extreme rightwing Hindu nationalist government of Narendra Modi now decided to also abrogate its special constitutional status as a disputed territory to make it part of India.

The Modi government has abrogated the special status of Indian-occupied Kashmir and revoked Articles 370 and 35-A of the Indian constitution. In dping this, Modi Sarkar has unilaterally declared IOK as part of India and violated the accession agreement, Simla agreement and UN resolutions. Through a presidential order, Ladakh has been separated from Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and made union territory without a legislature. The Indian government has given a clear message to the Kashmiris and to the world that it has no respect for its past pledges, promises commitments, bilateral agreements and UN resolutions.

If the Modi government thinks that its decision to annex Occupied Kashmir will solve this issue then it is grossly mistaken. This move will make matters more complex. It is going to escalate tensions between the two nuclear armed neighbours. Pakistan has already the Indian ambassador to leave the country and refused to send its ambassador to India. Pakistan has also announced to stop all kinds of trade with India and to close down the crossing point at the Wagah border.

This move can bring the two nuclear-armed neighbours once again on the brink of war. A military crackdown and brutal repression to quell the possible rebellion and mass movement of the Kashmiri youth will make matters worse. It seems that Modi Sarkar is ready to go to any extent to keep its occupation.

This situation can led to another armed uprising among the Kashmiri youth. The Modi regime is following in the footsteps of Israel to isolate, repress and alienate the Kashmiri people. It wants to make Kashmir an open prison like the Palestinian territories, with no respect for human rights, UN conventions and resolutions and bilateral peace deals. Despite the Oslo and Camp David peace deals and agreements, Israel continues to grab the Palestine lands and kill young Palestinians.

Modi wants to do same in IOK. He wants to change the demography of Kashmir and convert the Muslim majority into minority. The Kashmiris will not accept these measures and will retaliate. Fearing a backlash from the Kashmiri youth, the Indian government has deployed tens of thousands of troops throughout the valley. With the fresh surge of nearly 180,000 troops in the last one week (mainstream Indian media is reporting the figure of 38,000 troops), nearly 700,000 (0.7 million) occupation troops have now been deployed in IOK. A curfew has been imposed; markets, schools, colleges and businesses have been closed down for three days.

The roads and streets in Srinagar and other cities have been blocked by the Indian forces. The Kashmiri people have been confined to their homes. Internet and mobile phone services have also been blocked. The whole valley is under siege. More than 300 political leaders have already been arrested. Even pro-India leaders have been arrested. Indians actions can play the role of a unifying force to bring all the Kashmiri political forces together to wage a struggle for freedom, liberty, dignity and political rights. The Indian forces have been involved in all sorts of gross human rights violations in Occupied Kashmir.

It is clear that the Kashmiris will not give up their struggle for freedom, liberty and their democratic right to decide their own future. They want an end to the occupation. India has prepared the ground for brutal repression and bloodbath. The Kashmiris want freedom and an end to Indian occupation. But Modi Sarkar wants to take back whatever rights and protections the Kashmiris had under their special status. This move will further fuel anger and hatred against India.

The fears of Kashmiri people are fully justified. They know what will follow after the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35-A. They will be made strangers on their own lands like the Palestinians.

India has left no other option for the Kashmiris other than to resist and fight back. And they will fight back. They have a rich history of struggle, sacrifice, courage and resistance. They have proved again and again that they will not bow down in front of the brutal power of the Indian occupying forces. But they should not be left alone to fight this just and legitimate fight. The world should act now and stop India from committing atrocities.

The writer is a freelance journalist.

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