Monday May 27, 2024

Guarding against genocide

By Editorial Board
August 24, 2019

Genocide Watch, a global NGO set up in 1999 to predict, prevent, stop and punish genocide as defined in the Genocide Convention, has issued a warning that there may be plans in place for genocide in Kashmir. It has also issued a similar warning for the Indian state of Assam. The warning suggests that in Kashmir the first stage of genocide may be unfolding with preparations being made to stage a massacre. There are three stages in the process, the last one being the mass killings themselves. The warning from Genocide Watch has been made on the basis of a definition of the manner in watch the process unfolds drawn up by academic Dr Gregory Stanton, who founded the organisation. The classification of the mainly Hindu and Sikh Indian army as ‘us’ versus Kashmiri Muslim civilians as ‘them’, the identification of Muslims by their names, economic domination reasserted for Hindus by the BJP and the dehumanisation of Muslims as terrorists, separatists or criminals have all been cited as reasons why the organisation has called on the UN and its members to warn India not to commit genocide in Occupied Kashmir.

Currently, at least 4,000 people are in detention in Kashmir while the scanty reports filtering out from the valley say that many regions have already been militarised. Telephone and cellphone communications, broadcast internet and cable TV services have been cut for seven million people, leaving them isolated. Reports speak of the enormous anger and anguish being felt by Kashmiris about going unheard by the world because of their inability to speak out. Genocide Watch also fears for the safety of around seven million Bengali Muslims in Assam state who are in danger of losing their Indian citizenship and who face imprisonment in special foreigner detention centres. There is an ongoing process to verify the citizenship of all 32 million inhabitants of Assam, naturally creating terror among Muslims of Bengali descent. They fear they will be excluded from the citizens list and have been repeatedly referred to by the Indian home minister as ‘termites’.

This is not a situation the world can afford to take lightly. It is obvious that Kashmiris face very real danger. Analysts have been comparing their conditions of life to those of the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza strip. It would be unforgivable if the world did not act to save the people of Kashmir and prevent any kind of violence being directed against them in the name of an anti-terrorist operation or under some other pretext.