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An impending disaster


July 3, 2020

No matter how hard one tries to obscure truth and reality, they ultimately establish their infallibility. The situation in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOK) since 1989, and unsuccessful Indian attempts to portray the freedom movement there as Pakistan-sponsored militancy is quintessential of this irrepressible verisimilitude.

International media and human rights entities like Amnesty International have all along been unraveling Indian oppression in the valley, besides corroborating the freedom movement as an indigenous uprising.

India has been using its military might ruthlessly to quell the freedom movement since 1990 and its security forces under the protection of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act 1990 have been on a rampage to kill the freedom fighters through extra-judicial killings, using rape as a weapon to instill fear and perpetrate humiliation on the Kashmiri population, and resorting to custodial killings through third-degree methods of torture.

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz was right on the money when addressing a seminar in Islamabad on the eve of International Day in Support of Victims of Torture on June 2 he said: “Indian occupied Kashmir has been a story of betrayals, blatant defiance of UN resolutions and a licence for torture and extra-judicial killings. The Indian security forces under the cover of Armed Forces Special Powers Act in force in IOK since 1990 have killed more than 100000 Kashmiris besides being responsible for 7139 custodial death, arresting 159,450 civilians, destroying 109,462 structures, widowing 22,192 women, rendering orphan 10800 children and raping and gang-raping over 12000 women. What is happening in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOK) and has been occurring there for the last four decades is quintessential of the states practicing torture and extra-judicial killings as a deliberate policy to muzzle the freedom movement, with impunity”.

Other eminent speakers at the seminar included Sardar Masood Ahmed, president Azad Jummu and Kashmir; Mashal Malik, human rights activist and wife of Chairman AJKLF Yaseen Malik; Ambassador Asif Durrani; Maria Sultan, president and chairperson SASSI University; Ahmer Bilal Sufi, lawyer and former minister; and Advocate Pervez Ahmed representative of the Hurriyet. In their presentations, all speakers provided deep insight into state terrorism by India; the impact of the military lockdown in IOK; violation of human rights by the Indian security forces and the role of international organizations; sexual harassment and torture of women and children in IOK and the nature and history of the Kashmir dispute.

One really wonders at the audacity of Indian leaders who claim IOK as their country’s integral part, notwithstanding the irrepressible freedom movement in the valley against Indian occupation and the reign of terror let loose on the Kashmiris. Even for a moment if one accepts the Indian view then how can it justify the killing of so many Kashmiris and the rape of women who they are Indian citizens? Eliminating so many people through extrajudicial killings is an act of genocide in terms of the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and the international Law which warrants action against India through the International Court of Justice.

The irrefutable reality is that Kashmir is not an integral part of India and the freedom movement in IOK is an indigenous phenomenon. Even the former Indian army chief and present Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat acknowledged the indigenous nature of the freedom movement in IOK in an interview with Economic Times of India on June 12, 2018 saying “Talks must happen. The issue is that a lot of locals are joining militancy. We kill them and more would join. Infiltration can be controlled but this cycle of recruitment of local youth can go on and on. So let us give peace a chance and see”. The statement unequivocally establishes the fact that the freedom movement in IOK had an indigenous base. It also is a confession on his part of killing the Kashmiri youth fighting for their freedom and right of self-determination.

As late as on May 6, 2020 the New York Times, while reporting the killing of Riaz Ahmed Naikoo, commander of Hizbul Mujahideen in IOK also highlighted the indigenous nature of the freedom movement and the circumstances that compelled the Kashmiri youth to join the resistance, in these words: “After becoming a fighter in 2012, he steadily built a loyal base of followers, dressed up in army fatigues and spreading his message of resistance on social media. When he attended the funerals of other militants, civilians both young and old called him ‘master’, and jostled through the crowds just to touch him. He also boosted support for an independence movement among the masses, taking control of Hizbul Mujahideen in Kashmir after the death of a former leader, Burhan Wani, who was gunned down by Indian troops in 2016.”

Naikoo in an interview with AJazeera in 2018 had said, “The death of a family member at the hands of Indian security forces had prompted his embrace of militancy, along with India’s ‘repression’ of Kashmir’s right to protest. Yes, we have chosen the path of armed struggle, but primarily, we are for peace, not war. It is the nature of the occupying Indian state that has compelled us to resort to violent methods of resistance.”

The situation in IOK has become extremely egregious as the valley is under complete siege lockdown. The Indian security forces continue to kill with impunity. During the last five months they have killed 110 Kashmiri youth. The New York Times in a report on April 26, 20202 revealed: “Now the battle against the coronavirus has further isolated and scarred a people with little access to help. Eight months after India revoked Kashmir’s semi-autonomous status and brought the region fully under its authority, doctors here say a state of hopelessness has morphed into a severe psychological crisis. Mental health workers say Kashmir is witnessing an alarming increase in instances of depression, anxiety and psychotic events.”

India in its own interest as well as for peace and security in the region needs to recognize the foregoing realities and refrain from its repressive actions in IOK because it cannot hoodwink the world indefinitely. The champions of human liberties, principles of the UN Charter and advocates of humanitarian causes must also remove the blinkers from their eyes and pressurize India to accept the reality and allow the people of Kashmir to exercise their right of self-determination as enshrined in the UN resolutions.

The Modi government, inspired by the supremacist ideology of the RSS, is the biggest threat to peace and security in the region. Its belligerent posture against Pakistan and continued repression in IOK is suggestive of an impending clash between the two nuclear powers. The madness of the Modi regime needs to be checked in its tracks before it succeeds in re-enacting the horrors unleashed by Hitler. A clash between these two nuclear powers could prove even a bigger disaster than that.

The writer is a freelance contributor.

Email: [email protected]