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August 5, 2020

A paradise lost to war

Islamabad

August 5, 2020

Kashmir was a land of splendor and beauty; it was also regarded as heaven on earth. Unfortunately, it has remained as bone of contention for 73 years since the partition of India and Pakistan. Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) is the focal point of regional instability, the most militarized state and a nuclear minefield between the both countries. India and Pakistan have fought three full scale wars; this feud over Kashmir has restricted economic growth, cooperation and peace in the South Asian region. As Pakistan has always believed in the Two Nation theory which interprets that Hindu and Muslims are divided nation in terms of religion, culture and language, they are unable to live in one state as a single entity. Whereas, India has proven hate and its inability to accept Muslim as majority within India or in Indian Occupied Kashmir.

The ideology rejects diversity in the country and favors Hinduism, and non-Hindus’ are subjugated to violence, bigotry and oppression. These groups have attacked Muslim communities, damaged their livelihood to reach ultimate goal through cow vigilantism, committing hate crimes. Groups such as BGRD which is affiliated to RSS organization takes pride in their violence flaunting weapons, beating and brutal torture against Muslim minority. It was reported that hours after results of general elections declared Narinder Modi’s-led BJP government which regained power in April 2019, to put it in perspective out of all lawmakers in parliament, the party didn’t have a single Muslim member. They have marginalized Muslim representation in democratic institutions.

Furthermore, public attacks were carried out in India in celebration of victory. Mobs carrying out violence on suspicions of carrying beef, stripping away a Muslim man’s prayer cap and made him scream Hindu religious mantras in Gurugram, Delhi and many more cases have been circulated on media over time. Many courts have falsely accused Muslim youth for crimes they didn’t commit, while Hindutva bombers and mobs were never committed or set free without trial. In addition, PM Modi detached himself from passing remarks for the crimes against Muslim community, many hold him responsible for the incident in Gujrat the massacre of more than 1,000 Muslim civilians and many were injured. These atrocities led by organizations of RSS show that the government gives them impunity and training to commit violence. Even in an article Shashi Tharoor mentions he is ashamed of what the Hindutva Vadis have been doing while claiming to be acting in the name of faith. These persistent brutalities within India itself, one can only imagine the worst fate for the Indian Held Kashmiris with a majority of Muslims undergoing siege.

The Hindutva ideologist, Narinder Modi’s-led BJP government has extensively called for annulment of Article 35A and 370 to remove “special status” of Kashmir, which it finally revoked on 5th august, 2019. Abolishing these rights means Indian Held Kashmiris have lost all rights for, which they agreed to join India during the partition in the first place. In my reckoning, there are no more minor benefits the people of IOK fear the existence of Muslim majority will be left to nothing. Curtailing the benefits and necessities of life to change their identity and existence. This suggests that PM Modi has worsened the conflict in Kashmir by pursuing their political agendas through authoritarianism. Moreover, After the reversal of the articles, Indian atrocities in IOK have reached to the level of cutting ties of Kashmiris from the world by severing the communication lines, lockdown of 80 million Kashmiris and increasing the number of military troops to suppress any protest, deprived them of their rights and necessities, and house arrested two former chief ministers.

As we can see the unceasing brutalities, sexual assault. violence, dehumanization in form of brutal torture, mutilation, kidnapping, and illegitimate practices are being conducted in IOK in the name of counter-insurgency, national security and the culprit is Hindutva ideology. Destruction of properties, lives and peace is what Hindutva is reaching for. India blames the jihadist movement whereas, Hindutva is far worse than Jihadist of Kashmir. It took until 2018 for the first UN report that states there had been 145 civilian deaths in 2016 only using pellet firing shot guns by the Indian paramilitary force. “Impunity for human rights violation and lack of access to justice are the challenges in the state of Indian Occupied Kashmir” report says that the Armed Forces Special Power Act 1990 (AFSPA), and Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act 1978 ( PSA) have created the structures that obstruct the normal course of law that hampers the accountability and jeopardizes the right to justice for the victims of human right violation. There has not been a single prosecution against Special Forces personnel. Military rules, obstruction of property and rights have not been prosecuted by the UN as well. Cordon and Search Operations are a regular feature of counter-insurgency operation in IOK. As Prime Minister Modi says “India supports peace, but the country will not hesitate to take steps required for national security”. Is this the only way? By slaughtering and performing unholy acts of barbarianism of extremist ideologies in Kashmir by multiple search operations killing innocent people for reaching the extreme form of extreme religion. Any religion that shows extreme form of atrocities should be condemned.

The deadliest period in Indian Occupied Kashmir was during 2019, due to the Pulwama attack, that killed 40 Indian paramilitary police officers. In response, India sent two fighter jets in Pakistani air space and bombed Pakistani territory. Although, the crises de-escalated when Pakistani Prime Minister Imran khan returned Abhinandan an Indian pilot during the striking down one of the Indian jets. Yet, both countries are on the brink of war due to the Kashmir dispute. In addition, Pakistan’s Prime minister Imran Khan is most certain that Modi has made a mistake by revoking a special status of Kashmir and proven himself as an undemocratic, fascist, and an extremist mindset. He has switched his focus not merely to IOK but all minorities of India as well. In my opinion if he gains their support he can cancel any legitimate propositions enacted by PM Modi and most probably save the minorities from Modi’s wrath.

In conclusion, these issues have raised fear and insecurity among Kashmiris and now it is believed to lead to an independence act by Kashmiris and it has certainly gained attention of the International arena. Indian Occupied Kashmiris would have to fight their own battle. Their decision to be an independent state is inevitable. Pakistan can help through dialogues, appeal in the ICJ, UN for binding resolution or appeal for justice. Unfortunately, the super-powers have personal agendas up their sleeves and considering the geo-strategic location of Kashmir; the economic benefits has driven India for this incursion. Pakistan can only support the people of Kashmir as far as they decide their own fate; as now, the monster of Hindutva that PM Modi has revealed to the world will hopefully bring forth his Nazi mindset and it will set the IOK free. Modi and his government has set their mind to change the demography from Muslim-majority to Muslim-minority masking it with Hindu-nationalism. This will now decide the status and fate of Kashmir. We can only pray for the people of IOK and hope UN can save the rights of Kashmiris.