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October 28, 2020

No glimmer of light

Editorial

 
October 28, 2020

For Kashmir where a ‘black day’ was observed yesterday, supported also by the people of Pakistan, there seems to be no end to the misery faced by the people. This misery began on October 27, 1947, when Indian troops landed in the area, capturing Srinagar and effectively taking hold of Kashmir against the agreement reached under British colonial rule to divide territories making up the then India on the basis of votes by the people. This voting never took place in Kashmir, which was ruled by a Hindu Maharaja. The rest is history. Since that day, Kashmir has faced endless oppression and shown endless courage to fight against this oppression. There have been troop deployments in the area for years. Yet even after wars, there is no end to bloodshed, and no sign that the UN resolutions on Kashmir will be respected. In fact, we are further away from that than ever before.

The darkness grows deeper. Since 1989, more than 95,000 Kashmiris have been killed by Indian troops as an uprising based on the Palestinian intifada began in the area with youth using pebbles and sticks to take on heavily armed troops. Many Kashmiris were killed. The uprising has continued since then, and there's no end in sight. The decision taken in August last year by the Modi government to effectively annex the territory of Jammu and Kashmir and to divide it into two union territories, snatching away its limited autonomy, has simply worsened the situation. This means that Kashmiris now are under more threat than ever before. A policy of mass oppression continues, with troops deployed across the Valley. There's also a threat of demographic change, what with India removing the right of Kashmiris alone to buy land in the Valley and areas that lie within it. This means that Indian Hindus can be moved in and permitted to buy land, effectively changing the Muslim majority status of Occupied Kashmir.

There has to be a fightback against this kind of genocide and injustice. We hear voices from Pakistan. They have been raised consistently and at many forums. But the entire Muslim world needs to join in the battle. Indeed, not Muslims alone but all those who oppose oppression and injustice must join the struggle to free Kashmir and allow its people to determine their own future. This is a basic human right. It is something other countries have fought for and gained the support of other nations. The Kashmiris deserve such support too.