LAHORE: It has been two years since India had undemocratically scraped Articles 370 and 35 A in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJ&K) with utter disdain and impunity, adding to the plight of the picturesque Valley’s innocent residents.
The agony of the Kashmiris has continued since October 27, 1947, when Maharaja Hari Singh, the-then ruler of Jammu and Kashmir, had inked a dubious instrument of accession with the Indian government.
The pact had allowed Indian forces to land in Srinagar and oust the Pakistan-backed outfits who were otherwise in a position to oust the Dogra rule from there.
On July 13, 2021, Pakistan Foreign Office Spokesperson, Zahid Hafeez Chaudhry, had stated that over 390 Kashmiris had been martyred by the Indian Occupation Forces in Occupied Kashmir since August 5, 2019, or the day New Delhi had clamped an inhuman lockdown that deprived the Kashmiris of all basic amenities.
Zahid Hafeez had added: “During this year alone, the Indian Occupation Forces have extra-judicially killed 85 innocent Kashmiris including young boys and women; arbitrarily arrested and detained 537 Kashmiris, and destroyed 31 houses of Kashmiri people.”
According to a renowned New York-based NGO “The Human Rights Watch,” over 100,000 Kashmiris have perished during the liberation struggle since 1989.
This leading human rights advocacy group had revealed that during the last 32 years only, besides the 7,023 custodial killings and 122,771 arrests of Kashmiris at the hands of Indian forces, 105,996 houses or buildings were destroyed, 22,776 women widowed, 107,466 children orphaned and 10,086 women were either gang-raped or molested.
Events between August 5, 2019 and August 5, 2020:
Between August 5, 2019 and August 5, 2020, according to the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries calculations, while the economic losses in the region were not less than US$5.3 billion, about half a million jobs were also lost since—thus devastating the local populace.
On August 2, 2019, New Delhi had sent over 45,000 soldiers to set up barricades and get into position with riot control vehicles. The reason initially cited is an impending “terrorist attack.”
Local leaders like Mehbooba Mufti, Omar Abdullah and president of the People’s Conference party, Sajjad Lone, were placed under house arrest and section 144, which prevents a gathering of three or more people, was imposed in Srinagar.
And on August 5, 2019, the Narendra Modi government had revoked the Constitutional provisions that granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir, which thus meant that Indian citizens were now allowed to buy properties in Occupied Kashmir and settle there.
It surely was a bid to alter the Valley’s demographics.
Between August 7 and 9, Pakistan had expelled Indian envoy stationed on its soil and downgrade ties.
Despite the fact that a petition was filed in the Indian Supreme Court by a Congress against the revocation of Article 370, Indian government remained unmoved and paid no heed to a massive protest in New Delhi.
On August 15 of the same year, Pakistani Premier Imran Khan had warned India of grave repercussions if it resorted to ethnic cleansing of the Kashmiris, but to no avail.
The United Nations Security Council then held a rare closed-door session on the Kashmir crisis, China’s ambassador to the UN urged caution and the-then American President Trump was heard urging both Pakistan and India to normalise ties, whereby offering yet again to mediate on the Kashmir issue.
During the days that followed, according to “The Hindu” newspaper, around 4,000 protesting Kashmiris were held under the Public Safety Act, which allowed government to hold the detainees for up to two years without trial.
On August 23, Indian opposition leader Rahul Gandhi and his delegation were stopped from entering Kashmir.
A couple of days later, a top Indian bureaucrat, Kannan Gopinathan, had resigned from government service to protest India’s handling of Kashmir.
Protests were staged in London too.
The Amnesty International then initiated a global campaign to highlight the human rights violations in Kashmir.
On September 11, US Senators urged their Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, to force the Indian government to immediately end the communications blackout in the Held Kashmir.
Days later, a three-time former chief minister of Kashmir, Farooq Abdullah, was arrested. It was during the same month that US President Trump had once again extended an offer of mediation over Kashmir during his meeting with Premier Imran Khan in New York.
During his address at United Nations, Turkey’s President Erdogan had stressed that solving Kashmir issue was a prerequisite to prosperity and stability in South Asia.
In October, Malaysian Premier, Mahathir Muhammad, had used the UN platform to accuse India of invading and occupying Jammu & Kashmir.
Many British-Kashmiris had again gathered at London’s Parliament Square to observe a candle-light vigil.
American parliamentarians were again heard urging India to end Kashmir lockdown.
During the fourth week of October 2019, the United Nations; human rights office had expressed its extreme concern over the developments in the Occupied Kashmir.
In December, India had passed its controversial Citizenship Amendment Act, which offered the Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist minorities in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh the right to migrate and settle in India.
A bipartisan resolution is passed in the US Congress which seeks to end the restrictions imposed by the occupational forces.
During January 2020, the Indian Supreme court ruled that the shutting of mobile services in Held Kashmir was ‘unconstitutional.’
Farooq Abdullah was released on March 13, while his son Omar Abdullah, his son was set free on March 24.
Communication networks were partially restored during March, but these services were again disconnected during May as freedom struggle had gained pace.
During the first week of August 2019, the ruling BJP had organised the inauguration of the Ram Mandhir Temple at the site of the destroyed Babri Masjid.
By August 5, 2020, reports had suggested that over 11,000 young men were missing from the occupied territory since August 5, 2019.
A report released by the Kashmir Media Service had revealed that Indian troops had martyred 214 Kashmiris, including four women and 10 young boys between August 2019 and August 2020.
It said that at least 1,390 people were critically injured due to the use of brute force by Indian troops on peaceful demonstrators and mourners in the territory.
The killings during this period had been higher than those in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2019.
On February 5, 2021, Jammu and Kashmir's Principal Secretary of Power and Information, Rohit Kansal, announced that 4G internet services would be restored in the entire union territory.
Despite all the global hue and cry for decades, killings and arrests continue in the unfortunate valley under Indian control.
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