Sunday May 29, 2022

The trials of Kashmir

By Editorial Board
May 15, 2022

Any fig-leaf the Indian government had regarding its tactics in Occupied Kashmir was removed completely once Modi took over in 2014, and the BJP unleashed terror on Muslims within India while Indian security forces worsened their persecution of Kashmiris in the occupied territory. The trial of Yasin Malik is yet another case in point. This highly controversial and sham trial of the chairman of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front has all the hallmarks of a state hell-bent on suppressing resistance. Yasim Malik has over the years been facing arrests, harassment and intimidation. The Indian court that is trying the case against him has given all indications that it is biased and unlikely to conduct a fair trial. For any case to be impartial and transparent, it is essential that the accused get a fair hearing – something that is highly unlikely if the accused is a resistance leader and the court is in the hands of the power he is resisting. It has been over three years now that Malik is under detention, during which period he has been treated more as an enemy combatant in an unequal war without regard to prisoner rights or justice.

The case has been lingering on for over five years now and the government of India does not appear to be in a hurry to conduct the trial in a manner that is acceptable internationally. The pressure that the BJP government is exerting on Malik to plead guilty is highly condemnable; the case invokes the anti-terrorism law that is a piece of legislation designed specifically to target the Kashmiri freedom movement. True to its politics, the BJP government has been indulging in an unstoppable vendetta against the people of illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir. And, though the Hindutva agenda of the BJP is targeting Muslims across India, its intensity in Kashmir is particularly alarming and disturbing.

The extremely authoritarian and fascist way in which the BJP government has been behaving after coming to power in 2014 is deplorable and the world must take an immediate notice of its atrocities in the occupied Jammu and Kashmir. Ever since August 2019, when the Indian government scrapped the special status of Occupied Kashmir granted by the Indian constitution itself, atrocities in the area have intensified to an unprecedented scale. Though Pakistan and the OIC have been trying to draw the attention of the world community, the response has been slow and inadequate, resulting in even more audacious violations of human rights in Jammu and Kashmir by India. What India has been doing to Kashmiri Muslims is tantamount to committing war crimes and must be treated as such. As India tries to blame the Kashmiris for any response, it is important to keep in mind who the guilty party is here. It is India which has denied a people free will and continues to occupy their home. It is India which has banned groups that seek their rights peacefully. And it is India which continues to maintain its illegal occupation with brutal and constant violence.