Kashmiris living on both sides of the Line of Control as well as the diaspora observe 5th Aug as a Black Day to convey their strong resentment over Indian government illegal acts. It all started on 5th Aug 2019 when the Indian government led by fascist Modi abrogated article 370 & 35A of the Indian constitution.
Before shedding light on the contours of Modi’s game plan, it is pertinent that we understand the significance of Article 35A and 370. Article 35A, referred to as “permanent resident law”, gives Kashmiris the status of “permanent residents” of the geographic territory. Article 370 specifies provisions of the Indian constitution that shall apply to Kashmir allowing them to make their own laws in all matters except defence, foreign affairs and communications. It also prohibits non-Kashmiris from buying land in the territory.
The main objective of Modi’s move was to forcibly incorporate disputed Muslim majority state into Indian Union, suppress the indigenous movement for Kashmiris freedom and to change demography of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK). In this way, Muslims majority would be reduced to a minority as Israel has done in Palestinian land. This was nothing short of ethnic cleansing and clear violations of India’s bilateral commitments with Pakistan and of the UN’s resolutions, which require that the ground realities in IIOJK need not be changed
To brush its atrocities under the carpet, the Modi government claimed that revocation of Article 370 brought development, peace, jobs, and investments in IIOJK. However, the ground reality in IIOJK is different from as professed by the Indian government. The inhumane military siege only became a basis of frustration, anarchy, and disorder for Kashmiris. The Indian government under the leadership of Modi is systematically depriving the Kashmiri Muslims of their basic rights by resorting to economic terrorism in IIOJK. There is not any sector of IIOJK’s economy that has not suffered losses in the past three years. According to an estimate, the military siege has caused Kashmiris an economic loss of $3.5 billion. Almost five lac Kashmiris have lost jobs since scrapping of IIOJK’s special status in Aug 2019. Creation of jobs for non-Kashmiris is a part of India’s plan to further change the demography of the Kashmir region. Clearly, the Indian government has embarked upon an inhuman and unprecedented path to make the Kashmiri people suffer by suffocating them through coercive economic policies. Besides this, more than one lac Kashmiri citizens have been martyred while thousands of women have been raped. Prohibited pellet guns continue to be used indiscriminately, leaving thousands of children and adults blind. In short, India is culpable under the Genocide Convention, War Crimes, Crimes against Humanity and the Conventions on Torture, Involuntary Disappearances, Extra-Judicial Killings and Women’s Rights among a number of others.
The repression has drawn criticism from the International community, including the US Congress, the European Parliament, and the United Nations Human Rights Council. UN experts have raised concerns throughout the year in India over a number of issues, including extrajudicial killings, the possible displacement of millions in Assam, the possible displacement of tribal communities and forest dwellers, and the closure of communications in Kashmir. The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Permanent Commission on Human Rights has also condemned the violation of Indian human rights in IIOJK. The OIC supports the demand of UN experts to address the dangerous human rights situation in Indian-occupied Kashmir. A statement issued by the OIC Permanent Commission on Human Rights said, “We also support the demand of the UN experts that human rights violations, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, and violence be reported in Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir.” The report said that as a result of these testimonies, 22,939 women became widows and 17855 children became orphans. During this period, Indian troops desecrated 11,246 women and damaged 110,445 residential houses and other buildings. The report also exposed that more than 8,000 Kashmiris have been reported missing by Indian troops and police during the period.
As a result of the Indian government’s barbarism in the Kashmir valley, the already tense relations with Pakistan have further exacerbated, eroding any possibility of resuming a bilateral dialogue. Pakistan demands that international media and human rights organisations be given access to occupied Kashmir, as fascist policies pose a serious threat to the region. We need to awaken the international conscience in this regard. There is a need to draw the attention of the United Nations to the Kashmir dispute until the Kashmiris get their freedom which is their basic right.
BY JAVED IQBAL
–The writer is contributing columnist, based in Islamabad