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