IIOJK: Human rights violation against women

The Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human rights (UDHR), urges that “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment”. Contrary to that, the women of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) are subject to atrocities at the hands of Indian occupying forces, where they are being subject to gang-raped and molested for the past seven decades.
According to an analytical report released by the Kashmir Media Service, over 2,300 women had been martyred while 11,246 have been molested by Indian troops since 1989. It is pertinent to note that Indian state terrorism has rendered 23,000 Kashmiri women widowed in the most recent 33 years. However, the report deplored that India is using the molestation of women as a “weapon of war” in the occupied valley.
It is matter of fact that women’s issues are exacerbated in war situations. The first issue is migration. Since women spend most of their time at home, when they have to migrate, they have to endure more physical and mental anguish than men. The second problem is that they are used as weapons during war. Because, they are physically weaker than men, they easily fall prey to the nefarious intentions of the enemy. As is happening with Kashmiri women in the case of Indian terrorism. This is pointed out by both Human Rights Watch reports which were published in 1993 and 1996.
Agreeing with the above statement, Seema Qazi, a well-known author on the oppression of Kashmiri women, says, “Rape in Kashmir is a cultural weapon of war, a failed attempt by Indian security forces to stop Kashmiri men from fighting for freedom.” Documents from the soldiers’ confessions stated that they are formally ordered to rape Kashmiri women. An example of this the “Kunan Poshpora Incident” wherein the mass rape committed by the Indian Occupying forces on 23 February 1991 under the guise of a search operation in the twin villages of Kunan and Poshpora located in IIOJK’s remote Kupwara District.
The international attention paid to this incident shows that although the advancement of technology has exposed the oppression of the Kashmiri people, including women, on a global scale through social media, this abuse has not been cured and mass rape survivors still await for justice.
In my opinion, when countries do commit war crimes without any international obligation, the situation worsens. As is happening in IIOJK. The main reason for this is the Special Powers Act of 1990, which prohibits taking legal action against security officials without the prior approval of the Government of India. Under the Act, Indian forces are not accountable for their offences.
The ‘state sponsorship’ of violence is in fact a violation of human rights in IIOJK. That is why in the last 30 years, despite numerous media reports of atrocities and killings, not a single Indian officer has ever had to appear in court or be convicted. Although the national and international media continue to draw attention to this, the Indian Modi-led Regime continues to be oppressed due to a lack of international pressure.
In conclusion, the world needs to understand that time is running at the speed of the jet, Indian skyrocketing atrocities are continuing in IIOJK and they need to stop on an immediate basis to avoid catastrophe in the region. In this regard, Pakistan is constantly raising its voice for the rights of Kashmiris in other international justice institutions. International powers should also take positive steps for this serious violation of fundamental rights beyond their personal interests. Otherwise, history will always remember these countries to be an equal contributor in this oppression.

The writer is a freelance columnist. He Tweets at @MAkhter_

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