Kashmiris have not been able to live in peace since Maharaja Hari Singh, the then-ruler of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), signed the questionable instrument of accession with the Indian government on October 27, 1947. This was done in order to prevent Pakistani-backed armed groups from seizing control of Srinagar and establishing Dogra rule there. Hence, the main aim of this article is to call the attention of worldwide masses to the horrors committed against Muslims in Kashmir.

Although there was resentment towards India among the Kashmiris, it was under control, but when the Kashmiri Intifada started in 1989, India responded by sending thousands of its armed soldiers, which led to grave human rights atrocities, crackdowns, curfews, unauthorized sieges, detentions, house fires, torture, forced disappearances, targeted killings, massacres, mass rapes, molestation, and fake encounter killings. More than two million Kashmiris have died in the liberation struggle since 1989, as issued by a report on human rights abuses in the Indian-Occupied Kashmir (IOK).

The world community ignores the horrors committed against Muslims in Kashmir, while the relevant human rights organizations remain silent. Muslims in J&K and IOK are suffering from serious issues. In addition, there have been 1,22,771 arrests, 7,023 deaths in custody, 10,5996 home or building destructions, 22,776 widows, 10,7466 orphans, and 10,086 rapes or other sexual assaults of women over the past three decades. 

As time went on, their sufferings, agony, and predicament worsened, but August 5, 2019, will forever be remembered by the people of J&K as the day when the Indian government annulled Articles 370 and 35(A) of the Indian Constitution, ending the special status that had been granted to J&K under Article 370. It revokes the identity and ostensible autonomy bestowed under Article 370. All central laws of India that previously needed approval from the state assembly will now take effect immediately in the region.

Similar to this, IOK will now directly apply the rulings of the Indian Supreme Court. Therefore, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government's choice in 2019 has had the effect of stifling democracy and democratic rights, which has compelled silence in the region. It has long wished to destroy every safeguard in the Indian constitution relating to Kashmir that distinguished J&K from other Indian states. 

As a result, daily life in Kashmir continues to be dreadful, with soldiers patrolling the streets, businesses shut down because of strikes and fear, placing significant Kashmiri political figures under house arrest, expelling non-citizens, schools without students, paramilitary forces stationed at the entrances of empty colleges, strict transportation restrictions, the suspension of transportation, and the implementing a communications and internet blackout in preparation in an effort to silence the voice of millions of Muslims.

Subsequently, the disappearance of the articles that served as the foundation for their relationship, India is now an occupying force in J&K. The Muslim identity of J&K, the cornerstone of Indian secularism, has been assailed by New Delhi, which has also heightened unease.

Shortly after, the Indian government stepped up its strategy with the introduction of the domicile law and the issuance of 25,000 domicile certificates to non-Kashmiri natives, India has enacted laws and regulations that aim to change the demography of the Muslim-majority region, ethnically cleanse Kashmir, and expand military operations by committing more than one million Indian soldiers to the suppression of less than 150-armed anti-Indian occupation fighters. Instead of providing security, these soldiers are there to suppress Kashmiri aspirations for independence.

In a similar manner, the UN's failure to carry out UNSC resolutions on Kashmir symbolizes the failure of the international community to provide justice to the long-suffering community. The whole community should denounce India for its flagrant disregard for international law and willful disregard for the UNSC resolutions on Kashmir, which endangers both regional and global peace and security.

Even while these crimes have become commonplace in Kashmir, they only serve to increase the country's thirst for independence. The people of the occupied region in Kashmir show no indications of giving up or being deterred from their ultimate goal, which is freedom, in the face of murderous settler colonialism.

In other words, India should not forfeit its commitment to human rights and ideals by repealing Articles 370 and 35A. India is legitimately proud to be the largest democracy in the world.  However, India’s democracy must provide institutional protection to every group, especially minorities, regardless of their faith, race, or philosophy to prevent the silencing of millions of Muslim voices.

Miss Hafsa Sherani is a Research Assistant at Balochistan Think Tank Network, at BUITEMS Quetta