LAHORE   -  A survey conducted by Al-Jazeera in first quarter of 2020 (seven months after the abrogation of Articles 370&35A) had revealed that more than 90 percent of college and university students surveyed in IOJ&K want a complete withdrawal of Indian forces from the region. 

The Kashmiri youth had openly and clearly spoke their mindset thus conveying the unified voices of all the segments of society. It is pertinent to mention that Indian actions prior and after the abrogation of Articles 370 & 35A indicated fear of serious backlash from Kashmiris. To silence the voices India rushed tens of thousands of additional troops to the region in addition to the more than 700,000 soldiers already stationed.

The draconian actions like lockdown, communication, blackout, indefinite curfew etc which squeezed already limited capacity to react, indicate that Indian leadership was fearful of Kashmiri response. Indians also faced wide range of backlash from international HR Org, UN, EU members of US Congress, EU, MPs British Parliament and OIC which all have accused Indian forces of carrying out systematic human rights violations against the people of Kashmir, including widespread killings, torture, rape, eco terrorism and enforced disappearances.

Plebiscite 

The voices of holding plebiscite and resolving the Kashmir issue in line with UN Resolution resonated after long gap. The stats of a recent survey, published in “The Washington Post” recently showed same percentage backed the holding of a referendum to decide the future status of the Muslim-majority region. In 1953, India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru promised to conduct a plebiscite in Kashmir to resolve the conflict, but it was never implemented.

Recommendations

After almost seven month of siege the open and unequivocal demands of IIOJK youth clearly indicate that India had failed to suppress the voice of valiant Kashmiri youth. Indian propaganda and leading stance/ argument to make Kashmir as one of the heavily militarized areas of the world has received internal and international criticism and a change in perception of Indian involvement in state sponsored terrorism has forced BJP govt to take further anti-democratic actions. 

The result of survey carried out in highly hostile conditions points towards Indian State’s complete failure to silence the voice of Kashmiris despite facing severe atrocities and fear of backlash by Indian occupational forces. The important role of IIOJK youth be projected at all forums so they gain confidence to persuade international community to play their part in resolution of Kashmir issue as per UN resolutions and will of Kashmiris.