For many 5th February is just another day going about ones daily business. For others, not a thousand miles from Islamabad, it is yet another day of enduring relentless oppression – a day of sorrow and resistance, two very powerful human emotions that greater Empires before have misjudged.
When the cruelties in Illegally Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir began to take root, particularly since the late 1980s, few could have imagined the downward spiral in subsequent years. The fall from decency and the norms of a civilized society has been exceptionally rapid in recent years.
If the Kashmiris were to be cowed down it would have happened a long time ago. Media blackouts, suspension of normal political activities, arrests of journalists, abductions anddisappearances, sexual violence, exiling of Kashmiris to India, even denying those murdered the human decency of a proper burial do not make a people weaker. It has the reverse effect. It makes people stronger.It inspires a new generation to resist. Do they not realise that with every step, every measure, every daily indignity inflicted on the Kashmiris, it only strengthens their resistance.
Such is the banality of State-sanctioned cruelty against the Kashmiris that even teenage cricket fans have been charged under the draconian anti-terror laws for supporting the ‘wrong’ side. Seriously? Can one imagine for one minute anyone in Britain for example being arrested under anti-terrorism laws for cheering on a European football team? It is simply ludicrous.
Not content with just oppressing the Kashmiris, the Modi Government has taken that model of brutality and intolerance, a kind of petri-dish for cruel experiments and applied it with religious fervor on Muslims living peacefully in India, their dreams of safety and equality in a professed secular society mercilessly crushed. For them it is now akin to looking in a shattered mirror and wondering what happens next.
For the Hindutva chauvinists the Kashmiris’ crime is not just that they want self-determination with Human Dignity, but they are Muslim too. As the new age of extremism has seeped into Indian society, what is happening to the Kashmiris living under occupation serves as a chilling reminder of what is increasingly likely for India’s Muslims.
What hope for the Kashmiris when horrors are being visited on other Muslims across India? Well, it is the sheer determination and resilience of the Kashmiri people to resist that could well be the spark that eventually turns the tide against the total rise of fascism in India.
IIJOK much like the Warsaw Ghetto could be the place that ignites the struggle against fascism and racism. That is why the Kashmiri struggle has now taken on an entirely new complexion. However, if IIOJK is swallowed by the Hindutva Leviathan, it will not be able to digest it. This brutal repression, confident in its own rightness, can and will misstep. Many a normal Indian, and there must be many, will be worried with the downward path their country has gone and what the future holds. Much like many Germans in the interwar years, the easier option is to stay quiet and roll with the wagon. They could not imagine the price that Germany would eventually have to pay. History also will not judge too kindly those foreign partners who look the other way, or worse, embrace a fascist polity in the name of economic and strategic interests.
Former Ambassador and Permanent .
Representative to the UN in Geneva
Courtesy Pakistan Observer