Article: Kashmiris being punished through illegal occupation, brutal laws

Raies Mir

Kashmir, the highest militarised zone in the world, has rarely seen a peaceful day since the Subcontinent was partitioned. India has tried every measure of suppression to curtail the legitimate demand of the Kashmiri people; their right to self-determination or plebiscite as per United Nations resolutions. It is ironic to observe that the nation which claims to be largest democracy in the world but has now turned into a Hindutva dominated state holds the worst human rights records in Indian Illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir which obviously shows the worth of Indian democracy in the world that is nothing but hollow.

It has been almost three years since the abrogation of Article 370 and 35 A by Indian government. The Hurriyat leaders have been jailed since June 2017 to silence political voice, stopping Kashmiris from attending funeral of martyrs and holding any political activity in the occupied territory. The illegal detention, which any country’s law does not allow while the Indian government is using black laws and can kill individuals but not an ideology. For the Kashmiri people, the right to self-determination is an ideology worth living and worth dying for.

So while the killing of Kashmiris continues and India is willing to take any measure to demoralize the people of the valley. With BJP in power, the government of India is now turning to apartheid practices in the valley of Kashmir. The Hindutva BJP government after removing Articles 35 A and 370 of the Indian Constitution, which was big violation of international law as Kashmir is internationally recognized as disputed territory and the BJP government with help of Indian Army and dreaded RAW and NIA is fully working to change the demographics of the Muslim dominated state. The Modi government and its regime while imposing undemocratically hundreds of new brutal laws including state subject, land and media laws and gave state subject status to lakhs of non-Kashmiris, lands provided to them and right to vote in Jammu and Kashmir, creating a situation similar to Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. Unfortunately the world including UN, USA, EU have turned a blind eye to the violations of rights of Jammu and Kashmir.

On September 21, 2022 when the world was observing International Day of Peace, but the peace is something quite unknown to the peace-loving Kashmiris who are facing the worst state terrorism let loose by India on people in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir for the past 75 years.

The Kashmiris continue to suffer under brutal Indian occupation while the same continues to elude South Asia for the past more than seven decades due to the free license enjoyed by India to carry out massacre of the Kashmiri people with impunity.

Indian troops, are using brutal force including torture against the Kashmiris on daily basis in IIOJK. Ordinary Kashmiris are forced to live under iron siege while Indian forces’ actions are no less than a holocaust in the occupied territory as the Kashmir has become the biggest open air prison on planet earth.

The world community has not played a proactive role over imposition of continued military siege in IIOJK since abrogation of Article 370 and 35 A and turning of the IIOJK into a big concentration camp by the BJP/RSS backed Modi government who have stepped up its state terrorism in IIOJK, killing, arresting, occupying Waqaf land, dismissing government employees, restricting media and weakening local economy of Kashmiris.

Narendra Modi-led Indian regime after snatching every right from Kashmiris is now hell bent on seizing and grabbing of thousands of kanals of Waqf lands and properties all across the occupied Kashmir through Waqf Board of Jammu and Kashmir, which is headed and controlled by BJP-RSS nexus. The Waqf Board has also ordered a ban on ‘Dastaar Bandi’ (turban tying ceremony) of politicians and prominent personalities across religious places in the territory. The Modi government and its regime in IIOJK is imposing its Hindutva BJP-RSS agenda on the people of Kashmir. Such religious and cultural aggression is to abolish Muslim domination in all means of life in the Muslim dominated state of Jammu and Kashmir.

The latest tirade of a deliberate attempt being made on part of the Modi government to destroy the fruit industry and choke Kashmiris’ economy by blocking fruit truckloads on Jammu-Srinagar Highway is a point worth to ponder.

Notably, the Apple industry, worth Rs 8000 crore, is the backbone of Jammu and Kashmir’s economy. As many as 3.5 million persons are directly or indirectly dependent on the apple trade, contributing about 8% to the region’s GDP.

Halting of fruit-laden trucks on Srinagar-Jammu highway has taken a heavy toll on Asia’s second largest fruit mandi in Sopore, with the market administration saying they have suffered Rs 500 crore loss in the month of September 2022 only.

Revealing the tentative loss assessment, President of the traders’ association at Fruit Mandi Sopore, Mudasir Ahmed Bhat, said that a trader sufferd a loss of Rs 4-5 lakh per truck due to the authorities unnecessarily stopping of trucks on the highway.

A new order by the Indian administration on the conduct of government employees will likely produce more governance paralysis and lead to further alienation in the territory. This has been said by Indian English language daily newspaper The Indian Express in its editorial published under the title ‘State of Suspicion’.

The editorial says, “It is hard to fathom the reasoning behind this egregious order, which comes on the heels of others indicating a toughening stance against Kashmiris in government employment. The alienation in the Valley is no secret. That is why young boys are still running away from home to join insurgency. The order is a tacit acknowledgement of this widespread disaffection”.

The newspaper further says, “The order arms senior civil servants with vast and arbitrary powers to hold back promotions on the basis of suspicion and doubt, and shift the burden of proving innocence on the accused. In the security saturated Valley, an order such as this goes against even the minimal definition of good governance, let alone serve grandiose titles such as Naya Kashmir”.

The Indian Express goes on to say, “What it [the order] will likely produce is more governance paralysis — from the cubicles in the Srinagar secretariat to the government offices in every block, tehsil and village…..”, adding, “Only the naive, tone deaf or the uncaring would mistake the outward absence of anger and resentment as a sign of normalcy”.

The Indian daily maintains, the order is telling evidence that more than two years after the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, the much hailed “integration” is nowhere in sight, and, indeed, if the contents of the order are anything to go by, its long-term consequences are likely to be the very opposite. It says, “Effectively, the order places on record every doubt, suspicion and all other elements of profiling that the Indian state harbours against the Kashmiri people”.

The Indian Government is using repressive laws including Unlawful Activities Prevention) Act (UAPA), Armed Forces Special Powers Act(AFSPA) , Public Safety Act (PSA), Sedition Law, National Investigation Agency (NIA) Act, Prevention of Money Laundering Act ( PMLA ), and National Security Act(NSA) etc.

The Indian government and its regime in IIOJK must be held accountable by the world for the injustices inflicted upon unarmed people of Kashmir. Amnesty International released a new report titled ‘We are being punished by the law’: Three years of abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu & Kashmir”. The document has revealed how civil society including journalists, lawyers, and human rights activists continue to face relentless policies based on interrogations, arbitrary restrictions, and repressive media policies, which clamp down on people’s right to information and freedom of expression. It highlights that the Indian government’s repressive policies in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) – three years since the scrapping of Article 370 in 2019 – has intensified, making the Kashmir issue a serious matter of abuse to humanity.

An unabated wave of suppression is unleashed by the Hindutva-driven BJP government where the Kashmiris are routinely questioned for their work, their social media accounts being monitored, and resultantly they are threatened with detention. The intimidation is meant to censor the criticism of the government – an infringement on Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The crackdown on media also comes in tandem with increased surveillance in the region. The Indian troops, paramilitary and police forces have used draconian counterterrorism and brutal sedition laws to stifle dissent. The Sedition Law is enforced in the region which the Indian government misuses for political purposes against its critics. Amnesty International’s report highlights that such laws and increased surveillance have created a sense of fear in the region.

A fair, independent investigation and justice must be carried out to help provide peace and rights to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

%d bloggers like this: