Geneva: Speakers at a seminar have expressed serious concern over India’s settler colonialism, saying that intensifying settler colonialism poses a grave threat to the Kashmiris’ existence.
According to Kashmir Media Service, the seminar hosted by the Community Human Rights Advocacy Center on the sidelines of the 54th session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHCR) in Geneva was attended and addressed by international law experts, academicians, rights activists and parliamentarians hailing from different parts of the world.
The speakers and participants included Senator Naela Chohan, Dr Imtiyaz Khan, Robert Fantina, Prof. Dr Syed Manwar Hussain, Dr Waleed Rasool, Syed Muhammad Ali, and Advocate Parvez Ahmed. The event was moderated by Kashmir Institute of International Relations (KIIR) Chairman Altaf Hussain Wani.
The speakers said that the territory of Jammu and Kashmir was occupied by India illegally in 1947 and then annexed on 5th August 2019 in clear contravention of the United Nations Security Council resolutions and other international covenants. They said that after annexation of the disputed territory, the phenomenon of settler colonialism was in full play in the region. They pointed out that the Indian government’s goal of settler-colonization was the removal and erasure of indigenous people’s identity and dislodging them of their resources, land and other resources.
The speakers said that following the annexation of IIOJK under the controversial “Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act”, New Delhi took a series of steps that included the balkanization, revoking special status, and abolishing Article 35-A. They said that Article 35-A, which protected the state subject rights and privileges of the people of the Kashmiris, was struck-down by the Indian parliament with malicious intent to bring structured changes to establish Kashmir as a settler-colony of India.
The speakers said changing of the IIIOJK’s nomenclature and extensive modifications in its age-old laws have led to further disempowerment, disenfranchisement and systematic marginalization of the indigenous population besides creating a sense of fear and insecurity.
They said New Delhi’s settler-colonialism project in Kashmir coupled with policies of degradation, dehumanization and demographic shifts, severely threaten peace and security in the region. They said the aggression and expansionist designs of the Indian government not only pose a threat to the Kashmiris’ existence but also to the sovereignty of small nations bordering India.
Referring to the UN charter, the speakers said that the Indian policies were in violation of the UN charter. They said that the UN Charter not only established the rights of indigenous people but also their fundamental right, the right to self-determination.
They regrettably noted that India was emerging as a brute colonizer in the region. “The country that sought freedom from British colonialism is now following the footprints of the colonizers to deprive Kashmiris of their basic rights”, they said, adding that the colonial mindset was reviving in India in the same pattern but more lethal than the British as colonizer. “It is only by the power of the gun by which the RSS influenced Hindu supremacist regime is hell bent on to control Kashmir and the Kashmiris,” they said.
The speakers said that despite India’s claims of normalcy, a startling reign of lawlessness in the region had reached its climax. “Human rights abuses ranging from mass killings, forced disappearances, torture, rape and sexual abuse to suppression of freedom of speech and ban on religious gatherings are still an ongoing issue in the region,” the speakers said.
The speakers said that it was high time that the international community should take effective notice of the Indian-settler colonialism in the region and play its much needed role to stop assimilation and annihilation of Kashmiris by India.