2022 will be another year that Kashmiri people must look to the International community in order to address their sufferings, which are worsening with each day they live under Indian occupation. This was the day that New Delhi invaded Kashmir in 1947 and occupied it against the will Kashmiris.
India is the largest democracy worldwide. The foundation of a democratic state is based on the principle of human freedom. Democracy is based on the principle of majority rule, but it must be tied to individual and minority rights. The majority of democracies around the globe respect the will and defend the fundamental rights of individuals as well as minorities. Democracies understand that their primary purpose is to protect fundamental human rights, freedom of speech, and religion. They also ensure that every citizen has equal protection under the law. India is not a democracy because the rights of minorities are constantly at risk and not being protected.
Kashmir has been a source of contention for the nuclear powers of South Asia since the division of the subcontinent. Indian Illegally Occupied Kashmir (IIOJK), is more than a disputed territory. This beautiful land also suffers from large-scale human rights violations, which India calls an integral part. The Indian Army has been involved with massive human rights violations in IIOJK for the past 75 years. Occupied Kashmir has seen the worst human rights violations under the lockdown and curfew. India placed thousands of troops in the valley and enforced restrictions in IIOK. This triggered a new wave of repression. The largest military zone in the world, Kashmir, has been invaded by Indian troops. Innocent Kashmiris and their leaders have been detained without trial. Public gatherings have been banned and thousands of security checkpoints set up. A communication outage has also been implemented. As a result, Kashmiris have been left without basic necessities and are now in desperate need of medical supplies.
India also took the few autonomy and autonomy Kashmiris had after the repeal of Article 370 of Indian Constitution. It divided the region into two Union territories Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh. Articles 35A and 370 were created to protect the demographic characteristics of Kashmir and preserve the culture and identity of the Kashmiri people. India continues to be involved in IIOJK’s demographic changes, which is intended to downplay Kashmiris struggle for independence and their right of self-determination. India has adopted a new domicile law in IIOJK. A person who has lived or studied in Jammu and Kashmir over the past 15 years is eligible for the Domicile under Jammu and Kashmir Civil Services Act. These regulations are the Indian government’s attempt to change the demographics in the disputed territory.
The Indian army, Central Reserve Police Force and Border Security Forces have committed many other heinous crimes, including mass killings, forced disappearances and sexual assaults, torture, physical and mental assaults, as well as repression and suppression of freedom to expression. The human rights violations committed against the Kashmiri population call into question the humanity of the world. Journalists and human rights activists who attempt to expose the true face of Indian occupation forces have been silenced. Journalists and human rights activists have been subject to a systematic suppression by Draconian Laws like Sedition and antiterror laws like the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, Public Safety Act, New Media Policy 2020 and New Media Policy 2020. This legislation is used to create a vicious circle of criminal proceedings against journalists and activists.
International human rights organizations have repeatedly condemned these widespread violations. India, however, has not been apologetic. Twenty-one European Parliament Members (MEPs), on 7 March 2022, wrote to Prime Minister NarendraModi and other top constitutional officials in India to express concern over the treatment of Indian human rights defenders. They stated that activists had been “jailed for peaceful work, targeted by anti-terror laws and labeled terrorists and are now facing increasing restrictions.” Three cases were highlighted: 16 activists were arrested in the Elgar Parishad matter, 13 activists were detained in connection to protests against CAA and Khurram Parvez, a Kashmiri activist, was detained. They emphasized that India must stop suppressing dissident voices and human rights violations.
Gregory Stanton, founder and president of Genocide Watch, a world-famous human rights organization, stated that India was preparing for “genocidal murders” of 200 millions Muslims in September 2022. He said that India is actively pursuing the persecution of Muslims, as evidenced by the anti-Muslim measures, including the end of Kashmir’s autonomy and discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act. Also, hate speech and dehumanization of Muslims. The world community was also warned by him that the Indian state’s preparation for more massacres had already begun and Kashmir could become next Rwanda.
Amnesty International’s report on 2 September 2022 stated that Jammu & Kashmiris are being treated with suspicion by the Indian government. This includes the bureaucracy and politicians as well as intellectuals and the media. The oppressive policies of Indian Prime Minister Modi and the abuses by the Indian Security Force have led to an exponential increase in Kashmiris’ security. The Indian government has increased its persecution of journalists, civil society members, and politicians since the repeal of Articles 35A and 370 A. This was without any evidence or meaningful judicial review. Instead, it uses counterterrorism and public safety laws, which have been widely criticized internationally. Many journalists have been forced to quit or were fired due to intimidation and harassment. The Indian government forced the closure of the Kashmir Press Club 2022, further reducing the spirit of solidarity and debate among journalists.
Amnesty International’s report stressed the need for the Indian government to take measures to improve the participation and representation of Jammu & Kashmiris in decision-making. The report also called for an independent investigation by the international community into the serious human rights violations in Jammu & Kashmir. It is urgent that India steps up to stop the violation of human rights in IIOJK, and resolve the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN resolution and the wishes of the Kashmiri people. This will ensure peace and stability in the region.
The author, an independent analyst, holds a Master’s in Peace and Conflict Studies and can reached at [email protected]
This article is shared: