India arranged another “sojourn” of diplomats based in New Delhi to Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), on February 17, as part of its well thought out malicious campaign to mislead the comity of nations. Such guided tours are a smokescreen, aimed at diverting international attention from India`s egregious human rights violations in IIOJK, and creating a false impression of ‘normalcy’. Such “guided tours” would serve “no purpose”, commented former chief minister of IIOJK, Omar Abdullah.
No meetings with former Chief Ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti or senior Hurriyat political leaders were included in the agenda. Ahead of their visit to the valley last year,the Ambassadors had asked to meet the former CMs,who were all in detention. “We’ve seen these guided tours in the past particularly, in the immediate aftermath of August 5, 2019. They serve no purpose because the visiting delegation is allowed to meet only hand-picked individuals. If this proposed delegation is going to do the same thing, this visit will be as pointless as previous ones,” Mr. Abdullah told The Hindu. “However, if the delegation comes to meet us, we will not stop them. Our doors are open,” another leader from the regional party said.
To prove restoration of ‘normalcy’, India must also allow the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR); the United Nations Observers; the OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC); international human
rights and civil society organizations; and international media to visit IIOJK and assess the situation on ground.
The Indian notion of so-called normalcy in IIOJK has no feet to stand on. The world can clearly see that the illegal and inhuman military siege continues for over 18 months now; extra-judicial killings of Kashmiris in fake ‘encounters’, and staged ‘cordon-and-search’ operations have become rampant;arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances and custodial torture have increased. All Parties Hurriyat Conference has said India continues to take the entire Kashmiri population hostage over the past seven decades for demanding the universally accepted right to self- determination.
Kashmiri leadership remains incarcerated; journalists, human rights activists and international human rights organizations are being harassed; and the Kashmiris’ fundamental rights, including the right to express themselves continue to be denied.
The visit would mean nothing if there is no access to all the areas and possibility to freely interact with Kashmiri people and the civil society in an atmosphere free of intimidation. Equally, meeting the senior Hurriyat leadership including those incarcerated on trumped-up charges alone would enable an objective assessment of the ground realities.
According to Kashmir Media Service, APHC General Secretary Molvi Bashir Ahmad in a statement issued in Srinagar said New Delhi has, so far, martyred tens of thousands of Kashmiris to deprive them of this basic right and to perpetuate its illegal occupation over the occupied territory.
Forum for Human Rights in Jammu and Kashmir, an independent body, in its latest report on the rights situation in IIOJK has said serious human rights violations are going on unabated, even after 18 months of abrogation of the special status of the territory. The forum, co-chaired by former Indian Supreme Court judge Justice Madan B. Lokur and former Kashmir interlocutor Radha Kumar, in its report, pointed out that arbitrary detentions continue while public assembly is prohibited under Section 144 and hundreds including minors remain under detention. APHC leader Khawaja Firdous in a statement in Srinagar said that India is once again trying to mislead the international community by sending selected diplomats to
the occupied territory, in the supervision of its military.
The international community, including the world leaders, parliamentarian, international human rights organizations as well as the media, who have been unanimous in their condemnation of the ongoing atrocities in IIOJK, must urge India
to take genuine steps to resolve the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in a peaceful manner in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the wishes of the Kashmiri people.
Frequent damning reports issued by almost all international HR watchdogs testify the fact that Indian army is involved in crimes against humanity. It is the moral duty of the world powers to bring the criminals of these war crimes before International Criminal Court. Despite all these atrocities committed on the innocent people of Kashmir, the people of Kashmir have never resigned to the military occupation of India.
The demands of the people of Kashmir have international legitimacy. The right to self-determination was guaranteed by the United Nations as early as 1948. The world body has yet to fulfil those promises. Raising of Kashmir issue at global level is important. We need to connect all the dots from personal level to political level. The strategic goals require a well thought-out plan for the narrative, expressions, and political positioning for the sake of elevating Kashmiris and their lives. Also, there is need to strategize all awareness efforts to achieve and measure the effect of actionable items. Campaign should start asking the international community to impose economic sanctions on India; and urge all big multinational business conglomerates to precondition their investment in India with Human Rights situation in IIOJK.
India’s economic well-being must be directly connected with granting Kashmiris their rights according to the UN resolutions. jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference Chairman Shabbir Ahmad Dar in a letter to US President Joe Biden has called upon him to address the question of the right of self-determination on priority basis.
Kashmir, too, needs Biden’s attention. By doing so, he would indeed be carrying through his campaign days’ promise of resolving Kashmir conflict. Unfortunately, both Obama and Trump administrations favoured India over the people of Kashmir. They did not protest over India’s violations of human rights or its plebiscite resolutions. That was tantamount to acquiescence in India’s illegal claim of sovereignty over Kashmir.
They gave India a veto over any third-party intervention, knowing well that it would be employed to its disadvantage. There is a very slim chance that the US government will adopt a stance asking India to restore Fundament Rights of hapless Kashmiri people, particularly at a time when Washington is trying to prop up New Delhi to negate Beijing’s growing influence in the region.
According to Dr Fai, Kashmir conflict has many dimensions, Political, diplomatic, and humanitarian. But the goal of all these dimensions is just one: “to have a greater understanding of world powers to help Kashmiris exercise their right to self- determination as guaranteed under UN Security Council resolutions”. According to the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative 74 Right to Information activists have been killed in India since 2005. Of these 68 of the deaths were outright murders, while the rest have been ruled suicides. Eleven HR activists were killed in cold blood in IIOJK during 2020.
After abrogation of Articles 370 and 35 A, the so-called accession of Kashmir became annexation. Legally speaking it is now a total occupation. Now India is struggling to impose its will on the hapless people of Kashmir through draconian laws which have given total impunity to Indian army in Kashmir. People of Kashmir are facing unparalleled atrocities. However, one could see the light at the end of the tunnel as the World at large is becoming increasingly aware of the actual situation in IIOJK.