India’s brutally violent occupation of Kashmir took yet another deadly turn on 1st April 2018 as at least 20 people were killed and another 200 injured in clashes in southern Kashmir. This was the worst loss of life in a single day for years and all of the blame needs to be placed squarely on the shoulders of the Indian government. State forces began indiscriminately firing on protesters who were doing nothing but exercising their inherent right to free speech and assembly. India, as it always does, blamed the violence on ‘militants’ – a lie that is immediately exposed by the fact that many of the injured and dead are children. It is the logic of the coloniser to see anyone who protests its illegitimate rule as a militant or terrorist. Just as with Ahed Tamimi in Palestine, the occupying force realises that the bravery and suffering of children can awaken minds to the reality of occupation and so tries to tarnish it with epithets, arrest and cold-blooded murder. Even though the Indian army is armed with guns, tear gas and rubber pellets, it denounces teenagers who have only stones to express their anger at the injustice being meted out to them as hardened terrorists.
In response to the violence by security forces, liberation groups in Kashmir have called for a strike. More clashes are expected as Indian troops are seemingly preparing for a fight. The only way to bring an end to this inhumane occupation is for the international community to wake up to the abuses it is tacitly endorsing. Yet, apart from Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who said India would never be able to silence the people of Kashmir, there has been no statement from anyone else. The UN has particularly disgraced itself by turning a blind eye to India continually flouting UNSC resolutions on Kashmir. UN fact-finding missions are not allowed into occupied Kashmir and there is not even a UN representative for Kashmir yet. The reticence of the international community can be partly attributed to fear of upsetting a burgeoning superpower like India and partly for reasons of crass commerce. Everyone wants an entry to the lucrative Indian market and is loath to take on the Modi government. India knows it can wage its campaign of violence with impunity. The only resistance it meets is from the brave Kashmiris who daily risk their lives to protest the occupation. But for them to succeed they need the rest of the world to finally sit up and take notice.