J Chughtai -
FOR long, the daily account on miseries of the people of Indian Held Kashmir (IHK) has fallen short of knocking at the conscience of human rights watchdogs in general and United Nations in particular. Absence of resources and projection forums have miserably failed the oppressed Kashmiris in making the world bodies realize that they have so far remained painfully quiet and complacent while thousands of young Kashmiri freedom-seekers have been brutally tortured and slaughtered by Indian security forces.
However, as a miraculous occurrence of moral support to the suppressed Kashmiris, the report presented by UN Assistant Secretary General in UNHRC’s September session has unequivocally earmarked India and Israel amongst the most shameful countries for human rights violations in Kashmir and Palestine respectively. This is the second incident in the year 2018 where the world’s grand forum is seen acknowledging the plights of the innocent people in occupied Kashmir and showing a relative empathy towards them. Earlier in July, exposing Indian atrocities on Kashmiris, the United Nations’ Office of the Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) had also issued a report that testified the incidents of grave HR abuses in IHK. The 49-page OHCHR report gave detailed account of atrocities committed by Indian security forces in occupied Kashmir ranging from kidnapping as well as killing of civilians and gang rapes of Kashmiri women by soldiers. The report also criticised the chronic impunity against abuses of human rights enjoyed by the Indian military in Kashmir which further propelled the soldiers to inflict sufferings on unarmed protesters in the valley. The part of the report that really pinched the Indian authorities is the recommendation for establishing an independent Commission of Inquiry, which has also been endorsed by OIC’s human rights set-up IPHRC.
Shameless breach of basic rights of local populace have since long been a routine feature in IHK’s daily life; nevertheless India has by and large remained successful in hiding acts of brutalities behind their military’s iron curtain and through media-manipulation. As expected, soon after these UN reports came to light, India started a campaign to refute the versions about Indian atrocities in IHK. At the same time, they frantically debated the report at UN Human Rights Council, besides lobbying actively to garner support from like-minded western capitals for diminishing the credibility of UN’s take on the issue. However, it would be very hard for India this time to set aside the UNHRC and OHCHR fact-files on inhuman excesses the wretched Kashmiris have been subjected to for ages. If the UN’s independent Commission of Inquiry could be convened in time, it will also help unearth hitherto untold tales of Indian brutalities. Presently however, in the wake of UN reports Indian crackdown on innocent protestors has not only intensified but also paved way for governor’s rule in IHK aimed at allowing free-hand to already unbridled Indian troops. It is really painful to mention that as an act of vengeance, occupation forces martyred 42 Kashmiri protesters during the month of September besides brutally injuring 231 people with bullets, pellets and teargas shells. The month also witnessed molestation of 14 Kashmiri women besides destruction of 63 houses during siege & surge operations in the valley by Indian military.
For quite some time now not a single day passes in IHK without cold-blooded killing of innocent Kashmiris. Since violence has become a favourite agenda item for occupation forces, Indian soldiers no more find it necessary to look for some pretext while carrying out day-light massacres, especially when AFSPA (special forces act) is there to provide them unconditional protection against excesses they commit at will. Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat’s award of special commendation to one Major Gogoi, after reports came to light that he dragged the corpses of Kashmiris behind his jeep and trampled protesting youth to death under his vehicle, clearly manifests where the spring-head of cruelty actually lies. In fact, under BJP-Modi rule the state-sponsored violence has increased manifold and the aim is nothing else but to carry out genocide of Kashmiris so that overall demography of the valley stands changed to their benefit. The confession by General Rawat in his recent interview to ‘Daily Telegraph’ that “Indian Army is nation’s last option in Kashmir” has brought out very apt response from an Indian analyst who commented that “we have already lost people in Kashmir and our present endeavours are merely aimed at saving the land” in the face of ongoing uprising.
Unarmed Kashmiris, regardless of their age or gender, are continued to be subjected to mental as well as physical humiliation and torture by the Indian military personnel merely for being Muslim Kashmiris and bona fide residents of the land. It is feared that by the time the UN’s inquiry commission initiates its proceedings, the list of atrocities on hapless Kashmiris may become even longer and terrifying. The need of the hour is that before it is too late, UN Inquiry Commission should start its investigations on human rights violations in IHK and based thereon hold Indian government explicitly responsible for committing unprecedented brutalities on Kashmiris during the last seven decades. This time round, the United Nations must act tough against the tyrant India; thereby honouring its very own resolutions on Kashmir that promised right of self-determination for the oppressed people of the valley decades back.