Kashmir Solidarity Day is observed every year to convey the message to Kashmiri Muslims that Pakistan and its people stand with them in their legitimate struggle for the fundamental right to self-determination and freedom from Indian oppression. The struggle of Kashmiri Muslims has entered into a new phase after the abrogation of Article 370 on 5th August 2019 and the recent developments by the BJP-led government in India vis-a-vis occupied territory of the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Kashmiri Muslims have been struggling for their basic human rights for over ninety years. Their struggle has passed through different phases: pre-partition, post-partition, post-Burhan Wani and Post 5th August 2019. Their generations have seen and beard countless unforgettable events of massacres, rapes and tortures. Their history of the unmatched struggle for freedom has never witnessed a single moment when Kashmiri Muslims gave up their struggle and bowed down to Indian brutal forces. They lost their sons, their daughters & mothers got raped by Indian inhuman forces, women lost their husbands and children lost their parents but they never gave up. Indian brutality continues and the Kashmiri struggle for freedom never ends.
Kashmir Dispute appeared on the global stage when the United Nations didn’t hesitate to intervene in the conflict in 1948. Several resolutions were passed and the UN promised a plebiscite for the people of Jammu & Kashmir to decide their political destiny. But, it never happened. UN had been reluctant throughout history to take practical measures to save the Kashmiri Muslims from Indian barbaric actions in Kashmir. Even, International media and International human rights organizations didn’t take the issue seriously. Everyone was looking at Kashmir Conflict from the Indian lens. Indian forces continued to kill the innocent unarmed Kashmiri Muslims in the name of terrorism. Kashmir was being treated as it was not part of this world, as the people of Kashmir were not human beings, as they didn’t deserve attention.
The killing of Burhan Wani and the massive protests after 8th July 2016, sought the world’s attention. Few international media outlets and many social media activists started to realise that India had been fooling the world about Kashmir resistance. Indian atrocities further increased in the post-Burhan Wani era. The use of internationally banned pellet guns became a common practice of Indian brutal forces. From 2016 to August 2019, thousands of Kashmiri Muslims were blinded, tortured and brutally killed. Rape has been used as a weapon of war for over seven decades, especially for the last thirty years. But, did the UN hesitate to intervene? No, they didn’t. Major Powers of the world ignored the Indian atrocities in Kashmir.
BJP-led government abrogate Article 370 and removed the special status of IOJ&K on 5th August 2019. Before doing this injustice to the people of Kashmir, the entire valley was put under strict curfew and internet shutdown. This Indian government action was against UN resolutions, a bilateral agreement between India and Pakistan and also against internationally recognized fundamental human rights. International media and renowned human rights organizations had been exposing Indian atrocities in Kashmir. The illegal Indian actions were being criticised across the global. UN holds a meeting on Kashmir dispute after over fifty years but nothing comes concrete out of that meeting. It seems that it was just a formality that had to be fulfilled.
Thousands of articles have been written on the Kashmir conflict since the Indian government abrogated Article 370. Many international human rights organizations have raised serious concerns over the BJP-led Indian government’s agenda in Kashmir. But, it hasn’t worked. UN was formed to protect fundamental human rights and resolve conflicts peacefully. It has miserably failed in the case of the Kashmir Dispute.
Moreover, Major Powers could have resolved the Kashmir dispute but they preferred economy over humanity. They see India as a big market for them, so they overlook Indian illegal actions in Kashmir. For example, the US which claims to be the sole superpower in the world never threatened India with economic sanctions in the case of Kashmir. Does the US not know about Indian brutal and illegal actions in Kashmir? It does. But, it doesn’t care about the Kashmiri Muslims. It does care about its economy. The US has declared India as its strategic ally in the South Asian region. They enjoy good trade relations. The US will never go against India.
In addition to it, France also claims to be one of the human rights champions in the world. But, they don’t question India over its illegal and draconian occupation of IOJ&K. French government is serious about its Rafael deal with India but it has no issue over the dying humanity in Kashmir. Almost the same is the case with Russia and the UK. Their claims of being human rights champions are false. They are doing nothing for the Kashmir dispute but protecting their economic interests. When it comes to Kashmir, all go into a deep slumber. If these major powers continue this inhuman attitude in the case of Kashmir, then the world might witness serious implications for peace in South Asia and beyond.
The BJP-led government is following the agenda of Akhand Bharat, which means a pure Hindu State with no minorities. Their first target is Kashmir, then the Indian Muslims and then other minorities especially Sikhs living in India. The Indian government has unleashed its plans to change the demographic in Kashmir. After the abrogation of Article 370, they have introduced new domicile law in Kashmir. According to new domicile law, those who have resided for 15 years in Indian-administered Kashmir or studied for seven years and appeared in Class 10/12 examinations in educational institutions located in the region are now eligible to become permanent residents. It has been also reported that the Indian government has issued over 430,000 new domicile certificates to the people who are not residents of the occupied territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
The last year, 2020, has recorded a significant rise in Cordon and Search Operations (CASOs), killings of civilians, destruction of civilian properties and encounters. Between January 1 and 30 December 2020, 65 unarmed civilians have been killed by Indian forces in Kashmir. Indian occupational and barbaric forces conducted 312 CASOs and destroyed 657 civilian properties in IIOJK.
There are two types of crisis which are unfolding in this region; first the humanitarian crisis in Kashmir and also inside India due to India’s discriminatory policies towards minorities especially Indian Muslims and Sikhs, and secondly India’s conflict with Pakistan over Kashmir which could lead to nuclear war. BJP-led government is hell-bent on destroying all fundamental human rights. Their aim to achieve Akhand Bharat is threatening the existence of minorities especially Indian Muslims. This will create the biggest humanitarian crisis in the human history of the world. In the case of Kashmir, Pakistan and India both are nuclear powers. India’s unilateral inhuman and illegal actions in Kashmir as well as on LOC are threatening the peace of the South Asian Region. If both countries go into war, then it will have a detrimental impact on peace in South Asia. And the nuclear war between these two will have a global impact.
The Indian stubborn attitude needs to be dealt with an iron hand. Without taking practical steps, the International community especially major powers can’t stop the Indian war against peace and humanity. The UN should impose economic sanctions on India for killing thousands of unarmed civilians in Kashmir. International Criminal Court (ICC) should be approached to hold the Indian government accountable for gross human rights violations in IOK. Major Powers should threaten India to boycott until it stops barbaric actions against Kashmiri Muslims. If there is a will, there is a way!