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Occupied Jammu and Kashmir: A Human Rights Black Hole

No pain and suffering could ever match the misery of living under a foreign occupation. It is inhuman, savage, indefensible and illegal by all standards of international law and morality. A wide body of laws prohibit illegal occupation of a territory. However, “Jammu and Kashmir,” a region with a population of over 10 million, has been under brutal occupation of India for the last 75 years.

It is the region where generations after generations of Kashmiris have only seen darkness of tyranny, oppression and state terrorism. During this inhuman occupation, over 100,000 Kashmiris have been martyred, thousands of youth abducted and maimed, and women raped by Indian occupation forces. Demolishing properties of Kashmiris, arbitrary detentions, fake cordon and search operations, ban on congregations, social media restrictions, and brute physical torture including the indiscriminate use of pellet guns have become a norm there.

In today’s modern world of liberty and freedom, “Occupied Jammu and Kashmir” is a “human rights black hole” where life is nothing but pain and misery for the Kashmiris. And all this is being done by India for just one sinister goal of perpetuating its illegal occupation of the region by depriving Kashmiris of their inalienable right to self-determination; the right, promised to them by the United Nations Security Council through its several resolutions.

This epic tragedy in the picturesque Jammu and Kashmir began in 1947. According to the partition formula, the Muslim-majority, geographically contiguous areas had to form an independent state of Pakistan. However, the Hindu ruler of the state of Jammu and Kashmir entered into collusion with India against the will of Muslim majority population of the region. In October 1947, India sent its occupation forces and started a long and dark chapter of illegal occupation.

While taking the matter to the U.N., India’s First Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru said: “We have declared that the fate of Kashmir is ultimately to be decided by the people. We made this pledge not only to the people of Kashmir but to the world. We will not, and cannot back out of it.” The U.N. Security Council, after holding marathon discussions on the issue, passed several resolutions necessitating a U.N.-supervised plebiscite in the disputed territory to resolve the conflict in accordance with the will of the Kashmiri people. However, knowing that the will of the people was against it, India reneged upon its commitments given to the Kashmiris and international community. Since then, India has been employing all possible tactics, one after the other, to prolong its illegal occupation of the region.

The most outrageous step, as part of the systematic oppression of Kashmiris, was taken four years ago on Aug. 5, 2019, when India sent an additional hundreds of thousands of its troops to Jammu and Kashmir following its unilateral and illegal attempt to alter the disputed status of the occupied territory. The illegal actions by New Delhi were followed by unprecedented military siege and further draconian curbs on the fundamental rights and freedoms of Kashmiri people including clamping down on communication channels, extra judicial killings of Kashmiris, and incarceration of their leadership. The Indian machinery aimed at changing the demographic composition of the region by settling non-Muslim outsiders in the occupied region to convert local Muslim majority into a minority in their own homeland. Subsequent measures taken by India are all geared toward depriving Kashmiris of their religion, values, language and culture.

These heinous Indian actions are in clear violation of the U.N. Charter; numerous U.N. Security Council resolutions; international law, particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention, humanitarian norms, and defy all standards of morality. Most importantly, all these steps taken under the facade of normalcy by India have been outrightly rejected by the Kashmiris.

International organizations, media, parliaments, civil societies and world leaders have extensively covered the plight of the Kashmiris under Indian illegal occupation in their detailed reports, articles and speeches. Humanitarian organizations have issued genocide alerts against Kashmiris but the Indian atrocities in Occupied Kashmir see no end.

On the contrary, under the Hindutva-inspired RSS-BJP government in India, hatred toward minorities and their human rights violations, especially Muslims, are growing both in scale and intensity. Not only the Muslims of Occupied Jammu and Kashmir are bearing the brunt of New Delhi’s xenophobic and extremist policies, but life for other minorities in different parts of India is also becoming miserable. The deteriorating human rights and humanitarian situation in Jammu and Kashmir and India merits immediate attention of the custodians of international law.

It goes without saying that the world is passing through political and economic upheaval. It is important that in this time of unprecedented flux, the old disputes, whose just and peaceful solutions are long-awaited, must be resolved as a step toward an international order based on rules and justice. As Rousseau stated, “Man is born free but everywhere he is in chains,” it is the time that the person who is born free shall remain free in life.

Life under foreign subjugation is life under perpetual fear, an antithesis to human progress. The sooner India understands this, the better it would be for India itself, the entire region and beyond.

Source : Daily Sabah