Muhammad Serajuddin in Karachi
It is a growing concdern among the political observers in South Asia and outside that Indian oppressive tactics in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) and war-like posture against Pakistan are correlated since the government of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led Prime Minister Narendra Modi aims to garner support towards winning the ongoing general elections .
It is perceived that by exploiting the false flag terror attack at Pulwama, Indian Prime Minister Modi has intensified war-hysteria against Pakistan. New Delhi’s main aim is to deflect the attention of the international community from the new phase of Kashmiri ‘Intifada’, since pressure has been mounting on the Modi government both domestically and internationally to resolve the dispute of Kashmir with Pakistan. As the struggle of Kashmiri people has entered into crucial phase with increasing frustration of New Delhi, India accelerated atrocities and oppressive tactics in the Indian Occupied Kashmir.
Following the false flag Pulwama terror attack in the IOK, which killed 44 Indian soldiers on February 14, this year, Indian Air Force (IAF) conducted pre-emptive air strike near the town of Balakot, close to the border with Pakistan’s sector of Kashmir on February 27, 2018, while claiming that IAF fighters targeted the camp of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and killed 350 militants—the outfit whom New Delhi blamed for the Pulwama attack.
Next day, in response, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) launched aerial strikes at six targets in the IOK and shot down two Indian fighter jets and captured Indian pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman who was released as a gesture of peace and handed over to the Indian authorities.
Without any investigation and evidence Indian high officials and media started accusing Islamabad, saying that the attackers had come from Pakistan to stage the assault.
Pakistani authorities including Prime minister Imran Khanhave strongly rejected false allegations of Indian media and government, which linked the Pulwama terror assault to Islamabad.
Taking cognizance of Indian blame game and war-like posture, offering cooperation and another chance at a dialogue over the Kashmir issue, Prime Minister Imran Khan said on February 19, this year that Pakistan will take action, if New Delhi shares any actionable evidence, concerning the suicide bombing in the Pulwama area. But, Indian extremist rulers rejected any cooperation with Islamabad and have continued threatening diplomacy against Pakistan.
In this regard, in a televised address on February 27, 2019, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that his country is ready to cooperate with New Delhi into the investigation of the February 14 suicide bombing, claimed by Pakistan-based armed group, JeM which was banned by the government. He called for talks with India and hoped better sense would prevail so that both sides could de-escalate.
Meanwhile, journalists who visited the targeted site of Balakot and a video released by Islamabad exposed India’s false statements that IAF fighters targeted the camp of JeM and killed 350 militants. Despite the demand of Indian opposition parties and some responsible media entities, Indian top civil and military officials have failed to provide any evidence or video regarding government’s claim in this connection.
In the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack, many Kashmiri people, including students have been arrested and attacked and their shops looted by the Hindu extremists. Young people have been charged with sedition for criticizing the Indian Army, and Indians are lashing out at Pakistani civilians, including Bollywood actors.
Since last 71 years, the Kashmiri people have been endeavouring for an end to India’s illegal and bloody occupation. Atrocities being inflicted by the Indian forces on the Kashmiris have increased manifold particularly under the rule of Hindu fundamentalist party BJP. The amount of torture, killings and rapes perpetrated on Kashmiri people by Indian army personnel has already crossed all the thresholds of brutalities. Everyday, incidents of gashing of eyes, chopping off vital body-parts, use of ever-new methods of persecution during unending curfews speak volumes for India’s state-sponsored violence on Kashmiris.
Even India-based human rights watchdogs and some veteran politicians in India are now fully convinced that grave acts of brutality are being committed by occupation forces in Kashmir. Recently, talking in a gathering organised under aegis of Foreign Correspondents Club (FCC) South Asia, ex-external affairs minister/BJP leader Yashwant Sinha candidly termed India’s wrong policies in handling Kashmir as “bundle of confusion”. He also admitted that “India has lost people of the valley emotionally” owing to Modi’s doctrine of brutality to suppress Kashmiri people.
Despite complete closure of the IOK for the foreign/local human right watchdogs and international media, the sporadic clippings and footages display the Indian army’s devilish acts of torture and carnage. As a rare show of moral support, United Nations Human Rights Council, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, European Convention on Human Rights and human rights set-up of the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation also issued reports in 2018, pointing out grave violations of human rights by the occupation forces in the IHK.
On the other hand, Indian media in league with Indian deep state, has been vociferously blaming Pakistan and its primary intelligence agency ISI for all the unrest in the IOK , while, the ongoing ‘Intifada’ is an entirely local uprising as retaliation from the suppressed Kashmiris against Indian occupation spanned over 70 long years.
It is mentionable that to pay homage to the martyrs in Kashmir and determination to the struggle of Kashmiri people, 5the February (2019) was observed with full support from the Kashmiris. The hallmark was presence of Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Quereshi in London to lead the efforts of international community at international level. Protests and seminars were organized by Kashmiris and Pakistanis in Europe, North America and important capitals of the world.
However, under new BJP-Modi strategy being executed in the IOK, a genocide of the Kashmiri people is being carried out to change the demographic structure of the IOK in utter defiance of international human rights laws. More bloodshed is feared in the days ahead due to use of brutal force and extra-judicial killings of innocent Kashmiris by Indian military and paramilitary troops.
Spill-over of purely indigenous freedom movement of Kashmiris to the other insurgency-infested states especially Khalistan, Mizoram and Assam is very much on the cards for India.
Nevertheless, various forms of state terrorism have been part of a deliberate campaign by the Indian army and paramilitary forces against Muslim Kashmiris, especially since 1989. It has been manifested in brutal tactics like crackdowns, curfews, illegal detentions, massacre, targeted killings, sieges, burning the houses, torture, disappearances, rape, breaking the legs, molestation of Muslim women and killing of persons through fake encounters.
Notably, in the recent past, social media proliferated the viral video of 22 year old young woman namely Ishrat Muneer Bhat (resident of Dangerpora, Pulwama district). Her bullet-riddled body was found in Sugan, Draggad village, Shopian district on January 31, 2019. She was doing Masters at the Indira Gandhi National Open University and was killed by the Indian Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAS). Besides similar tragic events, her killing is latest barbarity of the Indian LEAs which are now also not sparing the women folk in their bloody game of crushing the Kashmir movement.
Indian forces have employed various draconian laws like the Jammu and Kashmir Disturbed Areas Act, and the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act and Public Safety Act in killing the Kashmiri people, and for the arbitrarily arrest of any individual for an indefinite period.
Besides Human Rights Watch, in its various reports, Amnesty International has also pointed out grave human rights violations in the Indian controlled Kashmir, indicating, “The Muslim majority population in the Kashmir Valley suffers from the repressive tactics of the security forces”.
In its report on July 2, 2015, the Amnesty International has highlighted extrajudicial killings of the innocent persons at the hands of Indian security forces in the Indian Held Kashmir. The report said, “Tens of thousands of security forces are deployed in Indian-administered Kashmir…the Armed Forces Special Powers Act allows troops to shoot to kill suspected militants or arrest them without a warrant…not a single member of the armed forces has been tried in a civilian court for violating human rights in Kashmir…this lack of accountability has in turn facilitated other serious abuses…India has martyred one 100,000 people. More than 8,000 disappeared (while) in the custody of army and state police.”
In this context, European Union has passed a resolution about human rights abuses committed by Indian forces in the Indian Held Kashmir.
It is of particular attention that in 2008, a rights group reported unmarked graves in 55 villages across the northern regions of the Indian-held Kashmir. Then researchers and other groups reported finding thousands of mass graves without markers. In this respect, in August, 2011, Indian Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission officially acknowledged in its report that innocent civilians killed in the two-decade conflict have been buried in unmarked graves.
Human rights organisations have revealed that unnamed graves include those innocent persons, killed by the Indian military and paramilitary troops in the fake encounters including those who were tortured to death by the Indian secret agency RAW. In the recent past, more unmarked graves have been discovered.
Some online authentic sources suggest that recent wave of Kashmiri ‘Intifada’ has witnessed repression of Indian armed forces; large numbers of the dead and injured have been youngsters. The pellet guns used by security forces have damaged the faces of 1600 people and more than 1100 people have partially or wholly lost their eyesight making 2016 as the year of dead eyes.
In 2017, reports also disclosed that in the IOK, Indian security forces have also used chemical weapons against the Kashmiri civilians in violation of international law and Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In a development on July 4, 2017, the Indian Army had destroyed houses in Pulwama and killed 3 Kashmiri civilians. Upon recovery of the bodies, it was discovered that they were burnt beyond recognition.
Sources report that Indian Army is emulating Israeli tactics by using white phosphorus bombs to destroy houses of Kashmiris suspected of harboring Mujahideen. The same tactics was used by Israel during its attacks on Gaza and it seems that these weapons have been provided by Israel to India for use in the IOK.
In fact, Indian authorities are not willing to talk with Kashmiri people on political grounds. New Delhi reached to a conclusion that only bullet is the right way of dealing with Kashmiris, demanding their right of self-determination. Surprisingly, Indian successive governments and particularly the Modi regime are trying to ignore the dynamics of the freedom movement of Kashmiris for the sake of their alien rule.
Failed in suppressing the Kashmir movement, Indian central government imposed President’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir which started from December 20, 2018. The main purpose was to accelerate atrocities on the Kashmiris who are demanding their genuine right of self-determination.
Taking note of the recent war-like situation between Pakistan and India, especially, Russia and some Arab countries, including Turkey and the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed deep concern over tensions between the two neighbouring countries, and have offered their mediatory roles between both the nuclear countries for de-escalation.
Unfortunately, New Delhi which has refused the mediatory role of any country, is still showing its intransigence to resolve the Kashmir issue with Islamabad by neglecting the fact that Kashmir remains a nuclear flashpoint between both the neighbouring countries.
It is worth-mentioning that the organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on February 26, 2019, condemned India’s incursion against Pakistan, urging the two countries to exercise restraint and avoid any steps that could endanger peace and security in the region. On the same day, in an emergency meeting, the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir expressed grave concern at the rising tensions in South Asia and strongly condemned the recent wave of repression, killing of innocent civilians, and frequent incidents of rape perpetrated by Indian forces in occupied Kashmir.
In this connection, concluding the meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) of the OIC, held in Abu Dhabi on March 1-2, 2019, a resolution was passed, which condemned the Indian state terrorism in occupied Kashmir and reaffirmed its unwavering support for the Kashmiri people. It reiterated that Jammu and Kashmir remained the core dispute between Pakistan and India. The resolution also reminded the international community of its obligation to ensure implementation of UN Security Council resolutions on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. The OIC member states adopted another resolution which expressed grave concern over the Indian violation of Pakistani airspace; affirmed Pakistan’s right to self-defence; and urged India to refrain from the threat or use of force. The resolution on regional peace and security in South Asia also welcomed Prime Minister Imran Khan’s renewed offer of dialogue to India and the goodwill gesture of handing over the Indian pilot. However, it also proved Pakistan’s diplomatic victory over India.
It is noteworthy that Indian Prime Minister Modi’s extremist party-BJP had got a land sliding triumph in the Indian elections 2014 on the basis of anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan slogans. Therefore, double game has become the BJP strategy to win the Indian general elections 2019.
Muhammad Serajuddin in Karachi