Kashmiri lives matter

Kashmir continues to burn and bleed as 8.5 million hapless Kashmiri Muslims in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJ&K) bear the brunt of over 800,000 Indian barbaric army personnel whose stifling siege of the valley has reduced it to the biggest prison of the world. The perpetual lockdowns, crippling curfews and complete information blackouts are in place since August 05, 2019 after Modi led BJP Indian government unilaterally abrogated Articles 370 and 35-A. This undemocratic, unconstitutional and whimsical move by the murderous Modi has taken the heaviest toll of the physical and mental health of the innocent unarmed Muslims who are subjected to worst forms of tyranny, torture and terror. The reckless use of pellet guns, tear gas and cluster bombs has thoroughly unmasked the ugly face of so called secular India. This unabated butchery has exposed the shallowness of RSS-inspired BJB’s exclusionist and divisive political ideology of Hindutva, based on hate and ethnic cleansing.

Madly driven by Machiavellian power politics and idealizing Hitler, Modi-Amit Duo (MAD) has, indeed, unleashed a reign of terror in the valley. Sons are shot dead in front of their unfortunate fathers. Similarly, fathers get brutally butchered while their loved ones helplessly watch this gory drama of death staged by the RSS goons. Armed and masked ruffians raid houses at will and shamelessly rape women with impunity. Human rights violations are the order of the day and the valley has been transformed into a virtual hell. All these brutal tactics are aimed at silencing the voices of Kashmiri people who have unanimously rejected this constitutional coup. By sheer use of force, the Indian armed forces have arrested over 8000 local youth and put them behind bars. Almost entire political leadership is either in prison or under house arrest. Likewise, hundreds of journalists and activists are in an illegal custody. The UN and international leadership are watching these inhuman and atrocious crimes against humanity in IOJ&K while the humanitarian crisis deepens with every passing day. This will not last for long.

As the humanitarian crisis further deepens, it is a litmus test for UNSC to establish its legitimacy and take a principled stance to oppose the Indian oppressive and barbaric crimes against the unarmed Muslims in IOJ&K

The unilateral revocation of Article 370 by BJP-led Indian government on August 5 last year suddenly stripped away the statehood of IOJ&K, the only Muslim-majority state. The undemocratic act deprived IOJ&K of its special status under Indian constitution and downgraded it into two federally governed territories. Likewise, by abrogation of Article 35-A, the demographic sovereignty and exclusive rights enjoyed by the local population in marriages, higher education, jobs, scholarships, purchase of land and property were snatched by a single stroke of pen. The infamous Gaza-West Bank model was borrowed from Israel to allow non local Indian Hindus to marry local women, obtain domiciles, buy land and buildings, seek local employment and thus covert the Muslim-majority state to Hindu dominated area. This malicious agenda to change the demography of IOJ&K is being strongly resisted by the local Muslim population and that’s exactly why curfew is not being lifted.

Life in the valley after over a year-long clampdown has come to a virtual standstill. People are locked in their homes and those who come out face detention or death. All educational institutions have been closed and the future of around fifteen million children is at stake. A series of draconian laws have targeted almost every single activist and arrested leadership of all shades and grades. With no access to internet and social media, local population is driven paranoid with multiple emotional and psychological traumas. There are frequent incidents of suicides. Almost two million people suffer from depression, anxiety and mental sickness. With no business or tourist activity allowed during past one year, the economy in the valley has suffered a colossal loss of worth USD 5.3 Billion, leaving over 500,000 unemployed. People are struggling to find food, medicines and other basic amenities to ensure bare survival. Hunger, disease and death have become their destiny and people await earnestly the lifting of curfews and easing of lockdowns.

Rising to the occasion, the incumbent government in Islamabad has reached out to UN and international leadership to sensitize them about this soul stirring humanitarian crisis in IOJ&K. PM IK has truly become their sole spokesman and has taken their legitimate cause of right to self-determination at every forum world-wide. He has spoken to top political leaders including Donald Trump, Emmanuel Macron, and Angela Merkel and established that Kashmir was a nuclear flashpoint. In his address at UN GA last year, he warned the world leadership that their inaction or indifference may trigger yet another war between two nuclear powers in South Asia. He vowed to fight to the last bullet if India chose any military misadventure. Due to his untiring efforts to internationalize the Kashmir dispute, in past one year the UNSC discussed Kashmir thrice and for the first time after 1965. Similarly, UN Human Rights High Commissioner (UNHRHC) released two reports on the appalling human rights violations in the valley.

Time has already come for UN and important global political leadership to act here and now. The two reports already published by UNHRHC have called for an urgent action and a dispassionate probe into human rights violations in the valley. Amnesty International has repeatedly reported that rape, torture and disappearances by the Indian Army against Kashmiri Muslims are very common. Furthermore, Genocide Watch has impressed upon UN to warn India not to commit genocide against Muslims in IOJ&K. The saner and secular voices within Indian media and political parties in opposition have cried themselves hoarse by exposing these barbaric actions being consistently committed and patronized by Prime Minster Narendra Modi. One of the leading newspapers of India, ‘The Indian Express’, has categorically termed Kashmir issue as a real headache for India owing to persistent reports of increased violence. For the first time ever, the world media including BBC and Al Jazeera have critically criticized Indian oppression and atrocities against the innocent and unarmed Muslims besieged in IOJ&K.

The UN, US, UK, EU and the human rights organizations across the globe must recognize that Kashmiri lives matter. As the humanitarian crisis further deepens, it is a litmus test for UNSC to establish its legitimacy and take a principled stance to oppose the Indian oppressive and barbaric crimes against the unarmed Muslims in IOJ&K. If the murder of one black American Mr. George Flyod did cause huge uproar not only within US but it immediately became an international issue and top trend on the entire spectrum of social media, how can the world choose to remain silent when India continues to hold 8.5 Million Muslims hostage in IOJ&K through guns and goons by sheer use of power, tyranny and torture? Mr.Modi must learn from history that hearts can never be won by force nor peace is ever established by using military means against the will and wishes of people. The sooner he realizes his strategic blunder, the better.

The writer is a civil servant by profession, a writer by choice and a motivational speaker by passion!

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