By Sajjad Shaukat
Despite the continued sieges and prolonged curfews, including arrests and detentions of the Kashmir leaders, since July 8, 2016, Indian security forces have martyred more than 250 innocent persons in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK), who have been protesting against the martyrdom of Burhan Wani and for liberation of their land. With the acceleration of the new Intifada, Indian is losing ‘illegitimate’ control in the Indian Held Kashmir. Besides the media of Pakistan and India, Western media, including various politicians and UNO has pointed out India’s state terrorism on the Kashmiris who have been demanding their legitimate right of self-determination, as recognized by the UN resolutions.
Before the bypoll-election which was held on April 14, 217 (Friday) in the Indian Occupied Kashmir, in an article, under the caption, “Indian Civil Society Group Warns of Losing ‘Legitimacy’ in Kashmir), published in Pakistan’s leading newspaper Dawn, Jawed Naqvi wrote, “Indians appeared to be poles apart on Friday, as they usually are, over the way ahead in the strife-torn region of India-held Kashmir. A government minister in the state said bullets were the only way to deal with angry civilians. But a group of “concerned citizens” warned of devastating consequences for India’s legitimacy in the disputed Himalayan region if bloodshed didn’t abate. Elsewhere, Kashmiri students were mercilessly beaten up in BJP-ruled Rajasthan and threatened in BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh, where hoardings have come up warning Kashmiri students to leave the state…“An erosion of faith in democratic processes may eventually threaten the legitimacy of the state itself,” the civil society group warned. Signatories included former BJP foreign minister Yashwant Sinha, former foreign secretaries Nirupama Rao and Salman Haider, journalists Prem Shankar Jha, Shekhar Gupta, John Dayal and Bharat Bhushan. Other members of the group are retired Justice A.P. Shah, Wajahat Habibullah, Aruna Roy, Ramchandra Guha, S. Irfan Habib, Kapil Kak, Badri Raina and Sushobha Barve.”
Naqvi pointed out, “The group said the worst-ever voter turnout of a mere seven per cent in parliamentary by-poll in Srinagar was a warning of the extent of disillusionment prevailing in the Kashmiri voter’s mind. Avoiding any reference to Pakistan, the group said—Conditions conducive to a dialogue that can restore reason, calm and sanity must be enabled. For this, the government of J&K and the central government need to show exemplary restraint in either deploying force or adopting ‘innovative’ measures which (do not) backfire in dealing with protesters. The protesters must also understand that the path they have chosen is counterproductive.” A senior Supreme Court lawyer considered insightful on Kashmir affairs said there was a genuine fear that the cult of death wish evident among Kashmiri youths of late could mutate into something devastating and uncontrollable for India. However, this was not every Indian’s view. Even by the loathsome standards of rightwing nationalism the tweets of retired Air Marshal Anil Chopra have plumbed new depths, said the analytical portal The Wire. And it is time he and others like him in official positions are called out. A tweet by Chopra, according to The Wire, said—Any self-respecting nation should have shot 100 stone-pelters by now. India is a country of pseudo-liberals enjoying tea in Pak High Comm. He was said to be responding to a video clip that showed CRPF jawans in Kashmir being punched and jostled by young men. Other videos showed Kashmiris being beaten with sticks by the security forces and who then forced them to call out anti-Pakistan slogans. The news of recurrence of violence, student protests and the video war on social media in Kashmir ought to disturb every right thinking Indian. Both the government and the Kashmiri protesters need to recognise that in democracies the world over, peace in disturbed areas has never been achieved through more violence or by retributive measures, the citizens’ group said. Already we have witnessed far too many deaths, maiming and blindings in the Kashmir Valley last summer. The group urged resumption of dialogue with those who hold differing views. India’s heart is large enough and its constitution flexible enough to accommodate the aspirations of all its citizens, the people of Jammu and Kashmir included. The approach was entirely the opposite elsewhere. A day after some Kashmiri students were beaten by a suspected Hindutva mob in Chittorgarh, Rajasthan, hoardings appeared in different parts of Meerut, near Delhi, on Thursday, asking Kashmiris living in Uttar Pradesh to leave the state or face consequences. Home Minister Rajnath Singh responded by urging the state governments across the country to be kind to Kashmiris as “they are our own citizens.
However, according to results of the election, announced on April 15, this year, National Conference (NC) of the former chief minister Farooq Abdullah won the Srinagar bypoll-election. Farooq Abdullah defeated the ruling PDP candidate, Nazir Khan, by a margin of over 10,700 votes. Abdullah polled around 48,554 votes against Khan, who got 37,779 votes, Indian officials said.
This will be the third term as Lok Sabha member for Abdullah, whose victory is being seen as a major below for the ruling PDP-BJP alliance.
In this regard, Indian newspapers, especially, The Times of India and The Indian Express wrote, “Abdullah, whose victory is being seen as a setback to the ruling PDP demanded that the bypolls to the Anantnag Parliamentary seat, which have been deferred till May 25, should be held under Governor’s rule. Farooq Abdulah, the President of the National Conference on Saturday demanded the dismissal of PDP-BJP government and sought Governor’s Rule in Jammu and Kashmir claiming that the Mehbooba Mufti led regime had failed to conduct a peaceful election—said the election was the bloodiest—8 persons were killed and 300 injured and witnessed the lowest ever turnout 7.13 per cent, the lowest ever in its history—Abdullah stated that the state government completely failed to give security to the people so that they could cast their vote in peace and in harmony.”
Farooq Abdullah also emphasized upon the resumption of Indo-Pak talks with all stakeholders including Hurriyat Conference, adding that “war is not a solution to anything.”
It is notable that in order to divert the attention from the new Intifada of the Kashmiris, India orchestrated the drama at a military base in Uri. By manipulating this false flag terror attack, the BJP-led Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi started a blame game against Pakistan’s army and its primary intelligence agency ISI, and has also accelerated war-hysteria against Pakistan. Indian forces continue violations at the Line of Control (LoC) by shelling in Pakistani side of Azad Kashmir. Pakistani troops are giving a matching response to Indian unprovoked firing across the LoC and are well-prepared for Indian another surgical strikes, as threatened by Indian new army Chief Army Chief Gen. Dalbir Singh Suhaag.
New Delhi’s main aim is to deflect the attention of international community from Indian state terrorism and the new phase of Kashmiri Intifada, while pressure has been mounting on the Modi government both domestically and internationally to resolve the issue of Kashmir with Pakistan.
In this respect, A. S. Dulat, former chief of India’s spy agency RAW, published in the magazine, ‘The Wire’ on August 27, 2016 said “Pakistan’s role is not the only catalyst for the crisis, talks about the need for the Indian government to start talking to separatist leaders in the Hurriyat Conference, Pakistan, and other important political players.” His condemnation of the Modi government for not talking to Hurriyat and for its high handedness in IOK is spot on. He rightly concludes that the Kashmiri uprising is 100% indigenous.
While, in response to the letter of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, on August 19, 2016, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon deplored the killings of the Kashmiris in Indian Held Kashmir, and urged India and Pakistan to settle Kashmir and other issues through dialogue by offering his “good offices”.
Meanwhile, on September 21, 2016, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Sharif emphatically highlighted Kashmir situation during the annual session of the UN General Assembly. In this context, he said, “Kashmiris had to face barbarism from India, which made Burhan Wani, the face of freedom movement…Pakistan fully supports the demand of the Kashmiri people for self-determination, as promised by several Security Council resolutions. Their struggle is a legitimate one for liberation from alien occupation.”
During his visit to Pakistan, in the joint press conference with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on November 17, 2016, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged for an immediate resolution of the Kashmir dispute and stated that “the escalating tensions on the Pakistan-India border and the atrocities in Kashmir cannot be ignored. He elaborated, “The Turkish government and the Turkish nation stand in solidarity with the Kashmiri people.”
In the recent past, dossiers provided to the UN and important world capitals by Islamabad gave solid evidence of atrocities of Indian forces against innocent people in the Occupied Kashmir.
Besides, Western politicians have also taken serious notice of the deteriorating situation of Kashmir. For instance, the Italian Minister for Defense, Mrs. Roberta Pinotti who visited Pakistan said on September 19, 2016 that her country “opposes use of force and lethal weapons against peaceful protestors in Kashmir and stated that it cannot be allowed to go on.” She further stated that Italy will apprise the international community about what is going on in Indian Held Kashmir.
The recent genocide in the Indian Occupied Kashmir has received wide coverage in International as well as domestic Indian media.
West’s renowned TV channels and newspapers are giving appropriate coverage to the ongoing uprising (Intifada) in Kashmir, while pointing out Indian atrocities. For example, with the title, “India’s crackdown in Kashmir: is this the world’s first mass blinding?”, The Guardian wrote on November 8, 2016, “The Long Read: A bloody summer of protest in Kashmir has been met with a ruthless response from Indian security forces, who fired hundreds of thousands of metal pellets into crowds of civilians, leaving hundreds blinded.”
Recently, some more newspapers like the Washing Post have pointed out the Indian atrocities on the innocent Kashmiris who have intensified the struggle against the Indian illegal occupation.
Nevertheless, at this crucial hour, Kashmir issue has been internationalized, while New Delhi has failed in diverting world’s attention from the present deteriorating developments of Kashmir, as India is losing her ‘illegitimate’ control on Kashmir.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations