By Sajjad Shaukat
The first death anniversary of Burhan Wani, Commander of Hizbul Mujahideen is approaching on July 8, 2017. Since he was an iconic figure of the freedom movement, it is expected that his anniversary would be observed on a large scale in the Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir. Wide-spread protests are expected to be held. The Indian occupation-forces, as usual, are likely to use brute force including live ammunition and pellet guns against the protestors which may result in casualties.
Last year, after the killing of Burhan Wani, widespread and spontaneous protests erupted throughout the Indian Occupied Kashmir. In order to control the mass movement, the Indian occupation forces unleashed reign of terror against the civilians. As a result more than 200 people embraced martyrdom and around 20,000 got injured. Many became permanently blind due to pellet guns shots. Curfew remained imposed for more than four months. Around 12,000 people were arrested or detained.
The bloodshed is still on and God knows how many more Kashmiris will lose their lives at the hands of Indian forces.
Wani, in his early 20s, had become the face of the struggle in Kashmir and over the last five years was using social media like Facebook to reach out to young Kashmiri men to continue their movement for the independence of Kashmir. He became voice of the Kashmiri youth and his popularity irritated New Delhi.
Undoubtedly, Burhan Wani was a great voice for freedom of the Indian-occupied Kashmir. Hence, the planned killing of Burhan Wani triggered protest throughout the valley.
The terrible and heinous massacre of Muslim populace of the Indian Controlled Kashmir is continuing since seven decades without any break. Unfortunately, the callous insensitivity of international community is encouraging India to cross all limits of gross human rights violations. It is not that international community is unaware of atrocities, being unleashed on people of Indian Held Kashmir—it is rather the vested interest of Western governments to remain mute just to please India.
Instead of accepting the existing reality, New Delhi resorts to implicating Pakistan for Kashmiri uprising. Indian allegations against Pakistan are ploy to hoodwink the international community on Kashmir issue and a blanket to hide state sponsored atrocities on innocent people of Kashmir.
International community must realize the plight of the Indian Occupied Kashmir and their people. Kashmir has been under unlawful Indian occupation since October 1947. The people of Jammu and Kashmir have been granted the right of self-determination under the UN Charter, and under several UN Security Council resolutions, more specifically under UN (UNCIP) resolution of August 13, 1948, and January 5, 1949. These along with subsequent UN resolutions have affirmed that the question of accession of the State of Jammu and Kashmir to India or Pakistan will be decided through the political democratic method of free and impartial plebiscite. Unfortunately, stalwart supporter of human equality and advocates of preservation of human rights have done little to resolve decades long Kashmir dispute. It is sad to admit that death of few animals aired by international media can bring tears in the eyes of people, but no heart moves on genocide of innocent Kashmiris. These double standards are drag to international efforts on global peace.
In this regard, Leonardo Boff has rightly said, “The eternal destiny of human beings will be measured by how much or how little solidarity we have displayed with the hungry, the thirsty, the naked and the oppressed. In the end, we will be judged in terms of love.”
However, a peaceful, negotiated settlement of Kashmir dispute in accordance with UN resolutions should rank top on UN’s agenda. In order to find a swift and legal solution of Kashmir issue, international community must stand with people of the Indian-held Kashmir. New Delhi should also realize that no freedom movement has ever been suppressed with force and Kashmir is no exception.
Balochistan has shown solidarity with Kashmiris on July 14, 2017. Huge rallies in all parts of Balochistan occurred to demonstrate unity with Kashmiris against crimes committed by India in the Indian Occupied Kashmir. Youth including universities, colleges and schools mobilized with civil society. Local leaders addressed the rallies to give a clear message of support to the Kashmiris.
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 encounter.
In fact, Indian forces have employed various draconian and controversial laws like Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and the Public Safety Act (PSA) etc. in killing the Kashmiri people, and 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. Under the Jammu and Kashmir Disturbed Areas Act, and the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act and Public Safety Act, security forces personnel have extraordinary powers to shoot suspected persons.”
It is mentionable that under the cover of draconian laws, most of the times, majority of the popular pro-movement leadership is detained or house-arrested by the Indian security forces, and mostly, without prior orders from the higher authorities. As per a Kashmiri human rights group, Voice of Victim (VOV), a total of 1 471 torture centers are operating in the Indian Controlled Kashmir where arrested Kashmiri leaders and the youth are subjected to severe torture.
Nonetheless, Burhan Wani’s blood has given a new impetus to the Kashmir movement which continues unabated against the occupying forces of India.