- By Abdul Majid Zargar
The worst crimes against humanity committed by India in Kashmir are going unchallenged. The absence of any censure or reprimand by the international community particularly UN, is taken as a license or tacit permission by India to continue with its dastardly & grotesque action of annihilating the natives of the place, physically, socially & economically. And while as the state pogrom is on, UN is in deep slumber akin to that of Khumbkarana, the brother of ‘Demon’ Ravan as potrayed in Hindu epic Ramayan. But, as the legend goes, Khumbkarna could at-least be awakened with the high decibel noise of drum beats supplemented by roars & growls of wild animals plus aroma of foods, nothing seems to be working in case of UN, which is ,otherwise supposed to be the custodian of human safety & dignity around the world and had long back sanctioned a framework to settle Kashmir issue peacefully.
India’s weapon to crush the popular uprising in the occupied territory has throughout been murder, rape and torture. The fundamentals of its rule in Kashmir is actually based on enforcing full submission and obedience on its local subjects. It is based on fear and terror, on disinformation, false propaganda and on shameless collaboration of the local quislings. Law and order is maintained by using torture and extra-judiciary executions, and by building countless prisons and concentration camps. Name any crime which has not been committed by the rogue State & its security apparatus in Kashmir. It has killed unarmed civilians by firing on peaceful protestors, even when they had no stones in hand (Gaw Kadal, Mashali Mohalla, Zakura etc). It has killed & imprisoned intellectuals & human rights defenders of Kashmir through covert operations (Dr. Guru, Jaleel Andrabi, Khurram Parvez for instance). It has committed individual & mass rape of women, rape of daughters in front of mothers & rape of newly wed brides (Kunanposhpura, Budsgam incidents). It has burnt people alive in live infernos (Sopore incident of Jannuary1993). It has indulged in involuntary & enforced disappearances & created a long trail of half-widows & half-orphans ,making Kashmir a unique place in the world to contribute new words to human right lexicons . It has buried thousands in unmarked graves and has the audacity to deny identification of such graves. It has destroyed & damaged properties both residential & commercial, on a large scale to ruin the economy of the State. It has blinded, fully or partially, hundreds of youth through use of deadly pellets. No wonder that Kashmir becomes the world capital of the blinds in near future. It has denied medical aid to wailing injured (See Report of Physicians for Human Rights) . Young saplings in the most reproductive age group are being specially targeted to be killed on a daily basis to annihilate a race. The frequent blockade on communication like inter-net is imposed with a purpose of preventing the world to know what is happening inside Kashmir.
The persecution of people of Kashmir has been buried under the rubric of “the world’s largest democracy.” A further tag of Islamic terrorism has been added to the product of state violence to make it saleable in the international market. There is no democracy in Kashmir; only military rule and the law of the gun. In fact the presence of more than 700,000 Indian military and paramilitary forces have made Kashmir the largest army concentration anywhere in the world.
No amount of barbarity on Kashmiris causes any twinges of conscience to most Indians but any adverse comment on their human rights record touches a raw nerve. It speaks volumes about a country whose top legal officer in company of various celebrities & Journalists defends the recent incident of Indian army using an unarmed civilian as a human shield which is internationally recognized as a war crime under 1949 Geneva Conventions, the 1977 Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions, and the 1998 Rome Statute. Indian media generally downplays reports of violence against local populace as propaganda or a disinformation campaign like that which proliferated during the World War 11. It reminds one of “luggenpresse” or “lying press” — the German catchphrase used in Nazi propaganda to smash truth & dissent.
Kashmir is like a simmering volcano. One may ignore the volcano, but the volcano won’t ignore him. What Kashmir needs today is not only international solidarity and support in its struggle for self-determination but, more importantly, international censure of India for perpetrating war crimes & crimes against humanity on the State natives. Without this recognition, any attempt at ally-ship and solidarity is doomed to the limited sphere of addressing each new instance of human rights abuse in isolation, without addressing the structural reason for its existence. This is essential from the point of view of restoring trust in the invaluable institution of peacekeeping and — even more importantly — to provide a full measure of justice and healing to the affected communities.
In 2016 when Pope Francis was given the Charlemagne Award for working towards European Unity he asked “What has happened to you –Oh the Europe of Humanism, the champion of human rights, democracy and freedom? He called on Europeans to “remember, to take a step back, to listen to the voice of their forefathers.” Today Kashmiris are asking the same Europeans to listen to their shrieks & wails. US ,UN & European community will do well to remember Einstein’s famous quote that ‘The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything’ .The global community needs an urgent introspection of its role to prevent becoming silent spectators to a silent genocide of a whole generation which has also the potential to destroy the whole world.
(The author is a practicing chartered Accountant. E mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)