- Today is Kashmir Solidarity Day
The Indian security forces have been using ruthless force to suppress the freedom struggle of the people of Indian Occupied Kashmir, which they launched in 1989 after having been frustrated by the Indian intransigence to grant them the right of self–determination. According to reports compiled by human rights organizations and other authentic sources since then more than 100,000 Kashmiris have been killed, 11,178 women have been gang-raped and more than 100,000 houses have been destroyed.
The brutality and callousness of the Indian security forces attained the ultimate bestiality on 21st January 1990 when they resorted to indiscriminate firing on the demonstrators in Srinagar, who were protesting the molesting and rape of Kashmiri women by Indian security personnel, killing 55 people and injuring dozens of them. The incident revived the memories of the Jalianwala Bagh tragedy and caused severe outrage and resentment in the occupied Kashmir, throughout Pakistan and among the Kashmiri community the world over. A complete strike was observed in Pakistan on 5 February 1990 to protest against this dastardly act of the Indian troops. Since then, 5 February is observed as Kashmir Solidarity Day in Pakistan and by the Kashmiri diaspora around the world.
The world and the UN need to take notice of the foregoing reality, and instead of showing criminal indifference to the miseries of the people of Indian-Occupied Kashmir should show solidarity with them by facilitating the exercise of their right of self-determination. India also needs to understand that freedom movements cannot be subdued through the barrel of the gun
This year the Kashmir Solidarity Day comes amidst the complete lockdown of the 80 million people of Indian-Occupied Kashmir since 5 August and in the backdrop of the Indian move to change special status of the territory, bifurcating it into two regions and declaring them part of the Indian Union; a unilateral indiscretion which is tantamount to nullifying the UN resolution on the Kashmir dispute. Therefore the Day has assumed greater significance with regard to reassuring the people of Indian-Occupied Kashmir that Pakistan has an abiding and unswerving commitment to support their cause and stand by them under all circumstances; reminding the world community of its obligations towards the people of Kashmir and reiterating the fact that its apathy to the Kashmiris’ sufferings could have disastrous consequences for the regional and world peace, and sending a clear message to India that no amount of oppression and persecution could keep the people of Kashmir under subjugation for long and prevent the inevitable.
India is in the grip of the proponents of supremacist philosophy of Hindutva headed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi who, by revoking the special status of Indian-Occupied Kashmir and making it part of the Indian Union, has created a very dangerous situation posing a grave threat to peace and security in the region. He has not only ended the special status of Indian-Occupied Kashmir, but has also adopted a belligerent posture towards Pakistan which has brought the two nuclear powers face to face with each other. The threats by the Indian Army Chief, and the latest one by Modi to make Pakistan bite the dust within seven to ten days in a military confrontation, are dangerous portents. The Indian government is under tremendous stress over the situation within India because of the protests over the Citizenship Amendment Bill and the continued resistance in Indian-Occupied Kashmir. There is every likelihood of it resorting to a false flag operation and starting a confrontation with Pakistan to divert attention from the real issues.
Any such eventuality could have disastrous consequences for the entire region as any miscalculation on either side could easily trigger nuclear war between the two countries. Pakistan has shown tremendous restraint over Indian provocations notwithstanding the fact that it was fully capable of giving a befitting response to any act of aggression against it, as it proved in last February when Indian warplanes intruded into Pakistani territory and one of them was shot down and its pilot was captured, who later was released with a view to avoid further escalation in the tensions between the two countries.
Prime Minister Imran Khan in his address to the UN General assembly had exhaustively dilated on the threats to peace and security of the region from the philosophy of Hindutva and pleaded to the world community to intervene before it was too late.
The world community and the UN must take notice of the supremacist ideology of Indian rulers which is akin to the one propounded by Hitler. The world has already seen the cataclysmic consequences of that philosophy and cannot afford yet another conflict of similar proportion.
Kashmir is an unfinished agenda of the Partition of the Indian Subcontinent, awaiting completion in conformity with UN resolutions on the subject, calling for determining the question of accession of Kashmir through a plebiscite under the auspices of the UN. The only way to prevent the re-enactment of a catastrophe over Kashmir is to pressurize India to undo what it has done in Indian-Occupied Kashmir and resolve the dispute through implementation of the UN resolutions.
It would perhaps be pertinent here to reiterate that the freedom struggle in Indian-Occupied Kashmir is entirely an indigenous phenomenon. Gen Bipin Rawat, the former Indian Chief of Army Staff and present Chief of Defence Staff, admitted the indigenous character of freedom struggle when in his “off-the-cuff” remarks at the Raisina Dialogue in the presence of international dignitaries he admitted that radicalized Kashmiri youth were fighting in Kashmir and they must be brought to de-radicalization camps to check militancy. His remarks have raised alarm as the Government of India has been denying this reality and instead putting the blame on Pakistan for initiating and promoting Kashmir’s struggle for freedom.
A senior journalist and Indo-Pak peace activist, referring to General’s statement writes in a newspaper, “The General must understand that it is the apathetic approach of the successive governments, which has given a lease to radicalization in Kashmir Valley. The Indian government, since the start of armed insurgency in 1990, has provided every possible opportunity to vulnerable children in conflict to get infected by the worms of radicalization. The government pursued wrong policies viz-a-viz maintaining peace and calm in the Kashmir. Children born in the past three decades have become naturalized to the conflict and radicalization, intentionally or unintentionally. The biggest factor for which is that the government did not let them vent out frustration.”
“Intermittent curfews, internet shutdown and even clampdown on movement forced children to spend more time with the people who had witnessed atrocities in the early 1990s. When parents at home talk about atrocities, the subconscious mind of children captures it and develops a negative image of the nation. In the last 30 years, children have been subjected to unwarranted and unprecedented shutdowns. They have become witnesses to a bloodbath and manipulated narratives of Azadi, so their derailing from the mainstream is natural. We have seen that in the recent past, children, including girls, are participating in stone-pelting.”
The world and the UN need to take notice of the foregoing reality, and instead of showing criminal indifference to the miseries of the people of Indian-Occupied Kashmir should show solidarity with them by facilitating the exercise of their right of self-determination. India also needs to understand that freedom movements cannot be subdued through the barrel of the gun.