- The coronavirus has not stopped Indian forces slaughtering Kashmiris
As the entire world is focused on fighting the deadly coronavirus, the Indian security forces have taken advantage of the situation and continued the killing spree in Indian-Occupied Kashmir which has been under complete lockdown since 5 August last year when the Modi government repealed Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution and then followed this with the formal annexation of the state through the Promulgation of The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act 2019 which became operative on 31 October 2019.
Reportedly during the current month so far 23 youths have been killed by the Indian security forces. The callousness and the barbarity of the Indian security forces know no limits as they are even refusing to hand over the dead bodies of the martyrs to their relatives and are burying them secretly in the Army-managed graveyards. There is a great resentment among the people of Kashmir against the oppression being perpetrated on them, and the Indian authorities being aware of this fact probably fear that if they hand over the bodies to their relatives, a great majority of people are going to participate in their funerals and protest against their inhuman acts. That is the typical reaction of a guilty conscience. It is also a blatant violation of the international laws and norms of humanitarian behavior. But who cares. Those who can play a role in ending the Indian oppression in Kashmir including the UN by having the dispute resolved amicably through the implementation of UN resolutions, are showing criminal indifference to the plight of the Kashmiris.
The international media has not only been continuously highlighting the Indian atrocities in Indian-Occupied Kashmir but has also refused to buy the Indian narrative in regards to the repeal of Article 370 and the promulgation of the Reorganization Act. The New York Times has been in the forefront in this regard.
A recent report in it makes startling revelations about the state of affairs in Indian-Occupied Kashmir, and perhaps reproducing some excerpts from it would give the readers an idea about the suffering of the Kashmiris fighting for their right of self-determination for the last 72 years-plus.
The powers-that-be need to wake up to the ground realities in this region. Any confrontation between the two nuclear neighbours, besides the likelihood of mutual destruction, would also undermine their strategic and commercial interests in the region. They and the UN need to act before the situation becomes unmanageable
The report says “Eight months after India revoked Kashmir’s semiautonomous status and brought the region fully under its authority, doctors here say a state of hopelessness has morphed into a severe psychological crisis. Mental health workers say Kashmir is witnessing an alarming increase in instances of depression, anxiety and psychotic events. Local medical professionals say they are seeing a rise in suicides and an increase in already disturbingly high rates of domestic abuse in the disturbed area. Doctors and researchers say the occupied valley, with its majority-Muslim population fighting for its independence, has few resources to cope. Before the events of recent months, decades of violence between Indian security forces and the Kashmiri people had taken a physical and mental toll on the region and its people. Nearly 1.8 million Kashmiris, or nearly half of all adults, have some form of mental disorder. Doctors without Borders estimated after surveying 5,600 households reveal that nine of 10 have experienced conflict-related traumas. The figures are much higher than in India. Thousands of civilians have been arrested or detained by order of the Indian government after it moved forcefully to cement its control over Kashmir. Police have blocked roads and streets with coils of glistening concertina wire and if the residents try to get out of their homes they are abused and beaten up. The clampdown has disrupted daily life, with many people feeling besieged and afraid to leave their homes. Years of strife has left a generation traumatized. Now the battle against the corona virus has further isolated and scarred a people with little access to help. A psychiatrist appointed by the government, Dr. Majid Shafi recalled that he had seen 100 patients a week last year. Now, he sees more than 500”.
There could not have been a more authentic and exhaustive account of the impact of the atrocities by the Indian security forces on the mental health of eight million people of Kashmir. It is really regrettable to note that India has been indulging in killing and torturing the people of IOK with impunity ever since their launch of freedom movement in 1989. Human Right Organizations like Amnesty International as well other international entities have been regularly documenting the violations of human rights in the valley and the loss of lives at the hands of the Indian security forces which depict a harrowing scenario. According to these accounts total killing since January 1989 to 31st March stand at 95,515, custodial killings at 7139, civilians arrested at 159,450, structures destroyed at 109,462, women widowed at 22,192, children orphaned at 107, 784 and women gang-raped at 11,179.
The fact of the matter is that the people of Kashmir, like the people of Palestine, are the victims of the criminal apathy of the world powers and their allies, focused on protecting and promoting their strategic and commercial interests. Humanity has no place in the policies pursued by them. Even the UN is helpless in having a myriad of its resolutions implemented. This posturing by the so-called civilized world has not only encouraged India to continue with its killing spree in Indian-Occupied Kashmir as well as its illegal annexation but also in adopting a belligerent posture towards Pakistan, more so since Narendra Modi has become Prime Minister of India.
Reportedly, during four months of the current year India has committed 848 ceasefire violations and targeted innocent civilians in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, while the tally stood at 3000 during 2019. India also resorted to naked aggression against Pakistan on 26 February 2019 when it sent its planes to bomb a non-existent camp of the terrorists at Balakot and had its two planes downed by the Pakistan Air Force, besides the capture of one pilot,Wing Commander Abhinandan. Pakistan not only released the pilot soon after but also showed remarkable restraint to avoid a military confrontation between the two nuclear states, thanks to the friendly countries which played a role in defusing the situation. Pakistan proved its peace loving credentials to the world simultaneously making a statement that it was capable of thwarting any aggression by its enemies.
The alarming aspect of the developing situation is that India is neither willing to abandon its aggressive posture towards Pakistan nor amenable to rescind her actions in Indian Occupied Kashmir to pave the way for resolution of the dispute. The proponents of the RSS ideology of Hindutva, like Hitler, are bent upon jeopardizing peace and security of the region and re-enacting the cataclysmic events of the Nazi era. The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, has been warning the world about the likely repercussions of the Hindutva ideology for the region and beyond. The powers-that-be need to wake up to the ground realities in this region. Any confrontation between the two nuclear neighbours, besides the likelihood of mutual destruction, would also undermine their strategic and commercial interests in the region. They and the UN need to act before the situation becomes unmanageable.