- A hidden corner of Indian oppression
Regarding terrorism and diplomacy, Machiavelli advises the rulers to have a lion-like image outwardly and adopt the traits of a goat inwardly. He also suggests to them the use of terror to obtain their selfish goals.
Opening acting upon the Machiavellian theory, though it has been discarded in the modern era, since 5 August 2019, when Indian Parliament revoked Articles 35A and 370 of the Indian Constitution, which gave a special status to the disputed territory of the Indian-Occupied Kashmir, the fanatical Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, led by the extremist ruling party BJP, carried out various moves to turn the Muslim majority there into a minority.
Deployment was made of more than 900,000 troops in Indian-Occupied Kashmir, who have martyred thousands of the Kashmiris, including women and children through brutal tactics and fake encounters. The closure of mosques, shortage of foods, and of medicines for patients and coronavirus-affected persons, and the use of pellet guns and phosphorus bombs, show the worst form of India’s state terrorism. Now, more than 16 months have passed. But, Indian strict military lockdown in Indian-Occupied Kashmir continues unabated.
Besides these human rights violations, India denied medical treatment to the Kashmiri leaders who are in jails and those ones who are under house arrest.
While, Articles 55 and 56 of the Geneva Convention IV state that the occupying power must ensure sufficient hygiene and public health standards, as well as the provision of food and medical care, to the population under occupation.
In a recent statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan said that Pakistan voiced its deep concerns over health conditions of the jailed Kashmiri leaders.
Undoubtedly, Indian denial of medical treatment to the jailed Kashmiri leaders and their maltreatment is clear violation of Articles 55 & 56 of the Geneva Convention—IV and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
The statement elaborated: “These Kashmiri leaders have been illegally arrested over malicious, false and fabricated charges by the Indian government through invoking draconian laws promulgated in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir… These leaders include Asiya Andrabi, the founding leader of Kashmiri organization Dukhtaran-i-Millat, Shabbir Ahmed Shah, the leader and founder of the Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party, and prominent leaders…Yasin Malik, Masarat Alam Bhat, Mohammad Ashraf Sehraie, and others who have been languishing under squalid conditions in the midst of the covid-19 pandemic in New Delhi’s infamous Tihar jail and others… Many other senior Kashmiri leaders, including Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq are also under house arrest.”
The statement added: “Imprisonment and torturing of Kashmiri leaders on the basis of their political ideology and struggle against illegal Indian occupation is a true reflection of the extremist mindset of the RSS-BJP regime which has no respect for the human rights of the Kashmiri people… Islamabad urged the international community, particularly the UN, and human rights and humanitarian organizations to take notice of the Indian government’s inhuman treatment of the Kashmiri leaders… raises its voice for their immediate release from illegal Indian detention.”
In this connection, Farooq Ahmad Bhat, the uncle of Hurriyat leader Masarat Alam Bhat stated: “He did not expect the Indian government to keep us informed about Masarat’s health… I haven’t visited him since corona pandemic erupted. I have learnt he is not well.”
Mujahid Sehraie, the son of Hurriyat leader Mohammad Ashraf Sehraie, who is 76 years old, pointed out that the prison authorities did not allow him to meet his father. He talked to his father through phone, who told him that he had fever and suffered from multiple ailments, but he had not been taken for specialized check-ups.
Particularly, media reports disclosed that Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani died in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir due to serious illness on December 30. He was also not provided with appropriate medical treatment.
Notably, in a report, Human Rights Forum for Jammu and Kashmir said: “After the government revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s autonomous constitutional status, the Indian authorities imposed various restrictions… thousands of people remain detained without charge, critics are threatened with arrest, and access to the internet is limited…the government announced the COVID-19 lockdown.”
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, has stated: “Even as the pandemic [covid-19] is forcing the world to address discrimination and inequality, the Indian government is persisting with its repression of Kashmiri Muslims…The government should reverse its abusive policies and provide remedies for those whose rights were violated.”
And Human Rights Watch pointed out: “Indian authorities should take immediate steps to protect rights by releasing political detainees… holding to account officials responsible for rights violations.”
In fact, under the cover of the coronavirus, Indian rulers have been imposing various kinds of restrictions on the Muslims. Modi’s government and the Health Ministry claimed that Muslims were spreading this virus. As a result, Hindu extremists have set off a series of assaults against Muslims across the country.
In the recent past, Western media reported: “Indian authorities had allegedly linked cases of COVID-19 to the Tablighi Jamaat that had held its annual conference in Delhi in early March … Muslims have been beaten up, nearly lynched…attacked in mosques…Hindu extremists are scapegoating the country’s entire Muslim population for deliberately spreading the virus through “corona jihad”, Indian hospitals segregates Muslim and Hindu coronavirus patients…In what many are calling a case of “apartheid” during a global pandemic…made separate wards for Hindu and Muslim patients. It is a decision of the government.”
Implementing similar anti-Muslim policies, Indian-Occupied Kashmir has become a special target of the Indian fanatic rulers. In this context, New Delhi has also accused Pakistan of spreading coronavirus in the Indian Occupied Kashmir.
And under the cover of this novel virus, Modi-led extremist regime has accelerated persecution of the Kashmiris and their leaders in order to suppress the war of liberation which keeps on going, as Kashmiri people are fighting for their right of self-determination which was recognized by the UN-related resolutions.
Undoubtedly, Indian denial of medical treatment to the jailed Kashmiri leaders and their maltreatment is clear violation of Articles 55 & 56 of the Geneva Convention—IV and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
The writer can be reached at: [email protected]