Kashmiris under perpetual India siege — world needs immediate intervention
By Altaf Ahmed Bhat
Though the New Year brought happiness, promise, hope and prosperity for the world at large, Kashmir — a utopian land with dystopian lives is the unfortunate region in the world which despite having all the elements of prosperity, economy and natural habitat — continues to reel under the dark clouds of Indian occupation with all-time high inhuman brutalities at the hands of security forces.
After Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi government scrapped Article 370 and 35A, Kashmir was thrust into a digital black hole by deploying additional troops and putting in place punitive measures to further suppress the already besieged Kashmiri people. The repealing of Articles followed with the arrest of thousands of youth, political leaders and the economical blockade of the region.
The siege in the Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IOJ&K), in the first quarter of the year 2020, was followed by the COVID-19 pandemic which led to the enforcement of another lockdown as Indian brutal forces started using COVID-19 cover to traumatize the Kashmiris with rising target killings of youth, demolition of their houses in the fake cordon and search operations and razing of their property worth millions of dollars.
While Modi and his companions Indian Home Minister Amit Shah and his security czar Ajit Doval have introduced a new domicile law to change the demography of the held Kashmir to allow non-resident Hindus the residence rights with the brutal forces carrying out fake cordon and search operations, claiming lives of 100 youths and complete razing of 60 houses with explosives and critically injuring 800 people so far in 2020.
The new domicile law will alter the demography of Muslim-majority Kashmir into a Hindu majority region in the long run and to start with, the Indian government has already provided domicile status to 300,000 Hindus.
The blood of the Kashmiri youth has become so cheap for Indian brutal forces that the current month of June proved the bloodiest month this year as 22 Kashmiri youth were killed in targeted attacks only in 12 days and hundred other injured while causing enormous losses to the property worth millions of dollars.
Continuous fake cordon and search operations and the lockdown has created an environment of chaos and disorder in the occupied Kashmir and children and youngsters are facing psychological trauma with everyone expecting the worst next.
This the third lockdown in the held Jammu and Kashmir with the first one putting in place in 1989, the second after the repealing Article 370 and 35A, and the third one soon after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Indian forces have used all these lockdowns as a pretext to kill the Kashmiri youth, suppress their voice for freedom, rape women and destroy their properties and destroy their economy.
Since 1989, more than 100,000 Kashmiris have lost their lives, 110,327 structures razed to the ground, 160,487 civilians arrested and 11,204 women raped.
The Kashmiris’ freedom struggle continues unabated for their love for Pakistan and hatred for India and the burial of Kashmiri martyrs wrapped in Pakistani flags is the manifestation of their desire to become the denizens of Pakistan.
The Organization of Islamic Countries’ contact groups’ recent emergency virtual conference on the current situation in the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir is highly appreciable, as, amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, foreign ministers of Muslim countries raised their voice for the besieged people of the held Kashmir. Their demand for halting the fake military operations, illegal detentions, use of force, and violation of international laws must be accepted by India on an immediate basis. The OIC is the most powerful organization of Islamic countries, and the Kashmiri people expect help and staunch support from it
All OIC countries must start putting pressure on the Modi government by banning the import of non-halal products from India, and boycott of Indian goods, products and services until India withdraws its brutal occupational forces from the region, and gives Kashmiris their birthright of freedom, as agreed upon and according to UN resolutions.
In the occupied Jammu and Kashmir, owing to the acute shortage of food, medical supplies and health facilities amidst the COVID-19 outbreak and lockdown, the situation is worsening with each passing days.
The Pakistani government and Prime Minister Imran Khan should announce and offer a handsome relief package under the aegis of the United Nations for the besieged people of Jammu and Kashmir like the 8 billion US dollars announce for people of Pakistan. And the UN should ask India to allow international relief and health organizations to visit the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir to carry out relief and healthcare activities to ameliorate the suffering of the besieged people of the held Kashmir who have been under perpetual lockdown for the last 324 days.
Modi’s warmongering attitude is jeopardizing the peace and stability of South Asia and India’s border issues with China and Nepal, ceasefire violations along the line of control are pushing South Asia into a bloody war. It is high time, international organizations must take stock of fascist Modi’s designs or else, the hovering clouds of war will have far-reaching consequences for South Asia with a disastrous cost.
The writer is well known Kashmiri freedom seeker, human rights activist and Chairman Jammu Kashmir Voice of Victims