SINCE 5 August 2019, Jammu and Kashmir has been in a state of lockdown. On this black day, the Indian government illegally amalgamated Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh into Indian Territory, after revoking Articles 370 and 35A of its own Constitution which gave Kashmir special status. The security lockdown and communications blackout had been imposed throughout the Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), with the goal of pre-emptively curbing unrest, violence and protests. Thousands of civilians, mostly young men, had and have been detained in the crackdown, while hundreds of protesting youth were gunned down. Four years have passed and despite strong condemnation by Pakistan and the world community, Indian obduracy is relentless.
Readers may recall that on 5 August 2020, the First Anniversary of this “Black Day”, Narendra Modi and his fascist regime, celebrated as “Ram Mandir bhoomi-poojan” where a Ram Temple is set to be constructed in Ayodhya. In 1992, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) parcharaks (activists) including LK Advani, Narendra Modi, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti, along with RSS Karsevaks (workers) of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, had demolished the historic Babri Masjid. Contrarily, even on Eid-ul-Azha, Indian authorities displayed complete disrespect and deep-rooted prejudice against Muslims by imposing restrictions on offering prayers and sacrificing animals in IIOJK.
In the contemporary era, India is facing its worst economic crisis. Mishandling COVID-19 and gross mismanagement has taken a heavy toll on the Indian economy. All the tall talk on India becoming an economic giant proved to be false. The poor are becoming poorer and their miseries are mounting high. In these bleak times, the self-confessed RSS Parcharak, Modi finds it prudent to manipulate Hindutva to become even more fanatic and divert the attention of his own countrymen, the radical Hindus towards ultra-orthodoxy. Take the case of Manipur, where at least 130 people have been killed and 400 wounded in violence that commenced in May. More than 60,000 have been forced from their homes as the army, paramilitary forces and police struggle to quell violence. A Deputy Imam was gunned down with three others in the Indian city of Gurugram while Muslim women have been raped and killed in Mewat. The frenzy of madness abetted by Narendra Modi continues relentlessly.
The butcher of Gujarat is bent upon trampling over the sentiments of Muslims and promoting his Hindutva philosophy but he remains oblivious to his own history. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva, one of the principal deities of Hinduism, resides in a state of perpetual meditation along with his wife Parvati and his two children, Ganesha and Kartikeya atop Mount Kailash. Geographically, the Kailash Parvat lies in the Tibet region of China and it is the source of Asia’s four important rivers, Indus, Sutlej, Brahmaputra and Karnali. Instead of demanding the residence of its living deity Shiva from China, from whom its troops have received severe thrashing in Galwan, Modi celebrated Janmabhoomi Poojan for a lesser deity, Ram, long dead.
Pakistan on the other hand continues to observe August 5 as — “Yaum-e-Istehsal” — the day Kashmiris’ suffering deepened. However, much more needs to be done. Let us take a leaf from George Galloway, a straight-talking British politician’s book. Galloway, who was in Karachi some time back to attend a seminar on human rights abuses in the occupied territory, categorically declared that “Modi is a threat to India’s survival.” Galloway predicted that nations around the world will eventually reconfigure their ties with India. “They are not moving towards Modi’s India out of love but out of interest. And when a nation loses love, it loses soft power in the world,” he warned in a media interview.
The outspoken former member of the British parliament opined that Modi’s unilateral decision to revoke Kashmir’s limited autonomy and the blatant violation of human rights has tarnished his reputation in the world, and by extension India’s. George Galloway drew attention towards Modi’s repressive regime’s treatment of religious minorities as a whole, the Sikhs, Christians and national minorities within India, and the shocking footage that frequently emerges on social media of people being lynched, effectively by RSS militants, which are an exposé of Indian intransigence. He stressed that the world should know more about the atrocities in India-occupied Kashmir.
“Pakistan needs to help the Kashmiri people to get the information out of the occupied territory.” “We have to step up the information campaign that establishes that Modi is a firm believer in the ethno-religious supremacist ideology. We need to show the world what is happening in Kashmir.” He said the only way to help Kashmir is by telling the stories of ordinary Kashmiri people who are suffering at the hands of Indian forces. “We need to reach out to people in the Western audience who still think Kashmir is a scarf or a shawl, and we need to fight India’s propaganda war with real information,” he said.
Saving his harshest comments for the Indian Prime Minister, Galloway stated that “Modi seems to me as an arrogant person, who speaks on behalf of an ideological trend, which is extremely arrogant, xenophobic and potentially isolationist.” For its gains, India, he said, “is in the process of altering the demographics of the occupied territory. And that is a dangerous trend.”
It is time to move beyond rhetoric and pick up the cudgel of using the social media and diplomatic onslaught to expose Indian fake news factories which continue to churn out lies to malign Pakistan and the just struggle of the Kashmiris. However, in order to help the Kashmiris and ourselves, we need political and economic stability. A weak and divided nation invites aggression and lacks the capability of supporting the just and legal freedom movement of the down-trodden residents of Kashmir. Let us look at China, which has followed the advice it gave Pakistan when the Kargil crisis was at its peak. Build yourselves economically and make yourselves strong before indulging in any adventure. They have done the same regarding Taiwan, which is an integral part of China but supported by vested interests, feigns independence. For seventy-four years PRC did not disturb it but built itself economically and militarily and now is in a position to dictate its terms.
—The writer is a Retired Group Captain of PAF, who has written several books on China.
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