Altaf Hussain Wani
74 years down the line the people of the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir continue to suffer under India’s brutal and belligerent military occupa-tion.
Caught in a dangerously conflicting situation Kashmiris have terribly suffered by the India’s bar-baric aggression, both in terms of loss of human life and material devastation.
Particularly, during the past 30 years, the Indian forces operating under a host of draconian laws have wreaked havoc in the territory by killing over 100,000 civilians.
Eight to 10 thousand people, mostly young boys between the age of 15 to 30 who have been subjected to forced disappearances re-main buried in over 7,000 mass graves spread across the length and breadth of Indian occupied territory. The silent war going on in the region has left no facet of life unaffected.
The political and human rights situation in the region has further worsened since India’s racist regime took a unilateral decision to annex and dismember the territory into two union territories on 5th August 2019.
While social, politi-cal and economic life remains critically suppressed in the valley, people feel lost and completely robbed of their identity.
Months within the repealing of Article 370, Indian authorities arrested 15,000 Kashmiris, mostly youth — families of many of whom were not informed about their whereabouts.
Not to forget the hundreds of top-rank politicians who were arrested and booked under infamous laws and left to rot in jails outside the Kashmir valley.
What ails the besieged Kashmir valley, today, is the ongoing massive and multi-front socio-political and cultural onslaught against its indigenous population by the Indian government and its ultranationalist policies that have pushed the region deeper into a quagmire of uncertainty, chaos and lawlessness.
Peoples’ fundamental freedoms such as right to freedom of speech and expression, right to peaceful assembly and right to peaceful protest remain strictly prohibited.
Illegal imprisonment of political activists under sedition laws, and a witch-hunt against civil society, rights activists and journalists goes unabated and there seems to be no end to the punitive actions that are widely used by the Indian government as a tactic to enable complete silence on Kashmir.
Kashmir, once hailed as a true sanctuary of peace and tranquility, has now been virtually converted into a theater of war where almost a million military and paramilitary troops armed to the teeth have been deployed to control a small population.
According to the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), the strength of the armed forces is about 7,50,9817.
In addition to police and additional 38, 000 troops were rushed to the region a couple of days before the BJP government introduced so-called J&K Reorganization Act 2019, which ulti-mately led to abrogation of the article 370 of the Indian constitution and bifurcation of the state into two union territories.
The unilateral move, deemed by Kashmiris as an atrocious assault on their distinct national, political and cultural identity, serves as further evidence to the fact that Kashmir has moved from Wolfe’s first to the second model of colonial-ism.
The change in the constitutional status of the state was purposely made to provide the Indian govern-ment the much needed political and legal leverage to implement its Hindutva agenda, establish hege-monic control over Kashmir and bring material change in the region through the wholesale extermi-nation of the local population, in contravention to Geneva conventions and UN resolutions on Kash-mir.
But the most unfortunate part of this macabre tale of war and destruction in Kashmir is that India views settler colonialism as the only and final solution to the Kashmir dispute.
This crooked mindset of the Indian rulers has led to further marginalization of majority population in Kashmir and the imperialistic policies such as landgrab, extermination of the lo-cals, forced evictions, exploitation of natural re-sources, rampant aggression, killings, arbitrary ar-rests, extra-judicial killings, forced disappearances and systematic genocide of the Kashmiri youth by the Indian forces speak volumes about the incum-bent racist regime’s apocalyptic vision and attitude towards Kashmir and the Kashmiri people.
There is no denying the fact that the successive Indian rulers have treated Kashmir as a colony; exploitation of its natural resources, killing and maiming its population through heavy militarization has been their consistent policy.
But the new set of rules the BJP government had introduced to govern the territory under the guise of the J&K Reorganisa-tion Act can simply be termed as constitutional terrorism.