Concentration camps for Kashmiris

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Dr Muhammad Khan

The New York Times, in its January 17, 2020 Op-ed has unveiled the Indian planning for establishing concentration camps for the Muslims of Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir, whose only fault is that they are demanding their right of self-determination. Entitled as, “Indian General Talks of De-radicalization Camps for Kashmiris”, Jeffrey Gettleman and Kai Schultz has quoted new Indian Chief of Defense Staff (CDS), General Bipin Rawat who advised Indian Government to establish concentration camps and shift the Kashmiri youth there for re-education. Since concentration camps established for the Muslims in a neighbouring country has attracted widespread condemnation, therefore Indian CDS has recommended that these concentration camps be named as, ‘De-radicalization Centers’.
After hearing the media interview of Indian top general, one gets the impression that all well is IOK, except people demanding their rights are radicalized. It further accentuates that by shifting them to concentration camps they will give-up their struggle for their right of self-determination. Indeed, Indian CDS, General Rawat outlined his future strategy of dealing with the Kashmiris, who despite months of clamp-down and siege have not reconciled with Indian rule and it’s illegally undoing of their statehood. The sole reason for the creation of a new military top-slot in Indian Military was aimed at rewarding General Rawat for what he strategized, the formation of union territories by breaking the occupied Jammu and Kashmir statehood. Now the ambitious General wants to thank BJP rulers and stalwarts by further brutalizing the besieged Kashmiris in concentration camps.
The US and global media has been highlighting the horrors of concentration camps established elsewhere, terrorizing the inmates’ including forced conversion of their religion. This time again credit goes to ‘The New York Times’ for unveiling the Indian agenda of putting the Kashmiris into concentration camps which also include conversion of their belief. The Kashmiri youth are shocked to hear the General’s planning for their future. Talking of the concentration camps means a step further to the demographic changes, Indian Government has been doing in occupied Jammu and Kashmir since last few decades. General Rawat is part of new constitutional changes, made in India with regards to the Muslim minorities. The law; Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) has discriminated the Indian Muslims on the issue of citizenship. The entire BJP strategy is centered on the Hindutva ideology; “India is for Hindus only” and other minorities have either to convert to Hinduism or leave India. Uttar Pradesh BJP’s President Swatantra Dev Singh lashed out at Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav for opposing the National Population Register and the National Register of Citizens. He said Yadav should stay in Pakistan for a month to understand the “atrocities” faced by Hindus. In fact he is misleading the Indian masses; Pakistan is a heaven for the minorities. It welcomes any Indian to stay as long as possible in Pakistan to gauge for themselves and compare if Muslims in India are more abused or Hindus in Pakistan with respect to state policies and law of the land.
With regards to rights of minorities, there are two models in South Asia. The Indian model is based on narrow Hindutva ideology having no space for other religious minorities especially for the Muslims. The Pakistani model with regards to rights of minorities includes renovation of religious sites of Sikhs, Hindus and Christians. After renovation of Darbar Shaib Kartarpura in Sialkot, many Christian churches, the Hindu temples are being renovated. Pakistan has decided to renovate a 1000 years old Hindu temple in Sialkot city. This temple was built by Sardar Teja Singh and remained sealed for decades and has been reopened recently for Hindus. This is a very daring step of the Government which speaks of religious freedom in Pakistan, which emanates from the Constitution of Pakistan for individuals of various religions and religious sects. Pakistan has over 7500,000 Hindus in various parts of the country, who welcomed the government’s step to restore the temple and open it for them. Prime Minister Imran Khan said that in Pakistan we will ensure that our minorities are treated as equal citizen, unlike is happening in India.
India is also manipulating against Pakistan at global level with lot of adequacy. This is unfortunate that, ICJ has asked Pakistan to review the death penalty given in 2017 to former Indian Navy commander Kulbhushan Jadhav who was convicted of being a spy. The 16 judge’s panel said that Pakistan has to provide an effective review of the case and added that a continued stay on execution of Jadhav was needed for that to happen. ICJ seems biased on this issue. The international body is quite on the state of human rights violations in IOK but incentivizing it on Jadhav case, the master mind of terrorism in Pakistan.
General Rawat has disclosed his new strategy of concentration camps for Kashmiris in a conference of international relations at New Delhi. The conference was attended by Indian government officials, scholars, the diplomats from various countries, the business executives and academics. Though entire Indian occupied Kashmir present the picture of a larger concentration camp with 12.5 inmates, the General however feels, “These people need to be taken out separately, possibly taken into some de-radicalization camps.” He clearly hinted that youth; “Girls and boys as young as 10 and 12” will be shifted to isolated concentration camps.
Through its timely publication, ‘The New York Times’ has called for a global attention and awareness campaign against the Indian planning of establishing Concentration Camps for Kashmiri youth. It was global insensitivity which encouraged India to perpetrate a reign of terror on Kashmiris in last three decades which culminated on depriving them of their statehood. The international community must wake up to counter the Indian strategy of shifting Kashmiri youth in concentration camps for brutalizing them and converting their belief system simultaneously.
— The writer is Professor of Politics and International Relations at International Islamic University, Islamabad.