Dr Muhammad Khan
As a new strategy to defeat the freedom movement in Indian occupied Kashmir (IOK), Indian security forces have started driving armoured vehicles wildly into the protesting crowds. Such an incident happened on June 1, 2018 at Srinagar, the capital of IOK, where an armoured vehicle of Indian security forces crushed innocent people, once peaceful Kashmiris were protesting against the atrocities of Indian forces in occupied Valley. Indian forces accepted “slamming into a half-dozen people and crushing one man beneath its wheels”. One of those (Qaiser Amin Bhat), run over by vehicle died later and others are still critically injured. As it was not enough, the brutal Indian Army and paramilitary forces fired live bullets, pellets and tear gas over the funeral procession of Qaiser Amin Bhat.
As per Associated Press, “Men carry the body of Qaiser Amin Bhat amid tear gas smoke fired by Indian forces after they stopped the funeral procession. Government forces in India-held Kashmir fired shotgun pellets and tear gas at hundreds of mourners on Saturday during a funeral march for a man.” It was really shocking and inhuman that, Indian security forces took the body of Bhat into custody and did not allow the mourners to go the Martyr’s Graveyard. Later, only the nearest relatives were allowed to accompany the body to graveyard. The mourners, who were stopped, gathered once again and protested against this treatment. They were also fired upon, resultantly injuring dozens of them.
A complete strike was observed throughout the occupied Valley against this incident of over running of armoured vehicle, slamming, injuring and killing of peaceful protestors. What an irony, in order to deceive the people of IOK and international community, a case was registered against the driver of the armoured vehicle on the charge of “rash and negligent driving”, which mean nothing serious, a routine not even punishable act. At the same time, Indian security forces registered cases against the protestors, accusing them for attacking the armoured vehicle. What a anecdote and disgrace of humanity in IOK. Is this the democracy, the secular India, where you kill the innocents and registered cases against them too and get free the killers in impunity.
It is worth mentioning that in 2017, Major Nitin Gogoi, who had tied a 26-year-old Farook Dar to his military as human shield, was appreciated and awarded the Commendation Card, by Indian Army Chief, General Bipin Rawat. As per ANI, “Major Gogoi, the officer who tied protester to jeep as human shield in J&K awarded by COAS for sustained efforts in counter insurgency operations.” Farooq Dar was stooped enroute to his sister’s house, beaten, tied to vehicle and then paraded him “through 10-20 villages” with a piece of paper attached to his chest declaring that he was a stone palter, a public humiliation. Once there was a worldwide condemnation over this incident, Indian Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, came to rescue the Indian Army and rejected the condemnations and criticism by saying that, “The recent report about a stone palter tied to an Army vehicle, it helped contain stone palters and saved the poll officials. Why so much noise.”
Look at the legal community of India who provide protection of brutal India Army actions which said, “Everyday people are dying. It’s a surcharged atmosphere. The Army is dealing with terrorists not with protesters, so they will have to be dealt with…everyone should look at the Army with pride, they are doing a great job.” They accept killing of Kashmiris at the hands of brutal Indian security forces, yet not ready to accept the human right violations, Indian Army made by killing thousands of Kashmiris, raping women and girls and burning the properties of Kashmiris.
P Chidambaram, a former Indian home and finance minister has been critical to these continuous Indian killings in IOK. In one of his article, published in the Indian Express, he questioned whether the people of IOK are Indian subjects. He wrote in the article, “The king will never raise the sword against his own people. With great sorrow, it must be admitted that there is an undeclared internal war in the Kashmir Valley.” This is a fundamental question, Mr Chidambaram rose. Had Kashmiris been the Indian subjects, this continuous wave of terror and oppression would not have been a matter of daily business in IOK, since there is no let-up in the violation of Human rights in IOK at the hands of Indian security forces.
This is the fundamental argument of Kashmiris in IOK. They are not Indians by any definition; territorial, legal, racial and by religion. They are an entity, quite different from India, thus despite passage of 70 years under Indian occupation, they have not accepted Indian rule, Indian nationalism, Indian constitution and Indian domination over themselves and their homeland, the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The daily killing of Kashmiris at the hands of Indian security forces as voiced by P Chidambaram is indeed, the punishment of Kashmiris for not accepting, what India demand from the people of IOK.
Whether the political murders like Maqbool Butt and Afzal Gurru, the fake encounters like Bhuran Wani and thousands of Kashmir youth, tieing to military jeeps like Farooq Dar or crushing under armour vehicles like Qaiser Bhat, Kashmiris will never surrender to India, they want freedom and only freedom from Indian occupation. It is a wake-up call for the UN, international community and Human rights organisations.
— The writer, Professor of Politics and International Relations, is based in Islamabad.