JAMMU & Kashmir Social Peace Forum is a very strong platform always raising voice in favour of the wretched Kashmiris all over the world. Advocate Devinder Singh Behl is the Chairman of this forum and certainly he is not a Muslim but his only aim and objective is to fight for the rights of the suppressed Kashmiris which mostly are the Muslims. That is the reason he is respected everywhere as an impartial and neutral type of political leader. Recently a picture of a three-year old boy went viral on social media. The picture showed the innocent boy wailing over the murder of his grand-father by the Indian soldiers in front of him. In a recent statement Devinder Singh Behl said condemning this cruelty that this brutal killing must be an eye-opener for the international human rights organizations and the international community. He said that the three-year-old grandson crying near his grandfather’s body was a reflection of Indian oppression on unarmed Kashmiris and this brutal act of Indian forces personnel was enough to shake the conscience of the world. Advocate Devinder Singh Behl appealed to the international community and international human rights organizations to play their role in ending Indian oppression in occupied Kashmir and resolving the lingering Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN resolutions. His statement shows that no religion, no caste, no creed encourages any type of injustice, brutality and cruelty against humanity. Human hearts are grieved at every injustice whether targeted one is a Muslim or from some other religion.
No doubt the atrocities of the Indian Army in the India-occupied Kashmir are the worst example of human rights violations. Kashmir has become a territory of fear and suppression where the innocent Kashmiris cannot even breathe freely. The situation in India-occupied Kashmir is getting worse day by day and even the pandemic could not put a full-stop to the human rights violations there. From illegal detention of young Kashmiri leaders to the rape of Kashmiri women, the tale of brutality seems never ending. According to the Kashmir Media Service, only in the month of June more than 50 innocent people were cruelly murdered by the Indian forces deployed in the Kashmir Valley, three women were shamelessly gang-raped and more than 25 houses and shops were destroyed. From January 1989 to June 2020, at least 95623 Kashmiris lost their lives at the hands of the Indian forces and more than 11000 women have been molested during the same period as the Indian Army uses rape as a weapon against the local people. Without giving reference to the brutalities done by the Indian Armed Forces deputed in the IoK no report on human rights violations can be authentic. The helpless people on one hand have to face indifferent selfish attitude of the court of law and on the other hand illegal abduction, sexual harassment and use of pellet guns and shotguns by the troops.
In the last week of April 2020, a debate on ‘Human Rights in Kashmir’ was nominated by the Backbench Business Committee of the UK Parliament after a representation from Debbie Abrahams MP and Yasmin Qureshi MP. During the debate, an assessment report on the situation in India-occupied Kashmir, five months after the Indian government’s August 2019 revocation of the region’s autonomy was also presented. This report was prepared by the US-based Human Rights Watch. The report said, “Since the restrictions in August 2019, the government has taken slow, reluctant steps to ease some of them, but is still falling far short in upholding Kashmiri rights. Many of the thousands arbitrarily arrested – lawyers, shop owners, traders, students, rights activists – have now been released, but reportedly only after promising not to criticize the government. Some senior Kashmiri political leaders, including former chief ministers, remain in custody. The Police admitted at least 144 children had been detained. The government had also blocked phone lines and access to the internet. The government was so fearful of criticism and dissent that it curtailed Kashmiris’ ability to share news of births or deaths, call their doctors, order supplies, research term papers, file taxes, and trade apples and walnuts.” This all is still happening there in the India-occupied Kashmir Valley and certainly history would repeat itself on the coming first anniversary of the Official Injustice done with the helpless people of the India-occupied Kashmir; so don’t forget the coming August.
—The writer is freelance columnist based in Multan.