Asif Haroon Raja
High scale disturbances in Indian Occupied Kashmir in the aftermath of martyrdom of popular Burhan Wani in July 2016 together with fast paced development of CPEC and Pakistan’s economic revival have panicked India. Besides stepping up human rights abuses in IOK and terrorism in Pakistan through its proxies, Narendra Modi, Ajit Doval and Rajnath Singh openly threatened to detach Baluchistan, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir from Pakistan. India resorted to series of false flag operations in IOK to give an impression that Pakistan is supporting insurgency in Kashmir. To give strength to Indian allegation, Afghanistan was tutored to sing the same song of cross border terrorism.
Kashmiris are struggling for the last 70 years to seek independence from India. They are being ruthlessly persecuted and dehumanised by Indian occupying forces since 1989. For the last 28 years, the hapless Kashmiris have been wailing and beseeching the world to take notice of the wanton cruelties of Indian security forces inflicted upon them. It is most unfortunate that no one is listening to their shrieks and woes and the ill-fated people have not been given any relief. Not a day passes when a Kashmiri is killed or maltreated.
State terrorism led by Narendra Modi is confiscating the rights of children, women and unarmed civilians. And from July 2016 onward, even the eyes, nose and ears of Kashmiri people are not safe from Indian state terrorism. Protesting young boys and girls including children are fired upon with pellet and chili guns to blind them. Hundreds have been fully/partially blinded. As a state policy, the youth is being systematically eliminated. For this purpose, RSS and RAW are doing the dirty work. In order to change the demography of IOK, new colonies have been constructed where Hindu Pundits and retired servicemen are being settled in big numbers. Refugees from Azad Kashmir are awarded lands and houses in IOK. This sort of evil practice was undertaken in Jammu in 1947 to change the Muslim majority into minority.
In order to hide its evil designs and brutalities, India has laid out a smokescreen of falsehood and is indulging in a false propaganda by declaring freedom movement of Kashmiri people as terrorism duly abetted by Pakistan. The US and western world gladly buys the Indian story ignoring the fact that in the light of several resolutions of UN, Kashmiri struggle is a freedom movement and not terrorism. India has put a ban on media persons, Human Rights Groups, UN, UNMOGIP or any fact finding team to visit the Valley and listen to the afflictions of Kashmiris. A ban is imposed on Internet and cable service.
India has used excessive force, denied basic human rights, and employed various tricks to break the freedom movement and the will of Kashmiris to fight. After fencing the LoC, a wall is being built to prevent even a sparrow to pass through. The Kashmiri people totally devoid of external support however, are indigenously protesting and braving the brutalities and struggling for their right of self-determination and are reminding the UN to play its role and resolve the Kashmir dispute in accordance with UNSC resolutions. Pakistan unfortunately never had a long-term viable Kashmir policy to win its case and its actions at best have been reactive. Since the entire lot of senior Hurriyat leaders have been placed under house arrest, the movement has been taken over by the youth of the fifth generation. Born, bred and brought up under traumatic environment, and having witnessed the horrifying deaths of their near and dear ones and rapes of their mothers and sisters, the rattle tattle of gunfire, explosions and the bloodshed do not scare them. They neither fear the gun totting Indian soldiers nor death.
The school children, both boys and girls are defiantly throwing stones at the bayonet wielding soldiers mounted in vehicles, and at times snatching their weapons. They hate the Indians from the core of their hearts and want Azadi (Freedom) at all cost. Conversely, they love Pakistan from the bottom of their hearts. They exhibit their hate for India and love for Pakistan openly by chanting anti-India and pro-Pakistan slogans and waving Pak flags. Those who are martyred are draped in Pakistan flag. Their most popular slogan is “Kashmir will become part of Pakistan”. Recent victory of Pak cricket team against India in the finals was celebrated by the Kashmiris with extreme fervor. Pakistan Independence Day is celebrated with fanfare and that of India as a Black Day. India has lost the support of the Kashmiri public, and Kashmir is slipping out of the hands of India. This changed reality has begun to dawn upon many in India who till recent always voiced the government stance that Kashmir is the integral part of India and its detachment is out of question. However, after witnessing the undying passion to sacrifice and die, they are now opining that the battle of conception for another Pakistan in the womb of India will deliver sooner than later.
Kashmir is an international issue and if the world wants peace in the region, then Kashmir issue will have to be resolved. Sooner India understands this reality and gives up its stubborn stance, better it will be for India and the region as a whole. The UN and the world powers must take note of the human crisis and intervene to stop the bloodshed and human rights abuses in IOK, pressurize India to accept Kashmir as a disputed territory, treat the movement as freedom movement, demilitarise Kashmir, free the political prisoners, dismantle torture cells, abolish black laws, and cooperate in holding free and fair plebiscite under the UN auspices. Since the US is partisan, Russia and China can play a key role by agreeing to become mediators.
—The writer, retired Brig, is war veteran, defence analyst, columnist and author of five books including two on Kashmir.
Asif Haroon Raja