Humanitarian dimension of Kashmir dispute

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Dr Muhammad Khan

The Jammu and Kashmir dispute is primarily a po-litical dispute, hence calls for a political solution based on the aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Two UNCIP resolutions: 13 August 1948 and 05 January 1949 clearly laid-down the criteria for the conduct of plebiscite in the State for the ul-timate grant of right of self-determination to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

The right of self-determination has the key posi-tion in the UN Charter as a base for every human being. The essence of right of self-determination is that: Every nation and a community has the right to freely decide its future as per the wishes of its masses without any discrimination, restriction and bondage.

If this right is applicable to the entire interna-tional community, Kashmiris cannot and should not be made an exception and subjugated through for-eign occupation indefinitely.

India recognized and accepted the right of self-determination to Kashmiris as per above-mentioned UNCIP resolutions yet denied their implementation for over seven decades.

The persistent Indian denial of a political solu-tion of the Kashmir dispute created frustration and unrest among the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

The frustration of Kashmiris was result of years of Indian occupation, discrimination of Kashmiris in their own state, maltreatment of Kashmiri masses and denial of internal autonomy to State, agreed through Articles 370 and 35-A of the Indian Consti-tution.

Resultantly the people of Indian Illegally Occu-pied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) revolted against the unlawful Indian rule and its unremitting ex-ploitative policies in 1990.

The popular slogan of ‘Azadi’ right of self-determination was the only demand of Kashmiri masses of IIOJK right from the beginning of this indigenous Kashmiri movement.

Through a brutal response to this UN mandated legal demand of Kashmiris of IIOJK, India made a massive deployment of Army and paramilitary forces in the entire IIOJK and started persecution of Kashmiris through various inhuman strategies.

Mass arrests, torture in detention centres, custo-dial killings and indiscriminate firings over the peaceful Kashmiri demonstrations became the order of the day in IIOJK right from the start of 1990.

As per estimates collected through various neu-tral sources, Indian brutal security forces have killed over 100,000 Kashmiris in IIOJK from 1990 to January 2022.

Kashmiri leadership of APHC in IIOJK is fre-quently being targeted and killed either through direct attack or else while being in custody and house arrest under Indian security forces.

The great Kashmir leader, Syed Ali Shah Gil-lani, the founding father of Kashmiris resistance movement died in September 2021 while being under house arrest for over five years.

As per records maintained by names, dates and places of occurrences, over 12000 Kashmiri women have been subjected to rapes and molestation which also include gang-rape and killings of women after rape.

Indian State provided a blanket coverage to all these inhuman Indian acts through various inhuman laws like Armed Forces Special Power Act (AF-SPA), Public Safety Act (PSA), Geospatial Informa-tion Regulation Act and National Investigation Agency (NIA).

These discriminatory laws provided the Indian Army and its paramilitary special provisions for arrest, illegal detention, torture and killing of Kash-miris with impunity.

Such laws and maltreatment of Kashmiris through use of brutal force are internationally chal-lengeable violations of international law, humanitar-ian declarations, covenants and dozens of interna-tional pacts.

While India continued massive human rights violations in IIOJK through the deployment of its over 900,000 security forces, it ended the special status of Jammu and Kashmir State illegally and unilaterally on 05 August 2019 by abrogating Arti-cles 370 and 35-A of its Constitution.

Besides, it also ended the statehood of the state by creating two union territories (Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh) under the Indian Union.

In order to further its agenda of consolidation of its hold over the state, New Delhi introduced new Domicile Laws for Jammu and Kashmir in April 2020 (adaptation of State laws order-2020).

Under these laws, India has issued millions of domicile certificates to non-Kashmiri Hindus from various parts of India which is a grave violation of Fourth Geneva Convention.

Article 49(6) of Fourth Geneva Convention pro-hibits occupying power(s) to transfer its own popu-lation into the occupied territory.

Indeed, this is yet another aspect, covered under the blatant human rights violation. The unremitting account of massive human rights violations of In-dian security forces in IIOJK over the last three decades has added a humanitarian dimension to the prevailing political nature of Kashmir dispute.

The humanitarian dimension of the dispute needs immediate attention of the international community and main organs of the United Nations Organization. On 18 January 2022, A UK-based law firm filed an appeal to the London’s Metropolitan Police for the arrest of Indian Army Chief General Manoj and Indian Home Minister Amit Shah for undertaking massive human rights violations of Kashmiris in IIOJK.

This legal appeal for the arrest of two top Indian government officials has been lodged under the “Universal Jurisdiction”. Indeed, Indian Army and its paramilitary forces have been committing massive human rights viola-tion in IIOJK since 1990 through direct killing, torture, kidnapping, extrajudicial killing as well as rape and sexual violence.

As a way forward to address the humanitarian dimension of Kashmir the United Nations, major powers and international community must constrain India to end its massive human rights violations in IIOJK forthwith which should also include stoppage of the demographic changes.

Corollary to this, India must restore the state-hood and special status of IIOJK as it was prior to 05 August 2019.

In the third phase, India should demilitarize from the population centres of IIOJK, leaving its military only along the ceasefire line.

Addressing the humanitarian dimension of the Kashmir dispute will be a major breakthrough and great confidence building measure for the subse-quent resolution of the dispute as per the wishes of the Kashmiris.

 

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