NEWS & VIEWS
SINCE the cold-blooded murder of Burhan-ud-din Wani last July, an unprecedented movement and open rebellion against illegitimate occupation of India has been witnessed in Indian Occupied Kashmir. Indian armed forces continue with its killing spree and a large number of the dead and injured have been youngsters. The pellet guns used by security forces have damaged the faces of 1600 people and more than 1100 people have partially or wholly lost their eyesight. Even some conscionable elements have started realizing India’s repression on minorities. An Indian journalist Sagarika Ghose in her write-up in “Times of India” admitted that India has become a de facto Hindu country and boiling situation in IOK is a sign of triumph for Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s Two-Nation theory. Today Kashmir is a cantonment, patrolled by lakhs of security forces.” The repression and atrocities committed by Indian forces have proved that India is neither secular nor a democracy.
Sagarika knocked the bottom out of pretense of India’s secularism and wrote: “Pluralism was to be India’s creed, and a secular India laid claim to Kashmir by promising justice for all faiths. But today if secular India is replaced by a de facto Hindu Rashtra does the very premise of Kashmir’s accession begin to look flawed?” Of course, Muslims had suffered during British RAJ at the hands of occupiers and their collaborators local Hindus. Muslims were not given opportunities in business; and in courts Hindi was the language which Muslims did not understand. It was compulsory for everybody to sing Vande Mataram, and Muslims agitated over it. When Quaid-i-Azam saw that Hindus want to make Muslims as second-class citizens, he started contacting people to unite them in struggle for separate homeland so that they could live according to their faith, traditions and culture. Today, some conscientious writers realise that India could implode due to Modi’s policies.
Another Indian journalist Santosh Bhartiya in an open letter to Indian Prime Minister Naredra Modi published on ‘Rising Kashmir’ has claimed that although “the land of Kashmir is with us, the people of Kashmir are not with us.” New York Times editorial titled “Cruelty and Cowardice in Kashmir” while commenting on the current situation in IOK also held similar views. Former chief of R&AW, A. S. Dulat felt that the ongoing unarmed uprising has worsened under the current government due to alienation and the anger of youth, with the result that they decided to retaliate. Amarjit Singh Dulat, former chief of Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), has said dialogue was the only way to resolve the Kashmir dispute. Addressing a function organised by the London School of Economics’ South Asia Forum, he said India’s strategy of not engaging with Pakistan made no sense at all.
Human Watch reports have often pointed out about the violence against 200 million dalits formerly known as untouchables and other minorities. Other human rights organizations regularly publish atrocities committed on Christians, Muslims and Dalits. However, Kashmiris are the worst sufferers on earth, perhaps only second to Palestinians. Those infatuated with Indian democracy, its institutions and culture should look at the trouble in various parts of India due to its repressive policies. In 2007, Praful Bidwai a Delhi-based human rights activist and a columnist, in his article ‘SAARC and the Nepal coup’ had stated: “The Maoists use questionable, indeed, deplorable methods. But they are not terrorists.” Such human rights activists should be asked as to why they do not tell India that Kashmiris are not terrorists, and they want implementation of the right of self-determination, which has been acknowledged by the United Nations Security Council.
Sikhs also are the victims in fundamentalists India. In June 1984, Indian army had attacked the Golden Temple with Tanks and armoured cars killing more than 2000 Sikhs though government count was 492. In October 1984, the then prime minister Indra Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards and anti-Sikh riots ensued whereby large scale killings of Sikhs took place. In Kashmir, Indian army and security forces have perpetrated atrocities and from 1989 to date have martyred around 100000 Kashmiris. In 2007, on the eve of Christmas, hundreds of Christians, fearing more clashes with Hindu nationalists, fled to government-run relief camps. In another episode, with more killings and subsequent flight of nearly 400 Christians had walked over 300 km through mountains and forests to reach the YMCA’s camp in Bhubaneswar to take refuge. Hindu extremists pressurize Christians and Muslims to change their religion to convert to Hindu religion.
Because of widespread disaffection due to inept policies of Indian government, law and order situation in all 13 Naxal affected states such as Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Eastern Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, West Bengal, western Orissa and Bihar is hopeless. India faces insurgencies in Nagaland, Mizoram, Assam, Bodoland, Manipur and Tripura also where it is using heavy-handed methods and use of brutal force to quell the unrest, which fact has been censured by human rights organizations including Amnesty International. In Gujarat, state officials and police were directly involved in the violence. The groups most directly responsible for violence against Muslims included VHP, the Bajrang Dal and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh collectively forming Sangh Privar. In the past, attacks on Christians included violence against nuns, priests and missionaries and also destruction of religious sites. Report also mentioned that Dalits fall victim to caste-based violence, most often at the hands of upper castes.
—The writer is a senior journalist based in Lahore.
NEWS & VIEWS