Speakers at a seminar have termed India’s military repression, demographic engineering and its religious and civilizational aggression in Kashmir as the biggest threat Kashmiris have ever faced.
The seminar titled “Indian Military Repression, Demographic Engineering, religious and civilization aggression in occupied Kashmir” was organized by World Muslim Congress on the sidelines of the 51st session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
It was attended and addressed by international experts, rights defenders, academicians and political activists hailing from different parts of the world, including Ch. Muhammad Yasin, president PPP, AJK chapter, Tehreek-e-Kashmir leaders Fahim Kiani, Sardar Amjad Yousuf, Executive Director of Kashmir Institute of International Relations, APHC-AJK leaders Syed Faiz Naqashbandi and Altaf Hussain Wani.
Highlighting the dangerous dimensions of the Kashmir dispute, Altaf Hussain Wani said that Indian belligerent military occupation of the territory coupled with multi-front political, social and religious aggression pose a serious existential threat to the region’s indigenous population who happen to be the Muslims.
He said that it was quite unfortunate that the world has been blatantly ignoring the systematic slow-motion genocide of Muslims that has been going on in the region for the past several years. They said the prolonged military occupation has led to the killings of hundreds and thousands of Kashmiris.
The Speakers said in the aftermath of 5th August 2019, the human rights situation in the territory has deteriorated to alarming levels. “Suppression of freedom of speech and expression has led to a wholesale imprisonment of thousands of Kashmiris who continue to languish in far off jails as under-trials.
While on the other a multi-front onslaught, which has led to identity erosion, is yet another biggest challenge Kashmiris have been facing since the abrogation of article 370 and 35 A”, they said.
In addition to modification of the IIOJK’s age-old laws, the speakers pointed out the government of India has introduced hundreds of new laws that lent impetus to BJP’s settler colonialism campaign to completely erase Kashmir’s political, religious, and cultural identity.
Referring to delimitations of constituencies, they said the reorganization of assembly constituencies to favour a particular party was used as a tool to politically disempower and marginalize indigenous population.
Terming the Delimitation Commission’s report as a farce, they said, “The criteria of population, which is the cardinal principle in this regard, has not been adhered to in the allocation of the assembly seats to Kashmir and Jammu regions”. They added that granting additional seats to Jammu was a deliberate move aimed at shifting the center of political power in the territory from Srinagar to Jammu besides rendering the Kashmiri Muslims politically weightless and worthless.
Referring to a recently released report by Forum for Human Rights in Jammu and Kashmir, the speakers mentioned that the Delimitation Commission’s report would be presented as an example in the political history of the world as how to turn a dominant majority into a political minority in the guise of democracy through gerrymandering, cracking and packing.
Abut use and abuse of anti-terror laws by the Indian government, they said black laws such as Public Safety Act and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act were being badly misused by Indian authorities in occupied Kashmir.
Highlighting the plight of human rights defenders, working journalists, and civil society groups, who have played an important role to document human rights abuses in IIOJK, the speakers said that along with media persons the political and human rights activists continued to reel under constant harassment.
On religious and cultural aggression, they said that the right-wing Hindutva warriors who practically call shots on the ground have demanded the government of India to impose a ban on Pheran (a traditional dress of Kashmiris) in Kashmir. Similarly, they pointed out that the RSS influenced regime led by Modi had renamed roads, historical places and educational institutions to erase the region’s indigenous historical imprints.
The speakers, while calling for early resolution of the Kashmir dispute, urged the world community to play its much needed role to settle the Kashmir dispute in line with the UNSC resolutions, which call for holding a referendum to let the people of Kashmir decide their fate independently in an environment free from coercion.—KMS