Kashmiris’ struggle after Ali Shah Geelani
SYED Ali Shah Geelani was an iconic personality in the Kashmiris struggle for their right of self-determination.
His death while being under house arrest of Indian security forces for years is great loss to Kashmiris and all those civilized communities that desired for peace and stability of South Asia through resolution of Kashmir dispute.
For this noble struggle for the right of self-determination Syed Ali Shah Geelani had to undergo tyranny and suppression of Indian Government which included years of impressment, torture, allegations, alienation, exploitation, life threats and finally house arrest for over a decade.
Even at this critical age of over 90 years while he was under house arrest of Indian security forces, he was mistreated, depriving him of basic medical facilities even.
His body was snatched from his family members and buried by Indian Army against the wishes of this great personality. His family is being threatened and tortured for resisting to hand over the body to Indian Army. It was a shame to Indian secularism and democracy.
For the last few years, Indian Army has been targeting the prominent Kashmiris leaders who have been struggling for the right of self-determination of Kashmiris.
A senior Kashmiri leader Mr Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai, who challenged India’s rule in IIOJK, was killed by Indian Army in May 2021 at the age of seventy-eight years while he was under their custody for months.
Indeed, there is a history of martyring Kashmiri leadership since the start of their struggle against Indian occupation in IIOJK in 1990.
Apart from killing key Kashmiri leaders, India has killed over 100,000 Kashmiris, raped over 12000 Kashmiri women and tortured and arrested thousands of Kashmiris in last three decades.
Nevertheless, there is no change in the struggle of Kashmiris and they have decided to get rid of Indian occupation at all costs.
Since last seven decades India has kept over 70% area of the state of Jammu and Kashmir under its illegal occupation. Besides occupying the state, India has perpetrated unparalleled atrocities over the peaceful people of IIOJK.
Despite presence of dozens of UN resolutions and international commitments India refused to conduct plebiscite in IIOJK.
On August 5, 2019, it violated its own Constitution and the Constitution of India-occupied Jammu and Kashmir while illegally annexing the state with Indian Union as Union Territories.
The US based human rights organization; Genocide Watch, had revealed and alerted the world that there are signs of the genocide process in IIOJK.
This organization has mandated itself “to build an international movement to predict, prevent, stop, and punish genocide and other forms of mass murder.”
According to this organization, India has taken extreme steps of revoking Articles 370 and 35-A, which indicates that it can undertake killing of Kashmiris, protesting against these illegal acts of India.
In November 2016, ‘The Guardian’ a prestigious British Newspaper, exposed Indian campaign of blinding the Kashmiris in an article, entitled, “India’s crackdown in Kashmir: is this the world’s first mass blinding?” The article recorded some of the incidents from July 2016 to November 2016.
These four months have been described by the newspaper as the bloodiest in the recent history of Kashmir.
In those few months, the peaceful Kashmiri protestors ‘met with a ruthless response from Indian security forces, that fired millions of metal pellets into crowds of civilians, leaving hundreds as blinded or paralysed.’
The encouraging factor for the Indian Army to continue this genocide in occupied Kashmir is that, it has total impunity under laws like; the Armed Forces Special Power Act and Public Safety Act.
Besides, Indian state and society is overwhelmed by the Hindutva ideology, imposed all over India under the patronage of BJP.
Since the people of the state of Jammu and Kashmir were resisting imposition of this ideology in their state, therefore, India took the extreme step of annexing the state as Indian union territories.
On 16 August 2019, Kapil Komireddi wrote a very insightful article about the real motives behind abrogation of Article 370 by the Indian Government. Entitled as, “The Kashmir crisis isn’t about territory.
It’s about a Hindu victory over Islam”. With the slogan of democracy dies in the darkness, the prestigious American daily, ‘The Washington Post’ published this article with many insightful revelations.
However, the reality is that, Kashmir crisis have been created both for the territory of the state as well as Hindu domination over Muslims. Despite Indian occupation since 1947, the state was maintaining its Muslim character.
Though the State of Jammu and Kashmir is not a legal part of India, yet Indian Government forcefully declared it as union territories in violation of its own constitution, the constitution of the Jammu and Kashmir state and above all the UN resolutions.
‘The Washington Post’ in its op-ed (March 4, 2020) has published a survey of the Kashmiri youth, carried out in the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
The survey report reveals that 91% youth of IIOJK demands that all Indian security forces must leave their state immediately.
They feel that Indian security forces in IIOJK are the real problem. This is a post August 5, 2019 survey published in this authentic American newspaper. The survey reject the Indian claim that Kashmiris are happy under new arrangements in which Jammu and Kashmir was split into union territories after diluting Article 35-A and revoking Article 370.
There is no doubt that, the death of Syed Ali Shah Geelani is great tragedy and irreparable loss to Kashmiris. However, the Kashmiri youth are determined to continuing the mission of their iconic leader.
Kashmiri youth are determined to achieve this mission of their right of self-determination at all costs.
Someone described the war-torn Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir as a territory which has now become “a place on the universe where the mothers often receive the dead body of their sons, fathers announce the venue and time for their funeral prayers, and sisters throw candies and flowers on their funeral procession.”
— The writer is Professor of Politics and IR at International Islamic University, Islamabad.