HOLY Month of Ramazan is soon going to end. This year where all the world is coping with Covid-19 pandemic and Muslim world particularly faces more defies where many are already war-hit and now tackling with this deadly epidemic in minimal resources. But unfortunately when we look around we find these conflict zones have thousands of untold stories with an increase in another chapter on a daily basis. Kashmir and Palestine issues are the oldest ones while Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Iraq and many other conflicts are also decade or years old.
India-occupied Kashmir is under oppression for many decades. During the previous years of Modi’s tenure as Indian PM, brutal acts and laws were introduced to torture poor Kashmiris in any possible way. Same happened when the Indian elections were held and later when Modi is again in reign, slowly and gradually brutal laws in the past few months were introduced and we have seen how Kashmiris have been under lockdown since the 5th of August 2019. Obviously one cannot expect something better in future from Modi keeping in view his past record and present steps to suppress Kashmiris.The holy month of Ramadan is near its completion and the month which is termed as month of blessings, forgiveness, purity and serenity for Muslims never remains that peaceful for Kashmiris in the IoK. After every other day Indian forces target someone and kills without any justification.
People in Kashmir are used to of lockdown before the outbreak of Covid-19 and already prepared how to spend this holy month during pandemic situation. Unfortunately, Indian forces have not stopped their brutal acts on Kashmiris even in pandemic situation or considering their holy month and its obligations. First lockdown was imposed in August last year when Modi government abrogated Article 370 and with this new lockdown after Covid spreads, not only economy has suffered badly in Occupied Kashmir but human security is at stake too. Recently in Occupied Kashmir, forceful anti-India protest demonstrations erupted at different places in Srinagar against the killing of Junaid Sehrai, the son of senior APHC leader Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai, who along with his companion was martyred by Indian troops during a cordon and search operation in Nawakadal area of the city. Indian troops during their so-called search operation sealed all entry and exit points and conducted house-to-house searches while destroying at least two houses during the operation.
According to Kashmir Media Service, where the world is collectively facing deadly Coronavirus, in Occupied Kashmir, India continues to kill, harass and intimidate the Kashmiris in the name of cordon and search operations, making the lives of the people a hell in the length and breadth of the territory. According to a report released by the Research Section of Kashmir Media Service, Indian troops have killed 12 Kashmiris, arrested 64 and destroyed or damaged as many 778 houses and shops during 287 cordon and search operations in the Kashmir Valley and Jammu region over the past 18 days of May 2020. The report maintained that Jammu and Kashmir had been converted into world’s largest prison by India where people were not safe even in their houses. Door-to-door search operations amid the Coronavirus lockdown are meant to break the resolve of the Kashmiri people for freedom. Besides vandalizing properties worth millions, troops harass and terrorize the residents during these violent cordon and search operations which are also becoming a reason for Coronavirus spread.
In the month of April 2020 reports suggest that 33 innocent Kashmiris were killed by Indian forces while 152 were badly tortured and 845 civilians were arrested. Since the 2016 uprising that started after Burhan Wani’s martyrdom more than thousands of Kashmiris have embraced martyrdom in their way to freedom struggle. Jammu and Kashmir has suffered violence for the last 30 years. An estimated 100,000 people have died, including civilians, militants and army personnel, after groups began an armed struggle for freedom from Indian rule. The State is under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act that grants authority to the military to use lethal force in dealing with suspects, to arrest without warrants and detain them indefinitely without charge. Many civilians have been killed as they try to stop police and troops from arresting innocent Kashmiris. Kashmiri leaders are always put under house arrest during Ramadan so that they cannot give Eid sermon to people and this year they have been already in curfew since the Indian government abolished the special status given to Jammu & Kashmir state.
More than 70-year-old indigenous struggle of Kashmiris in the India-occupied Jammu and Kashmir remained legitimate and the designation of individuals supporting the Kashmiri right to self-determination as terrorists was completely unjustified. The gross and systematic violations of human rights of the Kashmiri people in the IoK that have been recorded and reported by independent human rights bodies was a reality. Over the past few years the world has witnessed an intensification of the brutal policies of repression being pursued by the Indian occupation forces. This includes the full or partial blinding of over a thousand innocent Kashmiris through the use of pellet guns, rape as an instrument of state policy, extrajudicial executions, use of human shields by Indian occupation forces, arbitrary arrests, undocumented disappearances, humiliation of Kashmiris on a daily basis, the blowing up of their homes and the denial of their fundamental freedoms of movement expression and opinion as well as religious freedoms. Despite this relentless state terror, the Kashmiris remain undeterred and unbowed. Pakistan has always supported Kashmir cause on political, diplomatic and moral fronts and will continue to do so unless the peaceful solution is found in accordance with UN resolutions and Kashmiris are given their right of self-determination.
— The writer works for Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies, a think-tank based in Islamabad.