Solidarity with Kashmiris

Reema Shaukat

OUR jugular vein Kashmir is in continuous state of haemorrhage for the past one month as the new wave of violence erupted after death of Burhan Wani.Hizbul Mujahideen’s young leader burial with widespread protests against his brutal killing and Indian illegal occupation of Kashmir is gaining attention worldwide. Though all kind of necessities of life were hampered in Kashmir with the implementation of curfew by Indian forces, facilities of internet and other modes of communication were also blocked in Indian occupied Kashmir. It’s true that voices of freedom can never be suppressed and now the present situation of Kashmir has stormed social media.
Modi’s government is declared as Zionist terrorist while the images of some prominent Indians with marks of pellets on their faces and with those pictures, narration of true stories of victims has made every conscious person upset. Kashmiris, this time witnessed unwarranted use of pellet guns by Indian forces which has caused havoc. Use of this lethal weapon has made many young Kashmiris not only blind but lifelong loss too. Since 2010, Indian forces are using pellet guns to disperse protesters and crowds and this time Indian media claimed that so far 300 Kashmiris have blinded because of these pellets.
India tried its best to hide its barbarism in Kashmir since Wani’s death but this time this freedom movement seems uncontrollable as it gains attention of large number of audience around the world. Prominent writers and academics as well as journalists, artists, students, doctors and concerned citizens from the UK and abroad have distributed a joint testimonial condemning Indian brutality in Kashmir. The letter which was signed by dozens of well-known public figures and academics, expresses solidarity with the people of Indian held Kashmir who are under attack from the Indian occupational forces. The letter has been generated following the horrific events of the last few weeks which have seen over 60 Kashmiri civilians being killed and Kashmiri youth protesting against Indian occupation.
Rather than expressing remorse over the loss of life in Kashmir, India only vowed to take tougher action against Kashmir’s Protestors. The ruthless killings has led to spontaneous protests across the state against the continued brutalities of the Indian armed forces which has impunity under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). Instead of reaching out to the people of Jammu and Kashmir and opening communications channels, India has enforced a complete lockdown on the millions of inhabitants of the valley since July 08. Indian authorities have severely crippled all communications; jamming mobile and internet services, and seized offices of local newspapers and staff members were detained. Many hospitals and ambulances have reportedly been damaged by security personnel. The humanitarian crisis unfolding in Kashmir currently is not a one off. It has been an integral part of how India continues to rule over Kashmir. Such events have repeatedly occurred throughout the past three decades, with India continuing to look away from the writing on the wall.
The current protests, and those in the three bloody summers of 2008-10, only reflect the resilience of the Kashmiri people and their demand for right to self-determination, which not only is guaranteed by UNSC resolutions, but was also promised by the Indian Parliament in 1948.We condemn the systematic violence used by Indian armed forces in the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir, and we demand an immediate end to this state terrorism against civilians. We furthermore, demand that Indian government communicate with Kashmiris, rather than considering it a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan. We also call on world leaders and human rights organisations to unequivocally condemn the siege of Kashmir and the ensuing war crimes and human rights violations by India’s security forces.”
The mentioned statements and words criticise Indian policy in Kashmir strongly and India must listen to these voices instead of keeping mum on the grave situation in Kashmir. Amnesty International has also strongly condemned and warned India to stop use of pellet guns on Kashmiris stating that these pellet guns have no place in law enforcement and should be banned immediately. Organisers of the campaign “Kashmir Blind Spot” have urged people around the world to write to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and promote the issue on social media as the messengers of this campaign believe thatthey are trying to draw attention to the Kashmir story. They say, we feel that Kashmir has become a blind spot and the world has lost its sight when it comes to our story”. Pakistan must keep its support for Kashmir on all forums and show the world true picture of Indian atrocities in Kashmir.
— The writer works for Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies, a think tank based in Islamabad.

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