August 5 is Black Day in the history of Kashmir. It is remembered with different dimensions of apathy, violence and repression unleashed by the state of India on hapless Kashmiris. This signifies the ‘death of democracy’, ‘murder of human rights’, and the ‘demise of secularism’.
The dawn of August 5, 2019, brought nothing but misery for Kashmiris. Their constitutional rights were usurped. Schools which used to wave Kashmir’s flag now host Taranga; kids who used to sing the Kashmiri national anthem are now forced to exhibit belongingness to Vande Mataram. The annulment of Article 370 and 35A has devastated the ideological outlook of the Kashmiris by demeaning their demographic reality. This is merely a vile step of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) to change the Muslim-majority state of Jammu and Kashmir into a minority conclave. The fascist ideology of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has further galvanised the situation by introducing certain changes that aggravate animosity among the people of Kashmir.
Scrapping of Article 370 has led to the demolition of socio-political ideology of Kashmir and its roots. Tantamount to treason, Kashmiris feel punished by the law. Ladakh, once part of Kashmir, is now a separate territory. Marriage and Inheritance laws have been impacted and molded in the best interest of Indians. Rules have been amended and the constitution has been vandalised. Myriad cases of disappearances; extrajudicial executions; incarceration of journalists, lawyers and human right activists; deliberate killings of indigenous people disguised by officials as encounters reflect the plight of millions of Kashmiris under the Indian yoke.
In a nutshell, Kashmir which enjoyed special status is no longer the same. However, one can change the demographics, but one cannot move the giant mountains and wide plains that will forever belong to redolent Kashmir and its indigenous people, exclusively.
The conundrum of Kashmir demands a solution that can stop violence and abate the life-threatening situations. Civil Society of Kashmir can learn a lot from the Palestinian-led Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions (BDS) movement in different parts of the world. Abrogation of Kashmir’s special status paves the way for Israel-style settlements in the held valley. The demographic engineering orchestrated by the diabolical BJP intoxicated with Hindutva fervor is wheeling in the same direction as that of Israel’s agenda. It is high time for the civil society in Kashmir to reorient its agenda and to address a wide spectrum of local issues and thereby enhance its appeal and relevance to various sections of the society following the roadmap of the BDS movement. A movement that is inclusive, anti-racist, opposing all principles and forms of discrimination, including antisemitism and anti-Islamophobia.
First of all, people around the globe should boycott activities involving withdrawing support from India’s apartheid regime, complicit Indian sporting, cultural and academic institutions, and from all Indian and international companies engaged in violations of Kashmiri human rights.
Secondly, people should move ahead with divestment campaigns urging banks, local councils, saving centers, pension funds and universities to withdraw investments from the Indian state authorities and all Indian and international companies.
Finally, international sanctions should be slapped to pressurise the Indian government to fulfil its legal obligations.
Such non-violent pressure on India on a global scale might prove to be a talisman for Kashmiris and can alleviate the hostile situation to a substantial limit. Pakistan, on the other hand, can play an important role in the BDS movement and its goals. This nonviolent concept of boycotting, disinvestment and sanctioning of multiple projects, ideologies and policies can alter the situation in a productive manner which should be widely spread and acknowledged by policy-makers in Pakistan and other regional states.
If the international bodies and specifically, the UN Human Rights Commissions did not take any influential step towards this issue, it is feared we are at the verge of a drastically transitional era where immoralities and perversions of rationality will dig the ground. Nevertheless, it is our collective responsibility to ubiquitously stand against all odds and do what is rightful, for it is a known fact that ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere’
—Courtesy: The Nation