The impact of brutal war crimes in IIOJK on children
WORLD Children’s Day was first established in 1954 to be celebrated on 20 November each year to promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide, and improving children’s welfare.
Conflicts have a devastating impact on children’s well-being across the world. Kashmir is famously known as a beautiful valley but the condition of fundamental human rights in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IIOJK) is questionable.
On this children’s day, the world needs to realize that thousands of Kashmiri children have been witnessing the worst form of Indian aggression since they came to this world.
IIOJK conflict imposes a huge social cost on future generations because living under violent conditions reduces neural connections in areas of the brain dedicated to learning and reasoning, affecting children’s abilities to perform later in their lives.
Violence reduces neural connections in areas of the brain dedicated to learning and reasoning, affecting children’s abilities to perform later in their lives.
Brutal violence in the area leads to frequent shutdowns and curfews do not let the children go to schools or play like children all around the globe.
Every individual has the right to get a dignified and peaceful childhood but India does not recognize the framework of international or non-international armed conflict laws.
Contemporary relations position India as a righteous protector of the national domain and Kashmiris as imposters on their land.
In reality, the Modi-led fascist Indian regime is committing war crimes in the area and the innocent children of IIOJK have been the worst affected stratum of population.
India stripped the disputed territory of its special status by revoking Article 370 and 35 (A). Then they invoked the policy of ethnic cleansing of the Kashmiri people in order to change the demography of state.
The ruling party, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) publicly admit that they consider all non-Hindus as foreigners, and they would free India of all these people to create Akhand Bharat.
These decisions could compel another armed uprising in an already volatile region. The Kashmiris fear genocidal intent of the Indian government.
Indian forces often humiliate people and even children as a way of dissuading any support for militants fighting against Indian rule in the disputed region.
They used to broadcast such humiliating punishments to spread fear. A child being humiliated by soldiers is a devastating sight for any parent and such punishments were widely condemned.
The Indian government acknowledges that the problem exists, but denies it is part of a wide strategy to intimidate residents. They also say that such allegations are meant to demonize Indian troops.In the fight for freedom, the tension between protesters and the Indian army unfortunately affects the innocent children.
A child loses his friend, parents, sibling and there is a high probability of losing his own life in the Indian forces. In the past three decades, hundreds of children have died while thousands have lost their parents and homes. 2012 Save the Children survey put the number of orphans in IIOJK at 215,000.
Many children have spent all their lives in Indian detention centers, having no idea why they are put there.
2018report by the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society under the title “Terrorized: Impact of Violence on the Children of Jammu and Kashmir” suggests that Indian armed forces have directly targeted children.
The children in this report are defined as 1-17 years old have faced killings by armed forces, sexual violence, illegal detentions, occupation of schools and violence against students.
Since 1989 (the first insurgency), among the total 5106 people killed and forcibly disappeared, 392 were children.Schools continue to be used as military bases, interrogation centers, and military posts.
The children who were supposed to get education and enjoy their lives and become a useful segment of the society, were either killed, or put behind the bars, in worst cases, deprived of their parents.
Three generations have grown up since the Indian aggression in Kashmir, human rights organizations across the world have shut their eyes towards the situation in Kashmir.
This has given free hand to India for committing every kind of brutality against the innocent children.
2021 Research Section of the Kashmir Media Service analytical report revealed that Indian troops have martyred over 95,745 Kashmiris, arrested 161,446 and destroyed 110,388 residential houses besides molesting 11,235 women since 01 January 1989.
The children during these three decades have witnessed nothing except for the sounds of gunshots.A peace process that began in 2003 turned out to be a meaningless exercise as it failed to have any impact on the hostile situation in IIOJK.
In fact, the years of the “peace process” between 2003-2008 witnessed the killings of 184 children which triggered mass uprisings against Indian rule in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2016.
These rising resistance by the locals led to newer “methods of crowd control” in the form of teargas shells and pellet shotguns which resulted in the killing of at least16 children; 8 children were killed by shotguns, and 7 were killed due to shelling.
Minors in IIOJK have been detained under the Public Safety Act, termed as the lawless law by Amnesty International, which allows a detention of up to two years without trial. It is high time to hold the Modi regime accountable for its crimes against humanity in IIOJK.
The world needs to acknowledge that it is not possible to free the Kashmiri children of Indian clutches without the intervention of International human rights organizations.
—The writer has remained associated with the Institute for Strategic Studies and ISPR.