The plight of Kashmiri Muslims since 1989

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Syed Qamar Afzal Rizvi

SINCE 2016 and onwards, the life of the Kashmiris Muslims has become a sorry tale of affairs. In India-occupied Kashmir, militarisation is customarily tailgated by the Indian’s Draconian laws. These laws have such spewed effects on population that the rights related to human and democracy get scrubbed away. Needless to say, the militarization and detention in Kashmir have an astounding impact like extrajudicial killings, high scale custodial deaths and a large number of enforced disappearances. It has been ingrained by Pervena Ahangar, Chairperson, APDP (Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons) that the figure of disappearance reaches 15,000 since 1989. It has been proved too that many of the disappeared have been killed by the army while in custody.
The true reflection of the application of these laws can be seen in Kashmir, Assam, Manipur and other places. In Manipur, Special Power Act of 1958 for Armed Forces was enforced, for the long five decades. Previously, this act was enacted on Naga dissent. Historically put, in the1980s, the same was further introduced in Assam and in 1987; the same was enforced in Kashmir. The act reflects in Section-4 that officers belonging to armed forces have to opine to think what would be considered to act and based on their opinion, they can resort to rule of engagement that could be fire or use of force to the extent of causing death to any person. It allows arresting any person without any warrant or entering any premises for search. The repeal of AFSPA will neither end the violence perpetrated by the Indian state in Kashmir nor is it likely to satisfy Kashmiri political aspirations. India’s human rights problem in Kashmir is not one of draconian or bad laws, but of foundational lawlessness – a rule without popular legitimacy – leading to an intense, prolonged and often-violent contestation over sovereignty in the region. To dispose of all protests and dissents silently, the Public Safety Act of 1978 for Jammu and Kashmir was enforced. This act is highly draconian and notorious in nature for its tumultuous misuse and in no way fulfilling any aspect of international human rights standards.
All the above, the enforcement of draconian law to press the Kashmiris has brought in focus the brutality of Pellet Gun. Since 8 July 2016, hundreds of people have received treatment for acute injuries in eyes when occupied forces carried out Pellet Gun firing to control the mob that was agitating after the killing of Burhan Wani, a freedom fighter. Police have declared that Pellet Gun is never a lethal arm, however, doctors giving treatment to the injured people, have confirmed that the injuries have been making the victims incapacitated for the entire life.
The killing of approximately, 512 people in fake encounters has been reported by Rashid Billa, SDPO, at Sowa. Muhammad Yasin Malik, Chairperson, JKLF has stated that he had taken 150 victims along to Delhi, but what happened to them, these were maltreated whereas he was targeted by throwing black ink on him. All these criminalities are being committed but no serious inquiries are conducted by the Central Government. In December 1992, the UN had a declaration for the disappearance and its Article-2 states that prohibition of disappearance is absolute and there is no excuse to it by any state. In 2006, UNGA adopted unanimously convention to protect forced disappearances.
Sadly, women are exposed to the extreme forms of dehumanizing in the juxtaposed environment in Kashmir. The virilised body permeates army or other forces are inherently anti-females, hence they are creating a hostile ambience for women, in such situation rape is a common phenomenon. In the cases of rapes either investigations are not conducted or they are kept at low profile to make them worthless to be presented for inquiry. Such inquiry complaints are lying pending in abundance. Due to the discriminate fire of Indian forces, people have been converted into maimed and disabled during non-violent protests and agitations throughout the Kashmir conflict. The ratio of disabled is much high where they use torturing a tool during investigations resulted in disability for life including suffering financially, physically and mentally. The UN report on India’s violations-2017 had the recommendation:1-To immediate cease up the gross acts of violation of human rights of Kashmiri people in IOK. 2) Improve the human right situation in Kashmir and try to create consensus among the masses in India for resolving the Kashmir issue under the UN’s auspices. 3) Allow free access to international media for impartial reporting. 4) India should establish an independent Inquiry Commission to inquire into the violations of human rights by Indian Army since the start of the conflict. 5) India should repeal legal provisions giving any immunity to the occupation forces to include Sections 45 and 197(2) of Criminal Procedure Code. 6) India should amend Human Rights Protection Act (HRPA) for allowing Human Rights Commission to enquire the allegations levelled against the occupation forces for abusing. 7) India should enforce laws that give protection to the detainees from mistreatment and torture including bringing detainees before a magistrate to revisit legal aspects of detainees within 24 hours. 8) Authorities should respond to habeas corpus petitions for disappearance and detentions.
By no means, Kashmir is an internal matter of India. The liberal Indian newspapers remain critical of the Modi’s Kashmir policy thereby asking for a restoration of political normalcy. The current closure of the Srinagar-based Kashmir Times is reflective of the Modi government’s vendetta against Kashmiris. To change the disputed territory of Kashmir (the premise of international law) via domestic legislation (August 5-2019) is an ultra vires act. Can an internal matter be dealt via militarization or imposing and controlling the life movement of the Kashmiris through the deployment of 8,000000 security forces? It is all about fourteen months that the Vale continuously remains under the siege of curfew. Former Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Chief Minister and National Conference (NC) chief Farooq Abdullah, while reiterating his opposition to the constitutional changes in J&K, particularly the effective nullification of Article 370, spoke about how China has opposed the changes too. He, then, added that, “May Allah wish that our people get help from their might and our Articles 370 and 35-A get restored.
—The writer, an independent ‘IR’ researcher-cum-international law analyst based in Pakistan, is member of European Consortium for Political Research Standing Group on IR, Critical Peace & Conflict Studies, also a member of Washington Foreign Law Society and European Society of International Law.

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