Tribute to Syed Ali Shah Geelani | By Dr Muhammad Khan


Tribute to Syed Ali Shah Geelani

SYED Ali Shah Geelani was an iconic personality in the Kashmiris struggle for their right of self-determination.

A year after his death, Kashmiris are as gloomy as they were on 01 September 2021, when he died while being under house arrest.

But, Kashmiris are as brave as they were during his entire struggle for freedom of Kashmir from Indian yoke.

His death was a great loss to Kashmiris and all those civilized communities who desire for peace and stability in South Asia which could only be achieved by resolving Kashmir dispute.

For this noble struggle for the right of self-determination, Syed Ali Shah Geelani had to undergo tyranny and suppression of the Indian Government which included years of imprisonment, torture, allegations, alienation, exploitation, life threats and finally house arrest for over a decade.

Even at this critical age of over 90 years while he was under house arrest of Indian security forces, he was mistreated, depriving him of basic medical facilities.

His body was snatched from his family members and buried by the Indian Army against the wishes of this great personality.

His family was threatened and tortured for resisting to hand over the body to the Indian Army. It was a shame to Indian secularism and Indian democracy.

India has been alienating and targeting all prominent Kashmir leaders who have been struggling for the right of self-determination of Kashmiris.

A senior Kashmiri leader Mr Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai, who challenged India’s rule in IIOJK, was killed by Indian Army in May 2021 at the age of seventy-eight years.

He was under custody of the Indian Army for months. Yasin Malik, another hero of Kashmiris’ right of self-determination is in jail for years now and facing the fake charges labelled by the Indian Government and the Indian occupation Army in IIOJK.

Indeed, there has been a history of martyring Kashmiri leadership since the start of their struggle against Indian occupation in IIOJK in 1990.

Apart from killing key Kashmiri leaders, India has killed over 100,000 Kashmiris, raped over 12000 Kashmiri women and tortured and arrested thousands of Kashmiris in the last thirty-three years.

Nevertheless, there is no change in the struggle and spirit of Kashmiris for attainment of their right of self-determination.

For the last seven decades, India has kept over 70% area of the State of Jammu and Kashmir under its illegal occupation.

Besides occupying the State, India has perpetrated unparalleled atrocities over the peaceful people of IIOJK.

Despite presence of dozens of UN resolutions and international commitments India refused to conduct a plebiscite in IIOJK.

On 05 August 2019, India violated its own Constitution and Constitution of India-occupied Jammu and Kashmir while illegally annexing the State with the Indian Union as Union Territories.

The US based human rights organization, — Genocide Watch — had revealed and alerted the world about the planned genocide process in IIOJK.

This organization has mandated itself “to build an international movement to predict, prevent, stop and punish genocide and other forms of mass murder.

” According to this organization, India has taken extreme steps of revoking Articles 370 and 35-A, which indicates that it can undertake killing of Kashmiris, protesting against these illegal acts of India.

In November 2016, “The Guardian” a prestigious British newspaper, exposed the Indian campaign of blinding the Kashmiris in an article, entitled, “India’s crackdown in Kashmir: is this the world’s first mass blinding?

” The article recorded some of the incidents from July 2016 to November 2016.  These four months have been described by the newspaper as the bloodiest in the recent history of Kashmir.

In those few months, the peaceful Kashmiri protestors were responded with ruthless atrocities and brutalities from Indian security forces, who fired millions of metal pellets into crowds of civilians, leaving hundreds as blinded or paralysed.’

The inspiring factor for the Indian Army to continue this genocide in occupied Kashmir is that it has total impunity under discriminatory laws like the Armed Forces Special Power Act and Public Safety Act.

Besides, Indian state and society is overwhelmed by the Hindutva ideology, imposed all over India under the patronage of BJP.

Since the people of the state of Jammu and Kashmir were resisting imposition of this ideology in their state, therefore, India took the extreme step of annexing the state as Indian Union territories.

On 16 August 2019, Kapil Komireddi wrote a very insightful article about the real motives behind abrogation of Article 370 by Indian Government.

Entitled as, “The Kashmir crisis isn’t about territory. It’s about a Hindu victory over Islam”. With the slogan of democracy dies in the darkness, the prestigious American daily, ‘The Washington Post’ published this article with many insightful revelations.

However, the reality is that the Kashmir crises have been created both for the territory of the state as well as Hindu domination over the Muslim population.

Despite Indian occupation since 1947, the state had been maintaining its Muslim character. Though the State of Jammu and Kashmir is not a legal part of India, yet Indian Government forcefully declared it as Union Territories in violation of its own constitution, the Constitution of the Jammu and Kashmir State and, above all, the UN resolutions, which India recognized and accepted for the conduct of a plebiscite in IIOJK.

‘The Washington Post’ in its op-ed (04 March 2020) has published a survey of the Kashmiri youth, carried out in the India-occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

The survey report reveals that, 91% youth of IIOJK demands that all Indian security forces must leave their state immediately.

They feel that Indian security forces in IIOJK are the real problem. This is a post 5 August 2019 survey published in this authentic American newspaper.

The survey rejected the Indian claim that Kashmiris are happy under new arrangements in which Jammu and Kashmir was split into union territories after diluting Article 35-A and revoking Article 370.

Death of Syed Ali Shah Geelani was a great tragedy and irreparable loss to Kashmiris. However, the Kashmiri youths are determined to continuing the mission of this iconic Kashmiri leader.

Kashmiri youth are determined to achieve this mission of their right of self-determination at all costs.

Someone described the war-torn Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir as a territory which has now become “a place on the universe where the mothers often receive the dead body of their sons, fathers announce the venue and time for their funeral prayers and sisters throw candies and flowers on their funeral processions.”

— The writer is Professor of Politics and IR at International Islamic University, Islamabad.


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