Unmarked graves in Occupied Kashmir

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Sajjad Shaukat
WHILE the Indian-Occupied Kashmir is bracing continued sieges and prolonged curfews, Indian security forces have martyred more than 200 innocent people who have been protesting since July 8, 2016 against the martyrdom of the young Kashmir leader Burhan Wani by the Indian security forces. However, every year, Indian Independence Day is marked by complete shutdown, as deserted streets, closed businesses and security patrolling the streets could be seen in the Indian Occupied Kashmir. Noting intensity in the war of liberation and hoisting of Pakistani flags by the Kashmiri protesters, this time too, Indian occupation authorities have imposed stringent restrictions in Srinagar and other towns by deploying heavy contingents of police and troops to prevent people from holding anti-India demonstrations.
The design to forcibly wrest Kashmir began to unfold on August 16, 1947, with the announcement of the Radcliffe Boundary Award. It gave the Gurdaspur District — a majority Muslim area to India to provide a land route to the Indian armed forces to move into Kashmir. There was a rebellion in the state forces, which revolted against the Maharaja and were joined by Pathan tribesmen. Lord Mountbatten ordered armed forces to land in Srinagar. When Pakistan responded militarily against the Indian aggression, on December 31, 1947, India made an appeal to the UN Security Council to intervene and a ceasefire ultimately came into effect on January 01, 1949, following UN resolutions calling for a plebiscite in Kashmir to enable the people of Jammu and Kashmir to determine whether they wish to join Pakistan or India. On February 5, 1964, India backed out of its promise of holding plebiscite. Instead, in March 1965, the Indian Parliament passed a bill, declaring Kashmir a province of India-an integral part of the Indian union.
It is notable that since 1947, in order to maintain its illegal control, India has continued its repressive regime in the Occupied Kashmir through various machinations and State-sponsored terrorism. Various forms of state terrorism have been part of a deliberate campaign by the Indian army and paramilitary forces against Muslim Kashmiris, especially since 1989. It has been manifested in brutal tactics like crackdowns, curfews, illegal detentions, massacre, targeted killings, sieges, burning the houses, torture, disappearances, rape, breaking the legs, molestation of Muslim women and killing of persons through fake encounter.
In fact, Indian forces have employed various Draconian laws like the Jammu and Kashmir Disturbed Areas Act, and the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act and Public Safety Act in killing the Kashmiri people, and for the arbitrarily arrest of any individual for an indefinite period. Besides Human Rights Watch, in its various reports, Amnesty International has also pointed out grave human rights violations in the Indian controlled Kashmir, indicating, “The Muslim majority population in the Kashmir Valley suffers from the repressive tactics of the security forces. While, European Union has passed a resolution about human rights abuses committed by Indian forces in the Indian held Kashmir.
It is of particular attention that in 2008, a rights group reported unmarked graves in various regions of the Indian Occupied Kashmir. Then researchers and other groups reported finding thousands of mass graves without markers. In this context, in August 2011, Indian Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission officially acknowledged in its report that innocent civilians killed in the two-decade conflict have been buried in unmarked graves. Notably, foreign sources and human rights organisations have revealed that unnamed graves include those innocent persons, killed by the Indian military and paramilitary troops in the fake encounters, including those who were tortured to death by the Indian secret agency RAW. Now, some leaders Western countries and their media have also taken notice of India’s gross human rights violations in Kashmir.
Indian authorities are not willing to talk with Kashmiri people on political grounds. New Delhi reached a conclusion that only bullet is the right way of dealing with Kashmiris, who are demanding their right of self-determination. Surprisingly, Indian successive governments are trying to ignore the dynamics of the freedom movement of Kashmiris for the sake of their alien rule. New Delhi also neglects the fact that Kashmir remains a nuclear flashpoint between Pakistan and India. Although Indian Constitution declares India to be a secular and democratic state, yet its subsequent regimes have broken all the records by continuing undemocratic injustices in relation to the Kashmiris. Nevertheless, by exposing the myth of Indian claim of the largest democracy and double standard of the US-led Western countries over the Indian injustices, Kashmiris, living on both sides of the LoC observe “Black Day” on August 15 to protest against the Indian illegal occupation of Jammu and Kashmir. On this very day, Pakistanis and Kashmiris across the globe express solidarity with the freedom struggle of Kashmiris, demanding their legitimate right of self-determination from India, which continues various forms of state terrorism in order to suppress their popular movement.
—The writer is freelance columnist based in Lahore.
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