A 3 years old Kashmiri boy Ayaad was sitting on the chest of the corps of his grandfather (Bashir Ahmed Khan) in Sopore, India-occupied Kashmir (IoK) on 01 July 2020. Ayaad was afraid but asking the Indian Forces in Kashmir to leave the body with determination. His eyes were full of hate against Indian forces. The Indian atrocities did not spare elderly people, children and women in the IoK. Similar picture of Syrian refugee Aylan Kurdi got the attention of the Western media during the Syrian refugees’ crisis and open the door of Europe for refuges. However, it is very skeptical to claim that Ayaad and his grandfather’s dead body will open the eyes of the world community, unfortunate, as the struggle is 72 years old story. India-occupied Kashmir incident has uniqueness in two ways. One, it highlights the plight of IoK for decades. Violence in IoK has residues since 1947 but it rose to peak this year. It was India which brought the Kashmir conflict to UN in 1947 with a plea of the plebiscite which is still a promise with the Kashmiris without any hope. India, so-called world’s largest democracy, could not keep its promises with the world community and particularly with the Kashmiris.
Two, Indian Prime Minister Modi’s expansionist approach did not spare elderly people and children to become the victim of the brutalities that is reflection of low intellect. He was called Butcher of Gujarat but he was handed over the central government of India to kill every minority in order to escalate the Hindutva and Greater India agenda. This approach kept the prisoner of history to the Indian state and society. This Indian expansionist approach did not only trigger human rights violations but also brought the region on the “volcano of war” with its neighbours and get ready to collapse the region. Modi revoked the Articles 370 and 35-A and provoked Kashmiri in August 2019. The three nuclear countries (India, China and Pakistan) are on the eye to eye with each other and may erupt any serious regional or global disaster that will affect millions if not billions children of the region. India, which is a big population and covers a huge area with a lot of resources, is afraid of smaller neighbouring countries: Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. She is also afraid of big giant China. However, India’s prime target is Pakistan. India has always held Pakistan centred approach either in their local, national or international politics. I often wonder why a country with five-time size and area is afraid of small neighbour. It seems that India only see Pakistan as a hurdle to her expansionist and supremacist policy.
In ideal terms, India should have a big heart to accommodate her neighbours and would have opened the door for every South Asian country because she was big in population, area and resources. She should have invested in human development and have welcoming approach for everyone from the neighbours. Once, there is an established confidence, the smaller neighbours might have given respect and acknowledged Indian role in the region. India should have accommodated as China is doing with her Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and created opportunities of co-existence in South Asia. This kind of approach might have changed the fate of the millions of the people in South Asia and could have promoted prosperity, safety and peace. However, India reflected its “siege mentality” and fear her neighbours with expansionist and racist approach, the Hindutva and Greater India (Maha Bharta). India is afraid of her neighbours with a population of its single city (like Nepal/ Bhutan) and wanted to hold a direct control in the region. This savage mentality has risked the region at war since last 70 years but particularly the current regime aescalated the conflict.
Modi who hails from a common man background and he himself was a child labourer. Therefore, he may have realized the pain of a common man and children like Ayaad. He might have shown leadership skills to integrate the region with wisdom, hard work by providing an opportunity to promote harmony and prosperity in the region. He, nonetheless, preferred becoming the butcher of Muslim population in Gujrat and Kashmir and expansionist. He did not discriminate to eliminate other minority groups (Christians, Sikhs and even lower caste Hindus). His election campaign was to promote Hindutva, racist and fascist Nazi approach. Nevertheless, it was astonishing how the world reacted to the developments in the regions. The World leaders should have socialized Modi at least and sensitize him with human rights approach. Rather, they wanted to use him in pursuit to curtail China in the region. Resultantly, the region is at war. South Asia is on the verge of the volcano of human rights violations. These violations are not only in Kashmir but across India with the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019. Indian minorities and even lower caste Hindus are struggling for their existence in the fascist regime.
I work on the children well-being and I understand the feelings of the children. They have more sensitive and high feelings and emotions if compared with an adult. They want a peaceful future without conflict, war, prejudice, sense of security, without supremacy and equal opportunities to live by with identity, dignity and honour. This is the responsibility of the world community to provide a safe and peaceful atmosphere to our future generations and curtail the war mongers, expansionist, racist, supremacist and Nazi. If not addressed the children issues, the world community will be nurturing hate, fragmentation, segregation and subjugation in the young minds. Children, women, elderly people and minorities are victim of the Indian occupation in Kashmir. The world community should realize its duty to address these atrocities in Kashmir and struggle to end up the victimization, subjugation, jeopardization of the Kashmiri children.
—The writer is Chairman, Department of Sociology at Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad.