The Indian Agenda
Time and again, the greatest democracy in the world has been accused of violating human rights in Kashmir and using unnecessary force on civilians. Be it the Gawkadal massacre in January 1990; where the Indian army open fired on Kashmiri protestors. Historians describe it as the worst massacre in Kashmiri history; what they didn’t know was that the Indian Army had more in store for the innocent civilians fighting for their basic rights.
Just two years later in October 1993 the Indian army again open fired on Kashmiri protestors in Bijbehara, who were protesting over a siege on the mosque in Hazratbal. The Indian army reported that it was in self-defense, but the Human Rights Watch rejected this statement, as the protesters were unarmed civilians.
The Human Rights Watch also published a report in 1993, “Rape in Kashmir- A Crime of War”, which identified Kashmiris as victims of sexual harassment and sexual violence. It said that the Indian Army used rape to “brutalize women and punish their communities, accused of sympathizing with separatist militants”. They also pointed out that this practice is institutionalized and a part of a larger framework, used to intimidate the civilians. The Indian government refused to hold anyone responsible for these actions.
Every day is a challenge to live and remain un-harassed for Muslims in Indian occupied Kashmir. These events take place every few months in Kashmir. One such was Chalwalkote Massacre in 2001; Muslim villagers were killed in Chalwalkote, Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir by alleged militants on 9 February 2001.
2016 also brought its share of unrest and chaos in the green valleys if Kashmir. Killing of Burhan Wali was the initiation of the unrest in 2016. Following his killing, hundreds of protestors came out on the roads in all 10 districts of Kashmir Valley. India being the biggest democracy, imposed a curfew on all 10 districts. Not only were the citizens who deserve basic human rights, forced to stay indoors; those who did pluck up the courage to go on the roads to mourn the loss of their freedom fighter; were bombarded with pellet guns. These guns fire tiny steel pellets which enter the retina of the eye, hence blinding the victim. The international media highlighted the height of brutality being faced by the Kashmiri youth; lives ruined, futures shattered; the price paid by these caged youth for speaking up for their rights. Nearly 2000 people were injured in just two days, on July 8-9th.
Indian government still had the audacity to call these weapons ‘non-lethal’, in response to the up roaring questions from the world media. The fact remains that those images of teenagers with dreams in their shattered plum colored swollen eyes, haunt everyone who sees them; everyone except the ruthless Indian army.
Cherry on top is the revanchist behavior towards the protestors, where the ambulances were attacked, intravenous drips were cut off and the injured were left to die in agony.
On August 13th, there was another curfew in Kashmir, which did not stop the Kashmiris from hoisting Pakistani flags and chanting ‘Pakistan Zindabad’. People demanded referendum as it was promised to the Kashmiris by the United Nation 69 years ago; the referendum which still remains a demand and a need for the oppressed people of Kashmir. Hundreds were again injured as the forces attempted to disperse the protesters.
After all this, it is still interesting to note that Prime Minister Modi was audacious enough to declare Pakistan a terrorist state. Pakistan was immediately blamed for the attack in Uri, on 18th September 2016. Pakistan foreign ministry spokesman Nafees Zakaria said “India immediately puts blame on Pakistan without doing any investigation. We reject this”.
Indian army did not hold back to raid Muslim majority areas after the Uri incident. Indian forces were also blamed for using too much force on the civilians, by human rights groups.
India being a country that breeds on hate, often shows its true colors on the internation forum as well. The 71st session of United Nation General Assembly (UNGA) was no different. At this event, on 26st September 27, 2016 the India’s Minister of External Affairs, Sushma Sawaraj declared that Kashmir is an integral part of India; obviously forgetting that integral citizens shouldn’t be blinded by their governments.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also made it a point to remind the world at UNGA, that Pakistan wants to have peaceful relations with India and that freedom fighters in Kashmir always met ill-fated injuries and were manhandled. He said that “Indians brutalities are well documented”, and pointed out that over six thousand unarmed civilians have been injured in the past two months.
Pakistan’s resolve remains firm on the Kashmir issue, een after 70 years. Be it the government, army or opposition. Pakistan Tehreek e Insaaf Chairman Imran Khan said at one of his ralies in Taxila, that despite political differences, all parties are adamant and united on the Kashmir issue.
After shallow threats from Modi, regarding a nuclear war on Pakistan, the Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif said that the Army will safeguard every inch of Pakistan. On 26th September Gen Sharif stated that India is not serious about resolving the Kashmir issue and wants to maintain the misunderstanding and unrest in the region. India refuses to apologize or feel even remotely remorse for their actions against the unarmed civilians. If anything, the Indian government is in a frenzy of war and seems inflexible towards peace talks.