India’s Rampant HR violations in Kashmir add to the Determination of Intifada
Col (R) Muhammad Hanif
To intensify their ongoing efforts to get their United Nations Security Council (UNSC) granted the right of self determination, in 1989, the people of Jammu and Kashmir started their freedom struggle, which continues till today. On the other hand, since 1989, India is trying to crush the freedom struggle by use of force by deploying more than 700,000 security forces personnel. While the people of Jammu and Kashmir carry out peaceful protests to highlight their right of self determination to seek world support to pressurize India to allow the UNSC to hold a plebiscite, India uses force to crush their voice. In the process, so far, the Indian security forces, acting under the black/draconian laws with total immunity from prosecution against criminal acts, have caused immense atrocities and human rights (HR) violations in the occupied part of Jammu and Kashmir. These HR violations include indiscriminate/extrajudicial killings, arrests, torture, abductions, gang-rapes, and demolition of properties.
According to the Human Rights Violations Report 2016-Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, published by the Kashmir Institute of International Relations, from January 1989 to 21 December 2016, 100,000 persons have been killed including 7073 custodial killings, over 137469 civilians were arrested, there are over 8000 to 10000 enforced disappearances, over 22826 women have been widowed, more than 107591 children have been orphaned, over 10717 women were gang-raped/molested, and over 107043 structures were destroyed.
The Indian brutalities in Jammu and Kashmir have also been confirmed in the first ever report, released by the UN Human Rights Office in June 2018. The report covered the HR violations committed by the Indian security forces in Jammu and Kashmir in the past and, especially, from July 2016 onwards, when a large and unprecedented scale of demonstrations erupted in Kashmir after killing of a young freedom fighter, Burhan Wani by the Indian forces. The report says that the Indian security forces used excessive force that led to unlawful killings and a very high number of injuries, citing civil society estimates that up to 145 civilians were killed by the security forces between mid-July 2016 and the end of March 2018.
According to the Human Rights Violations Report 2016-Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, published by the Kashmir Institute of International Relations, from January 1989 to 21 December 2016, 100,000 persons have been killed including 7073 custodial killings, over 137469 civilians were arrested, there are over 8000 to 10000 enforced disappearances, over 22826 women have been widowed, more than 107591 children have been orphaned, over 10717 women were gang-raped/molested, and over 107043 structures were destroyed
The report of the International Forum for Justice and Human Rights (IFJHRJK) has documented the alarming figure of 355 civilian killings, including a 10-year-old boy, a pregnant woman and three PhD scholars in Kashmir in 2018.
The UN report further states that one of the most dangerous weapons used against protesters in 2016 and onwards was the pellet-firing shotgun. According to official figures, 17 people were killed by shotgun pellets between July 2016 and August 2017, and 6,221 people were injured by the metal pellets between 2016 and March 2017. Civil society organizations believe that many of them have been partially or completely blinded.
The report adds that “Impunity for human rights violations and lack of access to justice are key human rights challenges in the state of Jammu and Kashmir,” noting that the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act 1990 (AFSPA) and the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act 1978 (PSA) have “created structures that obstruct the normal course of law, impede accountability and jeopardize the right to remedy for victims of human rights violations.”
According to the UN report the AFSPA prohibits prosecution of security forces personnel unless the Indian Government grants prior permission to prosecute. In the nearly 28 years that the law has been in force in Jammu and Kashmir there has not been a single prosecution of armed forces personnel granted by the central government. The UN report says that there is an urgent need to address past and ongoing human rights violations and abuses and deliver justice for all people in Kashmir, who for seven decades have suffered a conflict that has claimed or ruined numerous lives.
Instead of taking the UN report seriously and reducing violence in Jammu and Kashmir, Modi government is so arrogant that in the last few months of 2018, it has unleashed a reign of terror in Jammu and Kashmir by imposing the President’s rule and further intensifying violence. As a consequence, since October 2018, Indian security forces have martyred more than 50 innocent Kashmiri people, including killing of a Ph.D person, namely Abdul Manan Wani, in cold blood.
In view of the above discussion, it appears that in response to the Modi government’s disregard to the UN report on HR violations in Jammu and Kashmir and its arrogant policy of further firming its control over the state through increased violence, the Kashmiri youth will become further determined to continue with their indigenous freedom movement/Intifada to free the state from the Indian yoke.