Can the United Nations do anything to stop the Carnage in Kashmir?
Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai
September 7, 2019
Kashmir is in turmoil. The government has imposed curfew, banned all public meetings, arrested more than 20,000 youth and placed the Kashmiri leadership under house arrest. Internet services have been snapped and all university examinations postponed. Barricades have been erected everywhere in the Srinagar (Capitol city) and other towns. More than 8.5 million people of Kashmir Valley are under siege since August 5, 2019.
Therefore, on behalf of the people of Jammu and Kashmir –and a territory whose status is yet to be determined under the resolutions of the United Nations – we approach the United Nations Secretary General with the appeal that he exerts his personal influence to help arrest immediately the campaign of mass slaughter and indiscriminate destruction in which the Indian occupation forces have been remorselessly engaged in our country since January 1990 in general and August 5, 2019 in particular. In this context, we would like the Secretary General to bear the following points in mind:
The acts of indiscriminate killing of unarmed civilians and assaults on innocent women and children have not been fully reported in the world press because the Indian occupation authorities barred the entry of the world media into the territory and the restriction have been imposed even on the local media on reporting any incident that takes place in the Valley of Kashmir.
Nevertheless, even the occasional reports that have appeared do afford a glimpse into the reign of terror, established by India inside the occupied territory.
Amnesty International on September 5, 2019 initiated a campaign, which says, “Nearly 8 million people in Kashmir have been living through a communication shut down since August 5. The world needs to know what’s happening. Take action and demand that the government let Kashmir speak.”
Arundhati Roy, Booker Prize winner wrote in The New York Times on August 15, 2019, “Today Kashmir is one of the most or perhaps the most densely militarized zone in the world. More than a half-million soldiers have been deployed to counter what the army itself admits is now just a handful of ‘terrorists.’ If there were any doubt earlier it should be abundantly clear by now that their real enemy is the Kashmiri people. What India has done in Kashmir over the last 30 years is unforgivable.”
The New York Times headlines on August 10, 2019 reads: “Inside Kashmir, Cut Off From the World: ‘A Living Hell of Anger and Fear.”
HUFFINGON POST wrote on August 5, 2019 that “As Kashmir Is Erased, Indian Democracy Dies In Silence.”
Michael De Dora & Aliya Iftikhar described the situation in Kashmir in CNN – Opinion on August 15, 2019: “Kashmiris have displayed admirable courage in the face of this crisis, and their voices should be heard.”
Ramachandra Guha, an Indian writer wrote in The Washington post on August 14, 2019, “India was a miracle democracy. But it’s time to downgrade its credentials.”
We must mention here that even in today’s violent world, the behavior of the Indian occupation regime in Kashmir is singular in as much as it has enjoyed total impunity. Nor a word of condemnation has been uttered by world powers; not even a call on India to cease and desist from its near-genocidal campaign. This is not merely a case of passivity and inaction; in practical effect, it amounts to an abetment and encouragement of murderous tyranny. The matter becomes even more baffling in view of the fact that Kashmir, being the subject of an international dispute, cannot even remotely be regarded as falling within India’s domestic jurisdiction. If tyranny is not condoned inside the territory of a Member State of the United Nations, is there not greater reason for the United Nations to intervene when the territory is one whose disposition is to be determined through a fair vote under the impartial auspices of the world organization?
We are mindful of the fact that the established procedures of the United Nations will not facilitate the speedy intervention that both the humanitarian and the political aspects of the situation in Kashmir call for urgently. However, the minimum that can be done to help bring relief and redress to the people of Kashmir is to dispatch a fact-finding mission headed by a statesman or diplomatist of high international standing to report expeditiously on the situation in Kashmir. Such a mission could visit all parts of Jammu & Kashmir as well as the capitols of both India and Pakistan and verify the truth of allegations from either side. The matter is much too urgent to be relegated to the routine mechanism of the Human Rights Council and the various bodies established to monitor various conventions.
An authoritative pronouncement of Mr. Antonio Guterres, the Secretary General of the United Nations (contained in the press briefing on August 8, 2019) is pertinent in this context: “The position of the United Nations on this region (Jammu & Kashmir) is governed by the Charter of the United Nations and applicable Security Council resolutions.”
Additionally, we should beg to stress the following:
Many nations have been very firm and leading supporters of peacekeeping by the United Nations. The proposition is now generally accepted that mere peace keeping – which in the case of Kashmir has meant only the stationing of a military observer Group – doesn’t serve a long-term goal unless it is accompanied by a tangible peace process. No effort to negotiate a solution of a dispute which could take into account the rights of the people of Kashmir itself is being undertaken or has been undertaken for the last three decades.
The people of Kashmir are dismayed by this total apathy on the part of the United Nations when Governments, otherwise sympathetic to human rights situations make statements to the effect that India and Pakistan must resolve the issue on the basis of the Simla Agreement, they disregard the rights and aspirations of the people of Kashmir itself. We recognize that such disregard is not deliberate. Nevertheless, it tells and encourages India to sideline the United Nations and perpetuate its occupation of Kashmir by force.
We trust that the United Nations Secretary General brings his influence to bear on both India and Pakistan to initiate a peace process with which the United Nations and as well as the leadership of the people of Jammu & Kashmir will be associated so as to ensure that the settlement arrived at will be based on the principles of justice.
Dr. Fai is the Secretary General of World Kashmir Awareness Forum and can be reached at: 1-202-607-6435 or email@example.com www.kashmirawareness.org