Kashmir is under attack

THE current Indian government has acted swiftly and against all international norms, beginning with the use of cluster bombs against the civilian population of Kashmir, and has followed it by an invasion of 10,000 more troops to bolster the existing ones there.

To protect itself from censure and prevent ground realities from escaping the killing zones, it has cut off all internet and other means of communication in the region. It has also unilaterally abrogated decades-long agreements that were in place to ensure that the Kashmiris would one day have their say on self-determination.

This vicious attack by the Modi government, which has increasingly been exposed for its radical and extremist Hindutva approach to make India a place for Hindus, is alarming, not just for the minorities who live in the country but for the entire region.

Their next-door neighbor, Pakistan has not been amused by the recent activity. In fact, it was the Pakistani PM’s call on the US President Trump to mediate and solve the Kashmiri issue diplomatically that set off the right-wing Indian government to hasten its illegal annexation of a region that had been protected under many UN resolutions.

Back in 1948, the UN Security Council approved a resolution, establishing a special commission to investigate the conflict following the partition in the sub-continent that led to the creation of two independent countries; India and Pakistan. Subsequent to the commission’s recommendation, the Security Council ordered in its Resolution 47, passed on April 21, 1948, that the invading Pakistani army retreat from Jammu & Kashmir and that the accession of Kashmir to either India or Pakistan be determined in accordance with a plebiscite to be supervised by the UN.

For 71 long years since that resolution which promised so much, the people of Kashmir remained waiting and mired between Indo-Pakistan politics. Many had died naturally, while many others killed unnecessarily through violence. The plebiscite never happened. The dispute over Kashmir had in fact led to two wars between the neighboring countries and has escalated tensions since. The region’s people are said to have fewer aspirations of normalcy that their counterparts in other parts of the country. Torn with successive violence and fragmented by calls of separation by various groups, the state of affairs of people of Kashmir is not be envied.

The prolonged state of unfulfilled promises and frequent violence in the region has led to the formation of many militant groups who see no alternative except to take a stand with guns and bullets, leading to a fresh cycle of violent reprisals and where many of the victims are often innocent.

Generations have been born in the region, hearing of the promise of autonomy from the time they clung to their mothers’ bosoms, only to grow up and realize that it had not yet materialized. Some unfortunately were swayed by the romantic calls of violent resistance and would likely join elements that would spread their discord not only in Kashmir but in other parts of India.

The future of Kashmir should put an end to all rounds of violence and a fresh round of political maneuvers that would satisfy the aspirations of the Kashmiri people and a non-threatening alliance with its neighbors should begin.

India today is a country marching toward fascist goals, but it should not be allowed to do so without rebuke. All peace-loving nations must rise to defeat this evil before it swallows itself and blows away. And if India does not cease and desist from its current agenda, then world organizations and nations must blacklist it as they did in South Africa during the pre-Mandela years.

A fascist India does not bode well for over a billion people.

The author can be reached at talmaeena@aol.com Follow him on Twitter @talmaeena