In Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir, Srinagar-based noted human rights activist, Khurram Parvez, has said that August 5 action by Modi government was yet another step towards completely annexing Kashmir – a move used to garner popular support in India at the expense of Kashmiris.
Khurram Parvez in an article in US-based Time magazine wrote that the consent of the governed, which is essential in a democracy, is not at all a concern for the Hindu nationalist government of India when it comes to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, which includes the Kashmir Valley.
Khurram Parvez, who is coordinator of the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society and chairperson of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances, wrote that IIOJK was under a lockdown long before COVID-19. “For weeks last year, all phone lines and internet services were cut off by the Indian government. Basic mobile-phone connectivity took months to be restored and a ban on high-speed 4G internet continues till this day,” he pointed out.
The rights activist wrote that the Indian government has made full use of coronavirus lockdowns by passing the domicile rule, which has caused alarm because of its potential to change the demography of the Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir, he maintained. “In just more than a month, around 400,000 people have already acquired domicile certificates. It could alter the results of any referendum seeking people’s opinion for the resolution of the larger, international dispute over control of the territory, he added.
Khurram Pervez wrote that the first attempt to change the demography of Jammu and Kashmir came in 1947 when the Muslim-majority district of Poonch in Jammu faced a siege, which resulted in a massacre of Muslims across Jammu. It is unclear exactly how many people died, but estimates put the casualty count between 20,000 to even more than 200,000 – with half a million being forced to migrate to Pakistan, he added.
He wrote that elections have been rigged and laws have been imposed by twisting the local government’s arm; anyone who opposes the Indian government’s writ was jailed or killed. “There has been absolute lawlessness as structures of accountability have been rendered dysfunctional. Not one armed forces’ personnel has ever been prosecuted in civilian courts for their involvement in human rights violations,” he maintains.
Khurram Pervez wrote that promises of a referendum allowing Kashmiris to decide the territory’s fate, made by then Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1947, had been buried and replaced by a new narrative that “Kashmir is an integral part of India”. He said, with every passing day, India’s stand on Kashmir has grown more rigid – and violence against people of Jammu and Kashmir has become a norm. He said that when Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came into power in 2014, the policies of aggression became even more crude. He pointed out that the only difference was that the deceptive sophistication of the secular Congress government was replaced by the brazenness of the Hindu-majoritarian BJP.
Khurram Pervez maintained that the unilateral and undemocratic changes governing Jammu and Kashmir, unabated human rights violations, denial of basic facilities and land-grabbing due to militarization are all in violation of international law, UN resolutions, India’s own constitutional framework and India’s commitment to the Kashmiris. India can only feel encouraged to continue its violent policy because of the lack of international moral leadership, he concluded.