Digital advertising truck in Washington flash messages: Say no to G20 in Kashmir
The electronic screens on the truck carry messages such as: “G20 risks legitimizing India’s illegal occupation of Kashmir,” “Say NO to G20 in Occupied Kashmir” “Decolonize Kashmir,” G20 in Kashmir violates UN resolutions” “G20 in occupied Kashmir enables genocide” “Kashmir for Kashmiris” “Kashmir at the brink of Genocide (Genocide Watch” “Stop Hindutav Fascism,” etc.)
The best way to spread the message in any important city is to have digital trucks move around the government buildings, foreign embassies with bright lit words on the screen that catches the attention of spectators and bystanders. Today’s route of digital truck in Washington included: the embassies of all G20 countries, including India, the State Department; the Capitol Hill; Library of Congress; The Washington Monument; The White House; various Museums; Lincoln Memorial; Washington National Cathedral; the World Bank and IMF.
Dr. Ghulam N. Mir, Chairman, Kashmir Diaspora Coalition & President, World Kashmir Awareness Forum said that India has tried to wish the Kashmir conflict away for the last 76 years of its illegal invasion, occupation and finally full annexation settler-colonization. It has become a nightmare for the overpopulated and unmanageable nation of 1.3 billion people. In each tyrannical maneuver — including mass murder and mass imprisonment it has tried in Occupied Kashmir, but it has failed.
Dr. Mir added that India has tried to cover the evidence of thousands of mass graves and gang rapes committed by Indian military and paramilitary forces in Kashmir. The mass graves were discovered by international human rights organizations, including Indian human rights defenders through their scrupulously researches and visits. One of the renowned intellectuals of America of Indian origin, Dr. Angana Chatterji has spent days in Kupwara district of Kashmir, where I come from, and she reported to the office of the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights about the grim reality of more than 5000 mass graves in this area alone.
Dr. Mir said that India will be entertaining its rich invitees on the grounds of another nation when they wine and dine them on the soil of Kashmir. We appeal to the G20 countries, all but Prime Minister Modi to show respect to the dead and the living of Kashmir whose country is being colonized by India and avoid dignifying the host country – India. G20 members must understand that India will not show you the true face of the densest presence of military and paramilitary forces while you are given a sanitized version of its brutal face!
Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Secretary General, World Kashmir Awareness Forum said that India is misusing and abusing its power of presidency of G20 to portray the image of normalcy in Kashmir. A news-story that appeared in the New York Times on August 10, 2019, described the normalcy in Kashmir in these words, “Inside Kashmir, Cut Off From the World: ‘A Living Hell’ of Anger and Fear.” Fai added that India’s controversial decision to hold G20 meeting in disputed Kashmir is in contravention of more than 12 substantive United Nations Security Council resolutions which were voluntarily agreed by the Government of India as early as in 1948. India’s aim is to divert global attention from the core issue of the occupation of a people without their consent, Fai insisted.
Dr. Fai emphasized that members of G20 countries are practicing democracies except India, and they should abide by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and not to sacrifice their moral authority and ethical values for commercial interests and lucrative business deals. My assessment of India’s so-called democracy is based on a write-up in Huffington Post, dated August 5, 2019, that “As Kashmir Is Erased, Indian Democracy Dies In Silence,” and an Op-Ed that appeared in The New York Times on August 24, 2022 that, “Modi’s India Is Where Global Democracy Dies.
Dr. Fai quoted Professor Fernand de Vareness, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Minority Issue who issued a statement today, on May 15, 2023 that the G20 is unwittingly providing a veneer of support to a façade of normalcy (in Kashmir) at a time when massive human rights violations, illegal and arbitrary arrests, political persecutions, retractions and even suppression of free media and human rights defenders continue to escalate.
Dr. Imtiaz khan, Professor at George Washington Medical Center said that the people of Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) express their strong reservations about the G20 meeting to be held in the disputed territory. Based on the UN resolutions the final status of the IOK has to be decided by the plebiscite to be held under the auspices of this international organization that was founded in 1945. Not only has India reneged on her promise to allow the people of IOk to exercise their will, it has also unleashed a reign of terror on the regions that has been condemned by well reputed international human rights organizations. India does not allow foreign press to travel to IOk and does not even permit the International Red Cross to provide succor to the people who are facing miserable situation.
Dr. Khan added that on August 5, 2029 India abrogated article 370 and 35A that provided special status to IOK and annexed the territory. This was a shameful contravention of international agreement that did not receive the rebuke from world community that it deserved. Since then, India is involved in changing the demography of the region by snatching the land from local people and settling rabid Hindu communalists in the region.
Dr. Khan warned that holding of G20 meeting in the region is a facade to convey to international community that things are normal, and people have accepted Indian occupation. The veneer of normalcy can be attributed to the presence of more than 900,000 trigger happy soldiers who can kill people with impunity. Holding of G20 meeting does not alter the ground situation and IOK will remain a disputed territory and Kashmiris in the region and outside will continue their struggle for liberation in an unabated manner. My appeal to the attending countries is to unequivocally condemn India for the barbarous acts and use the opportunity to impress upon the Modi government to fulfill the promises it has given to the people of IOK
Sardar Zarif Khan, General Secretary, Kashmir American Welfare Association (KAWA) said that if India wants to give the false impression of normalcy to G20 countries then why did New Delhi-based National Investigating Agency INIA), conducted raids and arrested hundreds of civilians at many locations in the Valley. We have the reports that mobile phones and laptops were either taken away or broken in Shopian, Islamabad, Srinagar Pulwama, Kulgam and the nearby villages and towns. Silencing the dissent in Kashmir by Indian armed forces is the order of the day, Zarif added.
Sardar Zubair Khan said G20 should not have trusted India’s false propaganda that everything is fine in Indian occupied Kashmir. We would like to request G20 countries, while in Kashmir, please do persuade Government of India to allow more than half a dozen United nations Special Rapporteurs to visit Kashmir to assess the situation there. Amnesty International and other international NGO’s need to be given unhindered access to the Valley of Kashmir.
Shoaib Irshad of KAWA said that the presence of 900,000 military and paramilitary forces have made Kashmir the largest army concentration in the world. On one hand India is invited members of G20 to come to Kashmir and on the other, people are not allowed to make their feelings known through peaceful protest. And if they do, they will be arrested either under PSA or UAPA and sent into the jails of India.