Kashmir Dispatch June 2022

WKA News roundup – June 2022

Welcome to the World Kashmir Awareness Forum news round up for June of 2022- The Kashmir Dispatch. Here, we will be highlighting the most important stories that have occurred this past month.

Yasin Malik sentenced to life in prison

In the latest travesty of the Indian justice system, Yasin Malik was sentenced to life in prison. His only crime was advocating for a free and independent Kashmir.

The court was not open to the public, nor was corroborating evidence provided. The verdict was a foregone conclusion.

Mr. Malik has been a lifelong political advocate and freedom fighter and has long been abused at the hands of the Indian authorities. As a student organizer, he led protests including and disrupted cricket matches to highlight the abuses of Indian Authorities. He was subsequently arrested, roughed up and sent to Red 16 prison where he was tortured.

From 1988 to 1994 he took up arms against the Indian Occupation. He was wounded in the fighting in 1990 and has maintained that he only took up arms as India would not allow nonviolent protests.

From 1994 onwards he renounced violence.

During the next two decades, he would be periodically arrested and would face legal harassment as there would always be something pending in the courts, despite India delaying the trial for over 11 years.

Malik would go on to head the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) which was promptly disbanded in 2019 and he would be arrested again.

You can read about his life of activism and struggle by clicking here.

Fears of family separation hang over Rohingya families

Thousands of Rohingya Muslims fled during Myanmar’s brutal genocide fleeing to neighboring counties including India. Rohingya Muslims settled in places throughout the country including New Delhi and some to neighboring Jammu. Most refugees allegedly lack proper immigration status and face the imminent threat of deportation back to the country that seeks their extermination.

For many refugees, it is not only the threat of deportation that they fear most, but separation from their families and loved ones.

12-year-old Inayat Rehman was left alone after his mother and sister were deported back to Myanmar. “I miss my mother,” he said.

Rehman’s home was demolished after there was no one to pay the monthly rent of $13. A neighbor is currently watching over him.

The deportations are a part of a crackdown from the BJP-dominated government and the family separations seem to be intentionally part of the plan. According to a report by Al Jazeera, when Rehman’s mother was arrested, she begged the authorities to also arrest Inayat so the family could stay together.

They refused.

“After the police arrive, the shanties are emptied. People do not want to be separated from their children as many have already. Separation is the most inhumane part of this crackdown,” said Muhammid Arif, a father of three small children.”

There are estimated to be approximately 40,000 Rohingya Muslims throughout India and many are planning on fleeing the country. Most plan to travel to Bangladesh, home of the world’s largest refugee camp.

You can read more about this heartbreaking story here.

India bulldozes activist’s home

In an act of pure pettiness and spite, Indian authorities demolished the home of Afreen Fatima in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Fatima had been active in protests against India’s right-wing government over comments made about the Muslim Prophet Muhammad.

Fatima called it an “act of vendetta.”

A BJP spokesperson said Uttar Pradesh’s Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, a saffron-robed hardline Hindu monk, ordered officials to demolish any “illegal” establishments and homes of people accused of involvement in the protests.
Over the weekend, at least two other Muslim’s homes were demolished in Uttar Pradesh.

The protests were inspired by the ongoing global backlash to derogatory comments made by the BJP’s Nupur Sharm.

Hours after Friday protests in the city, police raided the house and took away her 57-year-old father Mohammad Javed, mother Parveen Fatima, 52, and teenager sister Somaiya.

“At around 8:50 pm on Friday, the police came, saying they wanted to talk to my father. They asked him to accompany him to the police station. That is it. They did not tell us if it was detention or if it was an arrest. No warrant was shown,” Fatima, 24, told Al Jazeera TV during an interview on Sunday.

Javed, who is a politician belonging to a Muslim party, was charged with rioting and the police soon declared him the “mastermind” of the protests in Prayagraj – a tag flashed immediately on TV screens across the country.

Parveen and Somaiya were detained by the police and released on Sunday morning. “My mother and my sister were illegally detained for more than 30 hours,” Fatima told Al Jazeera TV.
You can read more about this story here.

UAE Condemns India over Prophet remarks

The United Arab Emirates, a close India ally – became the latest Gulf state to voice its condemnation of the remarks made last week by Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal, two members of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The condemnation of the remarks spread throughout the Muslim world and at least fifteen countries including Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan condemned the comments. Many of the countries demanded a formal apology but have yet to receive it.

The BJP suspended Sharma and expelled Jindal and issued a rare statement saying it “strongly denounces insult of any religious personalities”. However, many feel that the response was disingenuous and only taken after criticism from the numerous important global partners of India.

Protests and demonstrations took place outside Indian Embassies throughout the region and also in India itself. You can read more about this story here.

Final thoughts

Month after month we have documented the extreme institutional decay and violations of human rights committed by India upon the people of Kashmir and the fall of India as the world’s largest democracy.

The transition from democracy to authoritarianism can be sudden, or it can be quick – but the most telling feature is the level of pointless cruelty leveled upon a population. As is a common maxim – cruelty is the point.

When the state can break up families already facing a genocide, demolish an activist’s house, or arbitrarily arrest and sentence someone to life after a show trial – the cruelty is the point. It is a message sent monthly, even daily that power is wielded exclusively to crush the humanity of people living under the regime.

It was the same reason why Yasin Malik felt he had no choice but to fight. Because when peaceful protest and the democratic process become impossible, armed conflict becomes inevitable.

India sentenced Malik to life despite not participating in violence. It is clear that while they seek to silence him – they have already failed. As others will follow in his footsteps until Kashmir is free.