Urgency must replace complacency in Kashmir
Washington, D.C. June 19, 2023 (tarkeen e watan) “Under the latest onslaught the Occupied Jammu & Kashmir is being converted from UN-declared conflict zone into a full-fledged settler-colony of the Indian fascist Hindu Rashtra. The largest foreign occupation since the 1947, Kashmir remains the largest disenfranchised polity of the world today,” this was stated by Dr. Ghulam N. Mir, President, World Kashmir Awareness Forum, while representing Kashmir at all day long retreat, organized by USCMO / DHRI (US Council of Muslim Organizations / Democracy and Human Rights Initiative). Various international conflicts were discussed during the retreat, including Egypt, Tunisia: Yemen, Libya, Palestine, Kashmir, Rohingya Muslims, Indian Muslim, Bangladesh, East Turkistan. The retreat proved to be an instructive, effective, and informative exercise.
Dr. Mir pointed out that this is happening despite 16 substantive resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council with the consent of both India and Pakistan, guaranteeing a free and unfettered plebiscite, respecting the right of self- determination for the people of Jammu & Kashmir. Consequently, Kashmiris have never been allowed to exercise their inherent and God-given right to choose their fundamental human right – the right of self-determination.
Dr. Mir added that then came the final human tragedy. On August 5, 2019, the Modi government shocked the Kashmiris and the world by sudden and unilateral abrogation of the internal autonomy of the autonomous State of Jammu & Kashmir. Overnight the most militarized region of the world was flooded with thousands more of Indian troops to impose life-suffocating curfew that lasted over months.
All civilian life activities were paralyzed, schools and businesses closed, and thousands of youths dragged out of their homes and ferried into remote filthy prisons across India. All politicians were jailed, or their homes converted into prisons. Life has never been the same for Kashmiris in the vast open prison called Kashmir, Dr. Mir recounted.
Dr. Mir warned that Indian plans are even more sinister than that. Their goal is to complete their originally conceived dream of turning Kashmir from a majority Muslim state into a majority Hindu state through forced demographic engineering. That is currently in progress using state terror, land grab, illegal domicile allotment to Indian Hindus and at will incarnation of Muslims in Indian jails. All under the protection of draconian laws, like Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and Public Safety Act, (PSA) to ensure internal population manipulation & internal population fixing and displacement. Amnesty International has called PSA, “Lawless Law.”
Muhammad Yasin Malik, Chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, one of the most prominent political leaders is now awaiting a repeat kangaroo court trial facing death penalty in New Delhi infamous Tihar jail. Khurram Parvez, recipient of prestigious international awards has been in the Tihar jail since 2021 on trumped up charge without due process. Khurram Parvez featured on Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people. Mary Lawlor, UN Special Rapporteur on Human rights Defenders said, “Khurram Parvez in not a terrorist. He is a human rights defender.’ Yet Modi’s fascist regime has declared him as a terrorist.
Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Chairman, World Forum for Peace & Justice said that the strategy of DHRI should be designed to have the greater understanding of the United States policy making agencies and personalities in supporting the objectives that will eventually lead to the resolution of the international conflicts in the Muslim world. The various elements of our strategy – the Executive Branch, US Congress, the Media, the Think-tanks, American Muslim community – are integrated segments, each of which effects the other to move our strategy forward. Each section of the strategy is as important as the other in progressing towards our ultimate goal.
Dr. Fai said that Kashmiris only want to be given the same opportunity to determine their future that was accorded to the rest of the people of undivided India in 1947.The first liberation war of Kashmir was waged that year and had all but succeeded had India not intervened militarily to enslave the people of Kashmir. Subsequently, the question of Kashmir’s future was taken to the United Nations, by India itself, be it noted, and it was at the United Nations that India promised the free exercise of the right of self-determination to the Kashmiris. It has never honored that promise.
Dr. Fai added that the course of uprising in Kashmir has established the following. The occupying power – India – commands ample financial means and enough military strength to maintain the occupation indefinitely. The cost to occupying power must be so negligible as not to induce any political initiative and change of policy on its part. The outside world, including the United States, may not feel happy about the suffering of the people of Kashmir but, beyond the natural reaction of decency and compassion, there has been no solution to ease the plight of the people of Kashmir and there seems to be little motivation for any power to mediate.
Dr. Fai observed that India can militarily occupy Kashmir to the end of time, but it will not be able to administer for one day the areas of resistance in Kashmir, in any civilized sense of the term, “administer” far less to run a democracy there.
Dr. Imtiaz Khan, Professor at George Washington University Medical Center said that Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir is under siege. The unfulfillment of UN resolution is the root cause and until that happens cosmetic changes or hackneyed resolutions will not yield wholesome results. Let the leadership of this forum be aware that issue of Kashmir is serious than other countries like where the will of the majority is being denied under the garb of fallacious democracy. With continued struggle and support from international community in these countries the people will ultimately realize their dream and right of majority will ultimately prevail.
In occupied Kashmir, Dr. Khan added, the problem is radically different and of monstrous proportion. Unless India is stopped from implementing her nefarious designs Kashmir will cease to exist as a Muslim majority state. Since August 5, 2019, the incessant efforts are being made to alter the demographics of the region. Hundreds of thousands of right-wing Hindus are being given residency and provided land that has been snatched from the local Muslim population. All the high-level functionaries in the state are from India, to facilitate the implementation of evil designs. Local population is subjected to frequent and unannounced searches and during operation valuables are confiscated, women and youth targeted leading with murderous outcomes. Genuine leadership of Kashmiris, the Hurriyat conglomerate has been decapitated and majority of the leaders are languishing in jail or have been killed. One of the prominent leaders Yasin Malik has been incarcerated under frivolous charges and in all likelihood, he will be taken to gallows, unless world powers intervene. I would like to emphasize that the luxury for complacency is not there and unless serious endeavors are made the situation will emerge from where there will be no reversal.
Sardar Zarif Khan, Sardar Zubair Khan & Shoaib Irshad of Kashmir American Welfare Association (KAWA) attended the retreat as special guests.