Kashmir – termed as heaven on earth, has since 1947 been more like an open air prison. With the partition of India, the people of Kashmir decided to be a part of the newly created state of Pakistan, but due to the biased Radcliffe commission award, India was given leverage to occupy the state against the wishes of the people. The colonial British forces left the sub-continent but left a bone of contention for times to come. The Indian army occupied parts of Kashmir in 1948 and Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah[ra] sent forces to liberate the land, as a result half of Kashmir was liberated and the other half was unjustly occupied by the Indian forces. The issue was taken up in the U.N where it was decided that the fate of Kashmir would be decided by the Kashmiri people through a plebiscite. Since then however, Pakistan and India have fought 3 wars and Kashmir remains a nuclear flashpoint for this region.
In recent years India has increased its military presence in Kashmir and grave human rights violations have been reported on a constant basis which equate the atrocities being committed by India in Kashmir, with the atrocities being committed by the zionist state of Israel against the Palestinians.
Two human rights groups have accused the Indian government of an “institutional cover-up” to avoid punishing dozens of high-ranking military and police officials implicated killings, disappearances, torture and sexual violence in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.
A report by the International Peoples’ Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Kashmir and the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) has identified more than 900 individuals whom it blames for a range of human rights abuses carried out by Indian security forces between 1990 and 2014. They include 150 officers of the rank of major or above.
“The people alleged to be involved in these crimes cannot commit them individually. Others will have supported them or could have stopped them. We looked at officers at a higher level who knew about the human rights abuses. This was a systematic tactic and policy,” said Khurram Parvez, one of the report’s authors.
The report documents the extrajudicial killings of 1,080 people and enforced disappearances of 172 people in detail as well as further cases of torture and sexual violence. It identifies 972 individual perpetrators, including hundreds of paramilitaries and auxiliaries who worked alongside military forces.
Indian army and security forces operating in Kashmir have systematically violated international human rights and humanitarian law by summarily executing detainees and killing civilians in reprisal attacks. Extrajudicial executions and disappearances in Kashmir number at least in the hundreds. Government forces have also violated international human rights law by using lethal force against peaceful demonstrators. Security legislation authorizing the security forces to shoot to kill and protecting them from prosecution has encouraged such abuses. Most detainees taken into custody by the security forces in Kashmir are tortured. Torture is practiced not only to coerce detainees to reveal information but also to punish detainees who are believed to support or sympathize with the militants and to create a climate of political repression. Methods of torture include prolonged beatings, electric shock, burning with heated objects and crushing the muscles with a wooden roller. Detainees are generally held in temporary detention centers, controlled by the various security forces, without access to the courts, relatives or medical care. Rape often occurs during reprisal attacks on civilians. In such attacks, security forces engage in collective punishment against the civilian population by assaulting residents. Rape is also used as a means of targetting women whom the security forces accuse of being militant sympathizers. The security forces have also engaged in the wanton destruction of civilian property, primarily by burning down residential neighborhoods. The security forces have violated international humanitarian law protecting medical neutrality by obstructing the provision of care to the sick and wounded. Health professionals have been detained, assaulted and harassed while attempting to perform their duties. Security forces have also raided hospitals and have forced doctors at gunpoint to identify recent trauma patients, who, because of their injuries, are then accused of militant activity. Injured patients have been arrested from hospitals, in some cases after being disconnected from intravenous medications or other treatments.
In a pattern that is repeated every day in Kashmir, the security forces detain young men during “crackdowns” — cordon and search operations during which all the men of a neighborhood or village are called to assemble for an identification parade in front of hooded informers. According to journalists and human rights activists in Kashmir, the informers are often detainees themselves who have been threatened with death unless they identify a quota of militants.54 Those whom the informers point out are taken away for torture and interrogation. A number of the detainees are simply taken out and shot. Human rights groups in Kashmir have documented several hundred of these killings since July 1992. Asia Watch and PHR directly investigated 19 such killings during two research missions to Kashmir in 1992 and 1993.
The world has turned a blind eye towards Indian atrocities in Kashmir which has emboldened the occupying forces to resort to ever more brutal methods to suppress the Kashmiri resistance. In the last few days, Indian army eliminated a key resistance fighter, the 22 year old Burhan Wani.
His death gave a new life to the Kashmiri resistance, the ordinary folk of Kashmir came out on the streets to show their support for the resistance. The funeral of Burhan Wani was prayed by almost 0.2 million people, seeing such a large turn out, the Indian occupying army panicked which resulted in brutal and violent clashes across occupied Kashmir. In the last 3 days, a minimum of 21 people have been shot dead by the Indian occupying forces while over 500 people have been injured. The injured cannot be taken to hospitals because the occupying Indian army has reportedly detained a lot of injured from the hospitals denying them the basic human right of medical care.
This video shows the Indian occupying army assaulting an ambulance carrying the injured civilians. The image below shows Indian occupying army beating up an unarmed man brutally and dragging an elderly lady on the roads, a sight which is not too rare in Kashmir.
The Indian government has also reportedly shut down internet services and imposed a curfew to avoid the details from being shared with international media. It is now up to the humans of this world to become voice of the Kashmiri people. The United Nations, like always will remain un-interested in peace, we cannot expect the UN to intervene and allow the oppressed Kashmiri people to breath. It is up to us, those of us who are still human beings, to raise this issue and keep the hope alive for a free Kashmir!
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