Sheikh Abdul Moomin
The major blow came on August 5, 2019, when the ruling BJP attempted to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status by amending Article 370 under the Indian constitution. During the first few days of August, there were signs of something fishy going on in Kashmir. A significant Hindu pilgrimage was postponed, schools and universities were closed, visitors were asked to leave, telephone and internet services were suspended, and local political leaders were placed under house arrest. Tens of thousands of more Indian troops were also deployed in Kashmir. It was shocking for everyone to know that the administration effectively repealed Article 370 and 35A which has been the cornerstone of Kashmir’s complex relationship with India for nearly 70 years.
Jawaharlal Nehru, the Indian Prime Minister, guaranteed Articles 370 and 35A in January 1950, and as a result, IIOJK was given four seats in the Lok Sabha. Jammu and Kashmir was given a special status under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, which gave the region a significant amount of autonomy, including the power to have its own constitution, flag, and the right to make its own laws, with the exception of those pertaining to foreign affairs, communication, defense, and finance. Furthermore, Article 35A, which was also repealed, permitted the state government to specify what constitutes “permanent residents” and offer them particular rights.
The removal of Article 370 led to continued protests all over the Kashmir Valley. The Kashmiri people expressed their outrage, dissatisfaction, and anxiety over losing their unique position as well as their worries that their political, cultural, and economic rights would be limited. Muslims in Kashmir were particularly upset by the ruling because they feared losing their land rights and being affected by demographic changes. Despite the limitations, there were reported conflicts with the security forces and the protesters in various areas of the region.
In reality, civil rights do not exist in occupied Kashmir. As pro-India political, social, and media organizations see the silencing of Kashmiris’ voices as a sign of peace, the reality is that Kashmir has descended into the Dark Ages once more and may be compared to a prison where Indian oppression and terror reign. The United Nations’ neutral circles acknowledge that the independent media has been brutally suppressed in the occupied region of Kashmir and that media organizations that expose Indian atrocities to the global community have been forced to shut down. India has claimed that it has begun a new age of growth and construction in the occupied Kashmir, however, the reality is that, 5,000 Kashmiri men and women have lost their jobs, according to a survey done by the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
According to the report, thousands of Kashmiris are still imprisoned in occupied Kashmir today and are unable to defend themselves in accordance with the law and the rule of justice. Additionally, hundreds of young children who are not being heard are detained in Indian prisons. To keep the truth from coming to light, India has imposed restricted journalistic censorship, which in no way permits the news of the circumstances that millions of Kashmiris are facing.
In order to limit mobile and broadband internet access, the Indian government has regularly ordered internet shutdowns in Kashmir. The state has experienced 53 shutdowns so far in 2019, which is the third-highest total in the nation. The restrictions on internet and social media services in Jammu and Kashmir were criticized by Michel Forst and David Kaye, the UN special rapporteurs on human rights defenders and freedom of thought and expression, who claimed they had the “character of collective punishment” and had a “disproportionate impact on the fundamental rights of everyone in Kashmir.”
In its pursuit of the poisonous Hindutva ideology, the BJP did everything in its power to change the demography of this region. According to a document issued publicly by the Indian government, 4 million domiciles have been granted to individuals who want to live in IIOJK. Nearly 3000 comparable certificates were given to Nepalese Gurkhas and certain members of the Ignored Valmiki community. Unfortunately, the policy is also present in the illegal Israeli settlements after 1948, when Jews from all over the world were urged to settle in Palestine.
The rogue administration of Modi aims to change the demographics of the IIOJK in the manner of Israeli settler colonial project in Palestine. By dividing Ladakh from Jammu and Kashmir and, in turn, carving apart India’s union territory with a majority of Buddhists, work has already started to change the Muslim demography in the area. India has taken steps to transform IIOJK through the usurpation of a people and their territory against their will following the repeal of Kashmir’s special status and the adoption of new domicile laws.
The demographic composition must also be protected in order to protect the interests of the Kashmiri people. Even in the context of India’s constitution and the widely acknowledged notion of constitutional proprietary, the Indian government is morally and legally obligated to refrain from exercising its authority granted by a contentious Act.
Kashmiris have been battling for their fundamental rights for more than 70 years. The people of Kashmir have repeatedly been let down by the international community. The resolution of this long-standing dispute requires collective decision-making and granting the people of IIOJK their unalienable right to self-determination, as was intended by the United Nations. Action should be taken in this matter since the Kashmiri people have already suffered enormous alienation and there is a significant gap between their goals and India’s intentions to annex the region.
The writer hails from IIOJK and is currently doing his BS in English Literature from AJK University, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan
Disclaimer: 5th August – The Valley of Loud Screams - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Latheefarook.com point-of-view