G-20 meeting in Srinagar: Indian campaign to mislead world & divert attention from its repression in IIOJK

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In spite of various United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions, prescribing a fair and impartial plebiscite under the UN auspices to decide the final disposition of the Kashmir dispute, India has not only remained intransigent in its illegal occupation of Jammu and Kashmir with intensified atrocities on the beleaguered Kashmiris along with changing the demographics of the occupied territory but has now started a campaign to mislead the world opinion about Kashmir that it is part of India and the situation is normal.

To legitimize its occupation on Jammu and Kashmir, and to mislead the world about grim situation of IIOJK, India has scheduled to hold G-20 meetings in Srinagar.

On 5 August 2019, a Presidential order was issued – the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 2019 – which superseded the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1954. The August 2019 Presidential order stated that all the provisions of the Indian Constitution applied to Jammu and Kashmir. This in effect meant that the separate Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir stood abrogated, and a single constitution now applied to all the Indian states. The President issued the order with the “concurrence of the Government of State of Jammu and Kashmir”. This in effect meant the concurrence of the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir since President’s rule was imposed at that time in the state. Since the state legislative assembly has been suspended, the order says that any reference to the legislative assembly will be construed as a reference to the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir. The Governor acted as appointee of the Central government. Therefore, the Indian Parliament started to function for the state legislative assembly.

Prior to the revocation of the special status, the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs granted approval for the mobilization of thousands of additional army and paramilitary troops into Jammu and Kashmir, citing reason to maintain law and order in the area. On 2 August, Indian Army said that the Pakistan Army and militants are “planning to upscale violence” and tried to “target” the Yatra. On 4 August, satellite phones were distributed in central, north and south Kashmir among the armed forces. The Government thereafter ordered a total communication blackout, shutting down cable TV, landlines, cellphones and the Internet.

Prior to the 5 August revocation announcement, curfew was imposed. Complete internet blockade was placed in order. Press and electronic media were completely banned to publish or broadcast anything regarding these state affairs. All rights and liberties were snatched. According to Reuters of 8 August 2019, “Kashmir communications blackout angers some in the Indian media”. On 20 August 2019, it reported that no information coming from the Kashmir Valley and could not even ascertain if their correspondents were safe or not. Thousands of Kashmiris were arrested including Kashmiri leaders most of whom are languishing in different Indian jails till now. Mirwaiz Umar Farooq is in continuous detention/house arrest since 4th August 2019. Schools and educational institutions were closed and fresh deployed Indian army was housed in these schools and educational institutions. Ambulances were stopped from taking injured to hospitals. Medicine and even life-saving drugs went missing from hospitals.

Realising the grim situation of Kashmir, a delegation of opposition leaders of India had attempted to visit Jammu and Kashmir on 24 August to take stock of the situation. The delegation was a 12-member team composed of Rahul Gandhi, Ghulam Nabi Azad, K. C. Venugopal, Anand Sharma, D. Raja, Sitaram Yechury, Dinesh Trivedi, Tiruchi Siva, Manoj Jha, Sharad Yadav, Majeed Memon, and D. Kupendra Reddy. However, the team was not allowed to visit Kashmir to assess the situation and accordingly sent back to New Deli upon reaching Srinagar.

Kashmir has been a flashpoint between India and Pakistan since they gained independence from British rule in 1947. Kashmiris live in constant fear under the shadow of Indian occupation. Fake encounters, torture, custodial killings by Indian army and paramilitary forces, invisibility of free press and expression are daily routine. Free assembly is a dream now in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

Government of India is now implementing phase II of its Kashmir agenda after abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35-A. In order to mislead the world about the status of IIOJK, amongst other moves, India is organizing G-20 meet in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir with the intention:

to display to the world that normalcy has returned in Kashmir,
to counter international reports of human rights violations in the Kashmir,
to cover and provide legitimacy to illegal occupation of Jammu and Kashmir,
to defeat UN position on Jammu and Kashmir as disputed territory,
to build an impression that Jammu and Kashmir is integral part of India,

Foreign Office of Pakistan had issued statement on April 11, 2023, asserting: “Pakistan expresses its strong indignation over India’s decision to hold the G-20 Tourism Working Group meeting in Srinagar on 22-24 May 2023. Scheduling of two other meetings of a consultative forum on youth affairs (Y-20) in Leh and Srinagar is equally disconcerting. India’s irresponsible move is the latest in a series of self-serving measures… Pakistan vehemently condemns these moves.”

No international conferences can be organized in any disputed territory as per International laws and norms. By hosting the G-20 summit in the disputed territory, India is violating international laws and UN resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir as well.

People of IIOJK are determined to continue their struggle for achievement of right to Self-Determination despite Indian repression and misleading campaign. One day the peace loving people of our world would realize that humanity in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir could have been saved, if they would have raised voice for voiceless Kashmiris.

On such a situation Nobel Peace Laureate Martin Luther King said, “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people”.

Save humanity and humanity first.

The writer is legal expert and senior leader of APHC-AJK chapter and can be reached at faiz.naqshbandi@gmail.com).

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