Save the Kashmiris from extinction

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Every year Pakistanis and Kashmiris observe Kashmir Solidarity Day all across Pakistan, the Illegally Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) and the world over, where people express solidarity with the Kashmiris and their genuine demand for the right to self-determination under the UN Security Council resolutions.

The need to express solidarity became more acute after Prime Minister Modi’s government took the world by surprise by revoking the special status of the IIOJK under Articles 370 and 35-A of the Indian constitution on 5th August 2019. It was a blatant violation of the UN resolutions, mocking the international law as derived from the UN Charter.

While the Kashmiris have been struggling for their right to self-determination for over seven decades, they are now faced with the danger of extinction under the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) rule to which Modi has been an ardent Parcharak (proselytizer). It is now more than 900 days that the nine million Kashmiris face the worst kind of lockdown in the occupied state, where for nine Kashmiris, one Indian soldier is holding the innocent men, women, and children. Already, the Modi government has issued domicile certificates to 4 million Indians to become permanent residents of the occupied state to change the state’s demography and turn the genuine Kashmiris into the Red Indians as a fait accompli.

Gregory Stanton, the founding president of Genocide Watch, has warned about the dangers of genocide in India, mainly directed against the Indian Muslims. In an interview with the Indian journalist and anchorperson Karan Thapar, Stanton said, “the early warning signs of (genocide) are present in India.” Referring to Genocide Watch’s ‘10 stages of genocide’, he said several of them had been fulfilled in India.

The ones Gregory Stanton identified are classification (distinguishing between people as us and them and othering them), symbolization (identifying people by the clothes they wear or calling them abba jaan), discrimination (the Citizenship Amendment Act), dehumanization (calling them termites and telling them to go to Pakistan) and polarisation (accusing them of ‘love jihad’ and discriminatory laws against intermarriage). On top of all this, Stanton said there had been actual calls for genocide which, he added, is akin to genocide under the Genocide Convention, to which India is a signatory.

When you apply the above parameters to the hapless people of Jammu and Kashmir, the situation becomes more acute as out of “ten stages of genocide”, many are already in vogue in the Occupied Jammu and Kashmir with no recourse to the legal remedy or international pressure on India. After the revocation of Articles 370 and 35-A of the Constitution, Kashmiris have not only lost the statehood status, the Modi government has brought in “material changes” in the basic structure of the state in clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions, which specifically state that any administrative or political changes in the occupied state would not tantamount to an expression of free will by the Kashmiri people under a UN-supervised plebiscite.

In line with Gregory Stanton’s classification of genocide, Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir people are already facing the worst kind of atrocities, some of which even surpass the above criteria.

Article 2 of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the first UN human rights treaty, defines genocide as:

“Any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: (a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”

In addition to the commission of genocide, the convention also made a conspiracy, incitement, attempt, and complicity in genocide punishable under international law.

India is applying all those tactics enumerated in Article-2 of the Convention. How quickly the international community takes notice of the Indian atrocities would save the precious lives of innocent Kashmiri men, women and children.

The following acts of the Indian state terrorism deserve the attention of the international community:

  • There are thousands of half-widows where husbands have been unknown for many years.
  • There are hundreds of unmarked graves of the Kashmiris killed in fake encounters since the second wave of the freedom movement in the early nineties.
  • Over 13000 youth, some as young as thirteen years, have been detained outside the occupied state of Jammu and Kashmir. Their parents are compelled to ensure that detained children would not participate in any demonstration against the Indian state.
  • Rape has been used as a weapon of fear to intimidate the people into abandoning their struggle for freedom.

Not only that, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), in its 2018 and 2019 reports, had asked India to allow investigations about the human rights violations in the occupied Jammu and Kashmir. The follow-up report of the UNHRC is pending due to the non-cooperation of India as the report in question could only be submitted after the UN Human Rights Council’s delegation’s investigations were conducted in Jammu and Kashmir. India has refused to cooperate with the UNHRC.

While expressing solidarity with Jammu and Kashmir, there is a need to remind the world community that India cannot absolve its responsibility of granting the right to self-determination of the Kashmiri people. The path for achieving the goal of the right to self-determination may be arduous. Still, with perseverance, Pakistan and Kashmiri people may keep on reminding the world of Indian atrocities and its responsibility towards resolving the dispute as a member of the United Nations. Therefore, in the interim, the world community will have to counsel India to:

• Allow the UNHRC’s Review Commission to investigate the human rights violations in the occupied state and remedial measures taken to create a sense of safety amongst the Kashmiri population.

• Create conditions for the conduct of plebiscite under the UN Security Council’s resolutions.

• A result-oriented and uninterrupted dialogue between Pakistan and India would be needed to address the 75-year-old dispute peacefully.

• Mediation from friendly governments can also play a constructive role in resolving disputes.

The above demands may sound repetitive, but those are as valid today as the Indian occupation since 1947. Both India and Pakistan have fought three wars over Kashmir; South Asia has become nuclearized due to the Kashmir dispute, while the prevailing situation in the region hardly gives confidence for peace and stability. The only remedy to pull South Asia out of a future war under the nuclear overhang is to resolve Jammu and Kashmir’s core dispute.

(The writer is a former Ambassador of Pakistan in Iran and UAE. He is currently associated with the Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI) as Senior Fellow)

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Disclaimer: Save the Kashmiris from extinction - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Latheefarook.com point-of-view

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