India’s Human Rights Violations in Kashmir on Global Radar

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Indian forces beat residents of India Illegal Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. (Photo Source: Geo News)

Once, Abraham Lincoln said: “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

It is quite true in the case of the Indian fanatic Prime Minister Narendra Modi-the leader of the extremist ruling party BJP.  After the Indian Premier Modi came to power in 2014, he took various drastic steps such as abrogation of the special status of the disputed territory of the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, IIOJK, revocation of articles 35A and 370 of the Constitution—split of the IIOJK into two territories to be ruled directly by New Delhi, continued military lockdown there, deployment of more than 900,000 military troops who have martyred thousands of the innocent Kashmiris through brutal tactics, amendment of the law, allowing Indian citizens to buy land in the IIOJK and issuance of domicile certificates to more than 800000 non-Kashmiri—India’s move to register almost 2.5 million new non-local voters in the IIOJK show that under a well-planned hidden agenda, Modi-led regime has accelerated the implementation of bringing demographic changes in that region. 

However, the state of Jammu and Kashmir has become the world’s largest prison and the most militarized zone on earth. It is due to the gross human rights violations such as arrests, illegal detentions, targeted killings, sieges, torture, and killing of persons through fake encounters committed by the Indian army and paramilitary forces against Muslim Kashmiris that the US-led Western countries, as well as various international renowned entities, have started taking serious notice of the drastic situation of the IIOJK. In this regard, Pakistan and Kashmiris living abroad also raised Indian atrocities and continued struggle for the Kashmiris’ legitimate right of self-determination on various international forums, emphasizing that the Kashmir issue should be resolved in accordance with the related resolutions of the UNO.

In this respect, US House of Representatives Terry Meza participated in a recent event organized by Kashmir Global Council, KGC, and South Asia Democracy Watch in Frisco Texas—Ms. Terry Meeza was the chief guest and the symposium was attended by well-known social activist Ms. Beverly Hill, and various political leaders, academics, and US media, including young students.

Endorsing her voice for the freedom of Kashmir, Terry Meza said that she is against any form of oppression and stressed the peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute in keeping with the legitimate aspirations of the people of Kashmir.

She urged the international community, especially the United States, to reach out to the Indian state to end the deliberate politicizing of the justice system and its discriminatory functioning.

Meanwhile, the President of the KGC Farooq Siddiqi stated that the council would continue to bring the issue of Kashmir to the forefront in the corridors of world powers.

After a full day of discussion, discourse and deliberation during the symposium, a resolution was passed that stressed for upholding the human rights of the Kashmiri people and appealed to allow the UN Human Rights Commission to verify the report compiled by the UN Human Rights Council, UNHRC, in 2018-19.

Now, at the global level, there is growing noticeable awareness regarding India’s brutal acts and atrocities in IIOJK.

In this context, the 41st Session of the Universal Periodic Review, UPR, Working Group was held from 7-18 November at the UNHRC in Geneva. During the session, India’s national report for the fourth UPR cycle was reviewed on November 10, 2022. The report was prepared by UNHRC and various official and non-official entities, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, NGOs, joint groups and individuals working with the states. 

Speakers at the webinar, while expressing serious concerns over India’s noncompliance with the recommendations agreed during UPR’s 3rd cycle, have said that despite strong protests from human rights organizations, including the United Nations and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, OIC, the Indian government has failed to address the key human rights concerns expressed during third Universal Periodic Review.

They elaborated: “Given the scale of human rights challenges that Kashmiris face, it is extremely disappointing to see that India’s repressive regime led by Hindu supremacists has been brazenly flaunting the UPR recommendations and commitments regarding the improvement of the human rights situation in the Indian-held territory of Jammu and Kashmir…called upon the Indian government to reverse 5th August action, which was against the spirit of the Geneva conventions and UNSC resolutions on Kashmir”.

They demanded the government of India “repeal all draconian laws, release political prisoners, human rights defenders and give access to the UN special rapporteur and other mandate holders to Indian-occupied Kashmir to assess the situation on the ground. They also urged the Indian government “to allow UN fact-finding missions to Indian-occupied Kashmir to investigate ongoing and past human rights violations”.

It is notable that on March 8, 2022, twenty-one Members of the European Parliament, MEPs, have written to Prime Minister Modi and other top constitutional authorities in India—expressing their concern about the treatment of human rights defenders in India, saying activists have been “jailed for their peaceful work, targeted under anti-terror laws, labeled as terrorists, and [are] facing increasing restrictions”.

The MEPs highlighted the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, CAA, and the detention of Kashmiri activist Khurram Parvez—the systemic use of the anti-terror legislation Unlawful Activities ,Prevention, Act to quash dissent”.

Taking cognizance of the Kashmiris’ plight, UN human rights experts on August 4, 2020 called on India and the international community to take urgent action to address the “alarming human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir—“to investigate all cases of human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture and arbitrary detentions.”

Amnesty International stated in 2020 that it is “stopping its work in India because the government has frozen its bank accounts for highlighting rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir…the government  sought to punish it for that”.

In the recent past, the UN Security Council in its meetings has thrice reiterated that the Kashmir issue requires it to be settled according to the related Security Council resolutions.

And several British parliamentarians strongly agreed with Pakistan’s positions on the Modi government’s brutal treatment of the residents of the Indian-occupied territory and gross human rights violations.

The European Parliament has repeatedly indicated that the people of Indian-Occupied Jammu and Kashmir had been subject to intolerable suppression of their freedom and fundamental rights.

In a statement, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres who urged the resolution of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN resolutions warned that “any military confrontation between two nuclear powers-Pakistan and India would be a disaster for both countries and the whole world. He added: “his good offices are always available for mediation.”

As part of Islamabad’s diplomatic efforts, New York State Assembly passed a resolution on February 3, last year to observe February 5, 2021-Kashmir Solidarity Day as “Kashmir-American Day”. The day was observed to express wholehearted support of the Pakistani nation to the just struggle of Kashmiri people for their inalienable right to self-determination under the UN resolutions.

It is mentionable that Press Trust of India pointed out on November 30, this year that ahead of a proposed visit to India next year by the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Security and Defence, a group of Indian human rights campaigners briefed European Union’s decision-makers about the need for the international community to demand the repeal of the Unlawful Activities, Prevention, Act. The London Story think tank, the online briefing was attended by policy advisors in the European Parliament, including the Parliament’s Standing Rapporteur on India, advisors in the German Parliament, human rights experts in the European Commission, and human rights NGOs and researchers from around the world.

Undoubtedly, we can conclude that now, India’s human rights violations in Kashmir are on the global radar.

Kashmir Watch