IOK: A tale of torment and resistance

|By: Syed Ahad Hussain|

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The beginning of 2020 has arrived and yet 5 months later, the people of Kashmir are gloomed under deep agony while the world remains unaffected by their affliction.

The Kashmiri population has been sinking under a wave of systematic torture inflicted upon them since the very origin of this clash in 1947, and even before that during the Dogra dynasty. Torture has been used by India as a device of State policy to suppress and control the population, much like the colonial and imperialistic era.

According to a report by Jammu and Kashmir Civil Coalition Society, maltreatment has been the most under-reported Human Rights Violation carried out by the State for the past four decades. Torture techniques, some of which have been deemed unlawful by the International Humanitarian Law, have primarily been used by the Indian Forces against the guiltless population.

Illegal cluster bombs, pellet guns, rape, electrocution, and many other forms of ordeals, along with substantial amounts of unidentified graves and unjustified detention of innocent civilians haunt the blood-soaked valley, it is safe to say that India is conducting genocide in the valley.

While the Nuremberg trials led Raphael Lemkin to coin the term ‘genocide’ and the subsequent adoption of the term by the United Nations as a crime against humanity, the Indian government continues hounding directed towards the religious and ethnic minority. The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide clearly defines genocide as any number of acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group’, and yet India continues to sustain horror.

A total lockdown and communications blockade is imposed with Section 144 implemented that prohibits the gathering of four or more people in one place. According to Mehbooba Mufti, the former Chief Minister of the IOK, the Indian Government is lying about the lifting of curfew and the local journalists have been prohibited from reporting on-ground realities, rejecting which, they face incarceration.

An Indian All Women fact-finding team stated in a report that there was a curfew for men to remain indoors after 6pm, and if they do not abide by they would be detained with no one ever having a clue what happened to them or where they went.

The lights should remain switched off after 8pm, the ignorance of which would result in the detention of the male family members by the Indian Forces. In an incident narrated by the mission, a girl lit a lamp past 8pm to study for an exam, in a hope that her school would somehow open the next day. She along with her family heard the barking of dogs and soon enough the Indian Army broke in and seized their male family members for questioning, while the horrified females dared not say a word.

People in the Valley pass away without mourning or warning, and they have been fading like this for decades. Yet India upholds the description in the international arena that the people of Kashmir are ‘free’.

In many ways, the violence against the Kashmiri population impersonates the Rwandan genocide against the Tutsis and moderate Hutus in 1994, especially the narrative control by the Hutu extremists. The Radio Station RTML and newspapers circulated hate propaganda, competing to dominate the historical narrative.

The Tutsis had no access to counter the narrative as they were fleeing the Hutu-majority country of eighty-five per cent. This is comparable to how India is trying to monopolize the historical narrative by crushing any conduit that could allow Kashmiri’s to convey their side of the story. Internet and prepaid mobile facilities are blocked, no journalists or diplomatic mission is allowed in the territory, so much so, tourists and Hindu pilgrimages to Amaranth cave are also banned.

It is crucial to note that the Indian government continues torturing Kashmiri’s in order to inhibit the idea of separation from the State; in a similar way the Hutus used propaganda against Tutsis to ‘weed out the cockroaches.’

The BJP government has fallaciously presented Kashmiri people as an untrue division that carries out terrorism against the mainland Indian population. Parallel to this, Hutus repeatedly used the word ‘slavery’ to describe their past experiences under the Tutsi monarchy and recounted their exaggerated struggles during the era.

Through their radio broadcasts, the Hutus tried to shape the truth by instilling the idea that they had a right to hit back, just as the Indian Army toughen up up its numerical value and reinforce torture with an excuse that Kashmiri populace had been conducting armed resistance against them.

This on the divergent is untrue. In the 1980’s the Kashmiri freedom struggle grew from armed resistance to a political struggle for the most part. The armed struggle condensed to a large degree and yet, the xenophobia in BJP strained them to shape the truth by selling the false narrative that Kashmir inflicts terrorism, and forbids counter-narratives to attain the attention of the international community.

The escalation and new methods of torture that were wreaked upon the Kashmiri populace by the Indian Forces also cemented path towards the rise of illegal methods of torture. One such incident was that of Kunan Poshpora where according to Human Rights Watch, about 100 women were allegedly raped by the Indian Forces within a single day in 1991.

Systematic torture heaped on in 2010 and onwards when mass protests hit the roof all over Kashmir, demanding freedom. According to Jammu and Kashmir Civil Coalition Society, about four thousand three hundred and thirty people have been martyred in the Indian Occupied Kashmir between 2008 to June 2019 alone. Subsequently, India has been using monstrous force ‘to kill as many as you can’ to subdue protests in the region, according to a statement by India’s former Finance Minister and the member of BJP, Yashwant Singh.

The Indian Army has continuously violated numerous United Nations Resolutions along with the Charter of Human Rights as well as the UN Istanbul Protocol 2004 – which is an International protocol for the Documentation of Torture, by carrying out military tactics against Kashmiri people that were ‘enemy and population-centric’.

India unashamedly violates the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which is an International Treaty that prohibits the use, transfer, and hoarding of cluster bombs. The current uneven presence of about nine hundred thousand Indian troops in the region shows the objective to control the population. This is further echoes in the Indian Army’s Doctrine of Sub-Conventional Operations 2006 which states: ‘The endeavor should be to bring about a realization that fighting a government is a ‘no win’ situation and that their anti-government stance will only delay the process of restoration of peace and normalcy.’

The International community continues to turn a blind eye towards the relentlessness of this mayhem. The only option for Pakistan to throb realities into world consciousness is to put forth the issue diplomatically to her full capacity. We need to convey that any more reposting or unawareness of this issue could lead India into the implementation of a full-blown massacre and genocide that would replicate the likes of the Rwandan genocide, Bosnian crisis or the Rohingya persecution.

This Indian systematic torture is not far from turning into a chapter from gory history where State-backed forces maltreat a minority section of the society. It’s not very long that the Modi-led government could en-route to conducting a carnage that resembles Jalianwala Bagh incident, only that this time, the entire region of Kashmir would be the Bagh, and the Indian Forces would be the one’s blocking every exit for the innocent population to escape from.

Yet, despite the austere dissimilarity of Indian brutalities in the occupied territory with major genocides in the world, we enter the New Year with the blood still dripping from Indian Occupied Kashmir.

Only time will tell when will the Kashmiris able to breathe freely and thus ending this seven-decade long struggle. Hope should never be lost.

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