Kashmir - Turning into a westeland
08 July, 2011
By Ali Sukhanver
Addressing a seminar at the UN in Geneva on June 9, 2011, the British parliamentarian George Galloway said, “Eighty thousand had died in the more than twenty year freedom struggle in Occupied State of Jammu & Kashmir (OSJK).
Uncountable numbers had been wounded and maimed, mass imprisonment and exile and even the use of rape as a tool of occupation had been the lot of the Kashmiris and yet the only demand of the occupied people of Kashmir is for the right to vote.”
The topic of this seminar was, “Defending the Democratic Processes.” George Galloway further said, “In the light of the promise made by the great Indian Prime Minister Mr. Nehru to abide by the UN resolution, a simple plebiscite is the only solution to this chronic problem”.
Angana Chatterji is Convener of the International People’s Tribunal in Indian-administered Kashmir (OSJK) and Professor of Anthropology, California Institute of Integral Studies.
In one of her articles published last year she said referring to the brutal rape and killing of two sisters Asiya Jan and Neelofar Jan at the hands of the Indian security forces in the OSJK, “The premise and structure of impunity connected to militarization, and corresponding human rights abuses, bear witness to the absence of accountability inherent to the dominion of Kashmir by the Indian state, and a refusal to take seriously the imperative of addressing these issues as the only way forward to a just peace.
The international community continues to engage India in trade, commerce, military, nuclear, and cultural relations, without insisting on answerability for the violations committed by its government and military and paramilitary forces.”
In short the only viable solution to the Kashmir issue is a simple plebiscite in the valley of OSJK. Publicly the Indian authorities are never ready to accept the reality that Kashmir is a controversial issue but inwardly they are very well aware of the fact that one day they will have to surrender before the local and international pressure and hold a plebiscite.
To avoid and counter this possibility the Indian authorities have started planning for the coming days.
The release of an executive order in April 2011by the State Government regarding the issuance of Dogra Certificates to residents of Jammu is an important proceeding in this context.
This executive order has given a new identity to those whose fore-fathers had been the residents of Jammu prior to 1944. Irrespective of ethnicity, culture and language such people will be called the Dogras.
This controversial executive order has invited much criticism from all the quarters in the OSJK. “This fudging is aimed at disturbing the ratio of Muslim population living in Jammu and Kashmir to tip the balance in favour of Hindu community”, says Kashmir Media Service, “The hidden motive behind this order is nothing but to abolish religious identity of Muslims in Jammu and divide the State on ethnic lines, thus undermining the freedom struggle by restricting Muslims identity to Kashmir Valley only.” Under the cover of this executive order the State Government has decided very cleverly to manipulate the figures by including Armed Forces and Para Military Forces personnel deployed in the region as part of population of IOK.
With the help of this executive order, India has undertaken political and administrative measures to control unrest in OSJK.
India is playing a bloody game with the people of Occupied State of Jammu & Kashmir (OSJK) particularly with the Kashmiri youth.
On one hand certain political groups are being sent to the valley to have dialogue with pro-movement leadership but on the other hand state machinery is busy in arresting, torturing and killing Kashmiri youth under Public Safety Act (PSA).
This Public Safety Act allows police to detain a person up to two years without charge or trial if he or she is considered a threat to the State.
Sadbhavana is another state-operated weapon which is being used to deceive Kashmiri youth.
Under the cover of Sadbhavana program young Kashmiri students are being engaged in study tours, sports activities, special classes and prize distribution ceremonies.
All these activities are an attempt to make the Kashmiri youngsters forget the Indian atrocities which have made the life of innocent people of the valley, a blazing hell.
At present the innocent Kashmiris are passing through the ever-worst phase of their life but the International community has done nothing so far for them.
Instead of helping out the distressed people of Kashmir, some of the western leaders are simply adding salt to their injuries with their callous statements.
A few weeks back the Chief of US forces in the Pacific, Adm. Robert Willard said talking to the media that turmoil in Pakistan and fragile governance in Islamabad hampers resolution of Kashmir dispute.
The scenic paradise of the OSJK has been blazing with flames of fright and terror for the last many decades.
Countless innocent Kashmiris have yet been injured and so many deprived of their lives.
Schools, markets, offices, mosques and even the small mud-houses are presenting picture of a wasteland. Continuous curfew, non-stop strikes and much more Indian intransigence to delay meaningful dialogue on Kashmir and presence of its Army in the state are the main causes of delay in resolution of Kashmir dispute.
The situation demands for a serious action including ban on draconian laws like AFSPA and PSA. The Kashmiris are a nation according to any definition.
They must be given same rights which other nations are enjoying.
The writer is a Pakistan based bilingual analyst on defence and strategic affairs.