Land under siege
It is time for India to solve the Kashmir issue once and for all KASHMIR
KHAWAJA ASLAM SOPORIE
All human beings are born free. They are entitled to basic human rights irrespective of their religious affiliations and cultural background. So while we are entitled to human rights, we should also know how to respect them. Kashmiri nation wants to be free and independent, but unfortunately Kashmiris are denied and deprived of their basic rights by the Indian state. The situation of human tragedies in the Valley is too sad to be narrated. These tragedies often hit Kashmir in one form or the other. Ethnically, Kashmiris are neither Pakistani nor Indian. The Valley of Kashmir was homogenously Muslim, with people speaking Kashmiri language and having a strong sense of Kashmiri cultural identity. It had no affiliation with India. The Partition took place on the basis religion, not ethnicity. The rules of separation by the British were simple: Muslim majority areas will cede to form Pakistan and Hindu majority areas will form India.
Kashmirs certainly want what has been denied to them. The oppressed people are harassed time and again by the powers that be. Just like Palestine, Kashmir is another unresolved postcolonial mess and Kashmiris are suffering just like Palestinians. India, Israel and West have time again delayed implementing the UN Resolutions to hold plebiscite in Kashmir. The government of India is using disproportionate force against the Kashmiris in a bid to break the freedom movement. A particular source of tension is the massive presence of Army in the Valley. There are about seven lakh soldiers stationed in Jammu and Kashmir, signifying that one soldier “controls” every 15 civilians. The army is ubiquitous. Every day, ordinary Kashmiris are subjected to humiliation. Estimates suggest that approximately 84,000 civilians have lost their lives due to massive human rights violations by the so-called security forces in Jammu and Kashmir; 9000 people are missing; 2900 lie in unmarked and unidentified graves.
India is doing everything to prevent people from achieving their goal of freedom and right to self determination. The excessive use of force is India’s clear message to Kashmir and Kashmiris: we have the power to wipe you out.
Two Kashmiri women, Asiya and Neelofar, were raped and murdered in Shopian; four police officers who had earlier been arrested in connection with the case (but later released on bail), have been given a clean chit by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The report is highly condemnable and unjust. Now it is time that some international agency probes the manner. Kashmir is under siege! The CBI report is a proof of this reality. There is no reason for India to station troops in Jammu and Kashmir than control population. India has to be held accountable for these crimes.
The people of Kashmir had been promised a plebiscite by the UN Assembly 63 years ago. According to UN resolutions (principle stand for Kashmir case) India’s only political and moral responsibility today is to allow people of Jammu and Kashmir to decide their fate. Modern India was formed by a democratic movement against colonialism. Democracy and freedom means accepting the wishes of the majority. It is absurd for India to lay claim of being democratic while denying Kashmiris the basic right to self determination. What gives the country the right to deny Kashmir their right to freedom? It is time to live up to that promise and ensure that Kashmiris are allowed to decide their future.
There can be no peace without truth and justice. It is high time to revoke the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act. Let India shun its stubborn attitude and solve the Kashmir issue now.
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Lastupdate on : Wed, 30 Dec 2009 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 30 Dec 2009 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 31 Dec 2009 00:00:00 IST
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