AN UNFINISHED AGENDA OF PARTITION
In its joint communiqué reiterated support for struggle of the people of Kashmir and their right to self-determination as enshrined in the UN resolutions, the 13th OIC summit held in Istanbul last week emphasized the need for the resolution of the Kashmir dispute, which it considered indispensable for peace in South Asia, reminded the international community of its obligation to ensure implementation of UN resolutions and expressed concern of blatant violation of human rights committed by the Indian security forces. This forceful reiteration of the Kashmiri cause by the OIC is undoubtedly a sequel to a successful diplomatic offensive of the Pakistani government. The non-implementation of the UN resolutions on Kashmir, have not only brought untold miseries on the people of Kashmir but has also bedeviled relations between India and Pakistan, who have fought three wars with each other and there seems no end to the stalemate.
Kashmir is an unfinished agenda of the partition of the Indian sub-continent, awaiting its completion in conformity with 23 UN resolutions on the subject calling for determining the question of accession of Kashmir through a plebiscite under the auspices of the UN. The non-resolution of the Kashmir dispute unfortunately is attributable to the intransigence of the Indian government to honour its obligations under those resolutions as well as the apathy shown by the UN and the international community.
Frustrated by the non-fulfillment of India’s promises to grant them the right of self-determination, the people of Kashmir launched an armed freedom struggle in 1989. The Indian security forces let loose a reign of terror in the valley to subdue the freedom struggle.
The Indian security forces since 1989 have committed brazen violations of human rights in Kashmir. The Human Rights groups within India and international human rights organizations like Amnesty International (AI) have been regularly documenting the situation in JK from the perspective of human rights violation by the Indian armed forces. According to these reports the Indian security forces in Kashmir have killed nearly 94 thousand Kashmiris during the last 26 years, raped more than ten thousand women and killed more than seven thousand persons while in custody.
The latest report of AI, makes a hair raising review of how the Indian security forces have perpetrated a reign of terror on the people of Kashmir with impunity under the protection of Armed Forces Services Special Powers Act (AFSPA), particularly section 7 of the legislation which grants immunity to members of the security forces from prosecution for human rights violations. The report hurled scathing criticism at the Act for having created an ambience of impunity for Indian security forces in Occupied Kashmir and enabling them to commit human rights violations without any fear of being tried.
The report lamented the fact none of the soldiers has ever been prosecuted in a civilian court for the alleged crimes and even the details of the trials held by security forces themselves have not been divulged. The security forces invariably have rejected reports about human rights violations as false or baseless. Reportedly the relatives of the victims are threatened by the security forces that if they sought justice through courts. Resultantly the faith of the people in the judiciary and the government is almost non-existent. The report with a view to substantiate its findings gave the example of a 17 years old boy named Javaid Ahmad who was picked up by the personnel of Assam Regiment and a few hours later his family found his dead body. An inquiry conducted into the incident by the district magistrate concluded that the deceased by was not a militant and had been killed without any justification by a Subedar of the Indian Army. A letter written by the state home department to the Indian Defence Ministry in July 2007 in this regard was responded by the ministry six years later to say that the killed individual was a militant from whom arms and ammunitions were recovered.
The AI repot was compiled after interviews with the families of victims, police, court records, interaction with civil society groups, lawyers and government officials. It recommended the repeal of AFPSA and turning over the cases of human rights violation and disappearances to civil courts as well as inviting UN Special Rapporteur and the UN Working Group on Disappearance to JK with unimpeded access to the victims and witnesses.
Regrettably, these reports regarding human rights violations by the Indian security forces in JK (compiled by human rights groups and AI) have gone unheeded by the international community and the powers that be, because in the unfolding global scenario, they are looking the developments in our region through the prism of their own strategic and commercial interest rather than showing commitment and sincerity of purpose in regards to respect for human rights guaranteed by the UN charter. No doubt they vociferously advocate them from every convenient roof-top whenever its suits their interests. The latest report of AI would probably also meet the fate of the earlier similar efforts and India would continue to get away with it oppression under the prevailing circumstances.
Nevertheless, the people of Kashmir undeterred by the Indian atrocities are continuing their struggle for freedom and the current wave of anti-India demonstrations and hoisting of Pakistan flag in Sri Nagar by the protestors are a clear indication that the Indian machination have not been able to subdue their urge for independence and they would not relent until they were allowed to decided their own fate as per the UN resolutions. India is holding Kashmir against the will of its people and its stance on the issue has no moral or legal basis.
The non-resolution of the Kashmir dispute even after 68 years and the continuation of oppression by the Indian security forces in the occupied land with impunity, is an affront to the conscience of the world community, especially the UN and those powers who take pride in their commitment to causes of freedom and adherence to the human rights guaranteed by the UN Charter. They must realize that their selective support for human rights and freedom struggles will promote conflict and war instead of establishing peace in the world. There can be no peace without justice and justice demands that human rights violations be taken notice of and the people of Kashmir facilitated to exercise their right of self-determination.