The Modi government’s action of forcibly abrogating Article 370 betrays the spirit of Indian democracy and it’s high time that without losing a second, India should end “garrison governance” in Kashmir and free all political prisoners, restore communications and other rights of people in Jammu and Kashmir. After 45 days of Kashmir lockdown; United Nations, European Union, UK have started doing lip service of expressing serious concern about the restrictions on the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
The veteran leaders of Jammu and Kashmir, who have been supporting integration of Kashmir into India, have been detained under Public Safety Act, which is used for terrorists, separatists.
Hundreds of politicians of National Conference party and Peoples democratic party (with whom BJP stitched alliance to rule Jammu and Kashmir and later suddenly pulled the support ) are under house arrest and prominent leaders who have mass following have been detained under PSA.
Entire communication blackout: isolating group of people from the rest of the world
There are numerous reports of thousands of young men being arrested so there is no backlash after the Modi government abrogated Article370. The unprecedented lockdown for over 45 days in Kashmir in 21st century is a crucial issue and needs worldwide attention not only because of the change of status of Jammu and Kashmir but the manner in which the decision has been forcefully imposed on the people of the Jammu and Kashmir by the Narendra Modi government.
One cannot imagine how a person feel handicap without phone or internet access.
Ahead of UN speech on September 27, Modi mince good words for Kashmiris to impress the world community, UN, UNHRC
Ahead of UN speech, now Prime Minister Narendra Modi suddenly woke up and September 19 said “we have to create a new paradise” and “hug each Kashmiri” as the region entered its 45th day of partial shutdown.
PM Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, Ajit Doval and BJP leaders have been speaking in one voice supporting the Kashmir lockdown and giving a reason what the world powers are unable to read that the 50000 to 60,000 defence personnel has been deployed to avoid backlash .Clearly the Kashmiris are unable to show their resentment.
When the EU, UK started asking when will the lockdown end, the security threat was the reason given by the Modi government .
One must ponder, what terminology should be used if a democratically elected government started implementing policies in a dictatorial manner.
New Delhi denies “genocide “
What will the United Nations call ‘the deliberate isolating of a large group of people (million) , especially those of a particular erstwhile state or ethnic group’ in the 21st century. It has been proven medically that if a person is forcibly isolated, then the person will die after a period of depression. Making people mentally ill by forcing some decision amounts to What?
Iltija Mufti, daughter of former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti,who is also in detention, said at an event, “Kashmiris feel a deep sense of shock and betrayal. I don’t know how you are going to undo the damage and the pain you have inflicted on the Kashmiri people, no one has shown very little empathy for the plight of the Kashmiris.”
History of Kashmir conflict
The Kashmir conflict is a territorial conflict primarily between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir region. Jammu and Kashmir, the largest of the princely states, had a predominantly Muslim population ruled by the Hindu Maharaja Hari Singh. He decided to stay independent because he expected that the State’s Muslims would be unhappy with accession to India, and the Hindus and Sikhs would become vulnerable if he joined Pakistan. the Maharaja signed an instrument of accession on 26 October 1947, which was accepted by the Governor General the next day. While the Government of India accepted the accession, it added the proviso that it would be submitted to a “reference to the people” after the state is cleared of the invaders, since “only the people, not the Maharaja, could decide where Kashmiris wanted to live.”
India sought resolution of the issue at the UN Security Council, despite Sheikh Abdullah’s opposition to it.The UN Security Council passed Resolution 47 on 21 April 1948. The measure called for an immediate cease-fire and called on the Government of Pakistan ‘to secure the withdrawal from the state of Jammu and Kashmir of tribesmen and Pakistani nationals not normally resident therein who have entered the state for the purpose of fighting.’ It also asked Government of India to reduce its forces to minimum strength, after which the circumstances for holding a plebiscite should be put into effect ‘on the question of Accession of the state to India or Pakistan.’
232 habeas corpus petitions have been filed in the Jammu and Kashmir high court since the nullification of Article 370,pertaining to Public Safety Act (PSA)detentions . Union former CM Farooq Abdullah and IAS officer-turned-politician Shah Faesal. territories, senior advocates, businessman are among them.
Amit Shah and Modi is buying time with the statements that the restrictions will be eased without mentioning any date. The Kashmir Valley is basically was a tourist hub before Modi government decision and approximately 70% of the livelihood depends upon the tourists or the daily wages.Consequent to the decision, people have little or no money to survive.
A communications blackout was imposed after the Indian government de-operationalised the article370 and degraded the status of Jammu and Kashmir from State to Union territories and snatched the little autonomy the Kashmiri people enjoyed.
The region’s most prominent politicians were detained without any reason and millions of residents being deprived of from the basic fundamental right to move freely, talk and oppose if there is brutality.
On first Friday the security establishment allowed Muslims to offer their prayers but after their namaz they took out a large protest against the abrogation of Article 370 and police used tear gas and pellet guns to thwart the protests.
The the second Friday was Eid and since then Muslims are not allowed to offer prayers at the main Masjid but locality mosques so that the huge number of people are unable to gather and hold protest.This is a systematic brutality on the people of certain religion to push them to do their religious rituals in a confined manner.
There have been numerous reports of people admitted to hospitals with pellet injuries after violent clashes on Saturday night, almost two weeks on from the Indian government’s abrupt decision to revoke Kashmir’s special status. Indian troops also used teargas, chilli grenades and pellets to disperse protesters. A 65-year-old man died after being admitted to the hospital with breathing difficulties, according to reports.
Another aspect that needs to be looked into is the inhuman approach of the Modi government by making Kashmir starve of communication and food.As Jammu and Kashmir was basically a tourism state and by asking tourists to leave the region,the business class was left with little money and the shikara owners are facing difficulty to survive and to crush people’s movement is to make them pauper and starve.
Sporadic protests have continued in Kashmir despite a security lockdown. Forces have responded with teargas and pellet guns and reports emerged that security men forcibly entered the homes and took kids and teenagers .
The government is using False propaganda as its weapon about normalcy in Kashmir and enthusiasm among kashmiris and misleading narrative is being used that development is the major factor and that’s why the autonomy of the Kashmiris has been snatched.If people are rejoicing what is massive security personnel doing.Allow media including foreign media and international observers to see for themselves.
If the government is right , then there is no need to propagate or to promote.
What is the purpose of world powers or institutions when million people are forced to remain in their houses and no foreign observers are there to check human rights violations nor they can communicate with the rest of the world.
To prove above points: A lot of petitions in Supreme Court about illegal detention of mainstream political leaders, kids, teenagers,
While hearing writ petitions by Enakshi Ganguly and Shanta Sinha seeking release of children being detained illegally in Kashmir ever since special provisions of Article 370 were struck down , Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said he would visit Jammu and Kashmir, if needed, to check on allegations by a child rights activist that it was difficult accessing the High Court. Under Article 32 of the Constitution, which provides the right to constitutional remedies. Ganguly is an eminent child rights expert and Sinha was the first chairperson of the National Commission for Child Rights (NCPCR).
But one thing should be made clear by the current dispensation (Modi govt) : the entire India needs development in terms of assurance with confirmation that minorities including Dalits and Muslims won’t be attacked in the name of cow slaughter and the common man who suggests or advise the government will not be termed as anti-national.
India should avoid following the path of Benjamin Netanyahu who strongly favours Zionist country. Kashmiris are Indians , government should ask other political parties on how to built trust between them and government.
By Arti Bali
Sr Journalist (International Affairs)