The Latest from Indian Occupied Kashmir

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Military siege continues to affect daily life in IOK

Srinagar, December 08 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, unabated military siege and lockdown continue to affect the daily life in the Kashmir Valley and parts of Jammu region on 126th straight day, today.

A sense of fear prevails among the local population due to the imposition of restrictions under Section 144 in the territory. Shops and other business establishments are mostly closed and educational institutions and offices wear a deserted look as mark of people’s disobedience against Indian occupation, particularly anti-Kashmir steps taken by India on August 5.

The suspension of internet, text messaging and prepaid mobile services continues to haunt almost all segments of the society including students, businessmen, doctors and patients.

Senior Congress leader and former Indian Finance Minister P Chidambaram has said that the freedom was being denied to 75 lakh people in the Kashmir valley. P Chidambaram addressing a press conference in Channai after release from Delhi prison dubbed the Indian government “retrograde”.

A bipartisan resolution has been introduced in the US House of Representatives asking India to end the restrictions on communication and mass detentions in Jammu and Kashmir.

End curbs, allow int’l observers to access IOK, India asked

Washington, December 08 (KMS): A bipartisan resolution has been introduced in the US House of Representatives asking India to end the restrictions on communication and mass detentions in Jammu and Kashmir as swiftly as possible.

Resolution number 745 was introduced by Indian-American Democrat lawmaker Pramila Jayapal, along with Republican lawmaker Steve Watkins. It has been more than four months now since political leaders, including three former chief ministers, were detained in Jammu and Kashmir, following the revocation of Article 370 under the Constitution that gave a special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

The internet remains cut off for most people. The resolution in the US, which will be put to vote in the house, says: “…Urges the Government of India to lift the remaining restrictions on communication and to restore internet access across all of Jammu and Kashmir as swiftly as possible; swiftly release arbitrarily detained people in Jammu and Kashmir; refrain from conditioning the release of detained people on their willingness to sign bonds prohibiting any political activities and speeches; allow international human rights observers and journalists to access Jammu and Kashmir and operate freely throughout India, without threats, and condemn, at the highest levels, all religiously motivated violence, including that violence which targets against religious minorities.

The US lawmakers said they reject arbitrary detention, use of excessive force against civilians, and suppression of peaceful expression of dissent as proportional responses to security challenges.

“…Urges the Government of India to ensure that any actions taken in pursuit of legitimate security priorities respect the human rights of all people and adhere to international human rights law,” the resolution said.

The US House is Representatives is dominated by Democrats who have been extremely critical of India’s restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir. India has been lobbying hard to counter this, and has hired a lobbying firm close to the Democratic Party to get its message across.

There have been two US Congress hearings on Jammu and Kashmir so far.

In October, India said it is regrettable that a few US lawmakers used a Congressional hearing to question measures to protect the lives of people in Jammu and Kashmir. “It is regrettable that a few members of the US Congress used the Congressional hearing on human rights in South Asia to question the measures taken recently to safeguard life, peace and security in Kashmir,” Indian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Raveesh Kumar had said.

Syed Ali Gilani calls for shutdown, Black Day on World HR Day

Srinagar, December 07 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, the Chairman of All Parties Hurriyat Conference, Syed Ali Gilani, has appealed to the people to observe the World Human Rights Day, the 10th December, as Black Day to draw the attention of the international community towards the appalling human rights situation in the territory.

Syed Ali Gilani in a statement issued in Srinagar also asked the masses to mark the day with complete shutdown to remind the world that it has an obligation to stop Indian repression against the Kashmiri people and play an effective role in resolving the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions.

The APHC Chairman said when the world is observing Human Rights Day, Indian occupational forces have broken all records of committing barbarity and excesses on the Kashmiri people. He said that Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1948, was a milestone with regard to the rights and freedom for every human being, but despite this universal document, Kashmiri people’s political and human rights were being violated constantly.

Syed Ali Gilani said that the continued denial of right to self-determination to the people of Kashmir was the biggest human rights violation. He maintained that right to self-determination is a universally recognized right and the same was promised to people of Jammu and Kashmir by the United Nations but India was suppressing this right by resorting to the worst human rights violations in occupied Kashmir. “It is unfortunate that the world has remained largely unmindful about these violations and as a result India got encouraged to carry on its brutal repression against peaceful and unarmed Kashmiris,” he added.

The APHC Chairman said that the Kashmiri people were suffering for the past over seven decades due to the non-resolution of the Kashmir dispute. He said that New Delhi’s obduracy had remained a stumbling block in the peaceful settlement of this dispute and noted that New Delhi was denying not only the Kashmiris their fundamental right to self-determination but was continuously violating their civil and political rights at the dint of its military might. He said that human rights violations would continue to occur as long as Indian troops were present in occupied Kashmir. He urged the international community to break its silence on the current human rights situation in Kashmir and held India accountable for its crimes in the territory.

Syed Ali Gilani said that people in occupied Kashmir were striving for their just rights but India was using brutal methods to suppress their genuine aspirations. He said the people of Jammu and Kashmir have seen and continue to see the worst human rights violations as state repression goes from bad to worse post India’s illegal and unilateral action of stripping Kashmir of its special status on August 5, 2019. He said Jammu and Kashmir, already one of the most militarized zones on earth, has been under inhuman lockdown since then, with a communications blackout, mass arrests, and an intensified military presence.

The APHC Chairman said over 70 years have passed and Kashmiri people continue to suffer immensely at the hands of Indian forces, who are implementing the policy of subjugation of Kashmiris and control over their lives, rights, culture and dignity. He maintained that India will face humiliating defeat in Kashmir one day as history is witness to the fact that freedom struggles can’t be suppressed by dint of force forever. He added that the people’s will to fight for their freedom is stronger than the usurper’s evil machinations.

Syed Ali Gilani said today when Indian rulers are displaying bigotry and have increased repression manifold against the Kashmiri people to defeat their resistance, it is the duty of all Kashmiris to remain steadfast, uphold unity in their ranks and keep the flame of freedom lit. He said that a struggle that is nourished by the sacred blood of martyrs cannot be defeated and as long as a single Kashmiri is alive, this struggle for freedom and right to self-determination will remain alive.

Anger over India’s diplomat calling for ‘Israel model’ in Kashmir

Al-Jazeera With inputs from Bilal Kuchay in New Delhi

In video posted by filmmaker, India’s consul general to US seems to advocate Israel-like settlements of Kashmiri Hindus.

 

Kashmir is reeling under a crippling military lockdown and internet blackout for nearly four months [Danish Ismail/Reuters]
Kashmir is reeling under a crippling military lockdown and internet blackout for nearly four months [Danish Ismail/Reuters]

Kashmir dispute can lead to a nuclear catastrophe: Prof Ghani

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Amid lockdown, increasing chill adds to woes of IOK people

Srinagar, November 23 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, senior Hurriyat leader, Professor Abdul Ghani Butt, has said that India should accept the fact that Jammu and Kashmir is a recognized international dispute, which is testified by the relevant UN resolutions.

Professor Abdul Ghani Butt in a media interview in Srinagar said, if the Kashmir dispute is not resolved, the situation can lead to a nuclear catastrophe in South Asia and the world will not be able to cope with its dangerous consequences. He said that the human rights violations in occupied Kashmir by Indian troops were condemnable and military lockdown and the gagging of Internet were the worst of the rights abuses. He said that the people of the occupied territory were staying inside their homes and in this way they were expressing their anger in a graceful manner.

Professor Abdul Ghani Butt pointed out that the efforts of Pakistan, particularly those of its Prime Minister Imran Khan, had centre-staged the Kashmir dispute all across the globe and this issue had assumed the priority number one for the global powers.

Meanwhile, the residents of the Kashmir Valley continue to suffer immensely as India-imposed lockdown remained enforced on 111th consecutive day, today. The increasing chill after fresh rains and snowfall has added to the miseries of the people. Due to continued lockdown, people could not stock essential commodities for the harsh winter – a centuries-old practice as Srinagar-Jammu Highway, the only surface link of the territory remains closed for most of the season. The anger among the masses increased against India over its illegal actions and the recent statement of the Indian Home Minister, Amit Shah, in which he claimed return of the normalcy in the Kashmir Valley. The presence of barbed wires and police check-points in every chowk of the Hindu-dominated Jammu city proves that the situation is contrary to the claims of the Indian rulers even about Jammu region.

Even former BJP leader, Yashwant Sinha, who is part of a team of Indian activists visiting occupied Kashmir talking to reporters in Srinagar refuted Amit Shah’s claims about the normalcy in Kashmir. He said that Amit Shah gave a one-sided picture of the Kashmir situation, which was far from normal as people in the Kashmir Valley were angry and distressed about the present situation.

The occupation authorities had to face embarrassment as Indian police itself shared with the media a document highlighting the human rights abuses by Indian troops in the territory. The document contains screenshots of pro-Kashmir tweets or reports, pictures of torture by the forces and anti-India statements by Pakistan or leaders of other countries.

On the other hand, three Left members of Indian Parliament have sought permission from the authorities of occupied Kashmir to visit the territory. The members of Rajya Sabha, upper house of Indian Parliament, T.K. Rangarajan, Elamaram Kareem and Binoy Viswam have written a letter to occupied Kashmir’s principal secretary, home, Shaleen Kabra, stating that if the administration could allow Members of the European Parliament, surely Indian parliamentarians too could be allowed.

Yashwant Sinha refutes Amit Shah’s claims of normalcy in IOK

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Srinagar, November 23 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, former leader of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Yashwant Sinha, has refuted Indian Home Minister, Amit Shah’s claims about the return of normalcy in the territory.

Yashwant Sinha, the former Indian external affairs minister, is part of a team on a four-day visit to the Valley for an independent assessment of the prevailing situation in the aftermath of the repeal of Kashmir’s special status by the Indian government on August 5. The team also includes Wajahat Habibullah, Bharat Bhushan, Sushoba Bharve and Kapil Kak.

Talking to reporters in Srinagar, Sinha said, “Home Minister, Amit Shah gave a one-sided picture of the Kashmir situation, which is far from normal as people in the (Kashmir) Valley are angry and distressed about the present situation. The statements made by him in the Parliament are totally averse to the ground situation. The picture of normalcy presented is incorrect.”

He said that Kashmir had been reeling under severe uncertainty since August 5 and their team would gauge the actual ground situation and present the same to Indian government. He said that people had suffered huge losses and their lives had been affected. “People associated with the trade and industries, tourism and transport have suffered huge losses; whole chain has been disrupted,” he said.

He said that people were unable to pay back loans. “I have seen banks seizing the vehicles of transporters who were unable to pay bank loans due to lack of transportation and tourism. “Livelihood of several people has been affected and this aspect has not been counted in the normalcy. Whatever we have heard in the Parliament no one talked about this aspect. The economic loss which the people have suffered here would be our priority. We would talk to the people of Chamber and Commerce. Our effort will be to present right picture of Jammu and Kashmir to India,” he added.

Yashwant Sinha said that although they had not carried out assessment but saw shops closed on way to hotel from airport. “We have not carried any assessment yet. We just came from airport and found all shops shut on our way. It suggests that the chain has been disrupted,” he maintained.

Former chief information commissioner of India, Wajahat Habibullah, who is part of a group called ‘Concerned Citizens’ Group’ that arrived here on Wednesday, said the suspension of the democratic liberties of people is of highest concern for him. “If the democratic liberties of people are muzzled, that should be immediately restored,” he said.

Amid lockdown, rains, snowfall add to miseries of IOK people

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Srinagar, November 16 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, the increasing chill after fresh rains and snowfall has added to the miseries of the people of Kashmir Valley who have already been suffering immensely due to strict military siege since 5th of August.

Due to continued lockdown, people have more difficulties to face in the coming days as they have not been able to stock essential commodities for the harsh winter – a centuries-old practice as Srinagar-Jammu Highway, the only surface link of the territory remains closed for months. The situation in Kashmir Valley and Muslim majority areas of Jammu and Ladakh regions was far from the normal for 104th consecutive day, today. There is no let up in the restrictions imposed under Section 144 in the territory amid massive deployment of Indian troops. The ban on internet, text messaging and prepaid mobile connections remains in force. The residents of Valley continue to show their resentment against New Delhi by observing civil disobedience over its anti-Kashmir moves. As part of this movement, the shopkeepers keep their shops closed in most part of the day while students are not attending the educational institutions. The offices are also witnessing a very thin attendance.

The Srinagar-Jammu Highway remained closed for the 3rd day, today, due to snowfall and landslides at various places. An official of traffic police said that around 2,500 vehicles were stranded on the highway.

Human Rights Watch’s Asia Advocacy Director, John Sifton, expressing serious concern over the prevailing grim situation in occupied Kashmir has said that human rights are under threat in Kashmir and in India. John Sifton said this in a written submission to the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, which conducted a hearing on human rights in Kashmir on Thursday. He said, the Members of Congress should communicate to Indian government officials that their actions in Kashmir are adding to the human rights problems. He said, the Congress Members should insist that political leaders and others arbitrarily detained Kashmiris are released, restrictions on communications are lifted, and independent observers, including diplomats, foreign journalists and rights activists are allowed to travel freely to Kashmir

Speakers at a seminar in London expressed deep concern over the continued siege of eight million Kashmiris and worsening humanitarian crisis in occupied Kashmir. The seminar was organized by Pakistani High Commission and the speakers included Pakistan’s High Commissioner to UK, Mohammad Nafees Zakaria, Dr Syed Nazir Gilani, Ben Emmerson QC, Anthea McIntyre, Professor Nazir Ahmed Shawl, Ms Uzma Rasool and Mrs Sahmim Shawl.

On the other hand, the Indian Central Bureau of Investigation raided the Bengaluru and New Delhi offices of human rights group Amnesty International India. Reacting to the CBI’s action, the Amnesty International India said that the organization was being targeted for speaking out against human rights violations in the country.

IOK people continue to suffer as lockdown enters 97th day

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Srinagar, November 09 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, people of the Kashmir Valley and Muslim-majority areas of Jammu continue to suffer immensely due to military siege on 97th consecutive day, today.

The occupation authorities intensified restrictions and ordered closure of schools and colleges, today, ahead of the Indian Supreme Court’s verdict on the Ayodhya (Ram Mandir-Babri Masjid) case. The authorities deployed Indian troops and police personnel in strength in every nook and corner of the territory and ordered closure of schools and colleges to prevent demonstrations against the handing over of the Babri Masjid land to Hindus for construction of a temple. The residents are already suffering immensely due to suspension of internet and prepaid mobile services.

On the other hand, Voice of America in a report said that three months after Indian government revoked the special status of occupied Kashmir, cut off internet service and censored media coverage of the situation, isolated reports from the territory indicated that the situation remained tense with a continuing heavy military presence.

The Chairperson of Kashmir Centre for Social and Development Studies (KCSDS), Professor Hameeda Nayeem, told the VOA in Srinagar that shops open only for a few hours early in the morning because of the atmosphere of fear and intimidation, with people mainly staying indoors. “Drones are flying above our homes, the army is deployed at every corner, and they have already arrested thousands of young men to preempt them from potential agitation,” she said.

October 27 – The blackest day for Kashmiris

By M. Raza Malik

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October 27 is the darkest day in the history of Jammu and Kashmir and the Kashmiris living on both sides of the Line of Control and across the world observe it as Black Day. This year, the day is being observed in the backdrop of India’s illegal and unconstitutional move of scraping special status of occupied Kashmir and annexing it on August 05, 2019. India put the occupied territory under military siege and imposed curfew, restrictions and communication blackout which was continuing even after several weeks when this write-up was written.

It was on October 27 in 1947, when India had sent its troops to Jammu and Kashmir and illegally occupied it in total violation of the Indian Independence Act and Partition Plan and against the aspirations of the Kashmiri people. According to the Partition Plan, the Indian British Colony was to be divided into two sovereign states – Pakistan and India. The Hindu-majority areas were to constitute India while the Muslim-majority areas of Western provinces and east Bengal were to be included in Pakistan. At the end of British suzerainty over Indian sub-continent in 1947, more than 550 Princely States had become independent but with a choice to accede either to Pakistan or India. However, India illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir by military invasion. Being a Muslim-majority state, with 87% Muslim population, Jammu and Kashmir had a natural tendency to accede to Pakistan. However, the evil designs of the Hindu ruler of Kashmir and the leaders of Indian National Congress and Britain led to the creation of the Kashmir dispute, which continues to haunt the peace and stability of the entire South Asia even after the passage of more than seven decades.

India claims that it signed ‘Instrument of Accession’, which was drafted in Delhi and presented to the then ruler of Jammu and Kashmir, Maharaja Hari Singh, on October 26. However, a prominent British historian, Alistair Lamb, challenging the Indian invasion in Kashmir, in his book “The Birth of Tragedy” wrote that the successive events after the partition of the united India strongly suggested that Indian troops had invaded Kashmir prior to the signing of the Instrument of Accession. He argued that this has been the sole reason that the Indian government never made the so-called document public at any international forum. This was corroborated by noted Kashmiri researchers, Abdul Majid Zargar and Basharat Hussain Qazilbash. They have proved that the “Instrument of Accession” was fake and no such genuine document ever existed. Even Indian Archives Department has now declared that the document is lost and the announcement has put question marks on the very existence of the document.

Kashmir in the United Nations

The Indian occupation faced stiff resistance from the people of Kashmir who launched a mass struggle against it. The Kashmiris’ resilience forced India to knock the doors of the UN Security Council on 1st January 1948, seeking help of the World Body to settle the dispute. Successive resolutions passed by the UNSC and accepted by both India and Pakistan nullified the Indian invasion and called for settlement of the Kashmir dispute by referring to the Kashmiri people to ascertain their aspirations through an impartial plebiscite to be conducted in Jammu and Kashmir under the UN’s supervision. However, Indian rulers later backed away from their commitments and declared Jammu and Kashmir an integral part of India. Modi-led communal government moved a step further and illegally merged the territory into Indian union through the August 05 move.

Kashmiris’ revolt against Indian rule

The failure of all the efforts aimed at resolving the Kashmir dispute through peaceful means since 1947 caused severe resentment and anger among the Kashmiris and they intensified their freedom struggle in 1989 to secure their right to self-determination. This movement pushed the Indian authorities to the wall, forcing them to sit around the negotiation table with Pakistan. However, the fact remains that India had always been averse to the negotiations to settle the dispute and present Indian leaders – like their predecessors – have not responded positively to Pakistan Prime Minister, Imran Khan’s repeated offers for dialogue.

Mass uprisings

In 2008, the Kashmiris’ struggle to get rid of Indian bondage took a new turn. They started taking to the streets in large numbers and expressing their anti-India and pro-liberation sentiments in a peaceful manner. This mass uprising continued for three consecutive years. The extrajudicial murder of a young liberation leader, Burhan Muzaffar Wani, on July 08, 2016 by Indian troops triggered another mass uprising in occupied Kashmir. People in large numbers hit the streets in every nook and corner of the occupied territory on daily basis, demanding their right to self-determination. But most of the time during all these mass protests, Indian forces’ personnel used brute force on protesters, killing hundreds of Kashmiris and injuring thousands others.

Indian state terrorism

New Delhi has exhausted all its resources during the past seven decades to intimidate the people of occupied Kashmir into submission but failed in its nefarious designs. Indian troops in the unabated state terrorism since January 1989 till 30th September 2019 martyred 95,454 innocent Kashmiris. Since the killing of Burhan Wani alone, Indian troops have killed 1,037 Kashmiris, tortured 27,739, arrested 12,010 and molested 933. During this period, at least 10,298 people have suffered pellet injuries and 147 of them have lost their eyesight in both eyes while 215 in one eye. However, all these brutalities have failed to suppress the Kashmiris’ resolve for freedom.

India’s 5th August onslaught

Modi government has put the regional as well as global peace at stake by abrogating Article 370 of the Indian Constitution that granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir. The BJP government took the extreme step via a presidential order that superseded a 1954 proclamation, which had added Article 35-A to the constitution. The announcement regarding the repeal of the Article 370 was made by the Indian Home Minister, Amit Shah, in Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian Parliament. He also introduced a bill in the Parliament to bifurcate occupied Kashmir. The bill was passed later under which the territory will be divided into two Union Territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. After repealing the Article 370, India placed the occupied territory under strict lockdown. Millions of Kashmiris were confined to their homes while thousands were arrested. Continued curfew, restrictions and communication blackout led to humanitarian crisis in occupied Kashmir.

Pakistan’s support to Kashmir cause

History stands testimony to the fact that Pakistani leadership and people have always supported the Kashmiris’ just liberation struggle. Prime Minister, Imran Khan, since assuming his office in August 2018 has time and again warned that the Kashmir dispute and India’s recent actions in occupied Kashmir could lead a nuclear war if the world does not work for the settlement of the lingering dispute. Army Chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, has declared at several occasions that Pakistan army and nation will go to any extent in support of the people of occupied Kashmir and would fulfill its commitment towards Kashmir till last bullet, soldier and breath. The fact remains that despite facing the worst Indian military aggression for supporting the Kashmiris during the past several decades, Pakistan never gave up its support to the Kashmiris and continues to advocate resolution of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with their will.

Encouraging developments

The grave situation of occupied Kashmir following India’s August 05 move forced the UN Security Council to convene a special consultative session to discuss the matter. This was for the first time in fifty years that the World Body held an exclusive meeting on Kashmir. The holding of this session rejected India’s claim that Kashmir is its internal matter rather it testified the fact that Jammu and Kashmir is an internationally-recognised dispute concerning the right to self-determination of Kashmiris. World leaders and organisations including UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, US President Donald Trump, French President Amanuel Macron, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, European Union, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch expressed concerns over the grave human rights situation following India’s inhuman actions in the occupied territory. UN Chief Antonio Guterres and US President Donald Trump have offered mediation to settle the Kashmir dispute. Even Indian people like opposition leaders, Rahul Gandhi, P Chidambaram, Shashi Tharoor, Priyanka Gandhi, Sitaram Yechuri, D Raja, Sharad Yadav and Manoj Jha, journalists, Barkha Datt and Nirupama Subramanian, as well as Nobel laureate, Dr Amartya Sen, criticised the imposition of continued curfew, restrictions and communication blockade in occupied Kashmir.

Conclusion

These are the reasons of the observance of October 27 as Black Day by the Kashmiris all across the globe. The observance is aimed at reminding the world of its obligations towards resolving the Kashmir dispute for the peace and stability in South Asia and the world at large. At the same time, it is intended to send a loud and clear message to New Delhi that the Kashmiris reject its illegal occupation of their homeland and that they will continue their struggle till they achieve their inalienable right to self-determination promised to them by India and the international community. After India’s action to change the disputed status and demographic composition of occupied Kashmir, the observance of October 27 as Black Day has become more important for the Kashmiris to send a loud and clear message to India and the world community that they would never accept India’s subjugation and would not rest till they achieved their cherished goal of freedom from it.

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