Failure to keep track of history lessons on Kashmir

By Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani

The author is President of London based Jammu and Kashmir Council for Human Rights – NGO in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations.

My family like any other family in the Valley remains behind the locked doors from 05 August 2019. The twin impact of the brutality of Indian soldiers guarding them from outside and the extreme vagaries of the winter weather could hardly be imagined. It would be a situation of distress and helplessness. The entire population remains without any access to the outside world. Even the neighbour does not have any reliable information about his neighbour next door. It is an extraordinary situation and to annul it we need to be engaged in extraordinary crusade on all fronts.

After the arrest of my elderly father (late) Syed Sad Uddin Gilani, uncle Syed Jaffer Shah Gilani, and brother Syed Shabbir Ahmad Gilani, by Assam Rashtriya Rifles, on the alleged “suspicion of harbouring militants and having an arms dump in their orchards” in Jammu and Kashmir on 19 December 1995 and intervention by the United Nations on 05 January (Para 207 of UN Report E/CN.4/1997/7/Add.1 dated 20 December 1996), they were released on 04 January 1996. The world would listen. It breaks my heart to notice that we have not been able to twist Indian arm ever since 05 August and our people are consigned to a situation never seen in the history of Kashmir.

What are the reasons that India is finding itself with no holds barred? There are a number of reasons and Kashmiri leadership and the leadership of Pakistan, have their own respective shares of misdirection of judgement or ill placed hopes.

The main mistake has been losing the track of history. Pakistani and Kashmiri leadership should have written in bold letters, as a constant reminder, that RSS (Rashtriya Sewak Sangh) on 20 December 1931 took out a huge procession on the streets of Lahore, against the Muslims of Kashmir and in support of Hindu Maharaja. Hindu Maharaja’s police had killed 22 innocent Kashmiri Muslims on 13 July 1931. RSS arms bearing volunteers went to Kashmir as a supplement to the Maharaja’s forces. It was to counter the Muslim support galvanised by Kashmiris and other Muslims living in British India. The movement was influenced and lead among others by Allama Iqbal.

Kashmiri and Pakistani leaders failed to roller skate themselves, on parallel tracks with RSS and keep looking at the writing on the wall. It has been a serious negligence that Kashmiri Muslims while observing the Martyr’s Day of 13 July 1931 and 6 November 1947, failed to flag and inform the younger generation, that Hindu Mahasabha has also a Martyr’s Day since 30 August 1947. It has wicked and vicious credentials.

Militant Hindu organization, The Hindu Mahasabha organised Martyrs’ Day on 30 August 1947 in Delhi. The organization distributed a leaflet in the city. The leaflet was titled “Remember the 30th of August 1947” and it advised all its members:

“When you have to observe ‘Martyrs’ Day’, the day should begin with the mass murder of Muslims, children and women alike. Forcible occupation of Muslim buildings should be your objective. Set fire to Muslim mohallas’ (quarter of the town) “but beware that fire does not spread to Hindu and Sikh localities”. (Source 228th Meeting of UN Security Council – Speech by Sir Zafrullah Khan 17 January 1948). All these years since 1947 Hindu Mahasabha has worked hard to sneak into Kashmir Valley. Its members are embedded in the Indian security forces and administration. It is currently engaged in brutal violence against Kashmiri Muslims in the Valley.

Pakistan started well on Kashmir at the United Nations but somehow could not keep its hands on the handle. Pakistan had its fingers on the pulse of historical facts. It became very clear in Document II submitted by it to the United Nations Security Council on 15 January 1948 that Pakistan was overwhelming in argument.

Document II is a statement of disputes with India. The authors of the Document II circulated at the 228th meeting of UN Security Council, have looked into future and have very rightly stated, “The tragic events and the happenings in East Punjab and the Sikh and Hindu States in and around that Province had convinced the Muslim population of Kashmir and Jammu State that the accession of the State to the Indian Dominion would be tantamount to signing of their death warrant. When the massacres started the Muslim population of the State realised that the fate that had overtaken their co-religionists in Kapurthala, Faridkot, Nabha, Jind, Patiala, Bharatpur and Alwar, etc; was about to overtake them also”.

Indian hopes began to fall one after the other like a pack of cards. Pakistan scored a principal victory, when India allegation of aggression in Kashmir was dismissed. United States of America took the lead and made it clear at the 471st meeting of the UN Security Council held on 12 April 1950 that, “It has never been necessary for the Security Council to consider the question of blame, guilt, or anything of that kind. It has had enough to do in considering the facts, the perplexity of which was the natural outcome of a situation having many ramifications and a long and ancient history”.

Pakistan scored another victory on the question of withdrawal of its army and on the number of its soldiers. United Kingdom came out with a strong defence of equitable demilitarization. UK representative at the 606 meeting of the UN Security Council on 6 November 1952 in para 27 has found the Indian argument, as a condition not compatible with the idea of a ‘free plebiscite’. Sir Gladwyn Jebb said, “I have mentioned earlier that at no stage should demilitarization involve a threat to the cease-fire agreement. This would mean that the forces of each side of the cease-fire line should be, broadly speaking of the same kind. I should make it dear that the United Kingdom Government has never thought that the proposal to limit the forces on the Pakistan side of the cease-fire line to an armed civil force while leaving a military force on the other side of the cease-fire line was consistent with a really free plebiscite. I hope that representatives will join me in urging that the parties should resolve any differences they may still have on this point in the way which I have suggested.”

If we had kept the UN course and followed the UN jurisprudence on Kashmir, Plebiscite should have been through in October 1948. We had two appointments, UN Representative for India and Pakistan, to organize demilitarization and UN Plebiscite Administrator, to conduct a Plebiscite in place. At the 608 meeting of the UN Security Council on 8 December 1952 Indian representative Mrs. Pandit conceded that, “…after careful examination and assessment by its experts, the Government of India had come to the conclusion that a minimum force of 28,000 was required to carry out its responsibilities.” Indian representative added, “However, on complete disbandment and disarmament of the Azad Kashmir forces, and as a further contribution towards a settlement, the Government of India is prepared to effect a further reduction of 7,000 to a figure of 21,000 which is absolute and irreducible minimum…. It should further be emphasised that this force will have no supporting arms such as armour or artillery.”

Pakistan had India on her knees. Our interest in Kashmir sagged and our arguments flip flopped. Hindu Mahasabha and Rashtriya Sewak Sangh waited for 05 August 2019. It is time to re-organise our argument and flag the principality of Kashmiris to vacate the Indian occupation.

Restrictions further intensified in IOK

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Srinagar, January 19 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, Indian authorities further intensified restrictions in the already besieged Kashmir Valley and parts of Jammu region in the name of security during a visit by a group of Indian ministers to the territory.

People were forced to stay indoors and vehicular movement was largely restricted amid the ongoing military lockdown and internet blackout on the 168th consecutive day, today.

Commenting on the so-called visit by the Indian ministers, Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party Chairman, Harshdev Singh in a statement said that the macabre drama had been conceptualized as a political firecracker by the BJP to whip up hysteria in its favour in the elections.

Meanwhile, the so-called announcement by the authorities on the partial restoration of Internet service has proven to be hoax as Indian media itself confirmed that the Internet continues to remain totally blocked in Srinagar, Badgam, Ganderbal, Baramulla, Islamabad, Kulgam, Shopian and Pulwama districts in the Kashmir valley.

Hundreds of Kashmiri students gathered outside the University of Hyderabad, India, to protest against the state repression and continued lockdown in occupied Kashmir. Jammu and Kashmir Students Association members used poetry and revolutionary slogans to register their protest during the sit-in. Student Association President Hadif Nisar said the protest was about the injustices unleashed upon Kashmiris by the successive Indian governments.

APHC AJK leaders Muhammad Farooq Rehmani, Abdul Majeed Malik, and the Chairman of Kashmir Council Europe, Ali Raza Syed, in their separate statements denounced the statement of India’s Chief of Defense Staff General Bipin Rawat about detaining the Kashmiri children in so-called de-radicalisation camps. They asked the international human right organizations to take serious action of the Indian General’s assertions.

On the other hand, the official website of the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs has made a ridiculous claim concerning the population of Jammu and Kashmir, underreporting the population of the Kashmir valley by more than 10 times. As against 69,07,623 residents according to the Census 2011, the website states that the Kashmir Valley houses a total of only 5,35,811 residents. This foolish error comes at a time when Kashmir has already become an international issue of debate and discussion and the world is watching every development in the Valley very closely.

Indian troops martyr three youth in IOK

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Srinagar, January 12 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, Indian troops in their fresh act of state terrorism martyred three Kashmiri youth in Pulwama district, today.

The youth were killed by the troops during a cordon and search operation in Gulshanpora area of Tral in the district. Police claimed that the youth were killed during an encounter with the troops. The martyred youth were identified as Umer Fayaz Lone, Faizan Hamid and Adil Bashir Mir.

Meanwhile, people in occupied Kashmir continue to face miseries on the 161st day of military siege and lockdown, today. Amid shivering cold, the residents complain of acute shortage of daily commodities particularly in the Kashmir Valley and Muslim majority areas of Jammu region.

In an attempt to sideline the officers in Indian forces belonging to minority communities, Hindu extremist Modi government has arrested a Sikh Deputy Superintendent of Police, Devinder Singh, at Mir Bazaar in South Kahsmir’s Kulgam district. He was arrested on the fake charge of supporting mujahideen.

Posters and placards reading ‘Free Kashmir’ are frequently displaced during protests against controversial Citizen Amendment Act indicating that the freedom struggle in occupied Jammu and Kashmir has become an icon for the suppressed masses of India, especially the minorities, living under Modi-led fascist government. Despite registration of cases on treason charges against demonstrators, the ‘Free Kashmir’ protests had refused to die down in India. Such posters and placards have, so far, been seen during protests in New Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai.

The President of Jammu and Kashmir Council for Human Rights, Dr Nazir Gilani, in a statement issued in Islamabad reacting to new Indian Army Chief’s assertions on Azad Kashmir said that General Manoj Mukund Naravane had lack of understanding of the Kashmir dispute. He said that any move against Azad Kashmir by India could trigger a nuclear war in the region.

On the other hand, the US State Department has expressed concern over the continued detention of political leaders and imposition of restrictions on internet in occupied Jammu and Kashmir. The concern was expressed by Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Alice Wells, in a tweet message in Washington.

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.

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