Bringing the Israeli model to Kashmir

Anuradha Bhasin
Executive Editor Kashmir Times

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Indian paramilitary soldiers stand guard on a road in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir on May 6, 2020 [AP/ Dar Yasin]For more than 70 years, Kashmiris have lived with the dread of the Indian government changing the demography and special status of Indian-administered Kashmir, which was till recently Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) state. Deemed preposterous and exaggerated at one time, these anxieties have now become completely justified and have even deepened.

On August 5, 2019, Article 370 of the Indian constitution, which gave the state its special status and excluded it from the application of various constitutional provisions, was abrogated, while Article 35A, which limited certain residency rights to the local population and granted them certain protections, was altogether scrapped.

These two articles had guaranteed that the right to buy and own land or apply for government jobs was the sole prerogative of those who had inherited permanent residency by descent. They also meant a bar on business investments by outsiders or attempts by big monopolistic companies to take control of J&K’s lands and economy. This protected Kashmiris’ rights and afforded them a certain level of political and economic autonomy.

In October 2019, J&K was dissolved as a state, which meant it no longer had a state assembly empowered to pass legislation, and was divided into two union territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh – allowing New Delhi to bring them under its direct control. Until then, J&K was the only Muslim-majority state in India.

With the abrogation of Article 370 and the removal of its status as a state, the region was fully integrated and its population stripped of the special privileges and entitlements it had been enjoying in view of the peculiar nature of the state’s history and its accession to India.

The actual disempowerment, which will soon begin to be felt on the ground, is more than the loss of the special local identity. Brought by stealth and deceit, without fulfilling the constitutional requirement of participation of the state legislature, the abrogation of Article 370 and demotion of the erstwhile state has become fait accompli, as the hearings on a bunch of petitions challenging the move in the Supreme Court of India have been postponed multiple times.

If Article 370 was aimed to lay down the foundation of the Indian government’s agenda in J&K, the actions that have followed are the building blocks to serve that design calculatedly.

Thus, in a late-night move on March 31, when the Indian government officially announced a new domicile rule for Jammu and Kashmir, more clarity was shed on what the future entails. The devil was in the detail.

According to the notification called “Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Adaptation of State Laws) Order, 2020”, anyone who has resided in J&K for 15 years or has studied in the territory for seven years, and appeared in either Class 10 or Class 12 examination, will get residency rights. They will then be eligible for various government jobs.

The notification’s timing, one week after India announced a countrywide lockdown to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, was odd. While a lockdown in the rest of the country became a safety measure in the fight against a virus, in Kashmir it assumed a different meaning. It was a lockdown within a lockdown that had been partially in place since August 5, 2019.

A stringent clampdown on J&K under military boots including an absolute communication blockade allowed the Indian government to surreptitiously scrap its special status and split it into more pliable units last year. The longest-ever lockdown in Kashmir served the purpose of scuttling any public outrage and also ensured that information slipped into a black hole, making an entire population invisible and their grievances inaudible.

The 2019 lockdown was unconstitutional, undemocratic and morally erroneous. But this has now become the foundational principle of India’s strategy in Kashmir with no punctuations of pretence. If the first lockdown was successful in preventing public outcry over the loss of special status and protections, the other provided a stepping stone for laying the blueprint of what the Indian government intends to do as part of its larger agenda.

The new domicile rule, and its timing, stirred up anxieties, particularly among the J&K youth, irrespective of their ethnic and communal identities or their political ideologies, as it meant they would be losing government jobs, they earlier had a monopoly over, to outsiders. The government is one of the biggest employers of fresh graduates in the region and in the spring a number of recruitment processes were stalled, prompting suspicions that this was done intentionally to allow outsiders who qualified for domicile under the new rule to apply as well.

On February 27, the authorities scrapped the recruitment process of J&K Bank for more than 1,450 posts, which had been going on since 2018, jeopardising the career prospects of thousands of aspirants who had been waiting after clearing their preliminary exams. On June 2, the bank advertised for 1,850 posts inviting applications for domiciles.

In the midst of the pandemic, as hospitals battled with a shortage of infrastructure and staff, the government showed the door to hundreds of healthcare employees on temporary contracts in Srinagar and Kathua district in Hindu-majority Jammu region. This, despite shortages of medical staff and the established practice of offering temporary workers permanent contracts.

The recruitment, appointment and promotion processes for various civil service positions in the administration, education and healthcare sectors have also been put on hold after the J&K Public Service Commission, which is responsible for civil service recruitment, was made defunct and the constitution of a new commission under the new status of the region as a union territory was delayed. A new chairman was finally appointed in May.

The threat of losing jobs to outsiders is coupled with the anxieties of the existing government employees with respect to service-related litigations related to pay, promotions, etc, of which there are currently more than 30,000 cases.

On April 29 this year, on grounds that J&K had lost its statehood, the Administrative Tribunal Act, 1985 was made applicable to J&K and Ladakh. In June, the creation of Jammu Bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal was announced which will cover the union territories of J&K and Ladakh. But a single bench at the south end of the region will be insufficient, given the large size of the population and the difficult mountainous topography which renders the journey to Jammu too long.

These changes come as over the last couple of decades, locals in the administrative bureaucracy have been sidelined or sent out on deputations. This process has further picked up steam recently. After the abrogation of Article 370, the majority of top bureaucratic positions in the administration of Jammu and Kashmir are held by outsiders.

The immediate beneficiaries of the new domicile rule could go beyond the thousands of Hindu and Sikh refugees, who have fled Pakistan since partition and have settled in the suburbs of Jammu city. The rules for getting a domicile certificate are now pretty relaxed, so there is no way to assess the exact number of people who are likely to benefit.

Thousands of bureaucrats from outside and those working in the private sector have spent more than the required 15 years in J&K in the last 70 years. A sizeable part of the Indian armed forces is concentrated in J&K and many have served several postings in the erstwhile state, easily making many eligible under the new criteria.

The numbers are likely to add up by each year and given the easily corruptible system and lack of accountability, there is no telling how the laws will be tweaked to further allow an influx of beneficiaries from outside.

And this is not just about jobs. There is also the question of land ownership and business investment over which the new domicile rule is silent, which means that unlike the past, any Indian may buy land, settle and start a business venture in J&K.

Under the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, which came into effect in October, the legal provisions restricting ownership of private property to permanent residents were struck down. In the past, local land reform legislation empowered peasants including the socially oppressed classes, giving them a sense of dignity and making J&K one of the few states in the country where nobody died of starvation.

The amended land-related laws induce fears in the local population of not just losing their exclusive privileges but also of suffering under possible monopolistic economic hegemonies.

The state also had in place its reservation act that provided for quotas in educational institutions and jobs for people of disadvantaged backgrounds, including Dalits, members of various tribes, etc. Women enjoyed a 50 percent reservation in professional colleges. Since the 1950s, education at school and college level was free in government institutions. All of that now stands to be reversed.

For now, using the pandemic as an excuse, the government has also halted the 150-year-old annual practice of shifting the capital from Jammu to Srinagar in the summer. Though the practice of two capitals – in Hindu-majority Jammu and Muslim-majority Kashmir – was ideally inclusive, it was Srinagar that became the hub of political power after Kashmir’s accession in 1947.

The government decision to begin the delimitation (redrawing of boundaries) of electoral constituencies, which is likely to give Hindu-majority Jammu more seats, will reshape the local political dynamics. Two ideas have been mooted by several Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders to that end – enumeration on the basis of area and not population, as is the countrywide norm, as well as adding the kitty of 24 seats of Pakistan-Administered Kashmir (PAK) and Chinese-controlled Aksai Chin that lay vacant for the last 70 years to Jammu region by fielding Hindu and Sikh refugees from PAK.

The Delimitation Commission was announced on March 6 and immediately the process of data collection was set in motion. It has been going on without any punctuation throughout the COVID-19 lockdown.

Structures of power are being dismantled bit by bit, particularly emaciating the political significance of Srinagar and turning Jammu into a symbolic site of victory while keeping its people disempowered.

Already, the political space in J&K has been completely decimated. While many top leaders continue to be in detention, including former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, others have been let off or placed under house arrest on conditions of maintaining silence.

A lobby of renegades from various parties recently floated a new political organisation called Apni Party. It is believed to enjoy the patronage of New Delhi and has failed to cut much ice.

Under the new arrangement, while the far-flung union territory of Ladakh would be robbed of a legislative assembly, J&K will get one with limited powers, turning the two entities virtually into two remote-controlled municipalities.

This puts a question mark over the practicability of managing the erstwhile state, with its huge area, its complexity, its socio-political diversity and its fragility, under this arrangement of one centralised authority. While a sense of political empowerment is diminished, the terms of engagement in local political narrative are decimated to municipal and administrative matters.

A sense of loss appears to be a strange leveller and may have somewhat bridged the traditionally divisive narratives in Muslim-dominated Kashmir and Hindu-dominated Jammu, the latter having seen a phenomenal rise in Hindu right-wing politics in recent decades.

But while in Jammu public discontent is linked to loss of jobs, land, monopoly over trade and higher education, in Kashmir, in addition to all these, the dilution of Article 370 and domicile law assumes a whole new meaning – the fear of a demographic change.

Shaped by Hindu right-wing groups openly calling for changing demography of Kashmir and integrationist politics, anxieties of demographic change have existed in Kashmir for decades. Today, a pathway is being paved for replicating the Israeli model of occupation and colonisation of the West Bank in Kashmir towards disempowerment and dispossession of the locals, particularly Kashmiri Muslims, to exercise hegemonic control through new settlers.

Sometime in late November last year, a serving Indian diplomat in the United States, while addressing a gathering of Kashmiri Hindus, averred that “Kashmiri culture is Indian culture; it is Hindu culture” and espoused the Israeli model of West Bank settlements as the way forward. Though the Indian government did not officially support this policy of apartheid, it also conveniently did not distance itself from the remarks made by its serving envoy in his official capacity.

If there were any doubts about the seriousness of these remarks, they can now be discarded. The recent moves indicate a more systemic pattern of making this model the centrepiece of India’s Kashmir policy. The present lockdown has been used to plot the points on the map while avoiding any public outcry. This arsenal of administrative changes in a fragile setting is like dumping fuel that could well trigger an inferno of unimaginable proportions.

The government is underestimating the patience and silence of the public and the international ramifications of riding roughshod over the aspirations of the people of Kashmir and pushing them to the margins as secondary citizens with an uptick in massive human rights abuse.

While this amounts to trampling of Indian democracy, it also makes peace in South Asia extremely vulnerable. In all probability, the transition to demographic change will not be as smooth. A desperate struggle for self-preservation within Kashmir and the heightened level of tensions between India and Pakistan – two nuclear powers – will throw up an explosive situation. The present standoff between India and China also has the potential to escalate and add fuel to the fire.

Kashmiris paying heavy cost due to seven decades old conflict

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Srinagar, July 04 (KMS): The Kashmir conflict has been and is imposing heavy cost on the human life in occupied Kashmir where this conflict has adversely impacted each and every aspect of the lives of people during the past over seven decades and particularly since 1989.

An analytical report released by the Research Section of Kashmir Media Service, today, said occupied Kashmir is only region of the world where humans are living without human rights as India has usurped all basic freedoms of the people. It said that killings, extrajudicial executions, arrests, torture, use of brute force on peaceful protesters, destruction of properties and molestation of women by Indian troops and police personnel have become a norm in the occupied territory. It said that fascist Indian forces were brutally carrying out massacre of the innocent Kashmiris.

The report pointed out that Indian troops in their unabated acts of state terrorism have martyred 95,615 people in occupied Kashmir since January 1989 till date. It maintained that at least 160,516 civilians have been illegally arrested while over 110,334 structures have been destroyed by the Indian forces in the territory during the period.

The report said that 2016 was declared “Year of Loss of Eyes” in occupied Kashmir because of pellet firing by the Indian forces. It said that hundreds of people had lost their eyes due to the use of pellet guns by Indian police and troops during mass uprising triggered by the extrajudicial killing of popular youth leader, Burhan Wani, on July 08 that year.

The report said that thousands of Hurriyat leaders, political activists, journalists, lawyers and civil society members had been illegally arrested by the Indian authorities and they remained lodged in different jails of the occupied territory and India. It said that these detainees included Muhammad Yasin Malik, Shabbir Ahmed Shah, Aasiya Andrabi, Masarrat Aalam Butt, Mian Abdul Qayoom, Dr Muhammad Qasim Fakhtoo, Naheeda Nasreen, Fahmeeda Sofi, Nayeem Ahmed Khan, Ayaz Muhammad Akbar, Altaf Ahmed Shah, Peer Saifullah, Merajuddin Kalwal, Farooq Ahmed Dar, Dr Abdul Hameed Fayyaz, Maulana Mushtaq Ahmed Veeri, Muhammad Ahsan Untoo, Maulana Sarjan Barkati, Ghulam Ahmed Gulzar and Asif Sultan.

Troops continue massive CASOs in IOK

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Rich tributes paid to martyred youth

Srinagar, June 27 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, Indian troops continued massive cordon and search operations across the territory, subjecting the residents to torture and harassment.

The troops continue to carry on their violent operations in different areas of Srinagar, Badgam, Ganderbal, Kupwara, Bandipore, Baramulla, Shopian, Pulwama, Islamabad, Kulgam, Poonch, Kishtwar, Doda, Ramban, Rajouri and Jammu. The residents of these areas told media that the Indian forces’ personnel barge into the residential houses, harass the inmates and vandalize the household goods. The troops have also arrested several youth from different areas.

Hurriyat leaders, Shabbir Ahmed Dar, Umar Aadil Dar, Mir Muhammad Iqbal and Ghulam Ahmed in their statements in Srinagar paid rich tributes to the youth and an 8-year-old boy recently martyred by Indian troops. They said that the sacrifices of Kashmiri martyrs would not be allowed to go waste and their mission would be accomplished at all costs.

Meanwhile, the residents of occupied Kashmir have been urged through a social media campaign that all village/mohalla/town committees of the territory should come together and make sure that not a single non-local lives in their areas. All of these committees have been asked to give clear instructions to the people that anyone who tries to give space to non-locals or tries to sell land to any non-Kashmiri will be socially boycotted and evicted from the area.

The Jammu and Kashmir Students Youth Forum in a statement in Srinagar said that its activists held protest demonstrations in Srinagar and Islamabad districts against the Indian government’s move to allow opening of liquor shops in the territory. The protesters raised anti-India and pro-freedom slogans.

The Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party in a statement in Srinagar said that the new media policy introduced by India in occupied Kashmir was an atrocious assault on the press freedom in the territory. The Chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Pir Panjal Peace Foundation, Muhammad Hanif Kalas, in a statement in Jammu denounced issuance of domicile certificates to Indian citizens by the authorities.

Illegally detained senior APHC leader, Shabbir Ahmed Shah, has moved a Delhi court seeking his lodgment in a separate cell in Tihar jail. In an application, Shabbir Shah’s counsel, Advocate Qausar Khan, submitted that his client is suffering from various ailments and had the higher risk of contracting the coronavirus.

The family members of illegally detained ailing Hurriyat leader, Shahid-ul-lslam, in a statement in Srinagar urged the Indian authorities to shift him from New Delhi’s Tihar jail to the Kashmir Valley to save him from getting affected with the coronavirus.

An Indian Army vehicle crushed a 12-year-old boy, Farhan Ahmad Sher Gojri, to death in Kupwara district.

APHC-AJK leaders, Mahmood Ahmed Saghar, Abdul Majeed Malik and Zahid Ashraf, in their statements in Islamabad condemned the ongoing killing spree unleashed by Indian troops in occupied Kashmir. The Convener of AJK chapter of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq-led Hurriyat forum, Syed Faiz Naqshbandi, addressing a meeting in Islamabad hailed the remarks of Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President of the US, Joe Biden, wherein he asked India to take necessary steps to restore the rights of the people of occupied Kashmir.

India using molestation, arrest of women as weapon of war in IOK

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Thousands of Kashmiri women martyred, 11,204 molested since 1989

Srinagar, June 19 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, India is using violence against Kashmiri women including arrest, harassment and rape and molestation as a weapon of war to suppress the Kashmiris’ ongoing struggle for securing their inalienable right to self-determination.

According to a Kashmir Media Service report compiled by Raies Ahmed Mir on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, today, said that Indian troops had molested 11,204 women since January 1989 till date. It said that brutal incidents of Kununposhpora mass rape and Shopian double rape and murder and rape and murder of Kathua minor girl were the glaring examples of Indian brutalities against women in the occupied territory.

The report said that Indian troops had molested around a hundred women during a siege and search operation in Kunanposhpora area of Kupwara district on the night of February 23 in 1991. It said that two women, 17-year-old Aasiya Jan and her 22-year-old sister-in-law Neelofar Jan, were abducted, raped and killed in custody by Indian men in uniform in May 2009. An eight-year-old girl, Aasifa Bano, a resident of Kathua district in Jammu region, was abducted, gang-raped and subsequently murdered by Indian police personnel and members of extremist Hindu organizations in January 2018, it added.

The report pointed out that thousands of women are among 95,630 Kashmiris, martyred by Indian military, paramilitary and police personnel since January 1989 till date. At least 672 women have been martyred by Indian troops since January 2001 alone.

The report maintained that the unabated Indian state terrorism had rendered 22,915 women widowed during the last thirty one years. It said that thousands of women lost their sons, husbands, fathers and brothers in the occupied territory who were subjected to custodial disappearance by Indian police and troops. As per the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons, more than 8,000 Kashmiris went missing in custody during the past 31 years and their mothers, sisters and daughters continue to wait for their return, it added.

The report said that over a dozen Kashmiri women including resistance leaders Aasiya Andrabi, Fahmeeda Sofi and Naheeda Nasreen, as well as Hina Bashir Beig, Haseena Begum, Insha Tariq and a pregnant 27-year-old PhD Scholar of Jamia Millia New Delhi Safoora Zargar, were implicated in false cases and lodged in Indian jails.

The report further said that that hundreds of women and girls were also injured by the pellets fired by Indian troops while over hundred including 19-month-old Heeba Jan, 2-year-old Nusrat Jan, Tammana (11), Ulfat Hameed (17), Insha Mushtaq (18), Ifrah Shakoor (17), Shabroza Mir (16), Rafia Bano (31) and Shakeela Begum (35) were blinded in one or both eyes due to pellet injuries.

 

Modi’s Major Himalayan Mistake Crushed the Indian Military’s Morale

By Andrew Korybko

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The death of at least 20 members of the Indian military during non-firearm clashes with China along their disputed frontier in Kashmir has been extremely demoralizing for this already distressed institution, but it’s all due to Modi’s major Himalayan mistake in thinking that he can reap immediately tangible benefits from his new American patron by making a show out of “containing” China.

Modi’s Latest Mistake Was His Worst One Yet

At least 20 members of the Indian military were killed during non-firearm clashes with China earlier this week along their disputed frontier in Kashmir, which crushed the morale of this already distressed institution. Publicly financed Russian international media outlet Sputnik, citing Indian government sources, reported that they died after Chinese soldiers attacked them with “stones” and “iron rods as well as batons wrapped in barbed wire”. Sputnik also said that “Many of the unarmed men (OneWorld Note: this means that they weren’t armed with firearms but could have conceivably had other weapons just like their Chinese counterparts did) jumped into the Galwan River in an attempt to escape.” Others, they reported, “who were critically injured at the standoff location died after exposure to sub-zero temperatures.” This epic disaster wouldn’t have happened, however, had it not been for Modi’s major Himalayan mistake in thinking that he can reap immediately tangible benefits from his new American patron by making a show out of “containing” China.

Systemic Demoralization In The Indian Armed Forces

Before explaining the strategic drivers behind India’s misguided strategy of aggression against China, it’s important to emphasize just how demoralizing of a development this was for the country’s armed forces. According to a report from Modern Diplomacy asking “Why more Indian soldiers die in suicides and fratricides than in combat?“, “One jawan (OneWorld Note: this means ‘soldier’) commits suicide every third day.” Quite clearly, there are deep systemic problems driving this epidemic in the military, including discrimination against soldiers by their superiors for ethno-religious or caste-based reasons, insufficient rations that leave some recruits on the brink of starvation, and a lack of support for their illegal occupation of Kashmir where most of the suicides take place and the latest clash with China occurred. Against this backdrop, one can only imagine how crushing it was to the Indian military’s already dismal morale to have so many of their members killed by the Chinese without a shot being fired and die of the cold simply because their military couldn’t rescue them.

“Paper Elephant”

Many in India had hitherto been brainwashed by their government-pressured media into thinking that China was a so-called “paper tiger”, but recalling that their country proudly associates itself with the image of the elephant (patient but powerful, as its proponents allege), India itself can be described as a “paper elephant” following the recent disaster in Kashmir. So many of its military members died in brutal face-to-face combat, not because someone pulled a trigger or pressed a button from far away. Others fled in fear and basically committed suicide by jumping off the mountains into a nearby river, while still others died unnecessarily of the cold because their military lacked the political will and/or physical means to rescue them. The Bollywood-propagated myth of India as a so-called “superpower” was conclusively shattered once and for all, which explains society’s literal shock at what happened and its leadership’s inability to even comment on the matter immediately after it transpired. The “politically inconvenient” fact is that the “paper elephant” was just shredded by a real tiger.

Ideology & Geopolitics

India should have known better than to have tested China’s resolve by invading its territory under the mistaken belief that the People’s Republic was supposedly just a “paper tiger”, but it did so anyhow for two interconnected reasons as the author wrote in his recent piece for CGTN about how “India Must Urgently Refrain From Its Strategy Of Regional Aggression“. The Hindu nationalist BJP wants to carve “Akhand Bharat” (Greater India) out of “Greater South Asia” (which includes parts of China’s Xinjiang and Tibet regions) so as to impose a “Hindu Rashtra” (Hindu fundamentalist state) upon the region. It’s been encouraged by the US in pursuit of this ideological-geopolitical goal since America regards India as a proxy for “containing” China. Prime Minister Modi thought that he could reap immediately tangible benefits from his country’s new ally through India’s failed foray, but America has thus far refrained from formally intervening in the conflict, whether militarily or diplomatically.

The American Proxy

Three of the author’s recent pieces shed some relevant insight on the US’ strategic aims in this proxy war and should be reviewed by the reader in order to familiarize themselves with its Machiavellian objectives:

In summary, the American goal is to misportray China as the “aggressor”, solidify its emerging trans-regional alliance against it in response, restructure supply chains away from the People’s Republic, and thus “contain” it.

“Saving Face”

The US will likely provide some tangible form of these envisioned benefits to India with time, but the fact that they haven’t immediately materialized in the aftermath of the recent clash has humiliated India as a country and especially its armed forces. The ultra-nationalist sentiment that the ruling party has cultivated over its past six years in power is at risk of backfiring against it since approximately 1,3 billion people have just realized that they’ve been lied to by their leaders this entire time about their civilization-state supposedly being a “superpower”, only to be exposed as the “paper elephant” that it’s always been. This dangerously means that the authorities might undertake another military foray against what they consider to be a less formidable military foe in order to “save face” and distract the agitated masses. This scenario could take the form of another false flag provocation against Pakistan like last February’s (with predictably similar self-inflicted humiliation), an attack against Nepal, or another “surgical strike” against Naga rebels hiding out in Myanmar.

Concluding Thoughts

There’s no going back to the status quo ante bellum wherein India unconvincingly tried to deceive China into thinking that its much-ballyhooed policy of so-called “multialignment” with the US wasn’t really a strategic pivot aimed at “containing” the People’s Republic. India learned the hard way that there’s a tremendous difference between its domestically-targeted propaganda against China and the cold reality of the Chinese military. Just as there’s no returning to the prior state of affairs between the two countries, so too is there no return to how the average Indian previously perceived of their military’s strength. The “paper elephant” was shredded into pieces by the Chinese tiger without a shot being fired, and the Indian military was unprecedentedly humiliated. The resultant demoralization that’s expected to take hold of the entire armed forces in the aftermath of Modi’s major Himalayan mistake will likely ensure that it’ll never regain its prior confidence, which could prove catastrophic when it comes to defending what it regards as its national interests.

What About U.S.-Supported Racism in Palestine and Kashmir?

By Robert Fantina

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Palestine Kashmir 2bfc0

The savage murder of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer has caused worldwide protests against the racism that is so prevalent in the United States. Other such murders have caused civil unrest, but the current situation seems to have struck a nerve more than most. U.S. politicians support the cry for equal justice, but quickly change the subject to criticize any violence that occurs during the protests.

The hypocrisy of U.S. government officials knows no bounds. We have seen likely Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden visit the family of Mr. Floyd, but this writer does not recall him visiting the families of Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Philandro Castile, etc., etc. President Donald Trump is harshly criticized for his disastrous photo-op in front of Saint John’s Episcopal Church, as well he should be. But why then praise Biden for his photo-op with the Floyd family? Mr. Floyd’s savage murder has certainly galvanized many people across the globe, but his bereaved loved ones are in no more need of consolation than are any of the other victims of racist police brutality.

And what about U.S.-supported racism in the Middle East? For decades the savage, apartheid regime of Israel has oppressed the Palestinians on their own land, yet Biden has said that there will be no reduction in U.S. aid to Israel, even if Israel proceeds with the annexation of much of the West Bank, a move illegal under international law and condemned by most of the world. No, freedom from racism and oppression is only supported when it provides political opportunities for self-service politicians. With AIPAC, the Apartheid Israel Political Affairs Committee (the reader will excuse this writer’s slight, but accurate, adjustment of the name) donating large amounts to election and re-election campaigns, what meaning do human rights have? Biden himself has collected at least $1,263,092.00 from pro-Israel lobbies during his career. That is a boat he will certainly not want to rock.

Let’s us move for a moment to Kashmir, long an illegally occupied colony of India with some limited sense of autonomy, that autonomy was stripped last year with some Indian government officials actually saying they would use the ‘Israel model’ to destroy Kashmir. U.S. officials have been strangely silent about this oppression.

Yet those some officials have been vocal in their condemnation of China’s suppression of pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong. Why not condemn the suppression of pro-democracy protesters in Palestine or Kashmir? What makes the difference?

Could it be that most of the people in Palestine and Kashmir are Muslim? Donald Trump has clearly, even proudly, proclaimed his animosity toward all things Muslim, supporting and even financing the oppression of the Palestinians, and ignoring the tragic plight of the Kashmiris.

This is not to say that his hatred of Muslims is universal; no, as long as they have the money to purchase huge amounts of weaponry from the U.S., as Saudi Arabia does, Trump is fine with Muslims. Saudi Arabia has one of the worst records of human rights violations in the world, but as long as there is money to be made, what’s a little murderous oppression among friends?

During the current civil unrest in the U.S., Trump and his cohorts have not hesitated to use tear gas, illegal in war zones but just fine for use against local citizens, and brutal violence to prevent it. Trump recently proclaimed that he is a ‘law and order’ president, conjuring up unpleasant memories of the administration of Richard Nixon. But again, we see blatant hypocrisy. Trump wants ‘law and order’ but has no problem violating international law by sanctioning Iran and Venezuela, supporting the occupation of Palestine, and financing wars all over the planet. Where is the ‘law and order’ in any of this?

The political pundits of the day presume to tell us all what to think, who to care about and how we are going to vote. They ignore the daily murders of unarmed Palestinians by heavily armed Israeli soldiers and illegal settlers, yet scream the headlines if an Israeli is even injured by a Palestinian. For a short time, it was very fashionable for the news media to report on the caging of children at the U.S. – Mexico border, but we never hear of that now. This might imply to some that it no longer happens, but the only thing that has changed is where the media has chosen to focus. Racist police brutality is now the big news, but this is not a new phenomenon: it has been happening since the dawn of the U.S. It has only worsened as the federal government sells, at bargain basement prices, hardware designed for war zones to local municipalities, and as those towns and cities have received ‘training’ from Israel, one of the most savage regimes on the planet.

We can all speculate on how soon something else with be the topic du jour. Let us consider the prominent news from the last several months: caged children, impeachment, coronavirus (still raging, but seldom reported on), racism and police brutality. Each one serious and requiring a solution, and some solutions quite simple (e.g. stop separating immigrant children from their families and putting them in cages), and some far more complex (e.g. overcoming racism in the police departments across the nation).

But the media are all, with a few independent exceptions, corporate owned, as are most government officials. The 1% will do what is necessary to maintain their positions of power and wealth; they follow their own twisted version of the Golden Rule: the one who has the gold makes the rules. And so those without the ‘gold’ – the middle class and the poor, often people of color – are simply victims, expendable in the eyes of the government, and not worth any consideration.

This is the ‘land of the free and the home of the brave’, as demonstrated by the sight of a policeman strangling an unarmed man by kneeling on his neck for nine minutes (Mr. Floyd was probably dead for the last two). This is the ‘shining city on a hill’, awash in the blood of Palestinians. The ‘exceptionalism’ which even Barack Obama said, shamefully, he believes the U.S. possesses, “with every fiber” of his being has been used to wreak havoc around the globe.

The hapless U.S. voters seem to believe that that are faced with a devil’s choice in November: Trump or Biden. This dismisses the many third-party candidates who are blocked from debates and other means of conveying their message by the Republicans and Democrats. But they are there, and a quick internet search will find them. Gloria La Riva of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, and Howie Hawkins of the Green Party are just two worthy of consideration.

This writer has long since repented of ‘lesser of two evil’ voting, and now votes for candidates he can believe in, regardless of their chance of success. In 2016, faced with a devil’s choice, he voted for Gloria La Riva, and plans to repeat that vote this year. Until the people of the U.S. stop validating the evil policies of elected officials, which is done each time they are elected, nothing will change. The sooner this ends, the better it will be for the entire planet.

Indian troops martyr 4 more Kashmiri youth in IOK

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India killing Kashmiris to prolong its occupation

Srinagar, June 13 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, Indian troops in their fresh acts of state terrorism martyred four more Kashmiri youth in Kulgam and Islamabad districts, today.

The troops martyred two youth each during cordon and search operations at Nipora in Kulgam and in Lallan area of Islamabad. The operations continued till last reports came in. Indian police and troops sealed all entry and exit points of the areas. The occupation authorities suspended internet service in the two districts. These killings raised the number of martyred youth to 18 during last one week. Indian troops have martyred 14 youth during violent military operations in different areas of Shopian district since Sunday.

A delegation of Jammu and Kashmir Peoples League visited Shopian to express solidarity with the families of the youth recently martyred by the troops. The delegation members, on the occasion said that the mission of Kashmiri martyrs would be accomplished at all costs.

The Jammu and Kashmir Young Men’s League and Jammu and Kashmir Students Youth Forum in a joint statement said that scores of activists of the two organizations held protest demonstrations in different areas of Srinagar and Islamabad against the continued killing of Kashmiri youth by Indian troops.

APHC leader and the Chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Political Movement, Khawaja Firdous, addressing a gathering in Ahmed Nagar area of Srinagar said that India had been committing atrocities on the Kashmiri people for the last over seven decades to prolong its illegal occupation of the territory.

The Jammu and Kashmir Mass Movement Patron, Farida Bahenji, in a statement in Srinagar paid rich tributes to the youth martyred by Indian troops in Kulgam and Islamabad districts, today. She appealed to the UN and the international community to take cognizance of the stepped-up Indian state terrorism in the territory.

Indian police have filed an open FIR and started questioning those criticising the judgment of High Court of the territory, which denied bail to illegally detained High Court Bar Association President, Mian Abdul Qayoom, just for his political ideology and stance on the Kashmir dispute. The lawyers of the Valley have said that the police are hounding them for criticising the court verdict. A lawyer from Shopian, Habeel Iqbal, who was summoned on Wednesday, said that he was questioned for five hours and asked to reveal every personal and family detail, including the name of his five-year-old child. In a tweet, Iqbal had said the judgment shall be remembered as yet another instance of court acting as an extension of the executive.

India has raised the ante in Kashmir – Do we have an answer?

By Syed Nazir Gilani

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India has raised the ante in Kashmir. Doordarshan and All India Radio (private channels to follow) have started from 8 May 2020, to telecast and broadcast temperatures and weather reports of Indian towns and cities including “Mirpur, Muzaffarabad and Gilgit” as a feed from The North Western Division of Indian Meteorological Department (IMD). DD News and All India Radio will include “Mirpur, Muzaffarabad and Gilgit” in their prime time news bulletins at 8.55am and 8.55pm weather reports, as part of their claim on these areas of Azad Kashmir.

IMD move to include “Mirpur, Muzaffarabad and Gilgit” in their weather bulletin is a disturbing tactical move, on the top of a strategic move of 5 August and 31 October 2019. India has started selling to its people, that the large Indian army has the chin to take any loss of life of its armed forces in Kashmir.

Loss of life in the households of Kashmir is far different in character. The youth are prepared to lead into the next generation and killing of a Kashmiri youth is slowly killing the right of ‘self-determination’. Do we need to sit and watch for the chain actions of Indian Government, that started on 5 August 2019, let it hold the Valley under lock and allow its army to roam free to pick up and kill Kashmiri youth at will? The answer should be no!

Pakistan did fairly well at the UN General Assembly in September 2019. Forcing UN Security Council to revisit Kashmir, in whatever manner, on 16 August 2019 and 15 January 2020 were two very good efforts. However, we have again lost the momentum and have misinterpreted the Indian actions. Indian has disturbed the status quo on Kashmir and in a way has annexed the Indian administered (occupied) part of Kashmir. It does not need to go for any quick demographic change. The actions of 5 August and 31 October 2019, provide a safe cover to India, to hurt the Muslim majority character of the State.

India did not claim “Mirpur, Muzaffarabad and Gilgit” as its cities out of any whim. Indian actions add up to a fact that India has been cheating Pakistan even in diplomatic engagements. JKCHR did point out one such overbearing influence of India, in the Indo-Pak Joint Statement issued after the June 19-23 1997 India Pakistan talks at Islamabad. Indian side tricked Pakistan to retreat on Kashmir from its core position and add it in the eight “outstanding issues of concern to both sides”.

Kashmir was displaced from its ‘principal’ character and it became an ‘include’ in many other issues. It was an unbelievable retreat in the history of Kashmir. In a way it was as agonising as Kashmir being hit at the UN Security Council in August 1996, by rule 11 of the Procedure Rules of Security Council.

JKCHR made a five page representation to the Government of Pakistan on 30 June 1997 and pointed out the serious mistakes made in the joint statement. Indian side made the full use of the principle of “literal and strained interpretation’, while interpreting the terms of the joint statement on their arrival in Delhi. On 25 June 1997, Indian Foreign Secretary Salman Haider said, “When we talk about the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, there is a juridical element in that. We make the point that parts of Jammu and Kashmir are under Pakistani occupation by military force and that is something that we would certainly discuss”.

Explaining the merits of the joint statement, Indian FS said, “We have said that there is no dispute in our part of Kashmir but there are issues relating to POK”. Indian Parliament Resolution of February 1994, on Azad Kashmir and GB, declaring them as part of India, should have forced Pakistan, Azad Kashmir and every Kashmiri into meditation and unease.

Indian Meteorological Department, Doordarshan, All India Radio and Indian private TV channels have started doing, is exactly, what Indian Parliament has pending on its files since February 1994. What are our options?

War and the use of International law (UN Resolutions) are our only options left. Pakistan like India is a nuclear state. Pakistan’s nuclear capability, cancels out the overbearing Indian misplaced big size boast of its size and number. One would love to see India and Pakistan return to the call of “their spiritual heritage and the responsibility of their power” in the service of their people and the region. If war is avoided, we have a future. However, if war breaks out the present leadership may not survive to see a depopulated and vastly deserted India.

The other way forward would be engagement and respect for international law. Kashmiris and Government Pakistan have international law on their side. UN Resolutions would not entertain Indian hegemony and such actions at all, unless we have lost faith in the jurisprudence of our case and in our abilities to take India to the “Police Station”. International Law in our case are the UN Resolutions and we need to re-visit the merits of our case.

Foreign office of Pakistan indeed has brilliant minds, but we need people who have a reliable knowledge of Kashmir case and reliable understanding of UN Resolutions. To be brilliant in any discipline of foreign office is one thing and to be knowledgeable on Kashmir case is quite different. We may need to fix the political tripping and tipping in the appointments of the chairman of Kashmir Committee. There is need to upgrade and regularise the expert input from Government of Azad Kashmir, Kashmiri experts and start it on a war footing.

Prime Minister of Pakistan, as Chairman AJK Council has accepted a constitutional role in Azad Kashmir. Even if he had not volunteered to be an ambassador of the people of Kashmir, he has retained enough role, to structure a new team to work on Kashmir. AJK Council could be converted into a role that Section 11 of 1974 Act or Section 8 of 1970 Act warrants from Government of Azad Kashmir. We failed to make use of a space given to us by UNCIP Resolutions and UN Security Council Resolutions. It seems to have corrected the Indian hump and its leadership has gone mad. We need to keep the options of war and international law open.

Hinduphobia, Paracetamol, Kashmir and Changed Labour Policy

Dr Syed Nazir Gilani

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Change is inevitable. The harbinger of change has to be smart, timely and on the lookout. This time around in the United Kingdom, there has been a change in Labour leadership and Sir Keir Rodney Starmer KCB PC QC, has replaced Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader. He identifies himself as a socialist and defender of human rights everywhere. He has claimed in his letter to Hindu Forum Britain (HFB), “I have fought all my life against injustices and to defend human rights”. Be it so.

Muslims in general and Kashmiri community living in Britain in particular have a cause to force a correction on the new Labour leader in regard to his failure to understand and appreciate the Kashmir Question correctly and address the Human Rights situation in Indian occupied Kashmir, at least in the manner, as addressed in the three report of the United Nations.

Hindu Forum Britain has remained on the look out and has squeezed a shift in labours policy on Kashmir and a rare admission of ‘Hinduphobia’ and racism suffered by a ‘peaceful and loyal’ Hindu community of millions living in the United Kingdom. HFB leadership has been able to further wrench a drop of gratitude from the Labour leader, to India for selling the much needed “PARACETAMOL during this difficult time”. It is for the first time that ‘Hinduphobia’ has been introduced in the British political vocabulary.

There is a lesson for Pakistani and Kashmiri Muslim community living in Britain, that the new Labour Leader initiated a contact with the leadership of Hindu Forum Britain (HFB), which has a claim of “representing more than 320 member organizations giving voice to the million strong Hindu community in the UK”. HFB has an impressive representative face. It is headed by Mrs. Trupti Patel FCIHT, MSc, BEng CE, MISTD. Who would not pay a respectful heed to this Patel, when we have another Patel in the British Cabinet and many more Hindus holding the key positions.

It is interesting to find that HFB did not rush into a meeting but decided to set out a 3 point agenda in their letter of 8 April 2020. The letter cautioned the Labour leader, “There are many issues of concern to the Hindu/Indian community, for the purpose of this letter, suffice to say, the following three I believe give us a good starting point for our proactive engagement, and a test of whether you and the Labour Party are serious about such engagement”. The three concerns have been identified as (1) Caste legislation, (2) Anti-India stance and (3) Hinduphobia in the party.

What a smart way to charge on new Labour Leader and squeeze concessions and gratitude from him. There could be merit in the issues raised but HFB has been very mischievous to hide its real motive in agenda item 2, and have squeezed a statement of their choice on Kashmir from Keir Starmer. There is an uproar in British Kashmiri and Pakistani community on the major shift in labour party. Pakistanis and Kashmiris in Britain are a numerical force and could offer any electoral challenge to any political party. Unfortunately this number has not been translated into a quality representation, to keep the merits of their case, in particular ‘Islamophobia’, ‘Human Rights Situation’ in Indian occupied Kashmir and the delay in UN supervised Plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir. We have a very poor and mediocre leadership, which has been ill handling the Kashmir case.

Labour Leader is no cousin of HFB or a cousin of Pakistani-Kashmiri community either. We should not be irked by his understanding on Kashmir. We should not interfere in his understanding of Caste legislation and Hinduphobia. However, we have a right to challenge his understanding of Kashmir case and convince him to fix it.

Keir Starmer, although a QC, seems to be sitting on the wrong table to understand Kashmir. Even majority or may be all the 320 Hindu organizations, may not have the right understanding of Kashmir case. Starmer’s statement on Kashmir, that it was a “Constitutional Matter for Indian Parliament” and a “Bilateral Issue for India and Pakistan”, is incorrect at core. One has to be fair to one’s opponent. I would say even 80% Pakistanis and Kashmiris also do not have a reliable knowledge of Kashmir case and an understanding of the UN Resolutions on Kashmir. We have also sinned against the people of Kashmir as Keir Starmer has sinned at this point.

JKCHR has done a report titled, “Indian Actions of 5 August and 31 October 2019 – Our Options”. It answers all these questions and answers Keir Starmer as well. India and Pakistan have both admitted on 31 December 1947 and 15 January 1948 that they have tried under article 33 of UN Charter a bilateral engagement on Kashmir and have failed. As a consequence both petitioned the UN Security Council under article 35 of UN Charter. Labour Prime Minister in his telegram on 22 November 1947, has proposed to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, if the latter would consider taking the matter to ICJ.

Labour Leader should be open to a counter argument from Kashmiris and Pakistanis on the issue of Kashmir. Two citations would be enough, to force Keir Starmer to correct his position. Firstly United Kingdom has argued at the 284th meeting of UN Security Council held on 17 April 1948 that Kashmir was “the greatest and gravest single issue in international affairs”.  Secondly, India has conceded at the 533rd meeting of the UN SC held on 01 March 1951, that “The people of Kashmir are not mere chattels to be disposed of according to a rigid formula; their future must be decided in their own interests and in accordance with their own desires”. A UN supervised Plebiscite has been agreed.

This is an age of engagement and argument. Kashmiris have a better case to argue. All available evidence of Indian non-compliance, aggression against the people and re-occupying the habitat from 5 August need to be placed before the Labour Leader. He is no cousin of HFB to award them a favour. Merits of Kashmir case would prevail.

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

Indian brutalities at peak in IOK

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Srinagar, May 22 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, Narendra-Modi led fascist BJP government has crossed all limits of brutalities, making the lives of the people of the territory a living hell.

An analytical report released by the Research Section of Kashmir Media Service, today, said that killings, arrests, cordon and search operations, use of brute force and destruction of houses by Indian troops and police had become a norm in the occupied territory. It said that the fresh wave of violence and atrocities by the Indian forces had increased the miseries of innocent Kashmiris who were already suffering immensely due to over 9 months long siege and military lockdown imposed by India.

The report maintained that amid the fast deteriorating political and human rights situation in occupied Kashmir, the rising tide of premeditated and politically motivated violence against the Kashmiris by Indian forces amounts to war crimes.

“Recent incidents of violence by Indian forces in occupied Kashmir have proven that India seems to follow the footsteps of Israel. Killing young Kashmiris in fake encounters, maiming and mutilating their dead bodies intentionally, destroying civilian properties, demolishing homes and reducing them to rubble is India’s new policy to intimidate the Kashmiris into submission,” it said.

The report pointed out that as the world was collectively facing deadly coronavirus, India continues to kill, harass and intimidate the Kashmiris in the name of cordon and search operations. “Indian troops have killed around 15 Kashmiris, arrested 80 and destroyed or damaged as many as 800 houses and shops during almost 300 cordon and search operations in the Kashmir Valley and Jammu region during this month. The troops looted dozens of houses in Badgam district alone,” it said.

The report said that unending stories of tragedy and trauma were surfacing every other day in occupied Kashmir. It said that recently, Indian troops resorted to the worst kind of vandalism at Nawakadal in Srinagar after they martyred a top commander of Hizbul Mujahideen, Junaid Sehrai, along with his associate, Tariq Ahmed, during a cordon and search operation. “Videos of the military operation making rounds on social media show that the troops destroyed at least 17 houses in the area. Locals could be seen dousing flames emanating from and debris of several houses destroyed in the locality. The residents of the locality told media that the troops also looted everything including cash, jewellery and gas cylinders during the operation,” it said. It added that a 12-year-old boy identified as Basim Aijaz, who was injured due to the use of brute force on protesters in the area, succumbed to his injuries later.

The report said that earlier, Indian troops also martyred a handicapped boy during an operation and tried to dub him as a militant but the truth finally prevailed that he was innocent and was killed by the troops in cold blood. It deplored that India had now started an inhuman practice of denying the bodies of the martyred youth to inflict more pain to their families.

The report pointed out that despite utilizing all its resources during the last over seven decades India has miserably failed to suppress the Kashmiris’ freedom sentiments and they are determined to continue their resistance against its illegal occupation.

The report maintained that violating international laws Indian troops are involved in war crimes in occupied Kashmir. It said Indian atrocities are a big challenge for the world community, which must come forward to stop New Delhi from committing genocide of the Kashmiris.

Indian troops continue operations in occupied Kashmir

Source

Modi has started a bloody game against the Muslims of India, IOK

Srinagar, May 16 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, Indian troops continued their violent cordon and search operations in different areas of the territory, adding to the miseries of the residents already suffering immensely due to unrelenting military siege for the last over nine months.

The troops continued their operations in Srinagar, Badgam, Islamabad, Shopian, Pulwama, Kupwara, Handwara, Sopore, Baramulla, Doda, Kishtwar, Poonch, Rajouri and other areas of the occupied territory. The residents of these areas told media-persons that the troops have made their life a living hell. They said that the forces’ personnel barge into the residential houses, harass the inmates and ransack the household goods. Indian police and troops arrested five youth from Arizal in Khansahib area of Badgam district, today.

The Chairman of Islamic Political Party Jammu and Kashmir, Muhammad Yousuf Naqash, in a statement in Srinagar said that the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, had started a bloody game under the cover of COVID-19 against Muslims in India and Kashmir.

APHC leader, Molvi Bashir Ahmed, in a statement in Srinagar deplored that Indian troops had intensified their atrocities in the occupied territory to suppress the Kashmiris’ freedom struggle but they would never succeed in their nefarious designs.

The Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party in its statement appealed to the international community to take cognizance of Indian state terrorism in occupied Kashmir and put pressure on New Delhi to resolve the Kashmir dispute by giving the Kashmiris their unalienable right to self-determination.

India’s notorious National Investigation Agency has filed a chargesheet against six persons, including three martyred youth, on the false charges of their involvement in the killing of Bharatiya Janata Party leader, Anil Parihar and his brother in 2018. Parihar brothers were shot dead by unidentified attackers outside their house in Kishtwar town of Jammu region on 1st of November, 2018.

On the other hand, the Member of UK Parliament, Judith Cummins, in a statement in London expressed serious concern over the human rights abuses in occupied Kashmir, particularly since August, last year, when India revoked the special status of the territory. She said that the British government must play its role in securing a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute through facilitating genuine dialogue between India and Pakistan for a safe and peaceful future of Kashmir.

A top American diplomat has said that the US has seen unfortunate reports of COVID-19 related “rhetoric and harassment” against the Muslim community in India. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, briefing reporters during a conference call on the impact of COVID-19 on religious minorities throughout the world said that there had also been instances of Muslims being attacked for allegedly spreading the coronavirus.

‘Justice is Indivisible’: Placing Palestine Back at the Center of Muslim Discourse in the West

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May 4, 2020

Times Square, New York in July 2014, during Israeli brutal military attack on Gaza. (Photo: via AMP)

By Ramzy Baroud

It was nearly twenty years ago at a Muslim conference in Washington D.C. that I heard the distressing argument that Palestine should not be made a central topic in the American Muslim political agenda.

The point, which took many by surprise, was enunciated by a young American Pakistani Muslim academic, whose name is not important for my purpose here.

What I found reassuring then, however, was that almost everyone at the gathering shook their head in disagreement. The young academic was clearly an intellectual pariah. It was clear that Muslims, at least the attendees of that specific conference, will not be abandoning their advocacy for the freedom of the Palestinian people anytime soon.

A few months later, the September 11 attacks took place, unleashing a Pandora’s Box of violence, racism, orientalism, and Islamophobia, the outcome of which would continue to be felt for years to come.

A less discussed portion of the American war on Islam and Muslims in the last twenty years is the systematic and centralized attempt at breaking down the American Muslim society. The same can, of course, be said of the anti-Muslim sentiment that flourished in Europe during the West’s wars on Afghanistan and Iraq, and other Muslim countries.

Since then and till today, American Muslims found themselves forced to make bleak choices to avoid media demonization and government persecution.

Some chose to toe the line, in fact, to become an advocate of the very colonial, savage powers that were unleashed against Muslims everywhere – killing, torturing, imprisoning and sanctioning with no regard whatsoever for the very international law that the West itself had fashioned following World War II.

The likes of Hamza Yusuf, formally known as Mark Hanson, was and, perhaps, remains the best example of the so-called ‘pet Muslim’, as he became known due to his collaboration with the George W. Bush regime during the genocidal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The likes of Yusuf became immensely crucial to the American-Western designs in Muslim countries, being the ideal amalgamation between the ‘native informer’ – as a supposedly learned Muslim, although a white person himself – and the typical orientalist – the Western scholar that can be trusted in deciphering and dissecting the Muslim ‘Orient’ to the colonialist West.

According to the Guardian newspaper, Yusuf once told Muslim political dissidents, “If you hate the west, emigrate to a Muslim country”, thus displaying the same racist sentiment often lobbed by far-right chauvinists to anyone who dares question government policies on war, immigration, or anything else.

This very sentiment was repeated by US President, Donald Trump, when he tweeted last July, “In America, if you hate our Country, you are free to leave.”

According to the infinite wisdom of Yusuf and Trump, one can only earn the right to be a fully bonified citizen if one fully abandons one’s right to display any disagreement with one’s government’s policies.

In Yusuf’s shameful thinking, it also follows that a Muslim can never truly be a permanent citizen in any western polity, a sentiment embraced by the very neo-fascist movements that are currently plaguing Europe.

It should come as no surprise, then, that when US Secretary of State and well-known anti-Muslim bigot, Mike Pompeo, announced the formation of the Commission on Unalienable Rights – another platform for political and religious prejudices targeting Trump’s enemies around the world – Yusuf was immediately handpicked to be a member of that commission.

The problem, however, is bigger than a single orientalist. It has become clear that the terrible consequences of September 11 – the bloody wars that followed, and the tragic but predictable backlash of anti-Western militancy in the US, Europe and elsewhere – have, sadly, emasculated mainstream Muslim discourse in Western countries, the US especially.

Once upon a time, every Friday, hundreds of Imams throughout American mosques would breach solidarity with Palestine, Kashmir, Afghanistan, Chechnya, and so on. Money would be raised for various organizations that provided aid for victims of wars throughout the Muslim world. In fact, unity around Palestine seemed to bring millions of Muslims together despite their vastly different cultures, classes, and even their very own interpretations of Islam itself.

The outcome of September 11, namely the so-called ‘war on terror’, has changed all of that, imposing a new paradigm and a stark choice on Muslim communities all across the country.

The shutting down of the Holy Land Foundation, because of its support of Palestinian and other victims of Israeli violence, was only the tip of the iceberg. The accounts of many Muslim charities and organizations were drained, while hundreds, if not thousands of well-educated and outspoken Muslim intellectuals were either detained, deported, fired from their jobs or forced into silence by other means.

Sadly, it was the dawn of a new and tragic era where the self-loathing, self-seeking and opportunistic Muslim intellectual peddlers reigned supreme.

It is through this compromising bunch, that Western governments managed to tailor their own version of the ‘good Muslim’, to be juxtaposed with the radical, God-forbid, free-thinking Muslim, unfairly but incessantly seen as a terrorist sympathizer.

I had the displeasure of knowing or learning about many of these ‘good Muslims’ in the last twenty years, who are so keen at claiming the spots at phony ‘interfaith dialogue’ conferences, giddily serving the role of the well-behaved Muslim whenever demanded of them.

For this odd breed of Muslims, Palestine is an obstacle, and Kashmir is a forgotten, wasteland, for their mission is not to advocate on behalf of the oppressed. Instead, they are often used as middlemen who convey the official diktats of governments, states, and city councils to their fellow Muslims. In other words, they become the ‘official’ Muslims, whose agenda is not that of their own community – helping to mobilize, organize and advocate while building solidarity with other marginalized groups – but, as in the case of Yusuf, embracing the agenda of Trump himself.

The problem with these spiritual charlatans is that they feed the misguided view that Muslims can only be either quisling hacks or potential terrorists; that Muslims must be subdued or they become a danger to society; and that Muslims cannot be part of a larger collective of political dissidents who advocate justice and equality in their own society, and the world over.

Currently, at many mosques across the US, Palestine, Kashmir, Afghanistan, and other places of great and perpetual injustice are hardly mentioned. Many shy away even from political advocacy and intersectionality within their own communities. Perhaps, they fear that doing so would place them at the radar of the FBI or local enforcement agencies.

But, what is Islam without justice?

In one Quranic verse (5:8), God says, “O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for God, witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness”.

The emphasis on justice and the building of communities and nations that stand for what is right is at the core of Islamic values, and neither Mark Hansen nor any other self-proclaimed Muslims can possibly change that.

As for governments that are constantly caricaturing Muslims and Islam to fit their own agendas, they are not doing themselves any favors either, for a strong society is predicated on the freedom of individuals and groups to operate within a legal and democratic framework, with the overriding goal of advancing the interests of the entire nation.

Freedom for Palestine, Kashmir, Afghanistan, as well as the rights of minorities, social justice, gender and racial equality, all go hand-in-hand. No sincere justice advocate, self-respecting scholar, and needless to say, true Muslim, would disagree with the notion that justice is indivisible, a moral doctrine has defined Islam and Muslims for fifteen centuries.

– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” (Clarity Press, Atlanta). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA), Istanbul Zaim University (IZU). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

India snatching Kashmiris’ identity: Report

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India Implementing its settle colonial plan in phased manner

Islamabad, May 02 (KMS): The RSS-backed fascist Modi government is practically implementing in phased manner its settler-colonial plan in occupied Kashmir on the Israeli pattern to deprive the Kashmiris of their identity and homeland, thus turning Kashmir into another Palestine.

An analytical report released, today, by the Research Section of Kashmir Media Service, the communal Modi regime started its nefarious plan on August 05, last year, by repealing Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution that granted special status and rights to occupied Kashmir and its residents. The report said that the abrogation of theses constitutional provisions was aimed at allowing the Indian Hindus to get permanently settled in the territory, thus turning the Muslim majority into minority.

The report said that the Modi government also extended several federal laws including new domicile rules to occupied Kashmir. It pointed out the granting of domicile status to 300,000 Hindus in Jammu, in gross violation of the UN resolutions and the international law, is the first major step in this direction. It said that the Kashmiri people fear that more than 800,000 Indian soldiers and over 600,000 migrant labourers present in the territory might also be granted the domicile status in the days to come.

“Kashmiri Muslims are hounded by Hindutva forces in every part of India. These communal forces have devised a plan to carry out genocide of Kashmiris. BJP regime is implementing anti-Muslim policies in Kashmir and replacing the Muslim names of important places with Hindu names,” the report added.

It further maintained that the BJP and RSS wanted fulfillment of their long-held desire of total merger of occupied Kashmir in India and wanted to establish Hindu civilization in the territory. However, it said that brave Kashmiris had always resisted all anti-Kashmiri moves by India in the past and would foil these fresh nefarious designs as well and would prefer death over becoming slaves of Hindu fanatic forces.

The report said that it was high time for the global community to take cognizance of India’s actions in occupied Kashmir and hold it accountable for violating the international laws in Kashmir.

Rise in hatred against Muslims in India

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Islamabad, April 25 (KMS): The wave of hatred and prejudice against Muslims in India has witnessed an increase of a dangerous proportion under RSS-backed Narendra Modi-led fascist government.

An analytical report released by Research Section of Kashmir Media Service said Muslims are being portrayed as terrorists in India. It said that there was a growing tide of bigotry and oppression against Muslims in the country where lynching of Muslims had become a norm.

“Muslims are being attacked in ever-increasing numbers across Indian cities and towns while killers of Muslims continue to go unpunished. Members of Muslim community are treated harshly for their faith and culture. Modi’s ascension to power has inflamed an already dangerous atmosphere for Muslims in India,” it said.

The report said that while hatred against Muslims was in the body and soul of BJP and RSS, there was a systematic campaign by the leaders of these extremist Hindu organizations aimed at spewing venom at Muslims. It maintained that Modi-led BJP regime endorses horrific forms of torture against Muslims. “Mass extermination of Muslims is underway in India. Modi has already committed a Muslim slaughter in Gujarat,” it added.

The report noted that new draconian citizenship laws were aimed at large-scale expulsion of Muslims from India. It said that recent anti-Muslim violence in New Delhi had once again exposed real face of India. “Hindutva forces like BJP and RSS are ideological equals of the Nazis. Modi and Hitler are the two faces of the same coin,” it added.

The report pointed out that the RSS-backed BJP-led Indian regime is planning genocide of Muslims in occupied Kashmir. It said that Kashmiri Muslims were witnessing unparalleled victimization under the BJP government.

Maintaining that Hindutva forces like RSS and BJP are darkest blots on humanity, the report said that anti-Muslim hatred in India was a challenge to the international community, which must come forward to stop Muslim genocide in India.

Indian troops martyr nine youth in four days in IOK

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Hatred against Muslims increasing in India:Report

Srinagar, April 25 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, Indian troops in their fresh act of state terrorism martyred three Kashmiri youth in Pulwama district, today, taking the number of slain youth to nine since Wednesday.

The troops martyred the three youth during a cordon and search operation at Goripora in Awantipora area of Pulwama district, today morning. During similar operations, the troops killed two youth at Arwani in Islamabad district, yesterday, and four others in Melhora area of Shopian district on Wednesday.

APHC leader, Khawaja Firdous, and the Chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference, Shabbir Ahmed Dar, in their statements issued in Srinagar paying tributes to the martyred youth said that India was committing genocide of Kashmiris amid lockdown in the territory.

Meanwhile, an analytical report released by the Research Section of Kashmir Media Service, today, said that the wave of hatred and prejudice against Muslims in India had witnessed an increase of a dangerous proportion under RSS-backed Narendra Modi-led fascist government. It said that there was a growing tide of bigotry and oppression against Muslims in the country where lynching of Muslims had become a norm. The report pointed out that the Muslims are being attacked in ever-increasing numbers across Indian cities and towns.

Hurriyat leader, Firdous Ahmed Shah, in a statement in Srinagar urged international community to come forward and save the people of Jammu and Kashmir from Indian brutalities. The Chairman of Ummat-e-Islami, Qazi Ahmed Yasir, speaking to his party leaders at his residence in Islamabad town said that no one could forget what the people of Kashmir had gone through. The President of the AJK chapter of the party, Syed Manzoor Ahmed Shah, in a statement in Islamabad deplored that India had stepped up the killing of Kashmiri youth during the past one month.

The Convener of AJK chapter of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq-led Hurriyat forum, Syed Faiz Naqshbandi, in a statement in Islamabad said that at a time when the world was facing coronavirus pandemic, Indian troops were randomly arresting innocent people in occupied Kashmir.

The Press Club of India in a statement issued in New Delhi said, the events of the past week underlined the fact that the new norm in Kashmir for the police was to call journalists to police stations in connection with their published reports, photographs, or their social media posts, and to file FIRs against journalists. It demanded that the cases registered against three journalists be withdrawn immediately.

On the other hand, over 40 global rights groups, part of a campaign #KeepItOn, in an open letter demanded restoration of 4G internet services in occupied Kashmir. The signatories of the letter said that the absence of high-speed connectivity was hampering works of doctors, journalists and others amid the coronavirus lockdown.

JAMMU & KASHMIR: A CASE OF BRUTAL DEMOGRAPHIC CHANGES AMID A GLOBAL PANDEMIC

Source

 A

The Indian government has not refrained from its nefarious agenda to alter the demography of occupied Jammu and Kashmir amidst the global pandemic.

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The demography of Kashmir has become a subject of debate especially after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu Nationalist government has imposed a new set of laws. It includes a controversial and contentious domicile law through which citizens from all across India can get the rights of living in the disputed territory.

The new domicile law allows being eligible for domicile certification to those who have resided in the region for fifteen years or studied for a period of seven years and appeared in class 10 or 12th examination through educational institutes located in the area. It also gives out residency rights to central government officials who have served in Indian-administered Kashmir for ten years and their children. Initially this law also included provisions that allowed all Indians to apply for jobs specified for Jammu And Kashmir except the low-level jobs. But after the severe backlash even from the Hindu-dominated region of Jammu, the decision of reservation for jobs was overturned. These steps of the Indian government violate the fourth convention of International Law as it declares that “The occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”

Indian government abrogated article 370 and 35A of the constitution that guaranteed special status for jobs, scholarships, and allotment of land to permanent residents of Indian-administered Kashmir, in early August, last year. The law also gave rights to people of Jammu and Kashmir to establish their rule of law through their Parliament and have their own flag. Subsequently, the region having a Muslim majority was divided into two union territories, Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh. The law also stripped any Kashmiri woman who married outside Kashmir of the right to own property in their native land so as to protect the unique identity of the region.

The new laws are widely seen as an attempt to implement a long-standing ideological vision of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), for the occupied region. RSS is broadly considered as the parent organization of India’s ruling Hindu nationalist faction, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The RSS has been demanding the abrogation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir for decades. They also passed a resolution that laid out their vision to remodify the geographic structure of the region such that it would benefit the Hindus. The BJP has also exploited the slogan of the resettling of Hindu Pandits, who were displaced during the uprising of last 1980s, for their electoral gains. This is due to which BJP has managed to create a significant voter base especially in Jammu.

Indian authorities have made several efforts to change the geographic dynamics of the occupied territory. First of which was in August-November 1947, when hundreds and thousands of Muslims in Jammu ware massacred by the Dogra ruler and the then-Indian government of Indian National Congress. There is no official account of this brutal bloodbath so we have to heavily rely on the reports of British newspapers operating in that area. Horace Alexander wrote in his article on 16 January, 1948, in The Spectator, that the number of people killed in those two months exceeds 200,000. Whereas Ian Stephens, the editor of The Statesman, claimed that more than a half-million people were killed and the other 200,000 were either displaced or went missing. Due to this genocide, the overwhelming majority of Muslims in the region were reduced to just 30 percent of the total population. Jammu’s demography was again altered by the Agrarian Reforms Act, 1976. The act provided land ownership opportunity to natives of Jammu and through this, thousands of non-natives were granted ownership of land by means of forged and tempered records. Another intrigue can be noticed by observing a sharp increase of the Hindu population in Leh and Kargil districts from 2001 to 2011. The population of Hindus has grown from 6.2 percent to 12 percent in this time frame. Experts claim such an increase of a hundred percent is unimaginable and impossible, considering the economic conditions of the region.

In the current situation, the more than half-million Indian soldiers deployed in the region can buy land and become residents while Indian Muslims are too poor to do so and resettle in the area. Indian government plans to replicate the Israeli model of illegal settlements in occupied Palestine. A Kashmir-based political analyst told Middle East Eye, on the condition of anonymity, that “These domicile laws have been devised only to facilitate a non-Muslim Indian influx into Kashmir. Indian Muslims are poor. They don’t have resources to buy properties in Kashmir. In Kashmir, businesses are not running. Job opportunities are dismal. Any Indian who does not have the state financial and military muscle behind him can’t sustain in a conflict zone like Kashmir. Indian Muslims would never get any such support from the ruling government.” Kashmiris have long-feared such changes in their demography, culture and identity. Shimon Peres, the then-former Foreign Minister of Israel who afterward served as President of Israel, on his visit to India on 18 May, 1993, suggested that “India should not be afraid or hesitate to populate Kashmir with people from all over India. Only a demographic change in Kashmir can help India to claim it. The idea of a Muslim majority state living peacefully with a Hindu majority community is idiotic and this idea is nothing but anathema.”

While the world is busy in finding a way to cope with COVID-19, India has taken the pandemic as an opportunity to further oppress the people of occupied territories. They have also set aside the UN Resolution about the state of Jammu and Kashmir which clearly state that its fate lies in the hands of the people and they should be given their right of self-determination. The information ban and lockdown are extended as cases of Coronavirus increase. But all of these actions carried out and illegal laws being implemented without the consensus of local leaders may result in the eruption of another series of riots just like in the late ’80s.


By Hassan Aziz
Source: One World

RAW, IB targeted Canadian politicians to support Indian interests: report

Source

Islamabad, April 18 (KMS): Indian intelligence agents working for Research & Analysis Wing (RAW) and Intelligence Bureau (IB) attempted to use money and disinformation to covertly influence Canadian politicians and falsely link Pakistan and its diaspora with “terrorism” through well-funded lobbying, according to a highly sensitive government document.

The document shows that Canadian security officials suspected India’s two main intelligence branches had asked an Indian citizen to sway politicians in Canada into supporting Indian government interests, Global News reported. The paper said that the RAW and IB were behind the operation since 2009.

A Canada government official said the government was “concerned when any country shows destabilising behaviour, including interference in other countries’ democratic systems”.

The report claims the Canadian intelligence authorities suspect Indian agencies of trying to use the chief editor of an unnamed Indian publication for this purpose. It adds that the wife and kids of that editor are Canadian nationals and a secret security investigation against him began when he applied to immigrate to Canada.

Details of alleged Indian involvement were first revealed in a Canadian federal court, where Canadian authorities have accused the said editor – referred to as AB in the document seen by Global News – of espionage.

The report claims that the accused Indian national allegedly met Indian intelligence officials more than two dozens times over a period of six years.

“You stated that you were tasked by RAW to covertly influence Canadian government representatives and agencies on behalf of the Indian government,” according to a letter sent to him by an immigration official.

“You stated that you were told to identify random Caucasian politicians and attempt to direct them into supporting issues that impacted India,” the letter continued.

“You stated that the guidance from RAW included that you were to provide financial assistance and propaganda material to politicians in order to exert influence over them.”

One of his tasks was “to convince politicians that funding from Canada was being sent to Pakistan to support terrorism,” according to the letter, dated May 30, 2018.

At least 1.2 million Canadians are of Indian descent. India has always suspected thousands of Sikhs, living in Canada, of supporting Khalistan movement and seeking independence from India.

Allegations made against RAW in a Canadian court are especially embarrassing for India because only in December 2019 a German court sentenced an Indian couple after they admitted to spying on Kashmiri and Sikh freedom groups for the Indian intelligence agency RAW.

Court documents said the couple, named only as Manmohan S and his wife Kanwal Jit K, were paid more than €7,000 (£6,000) for passing on information.

Manmohan S was given an 18-month suspended prison sentence for espionage while his wife received a hefty fine.

The court in Frankfurt was told that Manmohan S, 51, was recruited by RAW in 2015 and asked to spy on Kashmiri freedom groups.

“The accused reported on the internal affairs of the Sikh temples in Cologne and Frankfurt, as well as on protest events in the Sikh community,” a court statement said.

He attended regular meetings with an Indian intelligence officer from July 2017 and was paid €200 a month for the information he provided.

Also in December 2019, it emerged that a global network of pro-India fake websites and think-tanks was established by RAW across Europe aimed at influencing decision-making in Europe in favour of India and to oppose Pakistan.

The co-ordinated network of 265 sites operates across 65 countries, according to a report by EU Disinfo Lab, a Brussels-based NGO. The network was also found to involve groups responsible for anti-Pakistan lobbying events in Europe.

“More than the fake media outlets alone, it is their combination with the fake NGOs that’s really worrying because it provides a mirage of online and grassroots support to a cause. That’s exactly where the disinformation lies,” Alexandre Alaphilippe, executive director of EU Disinfo Lab, said.

Stepped-up violent CASOs add to miseries of IOK people

Source

Srinagar, April 18 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, the stepped-up violent cordon and search operations by Indian troops have added to the miseries and suffering of the people of the territory who are already suffering immensely due to continued lockdown for the last over eight months.

Amid intensification of the restrictions imposed by the occupation authorities to prevent the spread of coronavirus, Indian troops continue their violent operations in different areas of Budgam, Kupwara, Baramulla, Bandipore, Shopian, Kulgam, Pulwama, Islamabad, Kishtwar, Ramban, Rajouri, Poonch, Samba, Kishtwar and Kathua districts. These operations have created an atmosphere of fear, making the life of the people a hell. The residents of these areas told media that Indian forces’ personnel during the operations barge into their houses, harass the inmates and vandalize the household goods.

On the other hand, Indian police have arrested several persons from different areas of the Kashmir Valley on the charges of violating the restrictions imposed to stop spread of coronavirus.

APHC rejects India’s anti-kashmir moves

Source

Srinagar, April 11 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, the All Parties Hurriyat Conference has rejected the anti-Kashmir moves made by the communal Indian government on and after August 5, 2019 to completely annex Kashmir and change its demographic composition.

The APHC in an extraordinary meeting held in Srinagar said that India’s actions were aimed at diluting the historical and geographical status of Jammu and Kashmir, totally merging it in the Indian union and trampling the UN resolutions on Kashmir. However, it said that New Delhi would not be allowed to alter the Muslim majority character of the territory. The meeting deplored that India was playing with the lives of the Kashmiri people even during the coronavirus pandemic and instead of protecting them from the deadly disease, it was continuing with crackdown operations and state terrorism in the territory which was condemnable. The participants of the meeting also prayed for the sound health of the APHC Chairman, Syed Ali Gilani.

On the other hand, taking advantage of strict lockdown imposed to prevent spread of coronavirus pandemic, Modi government has started implementing its nefarious plan of altering the Muslim majority character of the territory. Informed circles told KMS sources that in this regard, the Modi government has brought hundreds of Indian Hindus to Pulwama and stationed them in two higher secondary schools in the name of putting them in quarantine. The sources said that these people would be given domicile certificates of Kashmir and allowed to settle in the territory as its permanent citizens.

A report released by the Research Section of Kashmir Media Service on the completion of 250 days of unrelenting military siege and lockdown in occupied Kashmir, today, revealed that Indian troops martyred 93 Kashmiris including 3 women during the period. The report said that at least 963 people were critically injured due to use of brute forces, firing of bullets, pellets and teargas shells on peaceful demonstrators by Indian military, paramilitary and police personnel in the occupied territory.

Hurriyat leaders, Yasmeen Raja and Advocate Agha Syed Muntazir Mehdi, in their statements issued in Srinagar expressed concern about the well-being of illegally detained Kashmiris languishing in different jails in the wake of coronavirus outbreak, demanding their immediate release.

Indian troops launched a cordon and search operation in Nandimarg area of Damhal Hanjipora in Kulgam district.

Indian police, today, arrested a youth in R S Pura area of Jammu region and labeled him as over-ground worker of mujahideen. The police also arrested over one hundred persons in Srinagar, Bandipora and Handwara areas and seized several vehicles on the charges of defying the restrictions imposed by the authorities to prevent spread of coronavirus pandemic. The civil administration officials in Pulwama told media that the police were not honouring curfew passes issued for the personnel on emergency duty and were assaulting them.

Coronavirus – Don’t Forget the Most Vulnerable, esp. Palestine and Kashmir

By Robert Fantina

Source

Palestine and Kashmir 17199

Much of the world is, understandably, focused on coronavirus, and all its repercussions. The nations where COVID-19 is spreading; social distancing, and its impact on the mental health and well-being of individuals; availability of personal protective devices for medical personnel and masks for everyone are current topics of thought and conversation. And amid all this, one is further distracted by the ravings of the lunatic U.S. president and his many contradictory and unreasonable statements about the disease.

But while the pandemic is getting just about all the world’s publicity, the brutal oppression of vulnerable populations continues; this is in addition to that of the Iranians and the Venezuelans by the U.S., oppression that gets some limited attention. But we are hearing nothing about Palestine and Kashmir, two of the most brutally repressed and cruelly treated peoples in the world.

This writer will attempt to remedy that deficit.

Palestine

In Palestine, things have only gotten worse for the people at the hands of their savage Israeli occupiers. For example, on March 26, Israeli government terrorists stole tents that were to be part of an emergency medical clinic in the West Bank. They ignored a warning from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) that the health-care system in Palestine, severely limited because of Israel’s restrictions on imports, is woefully ill-equipped to handle the coronavirus crisis. Israel has access to the most modern medical technology available, and its theft of these tents was merely another in a long, long list of activities to deprive the Palestinians of their basic human rights.

Additionally, in the past week, IDF soldiers (read: Israeli terrorists) conducted a middle-of-the-night raid in Ramallah, and continued demolishing Palestinian homes throughout the West Bank. They broke into and robbed the home of Fadi Hidmi, the Palestinian minister in charge of affairs of East Jerusalem.

Palestinian workers in Israel who are even suspected of having coronavirus, who are in Israel, are dumped like garbage on the Palestinian side of checkpoints, which in themselves are illegal. They are offered no compassion, let alone any medical assistance.

The total blockade of the Gaza Strip – by air, land, and sea – continues unabated, despite the need for the people there to be prepared for an outbreak of coronavirus.

So within Palestine, the brutality continues, and the world remains silent.

Kashmir

It was in August of 2019 that India, which has ‘administered’ Kashmir for decades, abrogated Article 370, which granted Kashmir some limited autonomy. In conjunction with this decision, 40,000 additional Indian troops were sent into the country. Prior to that addition of those troops, there was approximately 1 Indian ‘security officer’ for every 30 Kashmiris. Few nations on the planet have ever experienced this level of military occupation. Since August, the country has been closed to foreign visitors, including journalists and diplomats. All social media was banned, preventing Kashmiris inside the country from having any contact with anxious and worried friends and relatives outside their borders.

In November, ‘s consul general in New York, Sandeep Chakravorty, proposed following the Israeli model to colonize Kashmir. Said he: “I don’t know why we don’t follow it. It has happened in the Middle East. If the Israeli people can do it, we can also do it.” The issuing by India of the new domicile law paves the way for the Israeli-model to proceed.

Let us consider for a moment a few salient facts that seem to escape the news media:

  • The people of Palestine and Kashmir are as worried and as threatened by coronavirus as are the people in the United States, Canada, France, Argentina and yes, even Israel and India.
  • People suffering from coronavirus will have the same symptoms; the illness has the same lethal potential for Kashmiris and Palestinians as it does for everyone else.
  • Palestinian and Kashmiri people love their parents the same way that the people of every other nation do. They want to protect their elderly parents from the risk of a pandemic, the same as everyone else.
  • Kashmiri and Palestinian parents love their children the same as everyone else. They are desperately worried if they have a child with any kind of respiratory ailment and will do all in their power to protect that child from exposure to coronavirus. If that child or any other loved one is stricken with the illness, the people of Palestine and Kashmir want the best possible treatment for them. This, again, is no different from anyone else in the world.

If we can possibly establish in First World minds that the people whose oppression their governments are financing and otherwise supporting are no different from them, might there be some improvement in their conditions? How difficult would it be for the government of European countries, for example, to issue sanctions against Israel and India? Issuing sanctions can’t be too difficult to do: after all, the U.S. does it all the time!

Could not a resolution be introduced in the United Nations Security Council? Yes, the U.S., with no interest whatsoever in human rights and self-determination, would veto it, but it would certainly bring the topic of oppression to the forefront, and possibly even get it some media attention. And the U.N. General Assembly, not subject to a veto from anyone, could vote on it.

It is impossible to have this discussion without focusing on the United States, the global bully. Around the world, leaders have implored the erratic Trump to drop the sanctions against Iran and Venezuela so those nations can adequately deal with the pandemic within their borders. He has stated that he has no moral responsibility to do so.

World leaders have, at least minimally, condemned the occupation of Palestine and Kashmir. Not the U.S., however.

The U.S. has vetoed several Security Council resolutions condemning Israeli oppression of the Palestinians. Trump has done even worse, proposing a ‘solution’ to the decades-long oppression of the Palestinians that gives Israel everything it wants, and Palestine nothing that it needs. It is no surprise that this ‘deal’ was crafted by his son-in-law and advisor, Jared Kushner, who has substantial real estate holdings in the illegally occupied West Bank.

Regarding the situation in Kashmir, the U.S. has recommended ‘direct dialogue’ between Kashmir and India, perhaps hoping for the same ‘success’ that such ‘dialogue’ between Palestine and Israel has had: continual and ongoing victory for Indian goals at the complete expense of the human rights of the Kashmiri people.

Yes, coronavirus is having a worldwide impact that will be felt for a long time to come. But it isn’t the only unfolding disaster on the planet, despite what corporate-owned media outlets may want us all to believe. They will simply parrot what the government says, showing astonishment at the more ridiculous statements that emanate from the White House, but generally avoiding the less ‘fashionable’ topics such as shocking human rights violations.

In these times, and at all times, Palestine and Kashmir must not be forgotten.

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