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Indian political leader defends beating Kashmiris


News Analysis |

A hardline Hindu group in India has justified increased violence used against Kashmiris across the country.

Earlier, two Kashmiri street vendors in Lucknow was harassed and beaten up by men in saffron for just being Kashmiris; the latest act of inhumane attitude of Indians towards Kashmiris after series of atrocities committed post-Pulwama attack including expulsion of Kashmiri students from Indian universities to looting and bashing small businesses runners.

The president of the right-wing Vishwa Hindu Dal (VHD) Mr. Ambuj Nigam told an international newspaper that members of his group have publically beaten up two young Kashmiri street vendors to teach them a lesson.

The situation in India is alarming since Mr. Ambuj Nigam said he had ordered his 50,000 members across India to “keep an eye on Kashmiris” to check if they are engaged in “illegal acts”.

“Yes, my workers beat them. After the attack on our army men with the help of Kashmiri jihadis, there is anger among the public,” said the group’s president… He was referring to a recent attack on Indian soldiers carried out by a 20 years old Kashmiri in Pulwama. The attack claimed the lives of more than 40 Indian security personnel. Although India has blamed Pakistan for allegedly protecting terror groups who target the Indian army yet several reports and analysts maintain that the attack was the demonstration of indigenous freedom movement led by Kashmiri youth.

The President of VHD also commented on what is going on the valley of Kashmir. “The Kashmiris pelt stones at our soldiers and wave the Pakistani flag. Why should we tolerate that?” he questioned.

The European Parliament, International Media, and the United Nations have expressed severe reservations over the gross violations of human rights in Kashmir.

Read more: Mobs attacking innocent Kashmiris in India out of anger

On Feb 20th, the EU parliament took an exception after Pakistan’s successful diplomatic efforts and discussed at length what is going on in Kashmir. The discussion focused on the June 2018 report of the United Nations’ Office of High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) on Kashmir. Christine Chung, one of the authors of the report was invited to the event by the sub-committee.

It is worth noting here that the OHCHR issued its first-ever report on the situation in Kashmir June 14, 2018. The report highlights the protests after the martyrdom of Burhan Wani in 2016 and the brutal use of pellet guns against protesters among other human rights violations in Indian-held Kashmir. The report noted that Indian armed forces not only use force indiscriminately but also rape and humiliate Kashmiri women. A member of the European Parliament also called on India “to end violence against women & children in IOK. Voices of Kashmiri women & children must be heard.”

The situation in India is alarming since Mr. Ambuj Nigam said he had ordered his 50,000 members across India to “keep an eye on Kashmiris” to check if they are engaged in “illegal acts”. Many Kashmiri students who are enrolled in various universities in India have already left the megacities after they were subject to torture and mob violence.

Like the young man who blew himself up to target Indian forces in Pulwama youths being tortured and publically humiliated are likely to join the hands of freedom fighters to demand an end to oppression and humiliation.

Since the electoral win of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the country has been undergoing massive socio-political change and moving towards an extremist Hindu state. Media reports suggest that freedom is under threat in India where secular values are being replaced with extremist Hindu ideology and religious minorities enjoy little space to practice their religious teachings.

Muslims are the most vulnerable target of the extremists in India who offer them two options; become Hindu or leave the country. “First, a campaign was launched to convert religious minorities to Hinduism. The right-wing groups called it ‘home-coming.’ Now, they are demanding bans on certain books and beef eating. Those who don’t listen to these groups are being targeted every now and then,” Rakesh Batabyal, an associate professor at the Centre for Media Studies in New Delhi, told an international media outlet.

Read more: Kashmiris all over India fear for their lives after Pulwama attack

Political analysts believe that the current wave of extremism against Kashmiris in India is going to be counterproductive since it will intensify the freedom movement in the valley. Like the young man who blew himself up to target Indian forces in Pulwama youths being tortured and publically humiliated are likely to join the hands of freedom fighters to demand an end to oppression and humiliation.

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