Justice is the basic building block for sustainable peace in the society and backbone of freedom. One of the basic responsibilities of the United Nations being the principal organization is to support and assist the countries in addressing the human right violation and ensure providing justice for the victims. The people of Kashmir are bearing the human rights violation in the hands of Indian security forces who are occupying the region depriving Kashmiris of their basic right to freedom. Indian forces have been continuously using brute force against the unarmed civilians, through extra-judicial killings in fake “encounters” and staged “cordon-and-search” operations, custodial torture and imposition of collective punishment.
Despite the clear violation of human rights, India is the largest violator of Human Rights. From Kashmir to mainland India, minorities’ rights were violated under the patronage of the Indian state. On 11 June 1991, Indian occupied forces opened indiscriminate fire and killed 32 innocent Kashmiris including women and children, the incident is one of the bloodiest massacres in the occupied territory. The year 2022 is the 31st year since the Chotta Bazaar Massacre in Srinagar and the families of the victims are waiting for justice.
Understanding the matter better
On August 5, 2018, Indian authorities revoked the state’s constitutional status, but Human Rights Watch argues that one year later, the Muslim majority in Jammu and Kashmir is still subjected to arbitrary and severe restrictions. Government restrictions on free expression, open information, health care, and education have become even more draconian after the Covid-19 outbreak. To prevent “violent protests” in reaction to last year’s vote on constitutional autonomy, the government would restrict travel for two days beginning August 3, 2020.
People in Jammu and Kashmir were severely restricted in their freedom of movement after the Indian government removed Jammu and Kashmir’s constitutional autonomy and divided it into two federally governed territories. The Indian government also put thousands of people in jail in the event of a disturbance. Some limitations were loosened over time by the government, but hundreds of individuals remain imprisoned without being convicted, its critics face jail time, and internet access remains restricted.
Indian paramilitary CRPF troops on a false pretext of a clash with unknown attackers in Srinagar went berserk and opened indiscriminate firing with their automatic weapons in the densely populated downtown area of Chotta Bazaar. The indiscriminate firing by the forces’ personnel took a massive toll on 32 lives of innocent civilians. Around 22 persons were also critically injured in the incident. The bullets hit shopkeepers, passersby, a 75-year-old woman and a child of ten years of age.
The High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has also in its reports of 2018 and 2019 recommended the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry (COI) to investigate gross and systematic human rights violations in IIOJK. However, Indian forces continued with their use of force to suppress the people of Kashmir. However, these atrocities cannot break the will of the Kashmiri people in their just struggle for the inalienable right to self-determination as enshrined in the relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolutions.
What is the way forward?
India disrespects International law and international norms and becomes a threat to regional peace. According to the UN resolution, Kashmir is a declared disputed territory that is occupied by India by force against the will of the people. Moreover, the Indian unilateral action of changing the autonomous status of Kashmir has further threatened regional peace and stability. To hold the hegemony in the region India has been violating the human right of minorities and become an apartheid state where human rights and equality have become a distant idea.
The western powers, which often claim to be the champions of human rights, have failed to hold India accountable for its bad human rights record because of their vested interests. International organizations have moral obligations to play their role in providing the Kashmiris with their right of self-determination. Today marks the 31st year and families of the victims of the Chota Bazar Massacre of 11 June 1991 are waiting for justice.
Michelle Bachelet, the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, has expressed her concern over human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir on several occasions. In order to protect human rights, Human Rights Watch urged Indian officials to immediately release political prisoners, protect the right to free speech by dropping cases against journalists and activists, give everyone full access to the internet, and hold officials accountable for rights violations. When it comes to discrimination against Kashmiri Muslims, “the Indian government continues mistreating them,” Ganguly remarked. People who have had their civil liberties abused by the government ought to be compensated, according to the author.
The author holds an M.Phil from National Defence University and freelance writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.