For the past many decades, India has grossly violated the human rights of ethnic minorities not only in India’s illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) but also throughout its territory. Whether, it is the Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, or Dalits, the Hindutva mindset is poised to the cleansing of all non-Hindu communities not only through policy measures but also with the use of force. Almost two decades ago, on the evening of 20th March 2000, 15–17 unidentified gunmen, dressed in Indian army uniform, entered the village of Chattisingpora and ordered all the Sikh men and boys to assemble at the village Gurdwara, and systematically shot and killed 35 men and children.
India blamed Lashkar-e-Taiba, but the witness of the incident revealed the Indian Forces’ plan behind the attack. Such incidents highlight that India is not a safe place for minorities and justice is denied to minorities as two decades have passed to Chattisingpora Massacres, the Sikh community still waits for justice. The international community must take notice of blatant Indian human rights abuses and fulfill promises made to the people of Kashmir through various UNSC resolutions.
Understanding the matter better
A Series of incidents are associated with India’s bigotry attitude towards minorities, especially Kashmiri Muslims. More than three decades have passed the genocide of Kashmiris at Zakoora crossing and Tengpora bypass in Srinagar by Indian Forces. On 1st March 1990, Indian Security Forces committed twin massacres in a day leaving 26 dead in Zakoora and 21 at Tengpora Bypass. It occurred when peaceful protesters were on their way towards the office of the United Nations Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) to submit a memorandum-seeking resolution of the Kashmir dispute. Likewise, the Indian Army targeted two buses near Tengpora Bypass. Such incidents depict the indifference of the Indian Army pertaining human rights of the Kashmiri people.
Primarily India’s Kashmir policy remained consistent throughout history. However, under the banner of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), the Hindu nationalists did more ruthless killings and indulge in systematic genocide. Historically, starting from Kashmir, the Indian government practically rejected the 1947 division formula when it annexed Jammu and Kashmir on 27 October 1947. As per the partition formula, princely states were given the choice to either join Pakistan, India or remain independent.
Kashmiri population and their genuine leadership, for instance, Sardar Muhammad Ibrahim Khan, wanted to accede to Pakistan given existing religious, cultural, economic, and geographical proximities. However, India forcibly occupied Jammu and Kashmir on the pretext of an illogical instrument of accession signed by Hindu Maharaja Hari Singh with the government of India. To check the unlawful intervention and advance of the Indian army, Pakistan also moved troops to Kashmir and liberated a vast area now known as Azad Kashmir.
The United Nations Security Council passed resolutions in 1948/1949, which asked for holding a free and fair plebiscite under its supervision to enable people of Jammu and Kashmir to decide their future by utilizing the right to self-determination. However, India refuses to accept the right of self-determination of Kashmiris that was given to them according to UNSC.
If we look at history, a series of massacres occurred in IIOJK in the last several decades
A report by Asia Watch and Physicians for Human Rights highlighted that Indian soldiers committed rapes frequently in Kashmir, so rapes were used as a weapon of war, but, disproportionately, most of them targeted Kashmiri Muslim women. Since 2016, pellet guns which were termed as “non-lethal weapons” have been in use by Indian forces against the unarmed Kashmiri youth. The brutalities against hapless Kashmiris had reached such a level that even the world bodies and international communities were forced to take notice.
On Aug 5, 2019, Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) not only abrogated Article 370, under which the local legislature could make its laws except in finance, defense, foreign affairs, and communications, but it also revoked Article 35A, which empowered the legislative assembly to define permanent residents and offer them special privileges such as exclusive land rights. Modi also split the three different divisions of the erstwhile state Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh into two union territories. While a state has its government and powers to pass laws, union territories are much smaller administrative units ruled by an appointee of the central government.
These changes were welcomed by Indians who saw Kashmir as an integral part of India and felt they must be given equal treatment. The Kashmiris, however, saw it as a threat to change the demographics of the valley from Muslim-majority to non-Kashmiri and non-Muslim. Knowing well that this decision will invoke a severe reaction from the people of Kashmir, the Modi government rushed 180,000 fresh troops to Kashmir. These troops were in addition to 700,000 troops already stationed there. Curfew was imposed and a complete blackout of all sorts of communication was enforced which continued after the lapse of 6 months and later continued the pretext of Covid-19.
India was committing massive human rights violations in illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, where innocent civilians were facing the oppression of the Hindutva mindset. With the phenomenal rise of the RSS-led fascist movement in India and the consolidation of political power by the RSS-affiliated BJP, Kashmiri Muslims have been pushed to the corner. India’s state-sponsored militias are state agents and therefore must abide by international human rights and humanitarian law on the issue of IIOJK.
The way forward
The international community to take cognizance of the dire situation in India’s illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir. The resolution of the lingering dispute is important for regional peace and security. RSS/BJP has embarked on an arduous journey to make India a Hindu Rashtra where Hindus will be superior and non-Hindus will have no place; its practical reflection can be seen in today’s India. India is the largest violator of Human Rights. From Kashmir to mainland India, minorities’ rights were violated under the patronage of the Indian state.
India disrespects international law and international norms and becomes a threat to regional peace. India acts irrationally on the global stage and uses disinformation to hide its heinous crimes. Keeping in view the above situation, the Amnesty International on 21 November 2021, has exposed the human rights violations in Indian occupied Kashmir. after all these atrocities the world has a role to play to make India responsible for human rights violations in Kashmir.
UN has responded less not only to take notice but also to address the human rights violation in Kashmir. Regional organizations like the European Union which are founded on the premises of human rights norms have to come forward to take notice of the human rights violation in Indian held Kashmir. Last but not the least, OIC’s objective is to protect the Muslims around the globe, they should also respond to the said issue urgently.
The writer is an Islamabad-based analyst 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.