True Warfare is based on deception. The world has been in denial for over four decades as the mystery unfolds, depicting the most horrifying brutality under the radar. Located in the deep gorges surrounded by mountains and rivers, lies the world’s largest unofficial prison in South Asia. Kashmir. Neither by the Red Sea, River Nile, the Alps or the Gulf of Hurmuz. Not Arizona or Iceland, Mongolia or Prague. It is in Asia — the bridge between India and Pakistan and the flashpoint of a larger, more dangerous war between the two nuclear-armed nations.
The beauty of deception has kept this oldest prison hidden from human eyes, like an island in the middle of the desert. The island of souls — a death valley for those, who seek to venture into it, to catch a glimpse of the blood wars. Kashmir— the house of pain. Speaking of a thousand tales of agony, misery and turmoil for the people who live there. The first-hand witnesses to the horror that has carried on there. Everyday.
On August 5, 2019, Narendra Modi and his BJP government abrogated Article 370 by annexing Jammu and Kashmir. This illegal act was preceded by a complete military crackdown which is marked as one of the bloodiest in history, with hundreds of Kashmiri politicians from various political parties placed under house arrest and later forcibly jailed.
A complete blackout has so far engulfed the area, with a curfew that has continued endlessly. Mobile phones, internet services, television networks and landlines have been cut off and there is a developing food and water crisis inside Jammu and Kashmir.
Article 370 & 35A: timing of abrogation
Simple — The “Might is Right” policy of the BJP in India is to use forced measures by creating chaos and mayhem for the Muslims of Kashmir. The BJP has long advocated repeal of Article 370 and 35A of the constitution as part of its election strategy, to try and take illegal control of the region through complete and full integration of the State of Kashmir.
They have taken the action to ensure removal of the state subject rule, allowing non-Kashmiris (hardliner Indians) to move to Kashmir and gain residence and voting rights. This will dilute the Muslim majority of the only Indian state with a Muslim majority. Many feel today that India took this stance after the US Presidents statement on mediation between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir dispute. This has triggered panic within the Indian Government ranks, who stand exposed on an international level as the people behind the atrocities in Kashmir.
#Imrankhan's peace gestures toward #India were summarily rejected by #Modi who responded by revoking article 370 in #Kashmir despite #China's protests, he's finally reaping the whirlwind, he's ignited a war on two fronts, that he can ill afford. #Pakistanhttps://t.co/VxGdv27J27
— Kashmir RG (@MaqboolButt5) June 12, 2020
On ground situation inside Kashmir
Kashmir is under a complete blackout for the past two weeks and over 35,000 extra armed forces have been allegedly thrust upon the civilian population on an emergency basis. Official estimates place this number to be much higher, exceeding over 150,000 parliamentary troops, in addition to the 700,000-900,000 armed forces already deployed there.
Read more: Challenging Times for Kashmir
The people and the Leadership of Kashmir, now held there as virtual prisoners of war, have rejected India’s illegal occupation of Kashmir under UN resolutions and to prevent it from breaking down the entire state. Major violations inside Kashmir have escalated an “inside war” as resistance by the Kashmiris continues against the brutal military crackdown.
Impact of COVID-19 on Kashmir
As COVID- 19 hits us like the plague, we forget very easily the real extent of the pain and suffering of the people of Jammu & Kashmir who have literally suffered a virtual lockdown way before the world understood the meaning of a ‘life under quarantine’. Majority of the people of Kashmir have not been given any health care or relief from COVID-19, not any chance of breathing under a free sky — a sacrilege as far as human rights are concerned.
The world felt it much later, as the global community today is engulfed in this plague-like virus reaching us everywhere in the world. We continue to live through this Pandemic through broken systems, bad healthcare, unemployment, displacements, disasters and population crisis.
Read more: ‘Kashmir an international issue’ say UK MPs
Our lives carry on fearlessly, somewhere out there, the trauma reigns & the stigma remains. The Valley of Death speaks of the injury of an entire forgotten population of Kashmir — a race reduced to oblivion. There is a likely possibility of short–term violent reactions, followed by a higher degree of violent suppression, followed by a long-term period of violence and repression, ranging from low to high intensity.
A serious possibility of long term insurgency remains active as Kashmiri freedom fighters rise up to defend the motherland against subversive terrorist activity by the Indian troops, pouring inside disputed territory while seeking reasons for an imposed war against Pakistan.
The boiling regional conflict
Pakistan has limited options to counter the latest act of brutality from within and outside India, breaking all previous peace agreements. Despite drumming up global condemnation, very little impact has been observed. The international outcry is blatantly ignored by India as it continues to blame Pakistan aiming for a limited conflict, besides creating other battlefronts.
In years, if not months, maybe even decades, Kashmir will become a forgotten tragedy like the Gaza Strip or the West Bank, maybe even Syria. Unless, the powers that be, truly recognize the tragic intensity of bloodshed inside Kashmir; freedom and peace will continue to be a distant dream in this region.
On the Modi front, some people believe that he has won the war on Kashmir. With Israel backing up the right-wing Hindus and Modi, supplying them with nuclear arms, banned elsewhere in the world, their plan is to repeat another Palestine, within this region. The insurgency in Kashmir is likely to help win Modi’s reelection using sentimentalism and populist anti-Muslim movement to bring in the votes.
The radicalization of Bharat has been on the cards for Modi’s government for decades and his hatred for Muslims has clearly surfaced once again.
Read more: Resolve Kashmir issue before it is too late
In wake of a staged counter-terrorist activity, Modi is likely to push the common people in Kashmiri villages and towns, escalating tensions, by moving enclaves closer to Pakistani borders. With massive refugees impacting the LOC, it will put pressure on Pakistan to let those refugees cross borders into the country. Something similar happened in Palestine, as we witnessed a huge refugee turnout into neighbouring countries.
Modi is already working on amendments in the Indian constitution Section 35-A, which basically binds us to the principle of Kashmir for Kashmiris. If he succeeds, this will take Kashmir out of the hands of the Kashmiris and into the hands of Hindus realizing the dangerous dream for a Greater India.
Repealing Article 370 and Article 35 A by the Modi government was the beginning of the territorial battle between the two war entrenched nations. For the simple reason that Kashmir would cease to be an independent state. This act further diminishes the hope to end the crisis pushing Kashmir into chaos. Kashmiris are left without jobs, freedom of right, justice, public safety and basic health care. They don’t have the freedom to teach and be taught or buy property at their will. They cannot vote independently or practice their faith as Muslims.
Pakistan has always backed up Kashmir, supporting its right to independence. India on the other hand, has conspired to break Kashmir, using illegal force of troops, inspired by the Israeli Occupation of Palestine. What Israel did in Myanmar, by supplying them with weapons to ensure perpetual genocide on Muslim minorities, is what India intends to in Kashmir.
India’s plan: how should Pakistan respond?
Dangerously difficult consequences for Pakistan may result in the case of another 3.4 million refugees, pouring into the already burdened nation. Provinces especially Punjab and FATA will suffer more due to closer border ties and language. Like Palestine refugees living in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria for many years and the Afghans living in Pakistan for over 40 years, nothing will come out of this situation except the weakening of Pakistan as a state and as a nation stemming out of crisis right now under the rightful leadership.
Right now, the government of Pakistan must take into notice the India-Israel nexus and must let the OIC and UN to arbitrate in the matter.
India intends to cripple Pakistan through this constitutional master plan to rob the Kashmiris of their lands and freedom — leading to ‘negative migration’ inside Pakistan. Secondly, India is intentionally planning borderline water reservoirs and dams across borderline territories to block water for Pakistan, eventually leading to a bigger more dangerous ‘water-wars’ in the second phase. Pakistan is already hosting hordes of migrants and remains under pressure to safeguard livelihoods.
Kashmir: end game
Coming back to Kashmir, the region has been under a virtual-shutdown for the last 25 years, while few Muslim states have challenged this norm, while they openly talk about taking action in Kabul, Rangoon, Benghazi, Khartoum, Aleppo, Beirut or Karachi. Could it be a media blackout in Kashmir? Is the State responsible for the perpetual use of force? Is the UNSC ignorant or looking away? Is India responsible for massacres in Kashmir? The answer is a simple and evident: YES!
Life is turbulent for the Kashmiris with people under house arrest, open street killings by Indian soldiers, Mosques being destroyed, schools bulldozed down, roads and bridges blocked and tourists being forced out of the region by India Militia. Muslims of Kashmir are peace-loving people being forced to retaliate in the face of tyrants, the fascist government of brutal India.
All state media has been blocked by Indian forces, with armies occupying main streets and bazaars, killing at will. Indian government has authorised more armed forces into Kashmir despite strong worldwide criticism. Indian occupying forces have armies standing inside cities, outside pathways, next to hospitals and next to colleges and schools — raging extreme fear and anxiety in the lives of the subjugated populations that demand justice and their only hope is God and resilience.
There must be a writ, law and legal protection for the rights of the people who have lived and breathed war for decades, as prisoners on their own land. Weekends of bloodshed are evident as the world watches in silence as civilian casualties are under-reported or practically barred from public eye. The UN stands feeble and confused on the basic issue of the “Rights of Life” in Kashmir.
Kashmir, a lonely place seeking world attention
Kashmir is a lonely nation today. Painful to see today is the presence of war, but more than that, it is the absence of justice, as war crimes continue to be reported globally and documented every day. The global policymakers tend to look the other way as people suffer torture, executions, assassinations, incarceration and death by dishonour. This is an imminent threat to all Muslim communities worldwide, if we do not stand up for Kashmir today.
Member nations of UNSC have done little to address this biggest single tragic event of war and the International Criminal Court (ICC) must also justify its existence as a legitimate action body. Pakistan needs to access other powerful Muslim nations to unite against India and Israel on the Kashmir issue. China must support Pakistan to take this further to UNSC for decisive action. President Trump is another key ally who has the capability and power to force India to back off from a possible escalation with Pakistan.
Kashmir today, is an endless blood war. Rampant killings, rapes, murders and sexual assault and discrimination — as innocent women and children are suppressed by the barrel of the gun as occupying forces from India continue to block media and refuse entry to Muslims from other countries raising the bar on barbaric cruelty and injustice.
Read more: A pressure cooker situation in Kashmir
How should the world respond?
It is time to end the politics of sensationalism and sit down on the table for a purposeful solution for a free Kashmir-without vested interests and proxy wars. Billions of dollars are being spent to attack an innocent society through forced armed conflict, while little children continue to be raised under the cloud of war. In a free world, citizens are not treated as prisoners being tortured inside their own homes.
As food emergencies, water crisis, lawlessness, corruption, nepotism, gang wars, protests, judicial killings and a full-blown war carry on around the world without any limits, the UNSC must ask America to seize its arms supply to India and stop Israel from conducting terror attacks inside Kashmir using India.
It is a cry for help — a plea to the world. The people of Kashmir are tired, injured and even dying from the bullets. They may be homeless today but are not hopeless. India must be stopped and held to task, exposed and forced to end its illegal occupation inside Kashmir.
The bloodshedding in Kashmir must end.
Zeeshan Shah, Director at Children Nature Network Asia, writes on Global Affairs, Climate Change, Governance and Public Policy. Zeeshan is an Environmental Journalist & Change Maker, with over 20 years of expertise in Media, Education and Banking sectors. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.