In a letter to the United Nations Secretary-General, the Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari apprised the conviction of Yasin Malik and the sentencing for life imprisonment as a disregard of international legal obligations on human rights. Disregarding of human rights of the Kashmir population by the Modi regime is a recognized fact by the international community.
In two consecutive reports to the United Nations for the years 2019 and 2020, the special rapporteurs and experts to the United Nations Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council urged the international community to ‘step up’ over the ‘alarming’ human insecurity and the ‘free fall’ situation of human rights in Jammu and Kashmir since the BJP government revoked the Jammu and Kashmir special status on August 5, 2019. Following the unilateral annexation of the Jammu and Kashmir, though it remains a disputed territory as per the United Nations Resolution of April 1948 until an UN-supervised plebiscite is held, Kashmiris have been subjected to gross human rights violations.
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India continues to commit atrocities
The multiple kinds of violence include extrajudicial killings during the peaceful protests which the Indian government covers up in the name of encounter killings; the information, communication, and expression crackdowns through internet shutdown; arbitrary detentions of thousands of protestors, the political leadership most prominently arrest of the former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti- and the journalists; and torture; and much more.
The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) has been extensively used by the BJP government to unquestionably legalize the Kashmiri genocide, which is in violation of the provisions of Human Rights Law, International Humanitarian Law, and particularly the fourth Geneva Convention. Five months since the August 5 lockdown, the Indian authorities confessed of having about 400 people in custody yet after the release of thousands of others; and detention and concentration in de-radicalization camps of more than 144 children under the extensive utilization of the ‘Public Safety Act’ by the BJP government.
The freedom of expression of the peaceful critics has been criminalized in the name of national security under counter-terrorism and brutal sedition laws. In June 2020, the detention cases of prominent journalists including Gowher Gillani, Peerzada Ashiq, and Masrat Zahra for uploading anti-national social media posts have been taken on UN forums in a call to preserve human security in Jammu and Kashmir.
In a petition to the Jammu and Kashmir Governor, Satya Pal Malik, against the communication and expression censorship; Amnesty International has expressed concerns over curtailed freedom of expression and strict state-controlled flow of information from the Indian-governed Kashmir. Moreover, the agency launched a ‘Let Kashmir Speak‘ campaign to restore the civil and political liberties of about 8 million people.
The deteriorating state of democratic norms in India manifested in the plight of Kashmiris has been voiced by Aaker Patel, the head of Amnesty International India as tantamount to ushering into the dark ages of the region. The BJP-led Hindu right-wing has initiated demographic engineering of the Jammu and Kashmir in compliance with the Hindutva proposed Hindu majoritarian state of Kashmir as the only solution for the territorial integrity of the disputed land to Hindu Rashtra.
Carrying out the agenda of Hindu settler colonialism, the BJP government passed the residency law for Kashmir under the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Order 2020, and the Grant of Domicile Certificate Rules 2020 that permits residency rights along with government services to Indian citizens and non-Kashmiri residents. According to Saiba Varma, an expert on Medical and Cultural Anthropology at the University of California, the BJP-led state intervention in Jammu and Kashmir is a move to wipe out the distinctive cultural identity of the Kashmiris and is forceful assimilation of Kashmir’s Muslim population into the Hindu-Indian polity.
In over a period of a month only, about 40,000 individuals had been issued domicile certificates, as told by an Indian official Pawan Kotwal. BJP seems to be in haste with regard to its Kashmir policy. In September 2020, more than 16.79 domicile certificates had been issued to non-Kashmiris as per reports by the Jammu and Kashmir administration and the India minister of home affairs, G. Kishan Reddy to the Lok Sabha.
The Hindu nationalist government is responsible for the systemic sexual violence and abuse in Kashmir
The Delhi-based historian Irfan Habib terms it a hate-filled communal act by the conservative Hindu party aimed at taking revenge for all that happened almost 500 years back under the Muslim rule in the subcontinent, irrespective of the reality that almost half of this history narrated is based on just lies. Though misogynist remarks by the BJP leaders are a political trend in Indian politics, in the case of Kashmir they are a humiliating reality.
After the article 370 revoking move, a BJP lawmaker Vikram Saini came into the spotlight for ensuring the BJP bachelors the availability of white-skinned Kashmiri brides. Indian Law enforcement officials have a recognized record of rape crimes. In January 2018, 8 years old girl was repeatedly gang-raped by six Hindus including police officers, in a Hindu temple in the Kathhua district of Jammu and Kashmir. The investigations revealed a BJP government revenue officer Sanji Ram as the man who plotted the crime.
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Hence, the tale of violence, ethnic cleansing, cultural and demographic engineering, and sexual abuse in Jammu and Kashmir is not new, as the Prime Minister of Pakistan in his address to the United Nations General Assembly in 2019, while quoting the figures, said that almost 100,000 Kashmiris have lost their lives in part thirty years, and around 11,000 women were subjected to a brutal rape. But it has definitely intensified in degree and frequency since the BJP came into government in 2014.
The writer is working as a Research Officer at the Strategic Vision Institute (SVI), a non-partisan think-tank based out of Islamabad, Pakistan. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space