Reportedly, Indian forces on Tuesday killed 13 Kashmiris in IOK in fake encounters and the so-called anti-infiltration operations. Pakistan, while condemning these extra-judicial killings, has again urged the international community to take immediate action to dissuade India from committing such heinous crimes against the people of IOK, who are struggling for their right of self-determination for the last 73 years.

Taking advantage of the focus of the world community on fighting the deadly coronavirus, Indian security forces continue with the killing spree in Indian Occupied Kashmir, which is under complete lockdown since August 5, when the Modi government repealed Articles 370 and 35 A of the Indian constitution and then followed it with formal annexation of the state through the Promulgation of The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act 2019.

During the last 3 months (February 26 to May 26) 61 Kashmiris have been martyred. The Indian security forces are even refusing to hand over the dead bodies of the martyrs to their relatives and are burying them secretly in army-managed graveyards. There is great resentment among the people of Kashmir against the oppression being perpetrated on them and the Indian authorities being aware of this fact probably fear that if they hand over the bodies to their relatives, a great majority of people are going to participate in their funerals and protest against their inhuman acts. That is the typical reaction of the guilty conscience. It is also a blatant violation of the international laws and norms of humanitarian behaviour. But who cares? Those who can play a role in ending the Indian oppression in Kashmir by having the dispute resolved amicably through the implementation of UN resolutions, including the UN, are showing criminal indifference to the plight of the Kashmiris. Regrettably Kashmir continues to bleed.

Thanks to the international media which has not only been continuously highlighting the Indian atrocities in IOK but has also refused to buy the Indian narrative with regards to the repeal of Article 370 of the constitution and the promulgation of the Reorganisation Act.

India has been indulging in killing and torturing the people of IOK with impunity ever since their launch of the freedom movement in 1989. Human Rights Organisations like Amnesty International as well other entities have been regularly documenting the violations of human rights in the valley and the loss of lives at the hands of the Indian security forces which depict a harrowing scenario. According to these accounts total killings since January 1989 to March 31, 2020 stand at 95515, custodial killings at 7139, civilians arrested at 159450, structures destroyed at 109462, women widowed at 22,192, children orphaned 107784 and women gang-raped at 11179.

The fact of the matter is that the people of Kashmir like the people of Palestine are the victims of the criminal apathy of the world powers and their allies, premised on protecting and promoting their strategic and commercial interests. Humanity has no place in the policies pursued by them. Even the UN is helpless in having myriad of its resolutions implemented. This posturing by the so-called civilised world has not only encouraged India to continue its killing spree in IOK as well as its illegal annexation but also in adopting a belligerent posture towards Pakistan, more so since Modi has become Prime Minister of India.

Reportedly, during the first five months of the current year India has committed 957 ceasefire violations and targeted innocent civilians in Azad Jammu and Kashmir while the tally stood at 3000 during 2019. India also resorted to naked aggression against Pakistan on February 26, 2019 when it sent its planes to bomb a non-existent camp of terrorists at Balakot and had two of its planes downed by the Pakistan Air Force besides the capture of one pilot. Pakistan not only released the pilot soon after but also showed remarkable restraint to avoid a military confrontation between the two nuclear states.

The alarming aspect of the permeating situation is that India was neither willing to abandon its aggressive posture towards Pakistan nor amenable to rescinding her actions in IOK to pave the way for resolution of the dispute. The proponents of the RSS ideology of Hindutva like Hitler are bent upon jeopardising peace and security of the region and re-enact the cataclysmic events of the Nazi era. Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan has been warning the world about the likely repercussion of the Hindutva ideology for the region and beyond.

The powers that be need to wake up to the ground realities in this region, particularly the situation in IOK which is a potential nuclear flash point. Any confrontation between the two nuclear neighbours besides the likelihood of mutual destruction would also undermine their strategic and commercial interests in the region. They and the UN need to act before the situation becomes unmanageable.

India must also understand that any aggression against Pakistan will be given a matching response as was done on February 26, 2019. It has the capability and the will to defend its territorial integrity and any threat to its security. However, it does not want military confrontation with India and desires peaceful settlement of all disputes between the two countries including Kashmir as per the resolutions of the UNSC. Peaceful co-existence is imperative for both of them to overcome their respective economic and social challenges and nudging an era of shared economic prosperity. Freedom movements cannot be subdued through the barrel of the gun and brutalisation of the population. Such actions have a boomerang effect as they lead to strengthening of the resolve of the oppressed people to fight it out. This is amply proven by the freedom movement of the Kashmiris since 1989 and their and their continued resistance against Indian occupation.

Malik Muhammad Ashraf

The writer is a freelance