“Agar Firdous bar ru-e-zaminast,

Hamiast o, hamiast o, hamiast.”

If there is heaven on earth/

it is here; it is here; it is here.

–Jahangir on Kashmir

Still known for its tranquil landscape, India has turned the valley of Kashmir into the most heavily militarised zone in the world.

Partition of India left a deep wound in the subcontinent in the shape of Kashmir. While the state of Kashmir had the choice to go with either Pakistan or India, Maharaja Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession in India thus ceded Kashmir to India on October 26, 1947, caring little for the wishes of the majority who did not want Indian rule. Since then till this day Kashmir is the main bone of contention between India and Pakistan. Both countries have fought three wars over Kashmir. The valley is divided as Islamabad and New Delhi control different areas of the valley.

While Kashmiris insist on their right to self-determination, India from the day first is keen on subjugating the Kashmiris. The story of Kashmir is no different than that of Palestine when it comes to the suffering of the inhabitants of these lands. The Kashmiris are subject to a regime of torture and humiliation. The Indian forces violate the fundamental rights of Kashmiris with impunity as they are provided with legal protections from the Indian courts.

While time and again the United Nations (UN) has urged New Delhi to respect the wishes of Kashmiris and their inalienable right to self-determination, India has turned the paradise on earth in a killing field. The recently published UN report on Indian abuses of human rights is a testimony to it.