The All Party Parliamentarian Group of the UK Parliament comprising more than 70 parliamentarians from the House of Commons and House of Lords in a report presented in the British parliament on Tuesday, regarding Indian brutalities and human rights violations in the Indian Held Kashmir (IHK), has condemned the Indian government for using excessive force against people of the valley. The report presented by Labour MP Chris Leslie highlighting the fact that the Indian government refused to allow independent observers from Britain to enter IHK observed: “Repeated requests notwithstanding no representative of either Indian central government or the J &K state government has agreed to give evidence verbally or in writing.”
The group has made a number of recommendations to rectify the situation including the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) 1990 by India enabling prosecution of armed forces and security personnel through the civilian judicial system; amending of Public Safety Act 1978 by the J&K government curtailing administrative detention powers in line with the international legal principles. The report also demands initiation of a comprehensive public investigation into the identities of bodies in unmarked mass graves with an independent forensic verification process; providing full freedom of information mechanism by India for the families of suspected victims of enforced disappearances. Moreover, the document is asking the Indian government to impose an immediate ban on the use of pellet guns. The report also insists that the J&K government open its prisons to international inspection.
The report is nothing but an indictment of the Indian government for human right abuses in IHK and ruthless killings of the Kashmiri freedom fighters. The recommendations of the group provide a deep insight into what the Indian security forces have been doing in IHK to quell the uprising and their blatant violation of the human rights. In June this year, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in its report had also pointed out similar facts about the situation in the Indian occupied Kashmir.
It is pertinent to point out that India has banned the entry of the foreign media into IHK and it is also not allowing any international observer to visit the area beside blocking internet services in the valley to conceal her ugly face and the inhuman treatment being meted out to the people of Kashmir. But despite her best efforts to do so, human rights organisations within India and international human rights organisations like Amnesty International have been compiling regular reports on the brutal killings in IHK by the Indian security forces and the violation of human rights. The pictures and images of the Indian security forces committing horrendous human rights violations are regularly getting out for the international community to watch.
Amnesty International in its report while enumerating thousands of killings and rape of thousands of women by the personnel of the Indian security forces since 1989 had also demanded the repeal of AFSPA. Since the beginning of the new wave of freedom struggle in the wake of the murder of Burhan Wani in 2016 which continues unabated, the Indian security forces reportedly have killed 755 Kashmiris, raped 903 women, maimed and injured thousands of them through use of pellet guns and destroyed 3002 structures and buildings. During September alone 42 Kashmiris were martyred.
The continued killing of the people of Kashmir by the Indian security forces with impunity is an affront to the conscience of the civilised world and the United Nations which is under obligation to have its resolutions on Kashmir implemented. The indifference shown by the world community and those powers who cry hoarse from every available roof-top to announce their credentials as champions of human rights, human liberties and the right of self-determination, is not only regrettable but is indicative of their selective adherence to the proclaimed human values and principles.
India, intending to hoodwink the international community has also adopted a belligerent posture towards Pakistan, and it is continuously violating the ceasefire agreement of 2013 along the line of control and the working boundary. It is also trying to portray the freedom struggle in IHK as Pakistani abetted terrorism, although the freedom movement in Kashmir was an indigenous phenomenon, which has been repeatedly acknowledged even by the saner elements within Indian who have been urging the need for dialogue between Pakistan and India to resolve the Kashmir dispute.
Apart from the humanitarian dimensions, Kashmir dispute also poses a grave threat to peace and security in the region besides having a debilitating effect on the prospects of changing the dismal economic situation of the people of both India and Pakistan as well as other countries of the region. The continuation of hostilities between the two will harm both of them. History is a witness to the fact that no people can be kept under subjugation against their will for long. The people of Kashmir come what may, are not going to accept Indian occupation as is evident from their continued struggle. Similarly, Pakistan being a party to the dispute cannot remain oblivious to what is happening in the valley. It has the right to extend moral, political and diplomatic support to the liberation movement launched by the people of Indian held Kashmir till such time India agrees to act in line with the UN resolutions. India must realise and acknowledge the ground realities and fulfil its commitments given to the UN and the people of Kashmir as enunciated in the UN Resolutions. The UN as a peacemaking body also has to show sensitivity to the continued plight of the people of Kashmir and have its resolutions implemented. Kashmir is unfinished agenda of the partition, and there is no way peace and security can be ensured and guaranteed in the region without its completion.
The writer is a freelance columnist.