The mention of over 2,000 mass graves, found in the Indian occupied Kashmir, in the US State Department’s “Country Reports on Human Rights Abuses in 2012” released the other day brings to mind once again the inhumanities that the Indian security forces stationed there commit on the local people. The indomitable Kashmiris have continued to struggle to get out the Indian stranglehold for close to 65 years and that they, along with their Palestinian brethren, have, perhaps, already set a world record of freedom movements carried on for long. It is a matter of great shame for the international community, consumed by its own strategic concerns, that the Indian troops, along with their Israeli counterparts, have, for the same period, been outdoing each other in committing atrocities on those seeking deliverance from them. The justification for both Kashmiris and Palestinians lies in the UN Security Councils that both favourites of powerful states blatantly and wilfully defy.

It is anybody’s guess how many victims lie buried in these 2156 mass graves; for each could contain any number of them and the total might run into tens of thousands. For all one knows, the sprawling valley might be dotted with these symbols of brutalities at other sites as well. And only the exhumation of the dead, an indeterminate though certainly a huge number, could determine what kind of blood curdling torments they were subjected to before being put to death. It is common knowledge, however, that not only the participants in the protest marches punished with torturous abuses, but the stay-at-home – the elderly, the women and the children – are also targeted to send a message that Kashmiris without distinction would suffer as a consequence. The repertoire of abuses is long and grisly, dripping with blood that these troops commit under cover of black laws like Armed Forces Special Powers Act.

The question is: what are the human rights protagonists that big powers claim to be doing in the face of these agonising and glaring realities? Should they decide to live up to their pretensions, they could make a significant difference to the lives of these blighted children of mankind and could even persuade the illegal occupiers to respect their own word and give the Kashmiris their right to self-determination. But far more painful than the indifference of world powers is the care-two-hoots attitude of Pakistani rulers. It is they who should be clamouring at the top of their voices to rouse the world conscience. They might as well reflect on their moral and ethical lapse of forsaking the poor Kashmiris and realise that, in the process, the country has to encounter an existentialist challenge.