Unending Indian Brutalities in IIOJ&K

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Iqbal Khan

Imprisonment and torturing of Muslim Kashmiri leaders on the premise of their political ideology and struggle against illegal Indian occupation can be termed a true reflection of the extremist mind-set of the RSS-BJP regime that has no respect for the human rights, especially religious tolerance.

India is committing war crimes in India Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) by violating Article-82 (2b, VIII) of the Rome Statue of International Criminal Court (ICC) and article 143 of Geneva Convention-IV.

Several senior Muslim Kashmiri leaders, including Syed Ali Gilani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, are also under house detention, while other prominent leaders, such as Aasiya Andrabi, Muhammad Yasin Malik, Shabbir Ahmed Shah and Masarrat Aalam Mutt are in New Delhi’s notorious Tihar Jail. Andrabi like other Kashmiri leaders has been illegally arrested over malicious, false and fabricated charges by the Indian government through invoking draconian laws promulgated in IIOJK.

Dr. Asiya Andrabi, founder of Dukhtraan-e-Millat is facing inhuman treatment by the Indian government during imprisonment with deteriorating health conditions. Indian government is setting stage for judicial murder of Asiya Andrabi in coming weeks. Indian government is using all its force to suppress the voice of Kashmiris.

Indian government arrested the Asiya Andrabi and her associates Famida Sufi and Nahida Nasreen in Oct 2016. Their sin was to raise voice for the rights of women and right of self-determination for the people of Kashmir. Indian government charged them with act of terrorism and other draconian laws under public safety act. Later, they were transferred to Tihar jail.

Under Geneva Convention IV, Article 49, it is prohibited to transfer an individual or group of “protected persons from occupied territory to the occupying power, regardless of their motives”. India had violated article 49 multiple times by transferring Kashmiri leaders including Asiya Andrabi, her husband Dr. Ashiq Hussain Faktoo and other leaders from Kashmiri prisons to notorious Tihar Jail. Dr. Faktoo is in Indian Prison serving life sentence for 27 years.

India is also violating Article 76 of Geneva Convention IV, while not allowing the delegate of International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to visit the prison. This article also calls that women shall be confined in separate quarters and shall be under the direct supervision of women. According to Dr Shireen Mazari, Minster for Huma Rights, it is the binding duty of India being the signatory of International Human Rights Law and Humanitarian Law of the United Nations World Summit in 2005.

Against all norms, Indian Supreme Court defined the term “death imprisonment” as the imprisonment till death of the individual during a verdict in 2012. Presently, Indian government is using this verdict to penalize Asiya Andrabi to kept her behind bar till her death. It is just like a judicial murder of an individual.

International human rights organizations need to come forward play their role to end this draconian law and save the life of a human rights and women rights defender of IIOJK.

Designation of Pakistan as a “country of particular concern” by the US under its “International Religious Freedom Act of 1998”   is completely against the realities on the ground and raises serious doubts about the credibility of the exercise. Pakistan and China were among several countries designated by the State Department as countries of “particular concerns” regarding religious freedom on the recommendation of the US International Commission on Religious Freedom (USICRF). However, the State Department rejected the proposal to place India in the list as well.

The findings and recommendations of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom as well as the US Congressional hearings on the maltreatment of minorities in India and the violation of religious freedom all over the country including in the Muslim-majority IIOJK (Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir) were mischievously ignored by the US State Department. The glaring omission of India, where the RSS-BJP regime and their leaders openly disregard religious freedom and discriminate against minority communities in an institutionalised manner, is unfortunate and puts the credibility of the US report into question.

Pakistan has aptly rejected the US State Department’s “arbitrary and selective assessment” on religious freedom, terming it counterproductive to promote bilateral relations. Pakistan and the US have been constructively engaging on the subject at the bilateral level, a fact regrettably overlooked by the US.

During the year 2020, Indian Army violated the Line of Control for more than 3,000 times. As a consequence, 30 innocent civilians were martyred and more than 180 others including over 90 women and 67 children, got injured or became disabled—all Muslims. It was the bloodiest year in terms of the Indian brutalities.

Incident of killing of three innocent young Muslim labourers at the hands of Indian Army in Shopian district of occupied Kashmir and later placing weapons on their corpses to declare them militants and terrorists, as exposed by the Kashmir police after an in-depth investigation, should serve as an eye-opener for the United States. And the United Nations should constitute a commission of inquiry to visit IIOJ&K and look into human rights violations there.

India has been using the tools of oppression and ill-treatment to spread a sense of fear among the unarmed and innocent Muslim people of IIOJK for the past over seven decades. Thousands of Kashmiris including innocent youth, members of civil society, journalists and Kashmiri leaders remain incarcerated in Indian prisons, several of them at unrevealed locations and aloof from their families. The Indian forces still operate in the illegally occupied territory with complete impunity under draconian laws like Public Safety Act (PSA) and Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

Systematic demonization, dispossession, marginalisation and targeted violence against Muslims using the communal slur of “love jihad” in Hindutva-inspired India has become commonplace. It is no secret that attacks by cow vigilantes and mob lynching of Indian Muslims take place regularly, with complete impunity for the perpetrators. State complicity in organized violence against the Muslim minority in India is a matter of record.

Recently, at the 47th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) held at Niamey, the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) has called upon the Indian government to take immediate steps  “[It also calls upon New Delhi to] fulfil its responsibilities under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international instruments including the recommendations of the OIC.”

Silence of the so-called human rights champion is rather intriguing after the Indian occupational army has itself confessed that it had killed the ordinary Muslim civilians in fake encounters in Indian illegally occupied Kashmir, and later declared them terrorists. Most of the encounters taking place in the occupied territory are fake. It is no longer a secret that the Indian Army is engaged in naked terrorism and ethnic cleansing of innocent Kashmiri Muslims in the occupied territory.

Writer is a freelance columnist; email: Iqbal.khan9999@yahoo.com