India’s Sham Covid-19 “Vaccine Diplomacy” & Vaccine Scarcity in IIOJK


Iqbal Khan

It is ironic that India continues to brandish its so-called vaccine diplomacy abroad while at the same time it has turned hospitals in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) into graveyards, choking essential medical supplies, let alone the Covid vaccine.Bigger aspect of the problem, however, is that it’s prioritising such exports at the expense of meeting “domestic” demand in the world’s second most populous country. The UN needs to step-in to quantify the exact requirement of Cobid-19 vaccine for IIOJK and institute requisite monitoring mechanism to ensure that inhabitants of IIOJK are not exposed to India’s vaccine terrorism through deprivation of medicine. After all India’s military and paramilitary forces deployed in IIOJK take pride in using rape as counterinsurgency weapon.

On March 23, 2020, UN Secretary General António Guterres issued an urgent appeal for a global ceasefire in all corners of the world to focus together on defeating COVID-19. He repeated the call at the start of the 75th UN General Assembly session in September. Since the first call, 180 countries, the Security Council, regional organizations, civil society groups, peace advocates and millions of global citizens have endorsed the Secretary-General’s ceasefire call. The world needs a global ceasefire to stop all “hot” conflicts, both inter-state and intra-state. While we endorse UN Secretary General’s intent for a global ceasefire, he also needs to make a specific call for ending atrocities in IIOJK.

Since the illegal occupation of Kashmir in 1947, killings of Kashmiris and aggression continues to this day. In 1947, at least 237,000 Kashmiri Muslims were killed just because they wanted to join Pakistan. Their enduring love for Pakistan is an unpleasant truth for India.The UN resolutions about Kashmir have not been implemented because of the Indian intransigence.

Hindutva regime has unleashed unspeakable brutality on the vulnerable Muslims of Kashmir. World powers have failed the people of Kashmir. Despite the presence of 900,000 troops, thepeople of Kashmir are continuing struggle for their self-determination and are peacefully opposing the alien rule. They are determined to carry on their struggle. They have been fighting occupation for 200 years and they will not give up.

On July 18, 2020,anIndian army CaptainBhoopinder Singhabducted three labourers, staged a gunfight, killed all three, and branded them as militants. All three were away from home to earn daily wages. According to police charge sheet, army captain staged this fake encounter inAmshipura,a village of Shopian,district Rajouri,just for paltry sum ofRs 20 Lakh.This is the value of civilian lives in Indian Illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).

According to the police charge sheet, Bhoopinder Singh had hatched a conspiracy along with two civilians,TabishNazir and Bilal Ahmed Lone,with the motive for “grabbing” a reward money.The charge sheet was submitted before the chief judicial magistrate of districtRajouri.Lone has since turned an approver and recorded his confession statement before a magistrate.Captain is currently in the custody of the Indian army, and is likely to face Court Martial proceedings.

After reports emerged on social media that the three youths were not associated with terrorism, the Army had ordered a Court of Inquiry which completed its probe earlier in September 2020. It had found “prima facie” evidence that the troops had “exceeded” the powers granted under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). Following this, the Army had initiated disciplinary proceedings.General officer in Command of the XV Corps, Lt Gen B S Raju had said earlier that the Summary of Evidence had been completed and the Army will take the next course of action as per law.

The charge sheet submitted by the Special Investigation Team of Jammu and Kashmir Police has listed 75 witnesses in support of its findings and has also provided technical evidence including call data records of the accused persons involved in the case.The charge sheet also has the statements of four army personnel who were part of Captain Singh’s team. Singh and two other civilians also “purposefully destroyed evidence” of real crime that they had committed.The accused captain “furnished false information to mislead the senior officer and for getting” an FIR lodged to “tailor fit his motive for grabbing prize money in furtherance of criminal conspiracy”.

Hurriyat leaders and organizations in their separate statements sharply reacted to the IIOJK police charge-sheet. They urged the United Nations to set up a special tribunal to probe all such killings in the occupied territory.

Then there was another encounter in Srinagar onDecember 30, in which three innocent students were killed. According to Kashmir Media Service, IIOJK Bar has demanded an impartial probe into killing of 3 students.

Harassing of freedom fighters is a norm in IIOJK. On January 11, the special TADA/POTA court of Srinagar framed fake charges against illegally detained Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Chairman, Muhammad Yasin Malik in a three-decade-old fake case of RubiyaSayeed kidnapping.

The Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Liberation party, at a party meeting presided over by Chief Coordinator Dr Sarfaraz Ahmad Khan, reiterated the demand for immediate release of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and all other political leaders and activists languishing in various jails in India and in IIOJK.

Moreover,International Forum for Justice and Human Rights Jammu and Kashmir Chairman Mohammad Ahsan Untoo has strongly condemned the authorities for keeping nineteen students in jail for the past four years in a fabricated murder case. Many of the detained youth are undergoing treatment for many ailments.

IIOJK Tehreek-e-Wahdat-e-Islami’sspokesman in a statement said that Indian troops had martyred hundreds of youth in fake encounters in different areas of occupied Jammu and Kashmir during the past 33 years. He demanded of the United Nations to set up a special tribunal to probe the killing of innocent Kashmiri youth in fake encounters by Indian troops.

The Jammu and Kashmir National Conference leader and Member of Indian Parliament Justice (retired) HasnainMasoodi has called for reversal of illegal annexation actions of August 05 2019, initialization of dialogue with all the stakeholders of the Kashmir dispute.He also rejectedModi-led fascist Indian government’s so-called industrial policy for IIOJK and emphasized that the scheme would not fetch any results in absence of an aggressive peace initiative to address the political aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. General Secretary of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, Molvi Bashir Ahmed has said that the dark night of oppression imposed by India will end and the Kashmiris will see the dawn of freedom, one day. While addressing party workers in Pulwama, Bashir Ahmed said, the Kashmiris have never submitted to Indian machinations and will fight till end.

A Human tragedy is brewing in the IIOJK. International community can no longer afford to be indifferent towards this snowballing crisis. Kashmiris stay hopeful that one day their agony would end through exercise of right of self-determination leading to peace and prosperity.

The turbulent IIOJK region has long weathered violence and political strife. India’s security crackdown and the coronavirus have brought life in the tourist-dependent region to a near halt.

As the world continues its silence on the greatest human tragedy—Kashmir, it must also remain cognisant of the possible implications of the denial of basic human rights to the Kashmiris and their continued suffering at the hands of an extremist Hindutva regime in India.

Writer is a freelance contributor; email: [email protected]