Returning Of Sovereignty To Kashmiris Best Option For India – OpEd

It is hoped that one day every nation would be free from occupation and colonialism would have its natural death as well. This is what every oppressed people hope for. Kashmiris and Palestinians top this category of people with maximum optimism. When the Modi government, after rejecting the idea of talks with Kashmiris to end the impasse and find a lasting solution, sent a interlocutor to Kashmir to talk to all stake holders, naturally many Kashmiris seeking peace and prosperity as a sovereign nation, believed that the day was not far off when they would live in their nation without fear of military attacks. They even hoped that India would help them become a UN member and help them economically as well.

However, in reality India does not have any such big ideas for peace and it seems to always want to solve the Kashmir issue militarily. That said, Indian PM Modi has departed from his previous stand and said that the military cannot solve the problem of Kashmir, but dialogue would. This could be taken as a turning point with regard to Indian foreign policy.

Kashmiris have been facing difficulties for the past 70 years and have demanded the right to self-determination. Their kin and kith have been killed in thousands by Indian forces, their properties destroyed, they are jailed, maimed and blinded, but now the Peoples’ Movement against an illegal occupation and genocides of Kashmiris has changed the scenario in Kashmir.

The recent visit of an Israeli delegation led by Major General Yakov (Kobi) Barak to an Indian Army base in Udhampur on Tuesday, once again, exposed a deep-rooted anti-Muslim nexus between the India and Israel. The meeting between the Israeli delegation and the Indian army personnel in Udhampur is yet another proof of the anti-Muslim nexus and the policies they propagate against the Muslims.

Kashmiris must bear this in mind while they are being forcibly ruled by an extremist Hindu right-wing BJP. India-led by Hindu fascist forces under the Hindutva slogan, and their puppets in Kashmir, are trying to give an impression to the world that everything is normal and under control in Jammu and Kashmir. These attempts are being made to divert the world attention from the Kashmir issue which has witnessed a rejuvenated phase since the martyrdom of Shaheed Burhan Wani

Black Day for Kashmiris

India’s ugly colonization on October 27, 1947 is Black Day for Kashmiris, both Muslims and non-Muslims. That date has been a cruel reminder of the subjugation and slavery of Muslims in Jammu Kashmir. That day has forever been scarred in the collective minds of the Kashmiri people as their nation is being occupied by neighboring militaries.

Kashmiris have been waging their historic struggle of the self-determination for sovereignty; their now unified struggle is taking a new phase of peaceful movement for sovereignty and the needed attention of world community.

The people of Kashmir with poise, confidence and unity are taking their inalienable struggle in a new direction of non violence and peaceful agitation.

Joint Resistance Leadership of Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik has condemned and ridiculed the outrageous and dictatorial ordinance passed by the State Government which calls for imprisonment for those who call and observe shutdown as a form of protest. The Joint Resistance Leadership stated that observing shutdown is a universally accepted democratic and peaceful right of protest and resistance and fixing a punishment for it reflects the totalitarian and repressive mindset of the anti-people ruling regime.

The leadership said that tall claims of the “healing touch” and the “battle of ideas” by Mehbooba Mufti and her party before coming to power, have all come to naught and instead she with her BJP partners have broken all records of committing atrocities and inflicting miseries upon the people of Kashmir. They said that during her regime killing, blinding of people, arrests, imprisonment and detention of masses and leadership, arson, canalization of people’s properties, harassment, propaganda onslaught and other forms of repression have touched a new low. On the other hand she along with her coterie of opportunists have further eroded whatever was left of the safeguards of the people of the state by eroding the economic autonomy of the state through implementation of GST. As her tenure progresses so do her compromises with regard to the interests of the people of Kashmir who are under assaults from all fronts.

The situation has come to such a pass now that even the basic right to protest is now being denied and made punishable.

JRL said issuing ordinance calling for imprisonment for shutdowns is with a view to instilling fear of retribution and punishment among the resistance leadership and people of Kashmir in order to discourage them from raising their voice against oppression and for demanding their right to self-determination. But like all such previous repressive measures it is bound to fail.

The JRL said that shutdown is an accepted and acknowledged way of resisting oppression and injustice across the world and that it should stand clear that resistance leadership will continue with this right no matter how much government would try to choke our voice.

The outreach, which indicates a shift in the central government’s approach to handle the Kashmir issue from the prism of security operations without a matching political outreach, has been welcomed by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. “Dialogue is a necessity of the hour and the only way to go forward,” she said.

Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, however, said he would “keep an open mind and wait to see results of the dialogue process”.

In a series of tweets, Abdullah said the dialogue process started by the center, “a resounding defeat of those who could only see use of force as a solution”, a swipe at BJP leaders seen as loud advocates of a hardline policy on disturbances in the Kashmir valley.

In the last few months the center has been focusing on cracking down on foreign funding for separatists and in Srinagar, police and army teams have taken out dozens of local commanders of terrorist groups active in the Kashmir Valley.

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti welcomed the move. “Dialogue is a necessity of the hour and the only way to go forward,” she said. Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, however, said he would “keep an open mind and wait to see results of the dialogue process.” Before this, Journalist Dileep Padgaonkar, NN Vora, academician Radha Kumar and former Information Commissioner MM Ansari were appointed as India’s interlocutors to Kashmir.

As a representative of the government of India, Sharma will initiate a sustained interaction and dialogue to understand legitimate aspirations of the people, especially its youth, in Jammu and Kashmir. He will meet elected representatives, political parties, different organizations and individuals he wants to,” Rajnath said. “Now what we will do for Jammu and Kashmir, will do with clean intention,” he said.

Asked whether the interlocutor, who will have cabinet rank, would hold talks with Hurriyat leaders, Rajnath Singh appeared not to rule out such a possibility, saying Sharma had a mandate to hold a dialogue “with anyone he wants.”

The government of India had been maintaining a tough Kashmir policy and had ruled out talks with separatists in recent months. The Home Minister said after completing the exercise, Sharma, a 1979 batch IPS officer with intimate knowledge of the security situation and Kashmir affairs, will give a report to the government of India. Sharma was director of IB from January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2016.

Earlier, he was the joint director of the IB’s “Islamist Terrorism Desk” from 2003 to 2005. He headed the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in Jammu and Kashmir and was the director of the BSF Academy, and additional director and special director in the IB.

Replying to questions, the minister said that no time limit could be set whether it is three months or six months or more. “He can talk to anyone he wants,” he said. Rajnath said that Prime Minister NarendraModi had talked to all political parties as to what could be done to find a solution to Kashmir problems. “People told us that the dialogue process should be started. We are doing this,” he said and recalled the Prime Minister’s August 15 speech saying “neither by bullet, nor by abuses but by embracing the people we can solve the problems in Jammu and Kashmir.”

Asked about the status of the resignation reportedly given by Governor NN Vohra and whether it would be accepted in the new context, Rajnath Singh merely replied that the elected government is there and the Governor is there. The Home Minister made it clear that Sharma would have complete independence in deciding who to hold talks with. Asked about the failure of similar initiatives undertaken earlier, Singh said: “Please take it from me that whatever we do, we will do with saafneeyataurneeti (good intentions and clear policy).”

In another supplementary question on previous reports of interlocutors gathering dust in the Home Ministry, he said: “You cannot pre-judge that this initiative will not be successful. Our announcement shows how serious we are about initiating dialogue.”

When asked whether a police officer was capable for holding talks on such a sensitive issue, Singh shot back: “What’s wrong in that. He is an apolitical person having no political affiliation which is his greatest advantage. Besides he is well aware about the internal security situation of the country.”

Meanwhile, a Jammu and Kashmir police constable is suspected to have joined the militant Lashkar-e-Tayiba in what could be the third such switch by a security personnel in the Valley this year. The police ordered a probe after the constable, Isfaq Ahmad Dar, last week announced on social media that he had joined the LeT, a Pakistan-based militant outfit blamed for several terror attacks in India. A photograph of Dar holding an AK-47 assault rifle was also widely circulated on social media and messaging apps in the Valley over the past few days.

In recent months, several policemen have been killed or attacked and their homes ransacked by suspected militants, seen as warnings to local police personnel to stop participating in counter-insurgency operations. Six policemen including an officer were also killed in a militant ambush earlier this year. Sources said Dar was shifted from Kargil to Kathua in July after adverse reports about his alleged “militant sympathies”. “He was under police radar but we can’t arrest a person unless he does something,” a senior police officer said. Dar, from a village in Shopian, had left his home to report back to duty last week. When he did not reach Kathua, family lodged a missing person report. Soon after, the photograph of Dar surfaced on social media. In May a constable from Shopian, Syed Naveed Mushtaq, decamped with four service rifles and joined the militant group Hizbul Mujahideen.

Two months later, Zahoor Ahmad Thokar — who was with the 173 Territorial Army Engineering regiment at Baramulla — deserted his unit along with his service AK-47 and three magazines and joined militant ranks. Such incidents were first reported in 2015 when two policemen – Naseer Ahmad Pandith from Shopian and Syed raqib Bashir from Pulwama – joined the Hizbul Mujahideen, then led by former commander Burhan Wani, whose killing last year sparked months-long unrest in Kashmir. Both of them were killed in separate encounters with security forces.

In early 2016, Shakoor Ahmad Parray of Shopian, a security guard to a police officer in Bijbehara, was arrested by police after he had run away with four rifles to join a militant group. Police said such incidents are rare and that most of the deserters are from South Kashmir, where anti-India sentiments run deep. “Most of the policemen are from a particular patch in South Kashmir, mostly Pulwama and Shopian. They were recruited between 2010 and 2012 and may be not much background check was done,” a police official said. “They are not radicalized… If they are radicalized they are capable of inflicting more damage in the forces…we have to keep our eyes open and our house clean,” the officer added. Kashmir’s police force is hailed for its professionalism as its personnel are often forced to act against civilians, sometimes even minors, involved in protests and vandalism.

Accelerated agitation for Article 35-A

Joint Hurriyat leaders have warned of mass agitation against Indian attempts to abrogate Article 35-A. They said the plan, if any, to tinker with the Article 35 A, which gives special rights and privileges to the natives of Jammu and Kashmir, is a conspiracy to create a Palestine like situation in the state.

Joint resistance leadership in Indian administered Jammu & Kashmir comprising of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Molvi Omer Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik asked people to launch mass agitation if the Supreme Court delivers verdict against the interests and aspiration of people of state, saying that any move to tinker with state subject law will create Palestine like situation. JRL said the conspiracy has been hatched to change the demography of the Muslim majority state and added if the state-subject law is removed or any amendment introduced, people from other states of India will purchase land in Jammu and Kashmir and a Palestine like situation will arise and added that the people in the state would resist the “conspiracy” tooth and nail. We will safeguard the integrity and special status of the state at any cost.

JRL said that we are in close contact with religious leaders, civil societies, transporters, businessmen, students, lawyers and other groups, saying they will be taken on board and a special delegation has been formulated to make a consensus after seeking their suggestions in this regard. They reiterated their appeal asking people to be ready and added we are watching the developments and soon a line of action and program will be announced for people.

Fate of Kashmiris

In the slaughterhouse of the Kashmir valley, even the grievously injured – with pellet-scarred eyes or broken limbs – have remained defiant. Over two-and-a-half decades of rebellion in Kashmir have hardened the indifference of India’s political and intellectual classes to the human cost of the country’s repressive tactics in the valley. The hostility now appears to be total, unbridgeable, and for those on the receiving end, unbearable.

The puppet government in Kashmir – a collection of local elites comprising career politicians, technocrats, loyal to bosses in New Delhi – considers pellet guns a “necessary evil”, might make us feel grateful. At least they acknowledge the “evil” part – perhaps to address their own guilty consciences.

Kashmiris are languishing in jails across India for the past 20 years. “ The youth who are jailed were pursuing degrees and were bright students. Mirza Nisar Hussain, Abdul Lateef Waza . Mohammad Ali Bhat and Abdul Gani Goni are in Rajasthan jails since past 21 years while as Javiad Ahmad Khan and Mahmood Topiwala are in Tihar since the same number of years. Similarly, Bashir Ahmad Baba is in Gujarat jails for the past 13 years, Bilal Ahmad Kota in Bangalore jails since 10 years, Muzaffar Ahmad in Kolkata jail since past 11 years and in Srinagar Central Jail, Feroz Ahmad Bhat, Parvaiz Ahmad Mir and Muhammad Imran Shiekh are few names who are being held for the past 14 years.

It seems that we may have to be ready for bigger challenges and there is an utter need to remain steadfast against the occupation and against the ploys it makes in connivance with the anti-Muslim force.

It is a matter of pride for Kashmiris that despite facing so much hardship our brothers are standing tall against the oppression and the occupation.

Sovereignty calls keep ringing but India pretends not hearing that noisy urge of Kashmiris. Indian regime can easily give a 100 to any needy foreign batboys on mutual consent, but surrendering sovereignty after killing so many Kashmiris is difficult proposition and hence India hesitates to take the call.

Possibly, New Delhi still thinks it can prolong the occupation at least so long as Israel does that in Palestine. After all, they are now the strategic terror partners, though it knows too well that it cannot silence the Kashmir youth.

State terrorism and unrest

Kashmiris continue to face both Indian attacks and atrocities being inflicted upon them by their own JK government of BJP-PDP. They don’t surrender themselves before the state terror forces. India uses  pellets from Israel on Kashmiri children. It turns out that there exist different kinds of pellets, and in 2016, some Indian forces were using the jagged variety – which inflict greater damage to flesh and eyes alike, and which doctors say is far more difficult to remove.

The PDP-BJP government in Kashmir had deployed a fleet of brand new ambulances to securely ferry visiting VIPs from New Delhi, Israel and elsewhere to picnic spots in the valley. This was while protesters were being killed, maimed and blinded – and while the ambulances carrying them to hospitals were coming under fire from security forces.

The paramilitaries and the police have been deliberately firing into faces of Kashmir youth and children. Some suffer limited loss of vision, some will lose one eye, some both, and some will be impaired for life, but the pitiless assault on protesting adolescents’ forces us to ask one question: is the Indian state happy to blind a generation?

It is inconceivable that policy makers in New Delhi or their advisers in Kashmir could be unaware of the destructive power of “non-lethal weapons”. Earlier this year, the International Network of Civil Liberties Organisations and Physicians for Human Rights published a report titled “Lethal in Disguise” at close range. Medics and parents were desperate to save vision in at least one eye for those who had been shot, attempting to extract the jagged and irregular pellets. Indian core media speak calmly of the need for “harsh love” toward civilian protesters to rationalize the state’s ruthless response.

With a hubris derived from its might and military dominion over Kashmir, the state convinces itself that it has the power to inflict blindness. In no time, then, it blinds itself too – to the character of democracy that is its central founding principle. The harsh repression of Kashmiri protests, the Nobel prize-winning Indian economist Amartya Sen declared in July, is “the biggest blot on India’s democracy”.

It appears that the Indian government, clouded by a newfound chauvinism and a hunger for votes, is in no mood to listen to the nation’s voices of sanity. In August, only a few days after Indian forces in Srinagar murdered a 21-year-old cash-machine watchman by firing 300 pellets into his body from close range, the Indian prime minister used a speech on Kashmir to taunt Pakistan over its own atrocities against separatists in the province of Balochistan, where the Pakistani army has inflicted forced disappearances and summary executions on the Baloch people.

Indians need to interrogate the circumstances that have led to the deliberate blinding of hundreds of young people at the hands of armed forces in Kashmir, before this too is forgotten.

Kashmiris have become accustomed to the violence inflicted on them when pellets were first sprayed at protesters in the heated summer of 2010, and most people processed this as nothing more than a new misfortune; just another element of the war in Kashmir. If one were to draw a diagram of the assaults inflicted on Kashmiri bodies over the decades, hardly a single part would remain unmarked: in the 1990s, when the violence was at its worst, the eyes were spared; now they seem to have become a favorite target.

Many Indians have condemned Indian military arrogance in Kashmir. There has been some dissent in India in favor of Kashmiris. Journalists, activists, even some politicians, have written elegiac columns and essays on the savage response to the rebellion in Kashmir. They have implored their government to cease the brutality, to be kind, and to talk to Kashmiris. But it appears that the Indian government, clouded by a newfound chauvinism and a hunger for votes, is in no mood to listen to the nation’s voices of sanity.

A new generation of freedom-seekers grows up into blinded, maimed, adulthood, and they will carry our guilt-ridden consciences for the world.

How sad that India has become a criminal state at par with Israel! How is it right for a constitutionally democratic and secular, modern nation to blind scores of civilians in a region it controls?

India officially is not an authoritarian state, not a crackpot dictatorship, not a rogue nation or terrocracy or warlord outside of legal and ethical commitments to international statutes, but a known outside as a democratic country, a member of the comity of nations. How are India’s leaders, thinkers and its thundering televised custodians of public and private morality, all untroubled by the sight of a child whose heart has been penetrated by metal pellets?

This is the kind of cruelty we expect from Assad’s Syria, not the world’s largest democracy.

Observation:

Thousands of people have been killed in the uprising and the ensuing Indian military crackdown. India maintains a huge chunk of indefinite thousands of soldiers in the territory.

Anti-India sentiment runs deep among Kashmir’s mostly Muslim population and most support rebels against Indian rule, despite a decades-long military crackdown to fight the armed rebellion.

As usual, in order to not accept the reality of popular non-violent uprising, India has accused Pakistan of arming and training the rebels, allegations that Pakistan denies. Now is clear that Pakistan has no role in the unrest and now even if Pakistan ask them to stop agitations they are not going stop it unless India agrees to free Jammu & Kashmir from its constitution.

That is their own struggle which is supported by many countries including Pakistan. Rebel groups have largely been suppressed by Indian security forces in recent years, and public opposition to Indian rule is now principally expressed through street protests.

Notwithstanding the “exploiters and opportunists” who work as Indian agents and informers, the integrity and tremendous resilience of Kashmiri people that despite being no match for India in terms of population and resources, are giving such a stiff resistance to achieve the fundamental political rights.

Geelani, Mirwaiz and Malik said that as part of the ploy to break the resolve of the people and crush the movement, a multipronged strategy based on use of “extreme force” and coercion was adopted by the GoI particularly after entering into a power alliance with the PDP. “Had the interest of Kashmiri nation, political economic or ethnic, ever been dear to them, they would have stood their ground for safeguarding it and not kept compromising on it one after the other for staying in power,” the JRL said. They said a false binary between tourism and terrorism was created to target those associated with trade and tourism in order to break the back of both these industries.

Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan and both claim entire Kashmir and hence the tensions, crossfires at the LOC, mutual murders. Regular murder of Kashmiri Muslims is the most painful act of Indian state violence against the defenseless Kashmiris. Only recently the Kashmiri youth have found stones as their weapons to fight the Indian aggressors. There is the thirds part of Kashmir now under Chinese occupation. Not only Jammu & Kashmir has been invaded and divided among the two plus one nations, but even the Kashmiris are being murdered by India.

Kashmiris should get back their nation: Jammu & Kashmir. Only a peaceful solution could be reliable. For any peaceful solution dialogs and talks are a must. It is only through talks Palestinians cold get their nation back as Indian state violence through Isreali terror goods, cannot be defeated by Kashmiri stones. No regional peace can be achieved and even if some stop gap arrangement is made by a truce, etc, achieved it won’t be stable.

Hurriyat leaders particularly Syed Geelani must seize the opportunity made available by New Delhi by deputing an interlocutor with a Cabinet Secretary rank and Z category personal protection shield, the Modi government seems to have shown interest, if not determination, to find a durable solution to the explosive situation in Kashmir like unrest and sovereignty question.

Obviously, India would offer to return sovereignty to Kashmiris or let Kashmir be a part of Pakistan which now has been totally destabilized and economically ruined. Currently what India wants is to create an atmosphere for Kashmir to return to ‘normalcy’. India seeks to end the unrest and agitations for whatever causes and resume occupational crimes in Kashmir and let the UN know that everything is quite normal in Kashmir. Thus India would get their legitimacy to misgovern Kashmir as before.

But the freedom groups must put forward their views and demands very clearly to the interlocutor who perhaps has been chosen to find a permanent solution. They should not insist on joining weak Pakistan but instead must argue for a soverign Kashmir. Pakistan cold be put forwards only as an alternative option but in mild manner. India should taken into confidence that once it becomes a free nation, Kashmir would maintain good neighborly relations with India as well Pakistan and would pursue a neutral foreign policy without any confrontation with India or Pakistan.

By refusing to talk to Indian interlocutor, the Hurriyat leaders lose the opportunity to be heard officially. Kashmiris have lost buses before but this bus is very special one and missing it for whatever reason would not be in the genuine interests of Kashmiris. Geelani and friends must give up their petrified mindset molded due to Indian military arrogance and genocides in Kashmir valley, and talk to Indian official representatives and find a genuine resolution.

Yes, Indian options are strictly limited and whether it wants to be genuine secular democracy and not a criminal state like Israel, the Modi regime must decide, quickly.

India and Pakistan have better things to do than fighting over an illegal entity called Jammu Kashmir.
At long last, the Human Rights Commission has gathered courage to order India for a probe into one of the world’s strangest crimes – secret graveyards of Kashmir.

Hopefully, the probe would bring out the truth about secret graveyards and Indian agenda for Kashmir.

Human rights abuses in Jammu & Kashmir by occupation forces from India are too high that even UN had to condemn that. The military and governments have terrorized Kashmiris so much that they don’t want to be a part of India

Today, the situation in unrest Kashmir is so explosive and complicated that India has just two options- one positive and sensible: grant sovereignty to Kashmirs for a peaceful and settled life or two, kill every Kashmiri and confiscate their lands as the criminal Jews are doing in Palestine as part of their expansionist agenda in West Asia and now they are trying to get a piece of land from Syria as well as a selfish leader Assad is determined to get the nation of Sunni Syrians divided.

The view expressed are the author’s own.


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Dr. Abdul Ruff

Dr. Abdul Ruff

Dr. Abdul Ruff is a columnist contributing articles to many newspapers and journals on world politics. He is an expert on Mideast affairs, as well as a chronicler of foreign occupations and freedom movements (Palestine, Kashmir, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Xinjiang, Chechnya, etc.). Dr. Ruff is a specialist on state terrorism, the Chancellor-Founder of Center for International Affairs (CIA), commentator on world affairs and sport fixings, and a former university teacher. He is the author of various eBooks/books and editor for INTERNATIONAL OPINION and editor for FOREIGN POLICY ISSUES; Palestine Times.

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