Kashmir Seeks Attention – OpEd


The year 2019 marked a significant turning point in the history of Jammu and Kashmir, as the Indian government led by the BJP attempted to revoke the region’s special status by amending Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. This move generated both national and international debate and criticism, with allegations of human rights violations surfacing from various sources in the troubled region.

On August 5, 2019, the Indian government, led by the BJP, announced the revocation of Article 370 through a presidential order. The decision was accompanied by a bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories: Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. The BJP government argued that the abrogation was necessary to bring about economic development, end separatism, and counter terrorism in the region. However, the move was met with mixed reactions both within India and globally.

The abrogation of Article 370 brought about significant changes to the region, particularly affecting the residents of Jammu and Kashmir. The decision to bifurcate the state was seen by some as a means to dilute the Muslim-majority nature of Jammu and Kashmir. While there were promises of economic development and greater integration with the rest of India, the region experienced communication shutdowns, internet blackouts, and stringent curfews to suppress any potential dissent.

The situation in Jammu and Kashmir has long been a subject of concern with regards to human rights. The events following the revocation further escalated these concerns. Human rights organizations and activists reported instances of alleged extrajudicial killings, unlawful detentions, torture, and sexual violence perpetrated by security forces during search operations and counter-insurgency measures. The lack of transparent and independent investigations into these allegations has only exacerbated the issue, leading to further mistrust and discontent among the local population.

The situation in Kashmir has been marred by violence, leading to loss of lives and displacement of civilians. The ongoing conflict has affected the mental and physical well-being of Kashmiri residents, particularly children, who have grown up amidst unrest and uncertainty. The continued violence and alleged human rights abuses have had a profound impact on Kashmiri society. The atmosphere of fear and distrust has affected the mental health of many residents, especially the younger generation, who have grown up amidst conflict and unrest. The restrictions on movement and communication have disrupted daily life and adversely affected the economy of the region.

Following the abrogation of Article 370, there have been numerous reports and allegations of human rights abuses, including torture, perpetrated by Indian security forces in Jammu and Kashmir. Human rights organizations and independent researchers have documented cases of violence against civilians, arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, and excessive use of force during protests. Numerous incidents of extrajudicial killings and disappearances have been reported, where civilians have been killed or detained without proper legal procedures. Families of the missing persons have been left in anguish and uncertainty, often without information about the fate of their loved ones.

The international community reacted with concern to the developments in Jammu and Kashmir. While some countries supported India’s stance on integrating the region into the rest of the country, many others expressed apprehension over the potential implications on regional stability and human rights. International organizations like the United Nations also urged both India and Pakistan to exercise restraint and engage in peaceful dialogue to resolve the long-standing Kashmir issue.

As the situation in Jammu and Kashmir remains complex and unresolved, it is essential for all stakeholders to engage in open dialogue and prioritize the well-being and rights of the people living in the region. The pursuit of peace, stability, and justice in Jammu and Kashmir remains a challenge, and it demands the attention and cooperation of the global community. The allegations of torture and other human rights abuses demand accountability and justice. Human rights organizations and several international bodies have called for impartial investigations into the reported incidents and the prosecution of those responsible for any wrongdoings.

Tofeeque Ahmed

Tofeeque Ahmed is a freelancer and media activist, writes on political developments and security issues with special focus regional affairs.

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