365 Days Of Lockdown In Kashmir: The Silence Of Human Rights Advocates – OpEd


August 5, 2020, marked one year of the Kashmir valleys lockdown. It was on 5th August 2019, that India made a unilateral move to rescind article 370 and 35A. The valley was an autonomous region under the article 370 which means that valley could have its own flag and constitution, and would be allowed to make its own decisions, just under the Indian administration; like the Azad Kashmir is an autonomous region having its own government and flag, administered by Pakistani government.

Abrogating the article meant that India declared Kashmir valley a part of Indian Territory and seized its autonomy, which was criticized because the valley was a disputed territory between India and Pakistan and no one state could make a unilateral move. Soon after revocation of these articles, India put the whole valley under lockdown because it knew that there will be opposition and protests against this decision. 

Pakistan tried to take the issue on International level, but then domestic political instability in the state distracted the issue of Kashmir. In 74th UNGA session, Pakistan Prime Minister, Imran Khan highlighted the atrocities in Kashmir and massive human rights violation by the BJP government in the Indian Occupied Kashmir. There was a glimmer of hope that International community would intervene to stop the Human rights violation in the valley but hardly about two months later, a political leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman gathered his supporters and started massive protests all around the state which again ruined the Pakistan’s image internationally. 

The western powers, so called advocates of democracy, human rights and civil liberties haven’t done much for the besieged valley and it’s now been a year that people of Kashmir are being tortured. The atrocities by Indian government are not new. Kashmir has been bleeding for more than 30 years and international community has been ignorant of the fact; majorly because the interests of western states, especially USA, go hand in hand with the BJP government. Kashmir is a region full of resources and USA would never want it to go independent, nor in the hands of Pakistan- a close ally of China. 

Democracy and Humanitarian intervention is just a myth. Despite the severe human rights violation, the great powers don’t tend to intervene until or unless they have their own economic or political interests. As in case of Syria, USA had been supporting the rebels against Assad’s authoritarian regime mainly because the regime is pro-Iran and pro-Russia and Syria has good oil reservoirs which USA can’t let go into the hands of a pro-Iran government. Just like that, in Kashmir’s case, USA doesn’t want the state to go in the control of pro-China regime since it would threaten its own interests in future. 

*Nageen Ashraf is a student of Bachelors in Defense and Diplomatic studies at Fatima Jinnah Women University

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