Exhibition in Brussels Displays Indian Atrocities in Kashmir

By Sajjad Shaukat

One the one side, Indian atrocities continues unabated in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) against the innocent Kashmiris who are demanding their genuine right of liberation, while, on the other side, Kashmiris are continuously protesting against the brutal tactics of the Indian forces.

In this regard, an exhibition of photographs from Indian Held Kashmir (IHK) was inaugurated at European Press Club in Brussels on November 7, this year. The exhibition is part of the 11th Kashmir-EU Week taking place in Brussels from 5th to 8th of November and will continue at the Press Club Brussels, Europe for two weeks.

Prime Minister Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Raja Farooq Haider Khan, who is participating in the week long program “Kashmir EU Week”, opened the exhibition organised by Kashmir Council Europe (KC-EU).

The photographs of the famous French-Belg photographer Mr Cédric Gerbehaye which were also featured in National Geographic magazine in June 2018 along with a story on Kashmir by Rania Abouzeid have been displayed in the exhibition.

The photographs tell-how are the miseries of the young people—the women and old people as well as misuse of brutal force by the Indian forces in the occupied valley and how they struggle for freedom in a brutal environment and a severe pressure by the Indian occupation forces.

In this respect, the intense rage against New Delhi which is growing among young people due to suppression and the brutal use of force by Indian security forces are particularly depicted by Gerbehaye.

Notably, a similar exhibition of his photographs will also take place in European Parliament Strasbourg from 13th November.

In fact, Gerbehaye visited the IOK in the wake of a new wave of protests by the people of the occupied valley and he has seen brutal use of force by Indian Army in the aftermath the incident of martyrdom of Burahan Wani in July 2016.

It is of particular attention that the use of chemical weapons and pellet guns by Indian security forces paralyzed hundreds of Kashmiris—throwing lead balls on the eyes of crowd resulted in the death and total blindness of many demonstrators.

However, besides the photographs by Cedric Gerbehaye, an exhibition of Kashmiri arts and crafts was also organized at the press club besides the photographs by Cedric Gerbehaye.

On the occasion, Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider said, “This exhibition will help in understanding the hardships of the people of occupied Kashmir. Kashmiris are suffering from Indian brutalities for last seven decades. Problem of Kashmir is on the agenda on United Nation (UN) for a long time but the issue has not been resolved so far according to the wishes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.”

He further stated, “By removing 35A India wants to make demographic change in occupied Kashmir, but we shall not allow New Delhi to do it.” He added, Indian forces at Line of Control (LoC) are also involved in the killing of innocent people of Azad Kashmir living near the LoC.”

Prime Minister Farooq Haider Khan hailed the recent UN’s human rights council report and a document of EU parliament’s research center regarding human rights violations in IHK. About Kashmir EU, he said, “Annual program of Kashmir EU-Week promoted the Kashmir cause. All the Kashmir should unitedly support this cause.”

Chairman Kashmir Council EU Ali Raza Syed and Chairman Kashmir Global Council Farooq Saddique also addressed the opening session of the exhibition.

Ali Raza Syed said, “As photograph always gives an important message, these photos show to the world the severe psychological trauma among the people of Kashmir. There is no treatment for such pain; it is necessary to help to bring them out of the trauma…the photos will inspire the humanity and create a compassion in the world toward the oppressed people of Jammu and Kashmir.”

Chairman Kashmir Council-EU further said, “As a photographer Mr Cédric Gerbehaye conveyed an emotive and painful story of the innocent people of Jammu and Kashmir through his pictures.”

He added, “Unfortunately violence and human rights violations in India-held Kashmir are rapidly increasing. Lack of freedom of speech and restriction on peaceful protest has become everyday matter in the occupied territory.”

Chairman Kashmir Global Council Mr Farooq Sadiqui stated, “We have pledged to continue our struggle till achievement of inalienable right to self-determination of the people of Kashmir…We will continue to make the international community aware of the atrocities in occupied Kashmir and the facts about the severe situation related to human rights in Kashmir. He added, “We want to uncover real and ruthless face of India.”

It is mentionable that since 1947, in order to maintain its illegal control, India has continued its repressive regime in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) through various machinations.

In this connection, various forms of state terrorism have been part of a deliberate campaign by the Indian army and paramilitary forces against the Muslim Kashmiris, especially since 1989. It has been manifested in brutal tactics like crackdowns, curfews, illegal detentions, massacre, targeted killings, sieges, burning the houses, torture, disappearances, rape, breaking the legs, molestation of Muslim women and killing of persons through fake encounter.

According to a report on human rights violations in the Indian Occupied Kashmir, since 1989, there have been deaths of 1,00000 innocent Kashmiris, 7,023 custodial killings, 1,22,771 arrests, 1,05,996 destruction of houses or buildings, 22,776 women widowed, 1,07,466 children orphaned and 10,086 women gang-raped/molested. Indian brutal securities forces have continue these atrocities. Now, the figures have increases, as India state terrorism has continued unabated.

As a matter of fact, Indian forces have employed various draconian laws like the Jammu and Kashmir Disturbed Areas Act, and the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act and Public Safety Act in killing the Kashmiri people, and for the arbitrarily arrest of any individual for an indefinite period.

Besides Human Rights Watch, in its various reports, Amnesty International has also pointed out grave human rights violations in the Indian controlled Kashmir, indicating, “The Muslim majority population in the Kashmir Valley suffers from the repressive tactics of the security forces.”

In its report on July 2, 2015, the Amnesty International has highlighted extrajudicial killings of the innocent persons at the hands of Indian security forces in the Indian Held Kashmir. The report points out, “Tens of thousands of security forces are deployed in Indian-administered Kashmir…the Armed Forces Special Powers Act allows troops to shoot to kill suspected militants or arrest them without a warrant…not a single member of the armed forces has been tried in a civilian court for violating human rights in Kashmir…this lack of accountability has in turn facilitated other serious abuses…India has martyred one 100,000 people. More than 8,000 disappeared (while) in the custody of army and state police.”

In this respect, European Union has passed a resolution about human rights abuses committed by Indian forces in the Indian held Kashmir.

It is also of particular attention that in 2008, a rights group reported unmarked graves in 55 villages across the northern regions of the Indian-held Kashmir. Then researchers and other groups reported finding thousands of mass graves without markers. In this respect, in August, 2011, Indian Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission officially acknowledged in its report that innocent civilians killed in the two-decade conflict have been buried in unmarked graves.

Particularly, foreign sources and human rights organisations have revealed that unnamed graves include those innocent persons, killed by the Indian military and paramilitary troops in the fake encounters including those who were tortured to death by the Indian secret agency RAW. In the recent past, more unmarked graves have been discovered.

It is noteworthy that report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released on June 14, 2018-“Situation in Kashmir” pointed out Indian atrocities in the IOK. It said: “From July 2016, the High Commissioner for Human Rights has on numerous occasions requested the Governments of India and Pakistan that his Office be given unconditional access to Kashmir to assess the human rights situation. India rejected this request; while Pakistan offered access…The refusal to allow unhindered access to United Nations team into Indian-Administered-Kashmir gave rise to an idea of “Remote Monitoring”. The report was then compiled by doing “remote monitoring” on the situation of Human Rights in Kashmir. The report by the independent authority is an eye-opener for many. The focus of the report is on the situation of human rights in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir from July 2016 to April 2018. During this period ‘OHCHR’ received reports of allegations of widespread and serious human rights violations by Indian security forces that led to numerous civilian casualties.

It is worth-mentioning that in his address at the 73rd United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on September 29, this year, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said, “The neighbouring country [India] rejected the Pakistani offer of resuming peace talks on ‘flimsy grounds…We are ready to talk to India on all issues but with respect…Kashmir issue is the biggest obstacle to regional peace…the Indian forces subjecting Kashmiris to atrocities for seven decades. India should not test Pakistan’s patience…we will respond to Indian aggression…The latest UN report on the occupied Kashmir has exposed Indian atrocities on innocent civilians…the meeting between the Pakistani and Indian foreign ministers would’ve been a great opportunity for dialogue. But, the Modi government chose politics over dialogue…India would have to bear the brunt of Pakistan’s retaliation if it makes the mistake of any misadventure on the Line of Control (LoC)”.

It seems that Indian authorities are not willing to talk with Kashmiri people on political grounds. New Delhi reached to a conclusion that only bullet is the right way of dealing with Kashmiris, demanding their right of self-determination. Surprisingly, Indian successive governments are trying to ignore the dynamics of the freedom movement of Kashmiris for the sake of their alien rule.

Nonetheless, Kashmir Council EU (KC-EU) launched the 11th annual week-long event of “Kashmir EU-Week” at European Parliament in Brussels. Especially, the exhibition displays Indian atrocities in the Indian controlled Kashmir.

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