Kashmir: Indian Brutal Tactics Continue

 By Sajjad Shaukat

Since 1989, Indian army, paramilitary forces and intelligence agencies have been using various tactics of state terrorism in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) to crush the war of liberation. These tactics have intensified after the young Kashmir leader Burhan Wani was martyred by these forces on July 8, 2016. In the aftermath of this extrajudicial killing, protests have continued by the Kashmiris in wake of sieges and prolonged curfews, including arrests and detentions of the Kashmir leaders. Since July 8, 2016, these ruthless forces have martyred more than 700 innocent persons.

With the acceleration of the Kashmiri Intifada (Uprising), Indian Held Kashmir (IHK) witnessed a rapid increase in the brutal tactics, applied by the Indian forces on the innocent Kashmiri people, which resulted into more extrajudicial Killings.

However, IOK continue to witness bloodshed as Indian occupation-troops indiscriminately and incessantly hunt the innocent people in the name of so-called search operations. In a sham move, Indian government had announced to suspend so-called operations during the holy month of Ramadan, this year. But, on the second Friday of the Ramadan, heavy shelling was used to disperse the protesting crowds outside Srinagar Jamia Mosque. Resultantly, many Kashmiri people were injured and the Jamia Mosque was also filled with blood and empty shells.

Since last four months, Indian security forces have unleashed extreme terror and killed more than 75 innocent Kashmiri people in fake encounters or firing incidents on peaceful protestors.  It may be recalled that at least 20 Kashmiris were martyred in Kachdoora village, Shopian district of IOK on a gory day of April only.

In this regard, recent martyrdom of the prominent Kashmiri journalist Shujaat Bukhari presents another example of India’s extrajudicial killing. However, a strong Kashmir voice of brave 50 years old Journalist, editor of “Rising Kashmir” was forever made silent through shots on June 14, 2018.

In this respect, BBC reported on June 14 and June15, 2018, “A leading newspaper journalist and editor in Indian-administered Kashmir, Shujaat Bukhari, has been shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Srinagar. Bukhari, a frequent contributor to the BBC News website, was attacked in his car near the office of the Rising Kashmir newspaper, which he edited. He was taken to hospital but was later declared dead…One of his guards was also killed in the attack…No group has claimed the killing…Bukhari described the threat to Kashmiri journalists in a 2016 article for BBC News.  Threats to life, intimidation, assault, arrest and censorship have been part of the life of a typical local journalist, he wrote. He was well-known in Kashmir and was previously a correspondent for the Indian newspaper The Hindu…Apart from running three daily newspapers, including the English language daily Rising Kashmir, Mr Bukhari lobbied aggressively for peace by organising conferences and summits in the US, UK and other parts of the world. He was also a regular presence at secondary diplomatic initiatives envisioning better relations between India and Pakistan.”

As regards the martyrdom, eyewitness pointed out that four persons wearing helmets and “shalwar kameez” appeared on two motorcycles outside the office of Rising Kashmir near Srinagar Lal Chowk and opened fire when just Bukhari boarded his vehicle.

It is notable that Shujaat was martyred on the very day when Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released 49 Page Report covering human rights abuses in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) for the period of June 2016–April 2018.

Reliable sources and very close friends of the deceased stated that Shujaat Bukhari always condemned Indian state terrorism against the innocent Kashmiris, openly and loudly. He used to boldly criticise extra-judicious killings of innocent people by Indian security agencies, especially Indian intelligence agency RAW.

Notably, Shujaat also played key role through “Track Two Diplomacy” in paving path to resolve Kashmir issue between two nuclear states—India and Pakistan. But, unfortunately RAW could not tolerate his realistic criticism regarding brutal techniques of Indian security forces, employed on the innocent men, women and children. Therefore, RAW decided to suppress a loud independent voice of Shujaat through bullets and assassinated him.

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

Nevertheless, various forms of state terrorism have been part of a deliberate campaign by the Indian army and paramilitary forces against Muslim Kashmiris, particularly 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 encounters.

According to a report on human rights violations in the Indian Occupied Kashmir, since 1989, there have been deaths of 1,00000 innocent Kashmiris, 8,023 custodial killings, 1,50,771 arrests, 1,40,996 destruction of houses or buildings, 24,776 women widowed, 1,60,466 children orphaned and 20,086 women gang-raped/molested. Indian brutal securities forces have continued these atrocities.

In 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 Occupied Kashmir. The report indicated, “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 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 connection, 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. Now, more unmarked graves have been found.

In this context, 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 RAW.

Latest reports disclosed that Indian security forces have also used chemical weapons against the Kashmiri civilians in violation of international law and Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

It is noteworthy that regarding extrajudicial killings in the IOK, on June 28, 2010, BBC reported, “Three men went missing in Indian-administered Kashmir in April…but their bodies were discovered near the Line of Control…a senior officer of the Indian army had kidnapped them by offering them jobs as porters. The troops later informed the police that they had killed three militants. Kashmir’s law minister, Ali Mohammad Sagar says there have been several proven cases of fake encounters in the past 20 years…There are hardliners in the Indian Army and intelligence agencies, who think that by raising the bogey of infiltration and gun battles near the border they can create terror among people and also put pressure on Pakistan.”

Besides, by manipulating various false flag operations, especially that one which occurred in a military base in Uri on September 18, 2016, the BJP-led Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi not only shifted the blame game towards Islamabad, but has also intensified war-hysteria against Pakistan. Indian forces have continued shelling at the Line of Control (LoC)-Pakistani side of Azad Kashmir and the Working Boundary generally targeted the civilian population. And Pakistani troops are giving matching response to Indian unprovoked firing and are well-prepared for atomic war, as threatened by Indian army chief Gen. Bipin Rawat on January 14, this year. Since the start of this year, Indian forces have violated 2003 ceasefire agreement for more than 1,050 times, resulting in killing of 28 civilians and injuring 117.

As a matter of fact, for over 70 years, unarmed Kashmiris, including men, women, school-going boys and girls and aged people have continued to witness mental, psychological as well as physical humiliation and torture at the hands of Indian military personnel merely for being Muslim Kashmiris and bona fide residents of IOK.

Every day, there are incidents of gashing of eyes, chopping off vital body-parts, use of ever-new methods of persecution during unending curfews, including gang-rapes, burning of the agitators alive, torching of their villages along with crops and destruction of their business as well as economic life. In fact, a complete genocide of the Kashmiri people is on the Indian card in utter defiance of international human rights laws.

While, New Delhi is deliberately using every tactic to prolong the subjugation of people of the IOK, while, in the same regard, India is also attempting to change the demography of Kashmir and continues resorting to killing the Muslim population and allowing settlements of non-Kashmiris in IOK, especially Hindus. For the purpose, the new way of genocidal tools are being utilized by Indian forces.

The so called secular India’s face has been exposed to the entire world, the way Indian forces have locked the mosques and massacred the innocent Kashmiris. Why UNO is not responding? It is a real question for all Human Rights organizations as well.

According to UN’s charter article 1 & 2, it is clearly mentioned that “Right to self determination” would be top priority. Even the American President Roosevelt and UK’s Prime Minister Churchill were of the views that “Right of self determination is a basic right of any nation”, but at this critical moment, none of these countries are speaking for the said right for Kashmiris and they are silent over the Muslim’s bloodshed being spilled by Indian forces in Kashmir, which continue to employ various brutal tactics of state terrorism.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

Email: sajjad_logic@yahoo.com

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