Kashmir is Achilles Heel of India
The freedom struggle which started against the Dogra rule before Partition is continuing unabatedly because of illegal occupation of two-thirds Kashmir by Indian security forces in October 1947. The Kashmiris are fighting for their freedom in a bid to complete the unfinished work of the Partition of India. Some people call it a battle for the conception of another Pakistan in the womb of India. The delivery would of course materialize if the passion to sacrifice and die in the way of cause remains young; so says the breeze blowing in the Valley, known as paradise on earth but turned into hell by Indian security forces. The Muslims of Kashmir who have always been known to be docile, peace loving and inward looking were forced by circumstances to pick up arms and demand their right of self determination as laid down in UN Resolutions of 1948 and 1949.
The armed freedom struggle in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) which suddenly erupted like a volcano in January 1990 is 90% indigenous and the fractional 10% can be traced back to the natural and wholly unavoidable fraternal involvement of their kinsfolk in Azad Kashmir. In the last 22 years, well over 100,000 Kashmiris have laid down their lives to attain freedom from the alien rule, while tens of thousands have been maimed, their houses destroyed and their women folk raped by the occupation forces. Countless numbers are in illegal detention centres and quietly suffering worst kinds of torture with none to hear their shrieks of agony and with no light at the end of the tunnel. Several black laws are in practice to give a free hand to security forces to arrest suspects without warrant, or to shoot to kill any person seen as a possible threat.
Taking advantage of her closeness with the sole super power, India has misrepresented indigenous freedom movement as terrorism backed by Pakistan. The global anti-terrorism laws framed by Washington after 9/11 are being misused by India to crush the aspirations of Kashmiris demanding right of self determination and to project Pakistan as a terror abetting state. She stubbornly clings to her stance that Kashmir is integral part of India and will not part with it under any circumstance. India misses no opportunity to harm or badmouth Pakistan. She has maintained her aggressive and negative stance even after signing peace treaty with Pakistan in January 2004. She remained on a warpath after Mumbai episode in November 2008 for over two years. Finally when she decided to soften up and resume stalled composite dialogue and to promote two-way trade and Pakistan responded by agreeing to give her Most-Favored-Nation status, Indian military deployed in Kashmir upped the ante by first heating up the Line of Control through intrusions and then making a bizarre allegation that one of the Indian soldiers had been beheaded by Pak military.
The Indians have somehow remained obsessed with the thought that liberation of Kashmir will set in a chain reaction thereby tearing India into pieces. This fear in fact has been fed by Indian military which doesn’t want to part with Kashmir under any circumstance. As a matter of fact, ignoring ground realities and deceiving the world by obfuscating truth and clinging on to Kashmir which is not theirs may eventually lead to disintegration of India. Indians must pick up heart to admit that the feared chain reaction is already in motion in India as can be gauged from 19 separatist and insurgent movements taking place in several states of India. Over 1500,000 Indian security forces are deployed to counter the insurgencies. Among all the movements, Naxalite and Kashmiri movements are the most dangerous. However, Kashmiri movement being Muslim enthused is the Achilles Heel of India.
India being an imperialist power is governed by a strong hegemonic impulse. She wants to become super power of South Asia and a world power. The current generation of Indian leaders has still not overcome the desire to create mythical Mahabharata as aspired by earlier Hindu leaders. Illusionary Mahabharata spans the space between Afghanistan and Indonesia. Mired in dozens of insurgencies, India considers Pakistan as the lone stumbling block in the way of her imperialist ambitions. Indigenous freedom movement in IOK has become a bleeding wound for India and a cause of embarrassment. Despite massive human rights abuses and horrendous cruelties perpetrated by 750,000 Indian forces deployed in a small valley since 1990 and given license to kill under specially enacted brutal laws to stifle the voice of Kashmiris languishing in open prison under miserable conditions, the movement continues undeterred. Each case of brutality and injustice further fuel their hatred against India. Holding of farcical elections every five years under the barrel of the gun and forming puppet governments through massive rigging in elections has added to their frustration and resentment.
The Amarnath Shrine Board dispute in occupied Kashmir in the summer of 2008 galvanized the Kashmiri youth, born in 1990s, after a lull of few years. This time they decided to launch their protests without arms. Their protests became more menacing in 2009; and in 2010 teenagers with stones clenched in their small fists came in the forefront and braved the bullets of pitiless marauders. Thousands of teenagers chanted Azadi slogans with unprecedented fury. Stones hurled by teenagers were responded by bullets by Indian security forces. They indiscriminately fired at the teenagers, some of them as young as eight years old, killing hundreds and wounding as many. It is indeed most unfortunate that champions of human rights and advocates of human dignity and honor are mute like the stone effigies. The US-Western-Jewish media turns a blind eye to gross human rights violations committed against Kashmiri women, children and elderly persons. This is in spite the fact that quite many independent NGOs, Human Rights Watch and even notable Indians have highlighted the reign of terror unleashed by Indian forces upon hapless Kashmiris. International Peoples’ Tribunal for Human Rights in IOK and Association of Parent of Disappeared Persons (APDP) released a 355 paged report in December 2012 uncovering atrocious and viciously barbaric acts of Indian Army, Border Security Force, Central Reserve Police Forces and elements of other Security and Police Forces, all violently striking against unarmed Kashmiris. The report gives precise details of many established and proven cruelties, which the “largest democracy” on earth (India) did not bother to acknowledge or investigate. The report also uncovers truth behind Indian allegations that violence in IOK was caused by Pakistan.
Notwithstanding the biased stance of foreign media, it is distressing to note that our political leaders and our media deeply immersed in internal political battle have failed to take note of this report and to condemn India. It is the moral obligation of every Pakistani to give full moral support to the Kashmiris in distress and to expose the real face of Indian security forces involved in raping women, extra judicial killing of innocent people, detaining and torturing suspects without charges, ransacking their houses and looting their property. The world needs to be reminded that people of Kashmir have endured immeasurable pain and anguish and are continuing to suffer unabated miseries. They should be allowed to exercise their right to live the way they want to. It must not be viewed as a territorial dispute, but seen as an international issue since it has been duly recognized as such by the United Nations. The vicious cycle of carnage must come to an end and the oldest dispute resolved at the earliest.
The writer is a retired Brig and a defence analyst. His fifth book titled ‘Tangled Knot of Kashmir’ is under publication. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org