Kashmiri Journalist Assassination: Abuse to Human Rights
By Zaheerul Hassan
A strong Kashmir voice of brave 50 years old Journalist, editor of “Rising Kashmir” was forever made silent through shots on 14th June 2018. Eyewitness stated that four persons wearing helmets and shalwar kameez appeared on two motorcycles outside the office of Rising Kashmir near Lal Chowk at 7.30pm opened fire when just as Bukhari boarded his vehicle. Notably, his murdered was did on the day when Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released 49 Page Report covering human rights abuses in both Indian occupied and Pakistani parts of Kashmir for the period of June 2016 – April 2018. The complete report is available on OHCHR website.
Reliable sources, and very close friend of deceased stated that Shujaat has provided tacit support in preparation of report to UNHCHR officials since he always loudly condemned Indian state terrorism against innocent Kashmiris. Even at times, he used to boldly criticise extra judicious killing of innocent people in the hand of Indian Supreme Intelligence Agency RAW. He also played key role through “Track Two Diplomacy” in paving path to resolve Kashmir issue between two nuclear states. But, unfortunately the Intelligence Agency never digested Shujaat criticism over security forces and brutal actions against innocent children, women and men. Thus, they decided to suppress a loud independent voice of Kashmiri journalist through bullet and assassinated him right at the heart of Srinagar “Lal Chowk”.
Study of Human Commission Report over Kashmir is an eye opener for the international community that clearly acknowledges and indicate grave nature of violation of human rights. According to the report, in Indian occupied Kashmir, more than 50,000 individuals have been killed by the security forces since 1989. Reportedly, among the use of pellet-firing shotguns against violent protesters resulting in deaths and serious injuries. Official government figures list 17 people were killed due to pellet injuries between July 2016 and August 2017. In January 2018, the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister told the state legislative assembly that 6,221 people had been injured by pellet guns.
But the actual figures are much more, the young boys and protesters lost their eyesight due to pallet gun fire injuries. Some reports also mentioned that Indian security forces are using chemical and biological weapons against freedom fighters and the local protesters. In this connection, Mr. Aslam Yasin, a young college student of Srinagar City narrated in a phone call that many inhabitants of his “ mohallah” (area) who attend the protests against Indian occupation, are suffering with the boils on their bodies, acute Diarrhea, vomit and headache as result of teargas shell, thrown on them by the security forces.
In some cases, many protesters suffered with the burnt injures too. A woman from Srinagar on the promise of anonymity, while crying stated that in the names of search, many girls and women were forceful abdicated from their houses by the law forcing agencies. Their raped dead bodies found were found nearby to their houses. According to the confirms reports such type of inhuman killing and raping of women has now become the common practice all over Indian occupied Kashmir. Indian rulers even do not allow NGOs or UN ambassadors to meet people and visit Kashmir because if they permit them to visit, then it would be difficult for India to cover security forces cruelty against Kashmiris.
On contrary, Pakistan always facilitated NGOs and UN ambassadors to move around in Pakistan part of Kashmir freely and unchecked. Although UN Reports indicated human rights abuses in both Indian and Pakistan-held parts of Kashmir, but acknowledged that those in Pakistan Kashmir are of a “different calibre or magnitude.”
UNHRC advised Indian government to work with UN Human Rights Council member countries to create an independent international investigation that would comprehensively examine allegations of serious human rights violations in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir. The report also stressed that Indian government should immediately act on the recommendations in the first-ever report by the United Nations on human rights in Kashmir.
The report also covered the UN Resolutions on Kashmir issue, when India first time went to UN against freedom fighters those entered into Kashmir just after the partition in 1948. Remember, at the time of partition, Hari Singh, a Sikh ruler against majority’s people’s will, preferred annexation of area to India which resulted into human crises in Kashmir. Significantly, Muslims were over 99% at the time of division, mostly out of them were located in Srinagar, Ladakh and rest of Kashmir, whereas major population of Hindus community was residing in Jammu and in some others towns. The Sikh and Christian communities had always favoured the majority’s’ voice of Muslims. In nutshell, UN asked both local freedom fighters and occupied Hindu forces to stop fight. UN Resolution of 21 April 1948 and Resolution 80 (1950) forced both India and Pakistan to resolve Kashmir issue through independent plebiscite under UN arrangements. Pakistan and India are nuclear states, they had three wars over Kashmir issue. Any misadventure or stupid approach from any side may push the area initially into regional, ultimately can convert into global war.
However, Meenakashi Ganuly South Asian Director said, “The Indian government’s dismissal of the serious concerns raised in the UN’s Kashmir report is unjustified and counterproductive,”. He further added that Instead the government should accept these findings and take prompt steps in support of an impartial international investigation straight away declare it fallacious report. Factual position reveal the worst conditions of state terrorism and violence noticed just after the introduction of Draconian Acts , Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act (PSA). These two acts have become the obstruction in the implementation of the normal course of law, impede accountability and jeopardize the right to remedy for victims of human rights violations.” The OHCHR report mentioned that Indian security forces while enforcing PSA detained over 1,000 people, including children, between March 2016 and August 2017. The Safety Act allows detention without charge or trial for up to two years, and has often been used to arrest people on imprecise grounds for long periods, ignoring regular criminal justice safeguards. In September 2016, Indian authorities without any case or legal cover detained another journalist and human rights activist Khurram Parvez for over 76 days. The objective of his detention was to prevent him from traveling and raising voice in front of UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Conspicuously, India had deployed 500,000-600,000 soldiers to control security situation but still badly failed in preventing young locals and freedom fighter’s movement for independence. Instead of suppressing movement and killing innocent people, Indian political and military brass should sit down and dig out the actual reasons of anarchy and violence in Kashmir, since arresting or killing journalists and innocent Kashmiris is not an answer to settle the issue. The point to be noted here that even present lot of youngsters (3rd generation of Kashmiris) are no more willing to live under Indian umbrella. The will continue keep on contesting and demanding for free and fair plebiscite under UN arrangements.
Kashmiris had number of times raised voice against establishing of Sainik Colonies by the Indian government to settle ex-army personnel in IOK, for which the State government had been asked to identify land for the colonies. The objective of such action is to forcefully bring demographical changes in IOK. It is mentionable here that before Indian occupation percentage of the Muslim population of IOK was 99 percent, which came down to 72 percent in 1952 Census. Successive census reports show the decline in Muslim population percentage in IOK, while the latest census showed 67 percent.
Now, innocent Kashmir desire that international community and UN should comeforard and interfere in burning South Asian because killing of innocent public including Journalists and sexual violence in IOK are serious nature of human rights abuses and war crimes against the locals. The target killing of Shujaat by RAW is by now a proven fact that in his last tweet, sent just before couple of hours of his death, found asking UN human rights chief for a major investigation into abuses committed by India in Kashmir.
Anyhow, Pakistan strongly condemned the targeted killing of the Kashmiri journalist and demanded, Indian authorities to investigate the matter and ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice. In this regard, Dr. Faisal, a spokesman for Pakistan’s Foreign office through tweeter demanded, “Our heartfelt condolences and prayers are for their families. Violence must end; Perpetrators should be brought to justice”.
In short, UNHRC though Shujaat Bukhari made an attempt to internationally uncover intelligence agencies and security forces brutal actions in Indian occupied Kashmir. But still questions arise, “when UN and major global powers will force world largest democracy to stop cruelty and conduct free and fair plebiscite?”. Though many option are available to settle long outstanding matter but better option is further division of IOK through plebiscite.
The writer can be approached through firstname.lastname@example.org