Turning Point: Has India Lost Kashmir?
By Sajjad Shaukat
Despite continuous employment of brutal tactics by the Indian security forces on the innocent Kashmiris in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK), war of liberation has accelerated. The Kashmiri struggle has entered the turning point, putting the question mark, has India lost Kashmir?
With the intensity of war of liberation and Indian state terrorism in the IOK, pressure on the Indian government led by BJP has been mounting both domestically and internationally.
The intensity of anti-India protests in IOK has escalated to such levels that an article in BBC questioned, “Is India losing Kashmir?” Washington Post also pointed that “Teen girls with stones are the new threat in India’s Kashmir conflict”. New York Times editorial “Cruelty and Cowardice in Kashmir” also has the same shade commenting on an incident on the current situation in the valley. The Atlantic observed that a new cycle of protests and violent crackdowns had begun in Kashmir, as have responses to those crackdowns–leaving dozens dead and more injured.
Former chief of Indian intelligence agency RAW A. S. Dulat felt that unarmed uprising has worsened under the current government in terms of atmospherics as due to alienation and the anger of youth, young Kashmiri minds have gone out of control. “There is a sense of hopelessness. They aren’t afraid to die. Villagers, students and even girls are coming out on the streets. This has never happened in the past, “he said. An Indian journalist Santosh Bhartiya in an open letter to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi published on ‘Rising Kashmir’ claimed that although “the land of Kashmir is with us, the people of Kashmir are not with us.” He had pointed out that on every tree, on every mobile tower, Pakistani flag swirls in Kashmir.
Calling New Delhi’s policy towards Kashmir a ‘bundle of confusion’, former BJP senior leader Yashwant Sinha insisted that “India has lost people of the valley emotionally. “We have lost the people emotionally. You just have to visit the valley to realize that they have lost faith in us,” Sinha acknowledged. He also candidly admitted that Modi and India believe in “doctrine of State” or brutality to suppress Kashmiri people. He added that Kashmiri people and Pakistanis observe January 5 as United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) Kashmir Resolution Day to project the occasion for reminding the United Nations of its resolve made in 1949 to grant Kashmiris the right to self-determination through plebiscite.
On the other side, by ignoring the ground realities, New Delhi still wants to keep her illegitimate control in the Indian Held Kashmir through state terrorism. Failed in suppressing the Kashmir movement, Indian central government imposed President’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir which started from December 20, 2018. The main purpose is to accelerate atrocities on the Kashmiris who are demanding their genuine right of self-determination. And by creating war-hysteria against Pakistan in wake of perennial violations of the Line of Control (LoC), Modi-led government wants to divert attention of international community from the new phase of Intifada of Kashmiris.
As regards Indian state terrorism in the Indian control Kashmir, Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader namely Pravin Togadia demanded that the government should carry out “carpet bombing” in Kashmir Valley to stop the attacks on security forces. Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that those pelting stones “will have to face the consequences.” Indian Army chief Bipin Rawat had warned youth in Kashmir saying “those who obstruct our operations during encounters and are not supportive will be treated as over ground workers of terrorists.” He added, “They may survive today but we will get them tomorrow. Our relentless operations will continue.”
Again, it mentionable that A. S. Dulat, former chief of RAW in his statement, published in the magazine, ‘The Wire’ on August 27, 2016 said “Pakistan’s role is not the only catalyst for the crisis, talks about the need for the Indian government to start talking to separatist leaders in the Hurriyat Conference, Pakistan, and other important political players.” His condemnation of the Modi government for its high handedness in IOK is spot on. He rightly concludes that the Kashmiri uprising is 100% indigenous.
Meanwhile, in response to the letter of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, on August 19, 2016, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had deplored the killings of the Kashmiris in Indian-Held Kashmir, and urged India and Pakistan to settle Kashmir and other issues through dialogue by offering his “good offices”.
During his visit to Pakistan, in the joint press conference with the then Prime Minister Sharif on November 17, 2016, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged for an immediate resolution of the Kashmir dispute and stated that “the escalating tensions on the Pakistan-India border and the atrocities in Kashmir cannot be ignored. He elaborated, “The Turkish government and the Turkish nation stand in solidarity with the Kashmiri people.”
Earlier, the visiting Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) Ayad Ameen Madani in Islamabad expressed grave concern over extra-judicial killings of people in the Indian Occupied Kashmir and added, “OIC will support Pakistan on Kashmir issue”.
Undoubtedly, Western politicians and media have also taken serious notice of the deteriorating situation of Kashmir. For instance, the Italian Minister for Defence, Mrs. Roberta Pinotti who visited Pakistan said on September 19, 2016 that her country “opposes use of force and lethal weapons against peaceful protestors in Kashmir…it cannot be allowed to go on.” She further said that Italy will apprise the international community about what is going on in Indian held Kashmir.
It is notable that in his address at the 73rd United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on September 29, 2018, 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 is mentionable 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 Indian Occupied Kashmir (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.
Instead of redressing the grievances of the people and wars of liberation in various regions, including Kashmir, Indian Government is depending upon ruthless force to crush these extremist and separatist movements. Therefore, India’s unrealistic counterinsurgency strategy has badly failed.
It is of particular attention that Indian Minister of External affairs Jaswant Singh who served the BJP for 30 years was expelled from the party for praising Mohammad Ali Jinnah (Founder of Pakistan) and echoing the pain of the Indian Muslims in his book, “Jinnah: India, Partition,
Pointing out the BJP’s attitude towards the minorities, Singh wrote: “Every Muslim that lives in India is a loyal Indian…look into the eyes of Indian Muslims and see the pain.” He warned in his book, if such a policy continued, “India could have third partition.”
As a matter fact, taking cognizance of the separatist movements in India and New Delhi’s use of brutal force through military in suppressing them, in one way or the other, Jaswant Singh has shown realistic approach in his book.
Nevertheless, we, can, undoubtedly, conclude that war of liberation has accelerated; reaching the turning point and India will fail in suppressing the struggle of Kashmiris through brutal force.
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