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Kashmir Solidarity Day: Resilient Kashmiris and Their Struggle for Freedom

Kashmir Solidarity Day: Resilient Kashmiris and Their Struggle for Freedom

 

By Sehr Rushmeen


On February 5th every year, Pakistan observes Kashmir Solidarity Day to reaffirm its unwavering support for the oppressed Kashmiri people. For over seven decades, the people of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) have faced state-sponsored terrorism and oppression at the hands of India. This day serves as a reminder of the enduring plight of the Kashmiris and their legitimate right to self-determination under the United Nations Resolutions.
India has consistently broken international agreements and regulations with its actions in IIOJK. The 1948 Resolution of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) requiring a plebiscite has been ignored. In addition, there have been violations of the Geneva Conventions, which forbid an occupying army from relocating its civilian population into territory it has taken over.


Both the 1972 Simla Agreement between Pakistan and India and the UNSC resolutions on Kashmir are flagrantly violated by the abrogation of Article 370 and the unilateral alterations made to the status quo in IIOJK. The world community has widely denounced India's conduct. It is concerning that India is making attempts to alter the demographics of IIOJK, especially by issuing residence certificates and passing property regulations. With these actions, the Muslim-majority region will become Hindu-majority territory, which may sway any future plebiscite in favor of India.


In IIOJK, demographic apartheid began with the adoption of residence rules. This was followed by a political constituency delineation process that further marginalized Kashmiri Muslims. These regulations, which harken back to terrible periods of history, are perceived as the first steps towards systematic ethnic cleansing and genocide. In contrast to the 2011 population census, the Delimitation Commission's proposal from December 2021 aims to give the Jammu area, which has a Hindu majority, additional seats. Journalists and the political leadership in Kashmir have strongly opposed this action.
People of IIOJ&K have endured severe human rights violations, including torture, enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, and violence. The Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) has allowed the deployment of 900,000 Indian troops in the region, creating a disproportionate troop-to-civilian ratio. The recurring lockdowns in IIOJK, with some lasting for over a year, have turned the region into an open prison. These lockdowns, coupled with curfews and internet blockades, have stifled the voices of the Kashmiri people. The use of pellet guns as a means of crowd control has resulted in numerous casualties, including deaths and permanent disabilities. These actions are considered war crimes by international standards.


Since 1989, Indian forces have utilized rape as a means of state-sponsored oppression, resulting in over 11,144 recorded incidences of rape in the occupied Valley. The shocking prevalence of sexual assault in the conflict region has been reported by international organizations, with police and security personnel being the main perpetrators of these attacks.


India's expansionist ambitions have been evident in various statements made by its leaders. Home Minister Amit Shah's assertion that "Kashmir is an integral part of India, including Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and Aksai Chin" is a clear indicator of these intentions. This expansionist rhetoric has raised concerns not only regionally but also internationally, as it threatens to further escalate tensions and destabilize the South Asian region.
Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership, experts and analysts in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) have repeatedly characterized India as a significant obstacle to peace in South Asia. They contend that the stability of the area is seriously threatened by India's aggressive policies and occupation of Jammu and Kashmir. India's actions since August 5, 2019, along with the ongoing Kashmir dispute, highlight its contempt for regional peace. India is a peace-spoiler, and the world community needs to acknowledge this and move quickly to rectify the problem.
International Concerns and Condemnation


The international community has expressed serious concerns over the situation in IIOJK. Dr. Gregory H. Stanton, the founding president of Genocide Watch, warned of a genocide in India, highlighting the dangerous polarization and targeting of minorities. Juan E. Méndez, a UN Special Rapporteur, called the situation in India "deeply disturbing" and emphasized the moral responsibility to protect minorities and Muslims.
The Russell Tribunal on Kashmir and various human rights organizations have exposed the genocide in Kashmir, debunking the myth of India as the world's largest democracy.


Kashmir Solidarity Day serves as a crucial reminder of the ongoing suffering of the Kashmiri people in the face of India's oppressive policies and human rights abuses. It is a day to stand in solidarity with the resilient Kashmiris and their legitimate struggle for self-determination under international law. The international community must heed the calls for justice and accountability in IIOJK, recognizing the urgency of the situation and the need to protect the rights and dignity of its people. Only through international pressure and concerted efforts can we hope to see an end to the suffering of the Kashmiris and a just resolution to this longstanding conflict.



Author’s Bio


Sehr Rushmeen, an Islamabad based freelance researcher, with area of research interest in Strategic Nuclear Studies, Artificial Intelligence in Warfare, South China Sea and South Asian Politics. She tweets on @rushmeentweets and can be reached on [email protected]

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