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writing for godot

Burhan Wani: Voice of the Kashmiri Youth

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Written by Sajjad Shaukat   
Saturday, 03 March 2018 17:44

Protests erupted after the Indian security forces martyred 22-year-young Kashmir leader Burhan Wani on July 8, 2016. A new wave of Indian brutalities has set in with the martyrdom of the eminent leader. In the aftermath of his martyrdom, new uprising (Intifada) started in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK). Unlike the past, mostly, the young persons are participating in the demonstrations and protest-rallies which continue unabated against Indian illegitimate occupation of Kashmir.

To suppress the protestors, devilish Indian occupational forces started playing havoc with the protestors. As a result more than 600 people embraced martyrdom and around 20,000 got injured. Many became permanently blind due to pellet guns shots used by the Indian security forces. Curfew remained imposed for more than 5 months. Around 16,000 people were arrested or detained.

The bloodshed is still on and God knows how many more Kashmiris will lose their lives at the hands of Indian forces.

The recent genocide in the Indian-controlled Kashmir has received wide coverage in international as well domestic Indian media.

However, Wani, in his early 20s, had become the face of the struggle in Kashmir and over the last five years was using social media like Facebook to reach out to young Kashmiri men to continue their movement for the independence of Kashmir. He became voice of the Kashmiri youth and his popularity irritated New Delhi.

Undoubtedly, Burhan Wani was a great voice for freedom of the Indian Occupied Kashmir. Hence, the planned killing of Burhan Wani triggered protest throughout the valley.

The first death anniversary of Burhan Wani, Commander of Hizbul Mujahideen was celebrated on July 8, 2017. Since he was an iconic figure of the freedom movement, therefore, his anniversary was observed on a large scale in the Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (J&K). Kashmiris, living both sides of the LoC observed this very day and paid homage to the Kahsmiri leader Wani. Again, wide-spread protests were held in the Indian Held Kashmir. Indian occupation-forces martyred more people who were commemorating the death anniversary of Wani and for liberation of their land in wake of sieges and prolonged curfews, including arrests and detentions of the Kashmir leaders.

Besides, by manipulating the false flag terror attacks at a military base in Uri and Baramulla, the BJP-led Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also intensified war-hysteria against Pakistan. Indian forces have continued shelling at the Line of Control (LoC)-Pakistani side of Azad Kashmir. 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. However, New Delhi’s main aim is to deflect the attention of the international community from the new phase of Kashmiri Intifada, while pressure has been mounting on the Modi government both domestically and internationally to resolve the issue of Kashmir with Pakistan.

Although Indian constitution declares India to be a secular and democratic state, yet its subsequent regimes have broken all the records by continuing undemocratic injustices in relation to the Kashmiris.

During the partition of the Sub-continent, the people of the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) which comprised Muslim majority decided to join Pakistan according to the British-led formula. But, Dogra Raja, Sir Hari Singh, a Hindu who was ruling over the State of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), in connivance with the Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Governor General Lord Mountbatten joined India.

The design to forcibly wrest Kashmir began to unfold on August 16, 1947, with the announcement of the Radcliffe Boundary Award. It gave the Gurdaspur District—a majority Muslim area to India to provide a land route to the Indian armed forces to move into Kashmir. There was a rebellion in the state forces, which revolted against the Maharaja and were joined by Pathan tribesmen. Lord Mountbatten ordered armed forces to land in Srinagar.

When Pakistan responded militarily against the Indian aggression, on December 31, 1947, India made an appeal to the UN Security Council to intervene and a ceasefire ultimately came into effect on January 01, 1949, following UN resolutions calling for a plebiscite in Kashmir to enable the people of Jammu and Kashmir to determine whether they wish to join Pakistan or India. On February 5, 1964, India backed out of its promise of holding plebiscite. Instead, in March 1965, the Indian Parliament passed a bill, declaring Kashmir a province of India-an integral part of the Indian union.

The very tragedy of Kashmiris had started after 1947 when they were denied their genuine right of self-determination. They organized themselves against the injustices of India and launched a war of liberation which New Delhi tried to crush through various forms of brutalities.

It is notable that since 1947, in order to maintain its illegal control, India has continued its repressive regime in the 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, especially 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 continue 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 Held Kashmir. The report points out, “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 respect, 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.

Notably, 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 the Indian secret agency RAW.

Last year, 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.

Indian authorities are not willing to talk with Kashmiri people on political grounds. New Delhi reached to a conclusion that only bullet is the right way of dealing with Kashmiris, demanding their right of self-determination. Surprisingly, Indian successive governments are trying to ignore the dynamics of the freedom movement of Kashmiris for the sake of their alien rule.

But, New Delhi is still showing its intransigence in order to resolve Kashmir dispute with Pakistan by neglecting the fact that Kashmir remains a nuclear flashpoint between both the neighbouring countries.

In this context, Egbert Jahn in his book, “Kashmir: Flashpoint for a Nuclear War or Even a Third World War?” has pointed out, “The Kashmir conflict is embedded in the wider conflict over the incomplete creation of nations and states on the Indian subcontinent, which during the east-west conflict even threatened at times to escalate into a nuclear world war between Pakistan and the USA on the one side and India and the USSR on the other. Until now, there have been three wars between India and Pakistan over the Jammu and Kashmir: in 1947–49, 1965 and 1999… finally, the Indo-Chinese border war of 1962…after these wars…and could unexpectedly again lead to a regional and under certain circumstances…even a major nuclear war or a Third World War.”

Meanwhile, like the previous year, Pakistan’s recent serious and sincere effort at the annual session of the United Nations, highlighting the Indian atrocities, Kashmir dispute and demanding its solution has infused a new spirit among the Kashmiri people. Islamabad has also exposed the myth of Indian claim of the largest democracy and double standard of the US-led Western countries who still remain silent over the Indian injustices, as they are not taking practical steps to pressurize New Delhi to settle of the Kashmir issue.

Nonetheless, Burhan Wani’s blood has given a new impetus to the Kashmir movement which continues unabated against the occupying forces of India. Thus, his martyrdom keeps the issue of Kashmir alive, as he has become voice of the Kashmiri youth.

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

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