Skip to main content

Allow right to self-determination, free and fair referendum: Kashmiri diaspora group

Counterview Desk

The World Kashmir Awareness Forum, a Washington DC-based group, claiming to represent Kashmiri diaspora organizations, even as demanding to immediately lift what it calls “the year-long military siege”, has sought restoration of all internet connectivity and communications links, and release of all political prisoners including underage children, journalists, and civil society members.
In a statement, the group has also demanded “unfettered access to monitor and report on human rights violations by credible international bodies, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, International Federation for Human Rights, World Organization Against Torture (WOAT), Doctors without Borders, Physicians for Human Rights, and UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and other UN thematic rapporteurs.”

Text:

On August 5, 2019, the Government of India laid bare its naked ambition extant since partition in 1947 to brutally colonize the territories of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). On that date, it threw away any pretense of acknowledging the J&K’s right to self-determination as outlined by the United Nations’ Security Council and agreed to at that time by the Government of India 72 years earlier.
The events of August 5, 2019 are consistent with the ruthless occupation and suppression the people of Kashmir have suffered under the unpopular Indian rule. As is widely acknowledged and documented internationally, this brutal occupation has led to 150,000 civilian deaths, more than 8000 individuals missing or disappeared, and thousands of Kashmiri women raped. This does not even begin to account for the tens of thousands tortured, maimed, and permanently injured men, women and children by the Indian security forces during their 72-year reign of terror.
But despite this persistent and pernicious tyranny, the people of Kashmir never have nor ever will give up their right to be free. It is based on this internationally recognized, and principled stand the Kashmiri diaspora and its allies worldwide stand in solidarity with J&K's people.
We stand in support of their unyielding struggle to resist occupation and achieve their right to self-determination. We stand with them in their struggle to stop the Indian government from dehumanizing them and completing their settler-colonial project to remove them culturally, politically, and ethnically from the face of the earth.
Since, August 5, 2019, the Indian government, in order to crush any resistance to their illegal occupation, has instituted new draconian measures. First, they unilaterally removed any relics of initial recognition of their occupation by abrogating Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution, imposed a total military lockdown and complete communication blockade in anticipation of the protest and resistance these measures would inevitably cause. In a ruthless campaign they imprisoned politicians, journalists, and civil society members, to intimidate and suppress any form of dissent.
Since then, they have unleashed a well-designed imperialist plan that seeks to forever change the political nature of the Kashmir dispute through demographic changes, political maneuverings, and administrate machinations. 
Indian rulers have sought unilateral changes to the UN-recognized international dispute's status, which is a clear violation of International Law
These alterations to J&K's disputed nature were recently capped by new domicile laws that would entitle people from outside of J&K to obtain domicile certificates as a first step toward granting them the right to buy land and compete for local jobs. The Indian rulers have sought to shamelessly disregard that these unilateral changes made to the UN-recognized international dispute's status are a clear violation of International Law.
The consequences of these actions have been dire with the people of J&K being essentially forced to be locked in their homes, terrorized by the Indian military and paramilitary forces with no recourse against this oppression. 
According to a recent report -- spanning first six months of 2020 -- prepared by the J&K Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), and the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), the army action has resulted in 229 killings, including three (3) underage children and two (2) women. During the brutal Cordon and Destroy Operations (CADOs), the occupying forces have destroyed hundreds of civilian dwellings, rendering their occupants homeless. 
Amnesty International has reported that disappearances, torture, and rape against Kashmiri Muslims are frequent. Genocide Watch has identified the actions of the Government of India as precursor to a likely genocide of the Kashmiri people.
It is with this in mind that we appeal to all peoples of conscience and the international community to raise their voices against the brutal oppression the people of Jammu and Kashmiri are suffering under the occupying forces of the Government of India. We urge them to demand that India:
  1. Immediately lift the year-long military siege, restore all internet connectivity and communications links, and release all political prisoners including underage children, journalists, and civil society members.
  2. Allow unfettered access to monitor and report on human rights violations by credible international bodies including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, International Federation for Human Rights, World Organization Against Torture (WOAT), Doctors without Borders, Physicians for Human Rights, and, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and other UN thematic rapporteurs. 
  3. Halt and rescind all laws, such as the Domicile Laws, that have been instituted to speed the demographic changes and promote the ethnic, cultural, and political cleansing of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. 
  4. Disarm and withdraw all Indian military and paramilitary personnel from the occupied territories so that all the people in Jammu & Kashmir can exercise their unfettered right of self-determination through a free and fair referendum as agreed to by both the Governments of India and Pakistan as well as the United Nations Security Council as early as 1948.

Comments

TRENDING

'These people shouldn't be in jail': UN official seeks release of 16 human rights defenders

By Our Representative A United Nations human rights official has called upon the Government of India (GoI) to “immediately release" 16 human rights defenders who have been imprisoned on charges of terrorism in the Bhima-Koregaon Case, insisting, “These people should not be in jail. They are our modern-day heroes and we should all be looking to them and supporting them and demanding their release.”  

Arrest of Fr Stan Swamy: UN makes public letter seeking explanation from Govt of India

Counterview Desk In a letter to the Government of India (GoI), three senior United Nations (UN) officials – Elina Steinerte, vice-chair of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; Mary Lawlor, special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; and Fernand de Varennes, special rapporteur on minority issues – have said that the arrest of veteran activist Father Stan Swamy in October 2020 marks “the escalation of harassment the human rights defender has been subjected to since 2018.”

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Farm laws 'precursor' to free trade deal envisaged by US corporates to allow GMO

By Rajiv Shah Did the Government of India come up with the three farm laws, first rushed by promulgating ordinances in June 2020, to not just open the country’s agricultural sector to the corporate sector but also as a precursor to comply with the requirements of the United States for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), as envisaged by the outgoing US president Donald Trump?

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Differing from Ambedkar, Kancha Ilaiah holds a 'different' theory of caste system

By Banavath Aravind* I was introduced to Kancha Ilaiah’s work when I was about 20 years old. He was then in the midst of a controversy for a chapter in his book "Post-Hindu India: A Discourse in Dalit-Bahujan, Socio-Spiritual and Scientific Revolution", which termed the Baniya community as social smugglers. During many of his debates, I had come to notice his undeterred fighting spirit in trying to bring up certain fundamental social issues that were hitherto undiscussed. I eventually came across some of his works and started reading them silently. I’m deliberately stressing upon the word ‘silently’ here, as this was the kind of silence particularly associated with sensitive social issues like caste, religion, etc. But, as I write this essay, I feel silences on sensitive issues should be broken. Ilaiah opened up an entirely new debate that had the vigour and strength to counter the systemic Brahmanism. His methods of research were also novel in terms of going back to the roo

Fr Stan's arrest figures in UK Parliament: Govt says, Indian authorities were 'alerted'

London protest for release of Stan Swamy  By Rajiv Shah Will Father Stan Swamy’s arrest, especially the fact that he is a Christian and a priest, turn out to be major international embarrassment for the Government of India? It may well happen, if a recent debate on a resolution titled “India: Persecution of Minority Groups” in the United Kingdom (UK) Parliament is any indication. While Jesuits have protested Fr Stan's arrest in UK and US, the resolution, adopted in the Parliament, said, “This House has considered the matter of persecution of Muslims, Christians and minority groups in India”.

New trend? Riots 'expanded' to new rural areas post-2002 Gujarat carnage: Report

A VHP poster declaring a Gujarat village part of Hindu Rashtra  By Rajiv Shah  Buniyaad, a Gujarat-based civil society organization, engaged in monitoring of communal violence in the state, in a new report, “Peaceful Gujarat: An Illusion or Truth?” has said that a “new trend” has come about in communal violence in the state, where the parts of Gujarat which didn't see communal riots in 2002 are experiencing “regular bouts” of communal violence.

More than 5,200 Gujarat schools to be closed down, merged, says govt document

RTE Forum, Gujarat, releasing fact-sheet on education By Our Representative A Gujarat government document has revealed that it is planning to close down 5,223 schools in the name of school merger. The document, dated July 20, 201 was released by the Right to Education (RTE) Forum, Gujarat. It shows that the worst-affected districts because of this merger are those which are populated by marginalized communities – especially tribals, Dalits and minorities, said RTE Forum’s Gujarat convener Mujahid Nafees.

Consumption pattern, not economic shock behind 'poor' child health indicators

By Neeraj Kumar, Arup Mitra* The findings of the latest round of National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) conducted in 2019-20 covering 22 States/UTs under Phase-I  present a somewhat disappointing picture of children’s health in India. Majority of the experts, based on prima facie evidence, just highlighted the deteriorating sign of child health in terms of increase in proportion of stunted and underweight children in most of the phase-I states/UTs over last two rounds of NFHS (2015-16 to 2019-20).