Skip to main content

Kashmiri diaspora group wonders: Will Biden keep 'promise', restore peace on their land?

Counterview Desk

Regretting that there is “passivity” of world powers to resolve the Kashmir dispute, a Washington DC based Kashmiri diaspora organisation has wondered if new US President Joseph Biden will “get involved” in resolving allegedly one of the oldest unresolved international problems pending on the agenda of the UN Security Council.
Wanting Biden to act “to advance the cause of freedom, democracy and human rights”, the World Kashmir Awareness (WKA) in a statement recalls what the US President said during the election campaign: “In Kashmir, the Indian government should take all necessary steps to restore rights for all the people of Kashmir”, adding, vice president Kamala Harris went one step further to state, “We have to remind Kashmiris that they are not alone in the world.”
Signed by Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, general secretary of WKA said, the statement wonders whether the Biden administration would fulfill the promise, though admitting, the United Nations has been “deactivated and rendered unable to address” the situation despite the fact that the UN Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), stationed in Kashmir to observe Indo-Pak ceasefire, “is one of the oldest peacekeeping operations of the UN”.

Excerpts:

On India’s Republic Day, the people of Jammu & Kashmir extend their warm felicitation to the people of India. It is on January 26 that India celebrates its Republic Day to honor the date on which the Indian Constitution came into force.
Kashmiris, however, voice deep regret over betrayal of Indian government -- not the people of India -- of her high-minded ideals in Kashmir that marked its entry into the family of nations after long years under the British raj: shocking human rights violations, contempt for international law and binding self-determination resolutions of the United Nations Security Council.
The Kashmir question is one of the oldest unresolved international problems pending on the agenda of the Security Council. There are certain characteristics of the situation in Kashmir, which distinguish it from all other deplorable human rights situations around the world.
1. It prevails in what is recognized -- under international law -- as a disputed territory. According to the international agreements between India and Pakistan, negotiated by the United Nations and endorsed by the Security Council, the territory's status is to be determined by the free vote of its people under UN supervision.
2. It represents a government's repression not of a secessionist or separatist movement but of an uprising against foreign occupation, an occupation that was expected to end under determinations made by the United Nations. The Kashmiris are not and cannot be called separatists because they cannot secede from a country to which they have never acceded to in the first place.
3. It has been met with studied unconcern by the United Nations. This has given a sense of total impunity to India. It has also created the impression that the United Nations is invidiously selective about the application of the principles of human rights and democracy. There is a glaring contrast between the outcry over the massacres in certain areas, on the one side, and the official silence (barring some faint murmurs of disapproval) over the killing and maiming of a vastly greater number of civilians in Kashmir and the systematic violation of the 1949 Geneva Convention.
4. It is a paradoxical case of the United Nations being deactivated and rendered unable to address a situation to which it had devoted a number of resolutions and in which it had established a presence, though with a limited mandate. The United Nations Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) is one of the oldest peacekeeping operations of the UN; the force is stationed in Kashmir to observe the cease-fire between India and Pakistan.
5. Kashmir is the only international dispute where the solution of the conflict -- right to self-determination -- was suggested by the parties themselves, India and Pakistan. Mahatma Gandhi has said: “If the people of Kashmir are in favour of opting for Pakistan, no power on earth can stop them from doing so. But they should be left free to decide for themselves.” (“Gandhi’s Passion” by Professor Stanley Wolpert, Page 247).
6. Kashmir is the only region which shares its borders with three nuclear powers of the world -- India, Pakistan and China. The potential of nuclear war has always been there between India and Pakistan, now because of the Chinese element that potential is now real. The uncertainty over Kashmir will lead not only India and Pakistan to disaster but it will also destroy any possibility of bringing peace and stability to Afghanistan.
All these peculiarities of the Kashmir situation become more baffling in view of the fact that the mediatory initiative which would halt the violations of human rights and set the stage for a solution would entail no deployment of United Nations forces, no financial outlays and no adversarial relations with India.
In this context, the following considerations are most pertinent for an assessment of the dispute by the world powers.
When the Kashmir dispute erupted in 1947-48, the United States, Great Britain, China, France, Canada, Argentina, Belgium, Columbia, championed the stand that the future status of Kashmir must be ascertained in accordance with the wishes and aspirations of the people of the territory. The US was a principal sponsor of the resolution # 47 which was adopted by the Security Council on April 21, 1948 and which was based on that unchallenged principle. The basic formula for settlement was incorporated in the resolutions of the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) adopted on August 13, 1948 and January 5, 1949.
These are not resolutions in the routine sense of the term. Their provisions were negotiated in detail by the UN Commission with India and Pakistan and it was only after the consent of both Governments was explicitly obtained that they were endorsed by the Security Council. They thus constitute a binding and solemn international agreement about the settlement of the Kashmir dispute.
We are dismayed by lack of action by world powers to help stop carnage in Kashmir and by their indifference to the situation in our land
We are dismayed by the lack of action by the world powers to help stop the carnage in Kashmir and by their virtual indifference to the situation in our land. The disparity between their inaction and their repeated assertion that the protection of human rights and encouragement of democratic solutions are their major foreign policy goals is hard for us to understand. Nevertheless, we still have confidence that they will realize that what is at stake in the dispute is not only the survival of the people of Kashmir , but peace in the populous region of South Asia and also the basis of a civilized worldview. 
Currently the policy of world powrs has led the Indian government to believe that all it needs is some political maneuvering to dissipate foreign concern over the appalling situation in Kashmir. Dr Syed Nazir Gilani of the Jammu and Kashmir Council for Human Rights (JKCHR) said, “We should pull down the heavens and roof of the United Nations, alert our friends all over the world, point out that the notification on 35A was a serious violation of UN Resolutions on Kashmir, a violation of the agreement between Government of India with the people of Kashmir and a violation of the agreements between India and Pakistan.” 
The Trump Administration at first showed some concern at least over the savagery of the Indian occupation in Kashmir. However, after the Howdy Modi event which was jointly attended by Prime Minister Modi and President Trump, there seems to have been a tilt towards India. It is plausible that the tilt has been caused by the prospect of profitable American investments in that large country.
As Americans, we appreciate the importance of expanding economic relations between the US and India. But who knows it better than newly elected President Joseph Biden as a global diplomat that American investments in India will remain exposed to grave danger as long as the South Asian Subcontinent remains a scene of continuing strife, with the specter of war always in the horizon and a nuclear exchange not an impossibility.
Even from a purely economic perspective, if not from concern over peace, genuine democracy and observance of human rights, the restoration of normalcy in South Asia deserves to be a policy goal for the world’s only superpower – the United States. The Kashmir dispute being the key cause of conflict, its marginalization can hardly serve long-term American interests.
Without reservation, it can be said that if anybody becomes instrumental in resolving the Kashmir dispute -- the bone of contention between the two very potentially dangerous countries -- deserves not only the Nobel Peace Prize but also a special place in history. The resolution of the dispute will bring unparalleled honor to the one who help to achieve it.
That honour could be of President Joseph R Biden if he gets involved in resolving the Kashmir dispute. His involvement should not be seen to favour India or Pakistan but to advance the cause of freedom, democracy and human rights. Biden’s election campaign is on record to have said: “In Kashmir, the Indian government should take all necessary steps to restore rights for all the people of Kashmir?” And Vice President Kamala Harris went one step further, “We have to remind Kashmiris that they are not alone in the world.” Let us keep reminding Biden Administration that after all a promise is a promise. 

Comments

TRENDING

North Gujarat gram panchayat bars villagers from dealing with Muslim hawkers, traders

By Our Representative  A gram panchayat in North Gujarat has barred its residents not to buy anything from Muslim traders and hawkers. An order of the Waghasan group gram panchayat of Tharad taluka of Banaskantha district dated June 30 states that the decision has been taken in the wake of beheading of a Hindu tailor after he posted a derogatory writeup on Prophet Mohammad in Udaipur. The gram panchayat resolution says, anyone seen buying or selling any commodity from a Muslim hawker or trader would be fined Rs 5,100. Bringing this to light, Mujahid Nafees, convener, Minority Coordination Committee, in a letter to Gujarat chief minister Bhupendra Patel, says, the state government should take legal action against the panchayat chief who has signed the “unjust” order. The letter says, the act of the sarpanch and other signatories is a violation of rule of law of the state and threat to peace, pointing out, the move is in violation of Article 15 of the Constitution, which says that none

Unlike Soviet Union, Russia is no friend to India: Ukrainian scholar tells 'Indian friends'

Counterview Desk In an open letter to "dear Indian friends", Anastasia Piliavsky, born in Odessa, Ukraine, studied at Boston and Oxford Universities (on a Rhodes Scholarship), and now teaches at King’s College, London, has said that she faces "deep moral dilemma", personally and professionally, over the "astonishingly unified Indian response to the war in Ukraine." Based on her interaction with a "number of thoughtful and caring Indian friends", in this letter, she says, she is "reeling at the ubiquitous silence at, justifications of or outright support for Putin’s terror, which now prevails in India, at the ubiquitous #IStandWithPutin and #istandwithrussia hashtags." She insists, India must understand, "Unlike the Soviet Union, Russia is no friend to India. Soviet leaders, beginning with (the Ukrainian) Nikita Khrushchev – who declared hindi rusi bhai bhai – built up deep political and cultural exchange with India." Text : I

Technocratic globalism, tyranny? Health Ministry warned: bill to 'enslave' Indians

Sandeep Pandey, Tushar Gandhi By Rosamma Thomas*  Union of Concerned Citizens, a group comprising Magsaysay Award winner Prof Sandeep Pandey, human rights activist Tushar Gandhi, former judge of the Bombay High Court BG Kolse Patil, pediatrician Dr Jacob Puliyel and several renowned Indian citizens have written to the Union Health Minister cautioning him against tabling the draft Public Health Bill in the Monsoon Session of Parliament. “The Public Health (Prevention, Control And Management Of Epidemics, Bio-Terrorism And Disasters) Bill, 2017 and a Prospective Bill of 2022 as discussed in news articles, is straightforwardly violative of Fundamental Rights of the citizens of India and therefore, Ultra Vires of the Indian Constitution. It contravenes several International Treaties and Conventions including the Nuremberg Treaty of 1947 which was enacted to ensure that no country would repeat such inhuman medical atrocities on fellow human beings”, the 12-page letter reads. “Strangely, t

Protesters demand release of Teesta Setalvad, Sreekumar, seek review of SC order

By Our Representative  Protests broke out across India on June 27 following Teesta Setalvad’s arrest demanding her immediate release. Sabrang India , a site run by Setalvad, claimed she was “arrested on trumped-up charges after the Supreme Court dismissed the petition moved by Zakia Jafri demanding an investigation into the larger conspiracy behind the 2002 Gujarat violence.” The protesters also demanded release of former DGP Gujarat police RB Sreekumar, also arrested simultaneously. The protests were preceded by over 2,200 people from across the globe signing a statement demanding their immediate release. Leading signatories such as People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) general secretary V Suresh, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) convenor Medha Patkar, former Naval chief Admiral Ramdas. “The state has used the observations made in the judgment to falsely and vindictively prosecute those who had struggled for justice even in the face of state callousness and complicit

Electoral bonds scheme 'compromises' voluntary nature PM relief fund donations

By Rosamma Thomas*  The Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) is meant to collect voluntary donations from the general public, either individuals or organizations, to enable assistance to people in times of natural disaster, or for expensive medical treatment. That fundamental voluntary character of the fund, however, has changed in recent years.  The gazette notification of January 2018 announcing the Electoral Bond scheme states, in Clause 12 (2): “The amount of bonds not encashed within the validity period of fifteen days shall be deposited by the authorized bank to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund”. The Union government has, thus, through notification, directed funds to be deposited into what was meant to be purely voluntary. Commodore Lokesh Batra, who has been campaigning for transparency in government functioning, holds that once a gazette notification has been issued directing that funds be deposited into the PMNRF, the character of the whole fund has changed,

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

'Highly abnormal': AltNews journo's arrest suggests 'deterioration in media freedom'

By Bharat Dogra*  Leading media organizations have come out in strong support of recently arrested journalist Mohammed Zubair. These organizations include, among others, the Editors Guild of India, the Press Club of India, the Delhi Union of Journalists and DIGIPUB, a platform for several important digital media organizations. All these organizations have condemned the recent arrest of the noted journalist and demanded his immediate release. While leading human rights organizations and political parties have also made somewhat similar statements, the strong support of media organizations is particularly important as the effort of the authorities has been to try to present the arrested journalist as someone who has been indulging in irresponsible journalism.  In such a situation the support of those media organizations who are familiar with his work and who are most capable of judging the quality of his work is very important. In this context it is important that some media organization

Majoritarian silence helping Hindutva forces 'handover' national resources to corporates

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The majority of Indian citizens are witnessing the persecution and everyday violence against their fellow citizens who are Muslims and religious minorities. The growing assaults on reason, science, secularism, Indian democracy and constitution are going to be landmarks in Indian history of diminishing democracy and citizenship rights. It is clear that Hindutva ideology is directly promoting sectarian politics of hate which is dangerous for the unity and integrity of India, peace and prosperity of Indians. The majoritarian silence helps in empowering Hindutva and their electoral dividends. From witnessing the persecution in the sidelines to the active participation and cheering loud or silence accelerates violence against our neighbours and our fellow citizens. How and why do majority of Indians stay silent and contribute to the persecution of their fellow citizens who are Muslims and religious minorities? The question baffles me as an Indian because I have gr

Electricity Bill: Centre's reform measures contain 'carrot and stick package' for states

Counterview Desk  The Peoples’ Commission on Public Sector and Public Services (PCPSPS), claiming to be a network of eminent academics, jurists, erstwhile administrators, trade unionists and social activists, seeking consultations with stakeholders with those who are against the government’s decision to monetise, disinvest and privatise public assets/enterprises, has said that the proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill-2022 will have far-reaching impacts on the finances of states. Insisting that the proposed Bill would lead to “assault on India’s federal structure”, in a statement, it says, it would weaken the finances of states’ power distribution companies, have adverse impact on utility employees, cripple the states' finances, impose a heavy cost burden on the smaller subsidized consumers (especially farmers), and benefit only corporate business houses. “States cannot afford to ignore the far-reaching implications of the Bill on their economy, finances, agricultural and industria

Cops 'refuse to register' complaint after BSF shot landless worker off Bangla border

By Our Representative  Kirity Roy, secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), and national convener, Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity (PACTI), in a complaint to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), referring to the incident of “firing and execution” of a poor Muslim youth, has alleged that the 26 year old was was shot at “without giving any warning” one and half kilometers inside the Indian territory from Bangladesh border by an on- duty Border Security Force (BSF) personnel. Stating that the person, Ruhul Mondal, belonged to an Other Backward Class (OBC), and hailed from Ramnarayan Para village under Sagarpara police station in Murshidabad district, West Bengal, Roy in his representation said, the BSF person who shot at him is “attached with Singpara Border Outpost, 141 Battalion”, underlining, the BSF has now floated “self defense theory” to cover up its operation. According to the BSF officials, the incident took place in the jute fields in