Can the World Ignore Kashmir’s Cry?

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Rakhshanda Mehtab

Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) has seen a shocking pattern of atrocity crimes and human rights abuses during the past thirty years. India’s terrible cycle of persecution, violence, and impunity has destroyed and ruined countless innocent lives.
Recently, the Institute of Kashmir Studies (IKS) in Srinagar published an extensive report of testimonies titled “Dark Days, Deadly Nights,” which was reprinted by the Legal Forum for Kashmir (LFK). The report detailed the horrifying experiences of Kashmiri civilians who were victims of violent crimes committed by Indian military forces. The report also highlights India’s flagrant transgressions in the area and the sufferings of Kashmiris.
Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch (HRW), the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), and other international human rights organisations have all produced extensive documentation of the atrocities committed by India in IIOJK.
Among the most significant publications is the UNHRC’s 2018 report, which highlighted the widespread violations of human rights in Kashmir, including the detention of civilians, arbitrary arrests, and the use of disproportionate force by security personnel. The study also emphasised the need for an unbiased investigation of Kashmir’s human rights situation.
Another crucial report is Human Rights Watch’s 2019 edition. It describes how the Indian government has been using pellet guns, causing hundreds of citizens to suffer terrible injuries and blindness. The report also highlighted the government’s failure to provide access to high-quality medical care for victims of violence.
Members of the European Parliament have written to the President and Vice President of the European Commission about the grave human rights breaches in IIOJK. The letter said unequivocally that Kashmiri people had endured intolerable limitations on their basic liberties and rights for the past 70 years.
Human Rights Watch criticised Indian Prime Minister Modi’s harsh policies in a statement released on March 24, 2022. The organisation said that the restrictions placed on the people of Kashmir and the atrocities carried out by his forces have made it more difficult for the people to exercise their fundamental rights, such as freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assemblies.
It also addressed the way in which the Indian government has intensified its persecution of political figures, journalists, and members of civil society without first seeking court review. Investigators have raided the residences and places of employment of journalists, pilfering their business materials as well.
As of December 31, 2023, five Kashmiri journalists, activists, and human rights defenders, Khurram Parvez, Irfan Mehraj, Sajjad Gul, Abdul Aala Fazili, and Majid Hyderi, were incarcerated in India; some had been there since 2021.
It also denounced the special legal provisions of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and called for its repeal because it impedes accountability for human rights violations in Kashmir.
The weaponization of rape as a tactic of war by the Indian military is one of the most appalling revelations; Instances of this brutality include the mass rape of women in Kunanposhpora in 1991.
On the night of February 23, 1991, during a siege and search operation in Kunanposhpora in the Kupwara region, Indian troops gang-raped about 100 women, ranging in age from eight to eighty.
In the Doda district, in a small hamlet close to Batote, a woman was sexually assaulted by army men in front of her child, in the absence of her husband.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has been used as a tool to intimidate and silence Kashmiris who have dared to advocate for justice, autonomy, and human rights. The group has been suppressing the voices of people advocating for change by imposing an unfair and unjust system of punishment and false allegations.
The deliberate and methodical efforts of the NIA are intended to quell dissent and characterise lawful expressions of concern as acts of sedition or terrorism. This misuse of power weakens the foundation of justice and dashes hopes for a resolution to the Kashmir dispute, worsening the suffering of Kashmiris.
Because of this campaign of intimidation and repression, the Kashmiri people have suffered enormously, feeling defenceless and powerless. As a kind of retaliation, punishment, and control, the native Kashmiri population in the occupied zone is frequently subjected to torture. It’s a calculated move designed to make the native populace insane and terrified, making them less determined to fight against the colonisation. Significant fear exists in the region, with the ongoing unrest in Kashmir offering a menacing backdrop.
The information presented in the report paints a bleak picture of the ongoing criminal activity in IIOJK. There were a startling 96,300 documented fatalities between January 1989 and April 23, 2024, including 7,333 deaths while people were being held under arrest. In all, 170,354 individuals were taken into custody, 110,510 structures were destroyed, and thousands of women and children were left orphaned or widowed.
The extensive use of torture in Kashmir by Indian security personnel was revealed in the 2020 Amnesty International Report titled “India: No End to Torture.”
The investigation detailed the horrifying treatment of the captives, which included beatings, electric shocks, and sexual assault.
The misery of Kashmiris is further made worse by India’s flagrant disregard for UN resolutions, its oppressive media laws, and its deliberate targeting of journalists and activists. The research also exposes the illegality of opposition politics and the arbitrary dismissal of workers, demonstrating how India suppresses dissent in IIOJK.
In IIOJK, travel restrictions, passport denials, and passport impoundments are now routine. In 2019, there were more than 40 Kashmiri journalists placed on the “No Fly List” (also known as the “Exit Control List”) and had “lookout circulars” issued against their names; by 2023, there were 200.
The IIOJK administration started the process of terminating 500 workers in 2020 on the grounds that they had allegedly taken part in acts hostile to the nation. BVR Subramanian, the chief secretary at the time, presided over a committee that made the decision to investigate and suggest dismissing employees who engaged in anti-national activity.
Since April 2021, the Indian government has dismissed about sixty workers for supposedly “presenting a threat to the security of the state.”
For the international community and the legal system, the study serves as a wake-up call. The 900,000 occupying forces in Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) have perpetrated multiple human rights crimes; the statement highlights the lack of accountability these troops face.
A free and impartial plebiscite should be used to decide whether or not Jammu and Kashmir should become a part of both India and Pakistan, according to UNSCR 47 (1948). However, due to India’s broken promises to the Kashmiri people and disdain for UNSC resolutions regarding Jammu and Kashmir, a devastating cycle of violence and repression has resulted.
The counterinsurgency rules, which give the Indian Occupying Forces (IOF) broad authority, have fostered an atmosphere of impunity that could result in “atrocity crimes” against Kashmiris.
Addressing the human rights issue in Kashmir requires prompt action from the international community. This entails encouraging a peaceful conclusion to the war, guaranteeing the safety of civilians, and seeking accountability for violations of human rights. The “Silent Days, Deadly Nights” report, which provides undeniable evidence of India’s crimes against humanity and urges action to end the region’s cycle of violence and impunity, is a crucial tool in this endeavour.

The writer is a freelance Content Writer and Columnist.