Kashmir: the Agony Must End

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Ahmed Sultan

Kashmir, situated in the North of the Indian Subcontinent, is nothing less than heaven on Earth. The beauty found here is unparalleled in all respects. Nowhere else in the world is nature more charmer. Just the thought of Kashmir and its scenery gives one a blissful feeling. The exquisiteness, tenderness and warmth one experiences here are to be found nowhere else. People here are polite, gentle, soft-spoken and civilised. They are hospitable, well-mannered and elegant. This is the picture that should appear in our minds once we hear the word “Kashmir.”
But unfortunately, these are the least of the things that come to mind once we hear Kashmir. Kashmir, nowadays, is synonymous with curfew, terror, gunshots, blasts, danger, horror and fear. Voices are being shut; the dissidents are being killed, and life is being banned. No such things as freedom of expression, freedom of the press, or freedom of assembly exist there. Social media is being banned. The military is being deployed. All the information coming out is censored. Fundamental rights are not being provided to the people of Indian-Occupied Kashmir. The behaviour of the Moditva and Hindutva-inspired Indian government is atrocious and inhumane. People are being shot without any reason. Can we imagine sending our loved ones out of their homes, with the thought that they might not return alive?
Kashmir is a serious and critical matter, which is worsening with every passing day, and it must be solved as soon as possible. It is an issue affecting millions of people. It is a conflict that has destroyed millions of livelihoods. Children, women and the elderly, no one is safe from it. It is one of the longest-lasting problems in the history of the modern world. It has caused three full-time wars between India and Pakistan. The people of Kashmir have seen innumerable children rendered orphans, women widowed and men killed. Despite multiple attempts by the UN, the issue stands unresolved even today. No day passes without bringing weeps and cries for the people of the territory. Considerable and serious attempts have been made in the past, and are still being made, but the issue stands unresolved.
From a historical perspective, Kashmir was a princely state at the time of the 1947 Partition. It was up to the rulers of these states to opt for either India or Pakistan, keeping in view the wishes of their people. Kashmir, a state with a 77% Muslim population, was governed by a Hindu ruler at that time. He deceitfully conspired with Sardar Patel, and acceded Kashmir to India, against the wishes of Kashmiris. After the accession of Kashmir, when riots erupted across the state, India sent its forces there. Consequently, the Muslims of Kashmir and Northern India launched an armed resistance against the Indian act of occupation. Pakistan, too, waged war in reaction to show support for its Kashmiri brethren.
India approached the United Nations, where a ceasefire was arranged and Pakistan instantly acted upon it. The UN Security Council Resolution 47 clearly stated that “the fate of Kashmir shall be decided by a plebiscite.” It stated that India should appoint a plebiscite administrator, nominated by the United Nations, who would have a range of powers including powers to deal with the two countries and ensure a free and impartial plebiscite.
The oppressed population of Kashmir still awaits a plebiscite. India is showing great refrainment from holding a plebiscite. The reason is clear: Hari Singh, the Kashmiri ruler, had written a letter to Sardar Patel, “threatening to withdraw accession due to India’s inability to protect Kashmir against Pakistan, apprehending that India’s reference of Kashmir to the UNO might go in favour of Pakistan.” The abnegation of India can be well understood from the episode.
India has progressed a lot in terms of economy, infrastructure, living standards, etc. but its image has been diminishing internationally. Mega investors, business tycoons, and leading global firms are showing keen interest in investing and establishing their companies in India, particularly in the production sectors. Although India has become more stable in terms of statistics, it has lost the values of religious tolerance, fraternity, and solidarity. These were the values, which made India unique and in many ways better than others. Harmony amongst religious and ethnic groups living in India has been damaged greatly. The Moditva/Hindutva ideology has proved to be disastrous to the Indian dream. The removal of the special status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution is yet another anti-Kashmiri act of the incumbent Indian government. While the people of Indian-Occupied Kashmir enjoyed no freedom ever, such harsh circumstances are unprecedented.
The sorrow that the poor Kashmiris have been facing is unexampled. They have been subjected to undue violence, atrocities and brutality by the Indian authorities. The discrimination against Muslims, not just in Kashmir but all over India, is worsening day by day. The fascism-modulated Modi Regime has proved its immense antagonism against Muslims and other religious minorities. Whether it is by responding aggressively to the protesting farmers, or Hindu mobs attacking Muslim properties and killing them during the 2020 Delhi riots, the hostility of extremist Hindus has escalated since the formation of the incumbent government. No day passes without hearing about innocent Muslims being slaughtered in India.
The deep silence of Indian authorities in view of these circumstances is completely and utterly shameful, disgraceful, and despicable, and should be loudly condemned and protested against. The Indian authorities have failed in providing security and liveable conditions to Muslims of India, and Kashmir in particular. In such a scenario, the global community should express their objections against these callous and monstrous acts of India at every possible forum. If the international community continues to remain silent, the situation will worsen to the last extent. Imagine the trauma of living with the fear that eating what you like might lead to one’s death! Can one live in such a state?
Politicians have exploited the issue to their benefit. Indian politicians, in particular, have been using the conflict as part of their political manifesto. They have been using anti-Pakistan sentiments and Kashmir to their popularity amongst the Hindutva vote bank. They instigated the anti-Muslim sentiments of the general public to promote their dirty politics. This bloodshed is being cunningly cashed in on by Modi’s party, as their electoral popularity had been increasing despite severe allegations against his government. The political ideology of Modi comes from RSS, which views Hindus as the supreme and superior race and considers others to be lesser human beings.
Now, instead of digging up old grievances, we should look for a way forward and solve the issue as soon as possible. This is no geographical or territorial problem. Neither should this be viewed from a political perspective. This is a humanitarian crisis. The international community should play its role in bringing this conflict to an end. India and Pakistan should solve this issue by forgetting their differences.
Pakistanis are people who have great pain in their hearts, and they can feel the sufferings of their Kashmiri brethren. Kashmiris have suffered a lot, and their agony should come to an end. They should be given their right to live peacefully now. Pakistan has always supported the resolution of the Kashmir issue in accordance with the UNSC resolutions. Kashmiris should be given the right to self-determination so that they could decide their fate. Pakistan and India must leave behind the feuds of the past, and put an end to the problem, just for the sake of humanity and humanity alone.