Fundamental Rights Crushed in IIOJ&K

For decades, Kashmiris have seen and known nothing less than illegal occupation, reprehensible abuses, destruction of property and businesses, rapes, half widows, enforced disappearances, deaths in thousands, human shields, custodial torture, humiliation, unmarked graves, draconian laws, and staged encounters which have become a routine. The media blackout created by the partnership of the barbaric state and its puppet media, and an unending siege post August 5, 2019 has further added to their misery. Eighteen months into the lockdown, it is clear that the decision to remove Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir’s special status – to put it directly under the center’s thumb and meddling with the demography to put Muslims at a disadvantage to enable greater control and lose its Muslim-majority identity in case plebiscite is held – has been resoundingly rejected by the Kashmiris.
This relentless oppression and suppression marked by the excessive and disproportionate use of force has drawn much ire. In a recently addressed letter to the Indian government, at least nine UN rapporteurs asked New Delhi to reconsider the closure of the State Human Rights Commission and to probe the cases of forced disappearances and mass graves in IIOJ&K. It read, “We urge [India]… and local authorities in Jammu and Kashmir to undertake prompt, thorough and impartial investigations into all alleged enforced disappearances… and take measures to identify the remains in each of the thousands of unmarked graves.” However, India is reluctant to open the mass graves as it will unearth a dirty secret that has long been suppressed, one whose stain it can never wash off – the years of abuse involving torture and killing of Kashmiris in fake encounters, and their burial in unmarked graves at far off locations. Many of those killed are passed off as rebels, and strangers in unrelated, far off villages are forced to bury the dead in either single or mass graves in the presence of Indian security forces. Under a policy started in 2020, the Indian authorities have buried Kashmiris that they pass off as rebels in unmarked graves and their families have been denied proper funeral customary to the Muslim faith. 
The people of IIOJ&K during the first District Development Council elections held in Jammu and Kashmir post-August 5 have once again with a huge majority proven their rejection of the Indian actions. Only 51% polling was recorded during the eight-phase election that was held from November 28-December 19, 2020. Despite the Indian government hailing the elections as a democratic practice, the political and security clampdown in the occupied territory presents evidence to the contrary.
At no point in history of modern India have the proponents of Hindu nationalism wielded power within the country as they do now. A concerted campaign of infiltration of Hindutva-inspired BJP-RSS goons into the structures of Indian political and civic life is openly at play. Modi’s fascist and intolerant government has created a culture of impunity for campaigns of harassment and violence not just against Kashmiris but also against the minorities in India. The fallout of Indian government’s communal rhetoric is being greatly felt by the Indian Muslims, IIOJ&K and across the Line of Control.
While the world battled with COVID-19 pandemic, Indian forces committed more than 3097 ceasefire violations across the Line of Control in 2020, leaving as many as 28 civilians martyred and 257 wounded in different parts of Azad Jammu & Kashmir. In a bold display of disregard for international bodies, not only the civilians, but the United Nations Military Observers were also targeted during the December 18 shooting in Poonch District. 
In another major revelation, during a police investigation, an Indian journalist who constantly panders to BJP’s agenda was disclosed to have known the government’s plan to stage an attack in Pakistan days before the foiled February 26, 2019 Balakot episode. It further vindicated Pakistan’s long-held position that BJP was the biggest beneficiary of the Pulwama attack as it planned to manipulate public sentiments in order to win the election. Pakistan had already pointed out the false flag operations and the incessant efforts to malign the country with terrorism-related allegations, and these transcripts are an evidence of how the whole false flag operation was scripted and staged with the objective to stoke hyper-nationalism in the country.
The sacrifices and human rights abuses of the Kashmiris have continued unabated for decades but have incontrovertibly grown in intensity post-August 5. The besieged people of Kashmir are standing by their demand of right to self-determination despite this oppression and inhuman treatment by the Indian government. The international community and human rights organizations must take practical steps and in particular the United Nations Security Council must honor its commitment to the people of IIOJ&K, enabling them to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination and end their plight. Otherwise, in the balance between oppression and humanity, humanity is losing in IIOJ&K.
Come what may, Pakistan and its Armed Forces stand shoulder to shoulder with the Kashmiris against tyranny and continue to provide them unwavering support in their just struggle for self-determination.

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