By Zafar Sultan.
The martyrdom of 22 years old Burhan Waani on 8 July marked a new beginning of the resistance movement of people of Jammu and Kashmir. The fifth generation of Kashmiris, born and raised under bullets, appear to have steered the movement on different lines. These educated and technical savvy Kashmiris, have taken up another route to raise their voice against the Indian repression, to convey it to the international community: which has largely been indifferent to the calls and cries of the Kashmiris.
Since dynamics of resistance against the Indian struggle have altered, the present scenario calls for certain steps and strategies to reap the desired goals. Given the present youth is more aware of nuances of social networks and dealing with globalised world at large, they(youth) may be given certain leading role(s); they could aptly communicate the plight of Kashmiris to global community and human rights organisations. In this regard the Kashmiri diaspora living in Europe and America can contribute more significantly.
During these dark times, fortunately, there are some powerful voices emanating from the Indian society, questioning the repressive actions of Indian army and paramilitary forces against civilians in Kashmir. Arundhatti Roy, BarkhaDutta, Gotsm Naulakha, Kartik Murukutla, John Diyal are a case in point. These voices should be welcomed and highlighted. Moreover, attempts should be made to attract more such voices from within Indian academia, media, lawyers’ community and students so as to build pressure on Indian government to shun state terrorism in Kashmir.
While there is no denying the fact that armed resistance in Kashmir has nudged the issue at global canvas; currently it’s the political face of struggle which seems to have gained the currency; this political face should be kept intact, not armed resistance. Let’s the world be shown yet again that Indian subjugation has led to protests and resistance in Kashmir.
Since struggles for freedom tend to be long; there is a need to sustain the current momentum of resistance. Though the sentiments are running high, but it would be far from pragmatism to take the impetus of struggle back to 90s; it would further aggravate the ailments of Kashmiris. India would unleash more terror and atrocities on arm less Kashmiris.
At the present juncture, the human rights organisations; Edhi Foundation, Red Cross, Amnesty International should be approached to send medical help to Kashmir on humanitarian grounds. In the same vein, the foreign office may offer to establish medical relief camps at LOC where trade between Muzaffarabad and Srinagar is being carried on. Even if India refuses (which she would likely to) to agree, she (India) would be on defensive.
It is apropos to mention here that India is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Article 6 of the ICCPR unambiguously prohibits derogation from the right to life. So, even during period of emergency, no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life (xv). The ICCPR also outlaws torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman and demeaning treatment. Articles 4 and 7 of the ICCPR explicitly ban torture, even in times of national emergency or when the security of the country is threatened (xvi).
But the Indian army’s special task force (STF), Border security force (BSF), and state sponsored paramilitary groups are flagrantly violating these fundamental international human rights law. It is high time to engage legal savvy personnel to speak about present human rights violations to the global community.
While it is hard to deny that armed struggle Kashmir has underlined the issue before the international community, in fact a nuclear flashpoint; the present time calls for a different line. Keeping in view the significance and sensibility of the movement, the indigenous face of struggle must be emphasised. In this connection, the rhetoric to hoist flags on red fort appearance of Hafiz Saeed and Hizb supremo: Syed Slah uddin, in public protests brings more harm than good to the cause. These moves discourage the significant support of the Indian civil society and also strengthen the Indian narrative that militants are a challenge to its sovereignty. Whether one likes or not, the international community does take it seriously; and it negatively affects the Kashmir cause.
Fortuitously, this time the global community is showing concern at human rights violations in Kashmir. Let’s hope the Indian repression recedes and people of Kashmir have some respite before the final dawn: right to self-determination.
The writer is an academics and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org