Indian Occupation of Kashmir entered its 75th year in 2023. The internationally recognized disputed territory was put in 2019, under siege by the Indian government through a unanimous revocation of special status previously granted to Kashmir by article 370 of the Indian Constitution. Since then, Kashmir has become a living hell for its inhabitants. The promises of the Indian government of bringing normalcy to the valley through this change of status fell flat on its face.
Kashmir has become a living hell for its inhabitants after unanimous revocation of special status previously granted to Kashmir by article 370 of the Indian Constitution. The promises of the Indian government of bringing normalcy to the valley through this change of status fell flat on its face.
In the year 2019, Kashmiris faced almost 2000 Stone pelting incidents compared to 1400 instances in 2018 and 2017. India claims that only 400 militants are active in Kashmir Valley, while on the contrary, 900000 military personnel are deployed in the small region of Kashmir. Additionally, according to the statement of Mr. Kishan Rady, 50,000 Hindu temples would be restored in Kashmir. However, prominent Kashmiri Pandit Leader, Sanjay Tiko, states that there are only 4,000 temples in Kashmir. The exaggeratingly false number aptly depicts the underlying intention Modi regime, which is to re-engineer the religious orientation of Kashmir. Not only this, but according to International Independent sources, under the timeframe of 1 year, 7,000 people were arrested. From 2012 to March 2021, there were 518 government-imposed internet shutdowns, the highest number of Internet blocks in the world. In the year 2019, 106 internet impositions were made exactly after the revocation of article 370. This reflects how brutally the Kashmiris are silenced in order to promote convenient lies engineered by the Modi government. The world’s largest democracy has seized the right to freedom of speech through widespread Media Blackouts. The eminent writer of the New York Times, Pankaj Mishra, named her article “Kashmir the world’s most dangerous place” This so-called integral part of India, Kashmir has been the subject of at least three UNSC meetings. The U.S. Congress has also passed two house resolutions condemning Modi’s decision to revoke 370 Article. The unemployment rate is higher than the national average. In the initial Five months of the revocation of 370, the Kashmir economy lost 5.32 billion dollars and more than 100,000 Kashmiris lost their jobs. Additionally, the cross-LOC trade is seized, which was the major source of well-being for the Kashmiri population. The latest report of the World Bank states that the GDP of Kashmir is declined by 16.2 % in 2020 compared to 2019. The International Labour Organization in the year 2020 reported an increase in the unemployment rate by 8.6%.
The Modi regime has no limit to Human rights violations in Kashmir. The pellet guns were brutally used and no medical access was provided to Kashmiris. The most inhumane ways were used as weapons of war, which included chemical weapons, rape, and torture mechanisms. The approach of the Modi regime is multi-layered, which primarily includes changing the demographic structure of Kashmir. While keeping the facts straight, international Law stands against demographic changes which are contrary to the will of the indigenous population. Another approach opted is promoting “Hindi Language” as the official language of Kashmir. Similarly, on 26th October 2020, India passed a bill allowing non-locals to buy land in Kashmir. Adding to it, Kashmir is pinned as the predominantly Hindu populated region. To ensure this, India redefined the political constituencies. In order to gain support at the political level, Modi regime is constructing new political leaders in Kashmir, which will support. BJP’s narrative. Furthermore, India has declared the office of the UN Military Observer mission in Srinagar as illegal.
The pellet guns were brutally used and no medical access was provided to Kashmiris. The most inhumane ways were used as weapons of war, which included chemical weapons, rape, and torture mechanisms.
Apart from this, the political suppression of Kashmiris through systematic use of violence and state machinery by India continues. The condition of Muslim citizens of India since the introduction of discriminatory citizenship laws (CAA), by the BJP government. The National Population Register (NPR) and a proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC), aimed at identifying “illegal migrants,” has led to fears that millions of Indian Muslims are another example of dangerous repercussions of Hindutva ideology taking root in the constitution and policy reform in India. In Indian-occupied Kashmir, extra-judicial killings and prolonged custody by paramilitary forces continue. Asim Sultan is being detained since 2018 without any charges or conviction. Similarly, Khurram Pervaiz Malik, who is a civil rights activist from Kashmir, is held in custody since 2021. These systematic steps to change the demography of the valley by inhabiting Hindus in the regions and constructing temples show how strategically India is approaching the issue.
These acts combined qualify as genocide, which is defined as “the deliberate killing of numerous people from a particular nation or ethnic group with the aim of destroying that nation or group.” The crimes against humanity are defined by the Rome statute of the International Criminal Court, as Murder, Extermination, Torture, Rape, or Persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, or gender as defined in paragraph 3, or other grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international law, in connection with any act referred to in this paragraph or any crime within the jurisdiction of the Court, Enforced disappearance of persons. Clearly, several of these have been repeatedly committed by Indian authorities in Occupied Kashmir. The international community has kept its lull in the plight of Kashmiris, but the struggle is unlike any other in the history of this world.
Noorulain Naseem is an academic and a researcher on Afghan refugees, border security, and ethno-nationalism. She has been a visiting fellow at the Stimson Center in Washington DC and writes frequently for South Asian Voices Forum of Stimson. Before this, she was a lecturer in the department of International Relations at NUML University, Islamabad, and holds an MPhil in Peace and Conflict Studies from NDU Islamabad.