Fri. Feb 26th, 2021

इ – डायरी एक्सप्रेस

ताजा र निष्पक्ष समाचारका लागि

Jammu and Kashmir: A Victim of Geopolitics

10 min read

The plot to commandeer the homeland of Kashmiris is elaborate and all-encompassing. The occupation authorities have amended land laws for the confiscation of any part of IIOJ&K for strategic, commercial and settlement purposes. In many instances, indigenous Kashmiris’ legitimate businesses have been declared unlawful under a bevy of dubious new laws and outsourced to non-native, non-resident, nondescript and anonymous operators from India. In turn, these “legal” owners subcontract parts of their businesses to Kashmiris. A mass dispossession is in progress. A process has already been started to pilfer 480,000 jobs reserved for the Kashmiris. Add to that killings of young men every day, mostly in staged encounters. Thousands of young men are being tortured in concentration camps. Lives, livelihoods – nothing is safe; everything is fair game. 
Kashmiris in IIOJ&K are facing annihilation as a nation.

There are international laws against this kind of systemic fascism that India is practicing, and there are multilateral forums that should hold India accountable instantly. The crimes committed by India are crimes against humanity, genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and illicit transfer of population to the occupied land. The applicable law comprises the UN Charter, the International Covenants on civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights, the Genocide Convention, the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Statute of International Criminal Court, as well as several treaties and conventions on torture, racism, and discrimination against women. India is liable for all the serious breaches of international law in the light of the plethora of evidence collected by objective sources.

The most glaring example of contemporary realpolitik is that the world powers know well about a battery of heinous crimes against humanity that are committed every day in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJ&K) but they choose to look the other way because of their perceived material and political interests. The Western powers led by the U.S. believe that China is a rival and a threat and that India would somehow block the strategic and geo-economic rise of China. India has eagerly offered itself to play that role. These dynamics pave the way for appeasement of India and especially its neo-fascist government led by the violent extremist party, Bharatiya Janata Party, backed by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, which is driven by a doctrine of insatiable hatred against non-Hindus, particularly Muslims. 
Right now, the gravest crime being committed by the occupation authorities in IIOJ&K is the systematic changes in the demographic composition of the occupied state. Under a well-planned project, Hindus from different parts of India are being illegally settled in IIOJ&K. Authentic figures of these settlements are not available, but from April 2020 till the last quarter of the year, more than two million Hindus had been issued domicile certificates at a fast speed. The BJP-RSS regime is planning to increase this number to five to six million in the next two to three years. Their sole purpose is to reduce the Muslim majority so that India could have its unchallenged writ in the occupied state, with the support of the newly implanted Hindu population. 
Since the occupation of part of the State of Jammu and Kashmir in 1947, successive Indian governments used every trick and stratagem in their repertoire to subjugate the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Nothing worked for them; brutalization of Kashmiris, support of a minority of Kashmiris leaders loyal to India, wheedling of the population through economic development projects, vilification of Kashmiri Muslims as terrorists and fundamentalists, and a campaign against Pakistan. 
So, the BJP concluded that the real problem was religious and communal; that Kashmiris had an affinity and preference for Pakistan because of their faith. Given this strong perception, it unrolled and executed an evil plan: reoccupy the disputed territory, usurp it, forcibly join it with its federation, and dismantle the entire constitutional and elective apparatus that had facilitated its occupation of the territory for more than seven decades. 
The plot to commandeer the homeland of Kashmiris is elaborate and all-encompassing. The occupation authorities have amended land laws for the confiscation of any part of IIOJ&K for strategic, commercial and settlement purposes. In many instances, indigenous Kashmiris’ legitimate businesses have been declared unlawful under a bevy of dubious new laws and outsourced to non-native, non-resident, nondescript and anonymous operators from India. In turn, these “legal” owners subcontract parts of their businesses to Kashmiris. A mass dispossession is in progress. A process has already been started to pilfer 480,000 jobs reserved for the Kashmiris. Add to that killings of young men every day, mostly in staged encounters. Thousands of young men are being tortured in concentration camps. Lives, livelihoods – nothing is safe; everything is fair game. 
Kashmiris in IIOJ&K are facing annihilation as a nation. 
You see the most cruel face of India in IIOJ&K. Even colonial powers like the United Kingdom, at the height of its power, would make attempts to win hearts and minds of their subjects. Not Indian occupiers. They only resort to naked oppression to ‘maintain law and order’.
In the preceding paragraphs, I have highlighted the enormity of the crisis in Kashmir. Some 14 million people, totally disenfranchised, are at the mercy of their captors. The occupiers’ hope that the hostage population would at least develop Stockholm Syndrome is not materializing to their utter frustration. Hence, their recipe is more brutal oppression. 

There are international laws against this kind of systemic fascism that India is practicing, and there are multilateral forums that should hold India accountable instantly. The crimes committed by India are crimes against humanity, genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and illicit transfer of population to the occupied land. The applicable law comprises the UN Charter, the International Covenants on civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights, the Genocide Convention, the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Statute of International Criminal Court, as well as several treaties and conventions on torture, racism, and discrimination against women. India is liable for all the serious breaches of international law in the light of the plethora of evidence collected by objective sources. 
There is a precedent of this kind of rogue behavior and the punishment that was given to the perpetrators of crimes against humanity. In the last century, Adolf Hitler of Nazi Germany thought that he was above the law. He introduced Nuremberg Laws to target, persecute, expel and kill Jews, Poles and Romanis. He set up concentration camps to eliminate them. The Allies – the UK, France, the United States, Soviet Union and China – all had to coalesce into one big global fighting machine to wrestle the monster to the ground. The costs in blood and treasure were astronomical. In a way, this was their atonement for all the appeasement they had done earlier and overlooked the grievous damages to life and liberty being inflicted by Nazis and fascists. 
The BJP-RSS regime is replicating that vicious model in IIOJ&K and India itself, and threatens to export it to its neighborhoods to establish Hindu supremacy in South Asia and beyond. And the world is busy appeasing India and some powers are underwriting India’s crimes by not calling out the regime or by empowering India by making it their preferred destination for investments and trade. 
The question is why?
The state-centric Westphalian world order of the 17th century that evolved into an international community has never been perfect, nor can it be in the future. But the world order, symbolized by the United Nations, that was shaped after World War II raised hopes that all global community would embrace and practice international rule of law and there would be accountability for serious crimes by nations and individuals. It worked for a while as scores of nations were decolonized and, in the process, the universal right to self-determination was recognized. But then the system stalled and now it is on the verge of a breakdown if not repaired. Narrow nationalistic ambitions, in many instances based on ethnicity and religion, have resurged. There are no predictable fault lines for alliances making them fragile. 
The cumulative result is that the authors and custodians of the world order have started either backtracking from their commitments to protect human rights or soft-pedaling them because of political expediency leading to glaring double standards. Oppressed nations look towards the UN for the restitution of their rights but the world body is not sitting on its seat; it is busy elsewhere and is taking on a very low profile on an issue like Kashmir lest it should annoy its financiers who happen to be the most powerful nations on earth. 
Against this backdrop, we witness a near-anarchic situation when it comes to the weak, vulnerable and oppressed peoples. Forces beyond the sway of states or “international community” are unleashed.
The fate of the people of Jammu and Kashmir is a classic case of relegation of a pressing issue to a back burner in pursuit of political opportunism and crass economic interests by big powers. And the delusion is that costs of the human tragedy in IIOJ&K will remain contained in the region. 

The United States, the pre-eminent nation in the current world order, would not come forward to defend the rights of Kashmiris because it has strong and strategic ties with India, the worst perpetrator of crimes against humanity in the 21st century. If Kashmiris are being killed and their land being stolen and robbed, so be it. 
Following the election of President Joe Biden, many in Pakistan and Jammu and Kashmir are asking whether there would be any change in the U.S. policy. President Biden and Vice President Harris, during election primaries and campaigns, assured Kashmiris that they would be there for them. We are optimistic about their role, but very cautiously. The minimum they could do is to call a spade a spade and start conversations with the Indian government about the horrendous situation in IIOJ&K and thus debunk the indefensible Indian pretense that Kashmir is India’s internal matter. No, it is not by any yardstick. Then the Biden Administration could encourage a diplomatic process to promote dialogue of Jammu and Kashmir, but not try to take it out of the United Nations because that won’t work. 
If the U.S. shows some leadership, West European countries will follow suit. The best place to authorize and start this process is the UN Security Council. 
In this regard, one has to closely watch the role of the Indian diaspora community which tightens its encirclement around newly elected U.S. presidents and hobbles them completely when it comes to Kashmir. We do have our diaspora community in the U.S. that can play a role in raising awareness about the catastrophe in Kashmir. 
Before starting such a process, a few things have to be understood very clearly by any mediators or facilitators. 
First, massive human rights violations are taking place. Indian denials in this regard have to be categorically rejected. Persuade India to allow UN Human Rights Council delegations to visit IIOJ&K to collate data about reported wide-ranging atrocities in the territory.
Second, there is no cross-Line of Control infiltration going on in IIOJ&K. India falsely perpetuates this myth to justify its oppression in the occupied territory. Indian operations in IIOJ&K are not counter-terrorism but counter-people repression. There is minimal resistance in the Valley of Kashmir, but that is indigenous. 
Third, Kashmiris are victims of Indian occupation forces’ state-sponsored terrorism supported by draconian laws that make impunity lawful. 
Fourth, Kashmiri Muslims are being punished collectively because they are Muslims and they have not given a right to India to determine their statehood or political future. They have resolved that they would shape their own destiny. IIOJ&K today has emerged as the worst Islamophobic hotspot in the world. 

Fifth, Indian fascism – Hindutva – is threatening the stability of South Asia and extended neighborhoods. Its toxic legacy will ultimately affect all nations and all continents of the world. There is no room for complacency. If a big nation like India becomes the biggest rogue and bully in the world, seeking exceptionalism, what impact would that have on smaller nations? 
Let this also be clearly understood that the BJP-RSS regime is committing these crimes in Kashmir on an industrial scale primarily to consolidate and broaden its base amongst hardline, extremist Hindus for the next elections due in 2024. The blood of Kashmiris will be used as fuel in their electoral campaigns and for getting votes. 
Martin Luther King famously said this about Nazi Germany: “We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was ‘legal’ and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was ‘illegal’.” Now, you substitute ‘Adolf Hitler’ with ‘Narendra Modi’ and ‘Hungary’ with ‘Kashmir’, and you would instantly understand the stark dilemma the people of Jammu and Kashmir are facing. 
It is really important to disentangle the Jammu and Kashmir issue from geopolitics, grasp its human rights and humanitarian dimensions and pave the way for a democratic solution. 
All Kashmiris are asking is to have their say in a referendum. Ballots, not bullets is what they want. This referendum, however, cannot be scuppered by the induction of illegal settlers in the occupied land. Pakistan, the people of Jammu and Kashmir and the United Nations, if the conditions are ripe, will be ready for that kind of exercise. Only India’s ruling elite has to be deradicalized and brought into the political and diplomatic fold for a lasting solution of the Jammu and Kashmir issue.

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