Cry and Anguish for Freedom in Kashmir

The problem of Kashmir is rooted in the suffering of generations of Kashmiri people, in the denial of their inalienable right of self-determination in the massive violation of their human rights and in the victimization and virtual genocide of a peace- loving people.

The origins of the problem can be traced back to the middle of the 19th century when the British colonialist rulers of India sold this enchanting land and its people to Golab Singh Dogra for a paltry sum of 7.5 million Indian Rupees (Approx. $0.38 million US dollars).

It was thus that an overwhelming Muslim people and their land was brought under the yoke of a rabid, cruel and monstrously greedy non-Muslim ruler and his equally evil progeny. About Golab Singh, Charles Napier said: ” What a king to install! Rising from the lowest, foulest sediments of debauchery, to float on the highest surge of blood, he lifted his besmeared front and England adorned it with a crown.”

The ignoble and mercenary sale of Kashmiris was the beginning of the long, blood-stained history of the victimization of the Kashmiri people and their struggle to regain their fundamental human rights.

The people of Jammu and Kashmir had nurtured the hope that their struggles would bear fruit with their accession to Pakistan after the departure of the British from the Sub-continent. But this was not to be. The last of the Dogra rulers, Hari Singh, decided to call in the Indian Armed forces to arrest the people of Kashmir who had risen to overthrow his illegal and despotic rule.

India gave a solemn pledge to the Kashmiri people, to Pakistan and to the United Nations to allow the people of Kashmir the right to determine their own future through a free and impartial plebiscite under UN auspices. But India perfidiously reneged on its pledge é the plebiscite was never held. The Security Council, taking cognizance of Indian designs to merge the State of Jammu and Kashmir with the Indian Union, adopted resolution of January 24, 1957 reiterating the principles of its earlier resolutions of 1948, 1950, 1951 and UNCIP ( United Nations Commission For India and Pakistan) resolution of August 13, 1948 and January 5, 1949, that the future of the State of Jammu and Kashmir will be decided in accordance with the will of the people, expressed through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite conducted under the auspices of the United Nations.

On November 2, 1947 Jawaharlal Nehru said: ” We have declared that the fate of Kashmir is ultimately to be decided by the people. That pledge we have given é not only to the people of Kashmir but to the world. We will not and cannot back out of it. We are prepared, when peace and order have been established to have a referendum held under the auspices of the United Nations.”

Since then the Indian Government, its army and its security forces have sought to suppress the just demand of the Kashmiri people for their right to self-determination with the most brutal and inhuman ferocity through man killings, incarceration, torture, torture and rape.

The valley reverberates constantly with Indian gunfire killing unarmed people in the bazaars and in their homes. Women are pulled out of their humble but peaceful abodes and gang-raped by the Indian forces. Thousands are arrested and tortured, their bodies are mutilated, their limbs are broken and amputated and their flesh is branded with hot irons. Dwellings are bulldozed; houses and shops are torched and looted. All this is done to break the spirit of the Kashmiri people.

For the period 1990 to the end of 1999, confirmed figures show that 67,717 people have been shot directly and another 4501 killed while in Indian Army or police custody bringing the total death to 72, 218. Rape is frequently used against women, either as part of their interrogation about criminal or political activity. There are records of 4 242 women between the ages of 7-70 that have been raped.

The 1995 Amnesty International Report is equally critical of the situation in Kashmir. “The brutality of torture in Jammu and Kashmir defies belief. It has left people mutilated and disabled for life. The severity of torture meted out by Indian security forces in Jammu and Kashmir is the main reason for the appalling number of deaths in custody of young men picked up by the army or the paramilitary forces during crackdown operations in the villages and other areas to identify suspected “militants”.

People have been tortured to death either in crude attempts to extract information about armed secessionist groups, to intimidate the local population, or as an act of reprisal for the killing by armed militants of the Security forces personnelé Later, the government sought to cover up such killings by attributing them to encounters between militants and Security forces.”

Asia Watch and Physicians for Human Rights Report of May 1993 report that ” rapes by security personnel have become more frequent. Rape used as a means of targeting women whom the security forces accuse of being militant sympathizes; in raping them, the security forces are attempting to punish and humiliate the entire community.”

India has felt no pressure whatsoever to desist from its semi-genocidal campaign. No a word of condemnation has been uttered at the United Nations: not even a call on India to cease and desist from committing its atrocities. This is not merely a case of passivity and inaction: in practical effect, it amounts to abetment and encouragement of murderous tyranny.

The most baffling phenomenon regarding this situation is that it has been allowed to arise and to persist in a territory which, under international law, does not belong to any member state of the United Nations and whose status is yet to be decided by the people of that land.

Indeed Kashmir is undoubtedly one of the greatest tragic stories of the 20th century: slaughtering children, gang -raping women, torturing and murdering men on a daily basis is legalized to keep a grip intact in an annexed territory. The enchanting streams and lakes of Kashmir are filled with blood today.

The overwhelming presence of 700 000 Indian military and paramilitary forces serves as a constant reminder to Kashmiris that they are not free people but a people subjugated and enslaved against their will.