Since 1947, the people of Occupied Jammu & Kashmir have fought for their liberation from India’s oppressive rule with fantastic tenacity and perseverance. Since Hindu extremist Narendra Modi became India’s premier in May 2014, the oppression of the people of Kashmir escalated to a horrendous level. At the policy level, Prime Minister Modi scrapped even the symbolic autonomous status of Kashmir and proclaimed it as an integral part of India, violating the United Nations (UN) resolutions and bilateral agreements with Pakistan. He also revoked the autonomy of Jammu & Kashmir granted by India’s constitution in Article 370, dissolved its state government, and put it under the direct rule of New Delhi. This change effectively ended the constitutional relationship between Kashmir and the Indian Union. The people of Kashmir have responded to these heinous acts with peaceful protests, for the most part. However, the Indian security forces have responded to these protests with excessive and indiscriminate force, killing, wounding and arresting scores of Kashmiris as they resorted to the worst human rights abuses. The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has issued several reports documenting these violations.
In addition to the policy level oppression, India has also escalated its military aggression in the occupied region. Under Modi’s rule, the occupying Indian forces routinely fire on unarmed civilians, including women and children.
The people of Kashmir have borne the brunt of India’s aggression, but they are not alone. Pakistan stands by its Kashimiri brethren, highlighting their case at all international forums as well as responding to the Indian aggression on its territory in kind. In February 2019, the Pakistan Air Force shot down two Indian fighter jets that violated Pakistani airspace.
The escalating violence in Kashmir is a direct result of India’s refusal to recognize the legitimate rights and aspirations of the Kashmiri people. Countless checkpoints in Srinagar and other towns mean even short distances might take hours to traverse. Since 2020, security activities have been stepped up, and it would not be an exaggeration to say that the previous two years have been the deadliest in Kashmir’s history. According to a Human Rights Watch study issued in July 2021, about 100 military operations were conducted in Indian-occupied Kashmir, resulting in the deaths of numerous Kashmiris.
The people of Kashmir have a right to self-determination, as recognized by the United Nations. The UN Security Council has passed resolutions affirming this right on several occasions. India must end its brutal occupation and allow the people of Kashmir to exercise their fundamental rights.
India’s secularism has been a sham from its inception. Still, Modi’s RSS has broken all records regarding minorities’ mistreatment. The Indian ruling elite is so absorbed with Muslim prejudice and widespread discrimination towards other minorities that they fail to comprehend its lethal long-term ramifications. The Indian government is oblivious to the fact that driving minorities into a corner and spewing vitriol at them would backfire and come back to haunt them.
The current situation in India is reminiscent of the period preceding World War II when Nazi Germany began its campaign to eliminate Jews and other minorities. The rise of Modi’s RSS-Hindutva fascism is not an accident — it was hiding behind the secular camouflage.
Modi’s oppression of the Kashmiri people is unmistakably a war crime that has progressed beyond the realm of human rights breaches. These are being perpetrated against the people of Kashmir by the Indian occupying military and militias as part of a larger plan to change the basic nature of the state by changing its demography. India must be held accountable for its crimes. The international community must pressure India to respect the human rights of the people of Kashmir and peacefully resolve this conflict, which remains a threat to regional peace. But the silence, indifference and double standards of the international community are glaring.