WHILE observing the Kashmir solidarity day (Feb 5), let us not forget Kashmir is a simmering cauldron under a lockdown. For over seven decades, India has denied Kashmiris’ their right to self-determination.
India claims that occupied Kashmir’s constituent assembly had voted for accession of Kashmir to India. This is a big lie.
A fugitive maharaja signed an accession document while violating the standstill agreement he had signed earlier with Pakistan. On the basis of that fraudulent ‘accession’ India says it is no longer necessary for it to let the promised plebiscite be held in Kashmir.
Undivided India’s last viceroy and India’s first governor general, Lord Mountbatten, played a major part in this fraud. According to his biographer, Ziegler, Mountbatten had a ‘powerful, analytic mind of crystalline clarity’. Yet he had ‘legendary capacity for self-deception’. He ‘was a man who preferred falsehood to truth’.
The last sentence of the accession document was written in haste and the handwritten corrections on the text speak volumes about the wavering state of the maharajah’s mind. The instrument, extracted under coercion and duress, is untenable under international law.
The UN Security Council passed two resolutions that virtually repudiate the accession. The Security Council’s resolution number nine of March 30, 1951, and confirmatory resolution 122 of March 24, 1957, outlaw accession or any other action to change status of the Jammu and Kashmir state.
India gives the impression that the US considers the state’s so-called accession legal. This is not true. On Oct 28, 1993, Under Secretary of State Robin Raphel in her statement clarified that Washington did not recognise the instrument of accession to India. In the UN’s perception, Kashmir was a disputed territory, not an integral part of India.
The future status of the state remains to be determined in accordance with the wishes of the people of Kashmir.
THROUGH a host of draconian measures, India has gagged digital and voice protests in disputed Kashmir. It has barred local and foreign journalists from visiting India-occupied Kashmir.
Indian forces fire pellets, called birdshots, with pump-action shotguns against unarmed protesters or stone throwers, even women, and children five to eight years’ old.
A New York Times report titled “An epidemic of ‘dead eyes’ in Kashmir as India uses pellet guns on protesters” (Aug 28, 2016) portrays a gruesome picture. It says “the patients have mutilated retinas, severed optic nerves, irises seeping out like puddles of ink’. Doctors call them ‘dead eyes’.”
A similar report in Washington Post (Dec 12, 2017) is no less poignant.
Let India realise it can’t stifle Kashmiris’ dissent. To stifle the Kashmiri’s fighting spirit, the Dogra regime (1846-1947) punished even Kashmiri children who played with fork-slings (ghulail) and stones. The struggle for freedom goes on despite Indian forces’ reign of terror which includes abductions, custodial deaths, rape, arson and pellet shelling. The UN Security Council should make clear that it opposes Narendra Modi’s brutal tightening of India’s control on Kashmir. While Modi may think he can control this volatile conflict on his own, he almost certainly cannot.
Will the slumbering UN wake up to see the plight of Kashmiris under Indian yoke?
Published in Dawn, February 5th, 2020