BRUTAL tales of deadly so-called encounters keep coming out of held Kashmir, as Indian forces continue to mow down innocent people in the occupied region by dubbing them ‘militants’.
In the latest such outrage, reported by Indian media, six Kashmiri youths have been killed in a number of ‘encounters’ over the last few days in the south of the region. Some of the victims were merely teenagers.
While condemning the extrajudicial killings in clear terms, the Foreign Office pointed out that at least “18 Kashmiris have been martyred by Indian occupation forces in December so far”. It may also be possible that the actual, unreported numbers of such atrocities are much higher.
Meanwhile, India’s dubious activities in the disputed region have attracted opprobrium from various quarters abroad. Last week, at least 28 MPs in the British House of Commons wrote to the Indian High Commission in the UK calling for a response to reports of extrajudicial killings. The British lawmakers highlighted the fact that most of the victims of such killings are “normal citizens”, while condemning the incarceration of Kashmiri rights activist Khurram Parvez.
The MPs also noted that over 2,500 innocent people had been detained by Indian forces over the last two years. Other neutral watchdogs such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have also documented abuses perpetrated on civilians by the Indian state in held Kashmir.
The unfortunate fact is that held Kashmir has been turned into a penitentiary by Indian forces. Anyone who dares resist India’s military machine is dubbed a terrorist and is tortured or killed. New Delhi has been using a combination of black laws and extrajudicial methods to smother the Kashmiris. However, the brave people of the held region have continued to resist India’s brutality and remain unbroken in their quest for freedom and dignity.
Yet while some in the international community do speak up for the beleaguered Kashmiris, many of the self-professed champions of human rights remain oddly silent in the face of Indian brutality in Kashmir. This hypocrisy must end and the international community must let India know that the fundamental rights of the Kashmiris cannot be ignored. Pakistan has for decades been pleading the Kashmiris’ case, but unless India’s powerful foreign friends call it out for its abuses in Kashmir, it is unlikely New Delhi will change its ways. It is time that the Kashmiris’ endless nightmare came to an end.
Published in Dawn, December 28th, 2021