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جمعہ، 11 جون، 2010

Kashmir - The Land Of Passions

ALI SUKHANVER

“India can chain my limbs but she cannot shackle my heart; India can break my bones but she cannot crush my will and determination,” Jalil Andrabi, the Ex-Chairman, Kashmir Commission of Jurists uttered these words in Geneva, addressing the UN Sub Commission on Kashmir, on August 17, 1995. He is no more in this world but his words are still resounding in the blood-dripping valley of Kashmir providing an everlasting, never ending warmth and courage to the freedom-fighters in the Indian Held Kashmir. A few months after his address, he was picked up by notorious Indian Rashtria Rifles, tortured and finally killed in custody. But his brutal murder could not suppress the blazing passion of the helpless Kashmiris and today after so many years, we can see the freedom movement still going on in a more zestful manner. In the Occupied Kashmir the Indian security forces are doing their best to curb and crush the freedom movement but the freedom fighters are more determined. Fake encounters, rapes, kidnapping and so many other ruthless weapons seem ineffective in front of their determination. The Kashmiris are determined to prove that they are not slaves; they are the masters of their own destiny.

Killing of innocent Kashmiris under the shield of ‘fake encounters’ has become a routine matter, says The Hindu on 15th of May ,2010.According to the details, a few Army men killed five civilians in a fake encounter in Jammu and Kashmir. They entered into a conspiracy to pick up a few innocent civilians and stage-managed an encounter to create the impression that militants responsible for the killing of 36 Sikhs on March 20, 2000 were neutralized. Their purpose behind this fake encounter was to get out of turn promotion and win cash awards. In another incident of the same nature earlier in Siachen, a few Indian army officers had constructed bunkers, and had them demolished by firing a rocket. They ordered soldiers to act to be video-graphed as dead soldiers. They made them swear before God that they would not reveal the fake killing.

The helpless people of Machil area of Kupwara District would never be able to forget the intervening night of April 29 and 30, when three residents of Nadihal Rafiabad, Muhammad Shafi Lone, Shehzad Ahmed and Riyaz Ahmed were killed in a staged encounter. Their bodies were exhumed from a graveyard in Kalaroos, Kupwara and identified by their families According to the details, on the directions of Major Opinder of 4 Rajput Rifles, a trooper of Territorial Army, a former SPO and an army agent had motivated the youth to work as laborers for the army in lieu of handsome money. It is stated that later the youth were handed over to the army and subsequently killed in a fake encounter on the orders of the Major. During the investigation the army officials had claimed to have foiled an infiltration bid and recovered 5 AK rifles, over 200 rounds of ammunition and even Pakistani currency from the killed youth. The 4 Rajput Rifles unit of the army involved in the killing is yet to handover to the police the arms and ammunition, which it claimed to have recovered from the youth. The rage and fury over this fake encounter has created a lot of law and order disturbance in the area. People are demanding an open judicial inquiry of this fake encounter.

All time increasing atrocities against the innocent people have made the social religious, economic and political life of Kashmiris very agonizing and painful. The Kashmiris are of the opinion that there could be no peace in the region unless the valley is in the cruel clutches of the Indian security Agencies. The government of India has provided a legal shelter to these atrocities through the inhuman law called Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). In fact this act was designed for the North Eastern Indian States in 1958 for a year but it is still very successfully being used in the Indian Held Kashmir. The Indian army has been given a free hand to use AFSPA in the name of insurgency and militancy. International Commission on Human Rights has recently issued a report which points out the missing of more than ten thousand people in the last twenty years in the Indian Occupied territory of Kashmir. It is feared that most of these missing people have been killed in fake encounters. The commission has pointed out towards another very pathetic situation; the people killed in fake encounters and in police custody are usually buried in mass graves near Army and Police camps which are usually out of the access of media or the common public.

The Kashmiris are so helpless that they are unable even to protest against Indian atrocities. Those who raise their voices against the Indian cruelties have to face inexpressible torture and turmoil. They are pushed into dark and narrow prison cells without any reference or record. Their families are most of the time unaware of their being in the custody of the Indian army. It has also been reported that such protestors are so inhumanly tortured that they very often lose their lives. The atrocities chalked out by the Indian government in the Occupied Kashmir sometimes become unbearable even for the military officers. Inwardly so many of them don’t want to be a part of this viciousness and cruelty; the only door left open to them is to quit the army services. An increasing trend of army officers leaving the force mid-way has been very much alarming for the Indian government in the last five years. More than 1,000 officers quitted the army between 2005 and 2007. The number of officers who sought premature retirement in 2008 is reportedly more than a 1,000 -- almost equal to the number who left in the past three years.

The Kashmir issue is a continuous bone of contention between the two nuclear countries Pakistan and India. The two countries are always in a state of war heading towards the brink of nuclear catastrophe just because of the Kashmir dispute. The confrontation on this issue is destroying peace of the whole of South-Asian region. The government of Pakistan has always been eager to settle the issue through negotiations and table talk. So many confidence building measures have been suggested to the Indian authorities but India never showed any positive gesture in this regard. Whenever there is a peace process going on between the two countries, India tries to disrupt it. The basic purpose behind this disruption is to keep Pakistan away from the demand of peace and prosperity of the Kashmiri people.

Unluckily the international community has been ignoring the human rights violation in the Occupied Kashmir for the last 63 years. During all this period the people of Kashmir have suffered senseless oppression at the hands of the occupying power. Thousands have been incarcerated; an untold number tortured or maimed. The families of over 10,000 people disappeared within the past twenty years, are still waiting for the return of their loved ones without knowing whether they are dead or alive. This entire tragic situation is simply because of the denial of the right of self-determination to the people of Kashmir. The people of Kashmir need justice. They are silently looking towards all those forces which claim to be the care-takers of universal peace and harmony. Such forces must keep in their mind a time-tested principle, ‘Justice delayed, justice denied’.

Author is a Pakistan based analyst on defense and strategic affairs. Email: alisukhanver@hotmail.com
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