16 October, 2019

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Kashmir Crisis Has Ramifications Beyond Its’ Borders; The World Should Act! 

By Mohamed Harees

Lukman Harees

The conflicts over a divided Kashmir have been long and bloody. The Kashmir Valley has for long been a militarized and a war ravaged zone, effectively occupied by Indian security forces with militant groups in the region tapping into this discontent. Decades of State sponsored terror and militancy have ensued a cycle of violence where the rights of Kashmiris have been repeatedly violated – they have been victims of torture, threats, extortion, arrests, and killings. The latest ruse of revocation of Article 370 followed by the lockdown and communication blackout in the area, only bears the tell-tale signs of a devious attempt by the Modi government, to change the demography of Kashmir through ethnic cleansing and to further its’ project to enshrine the Hindu identity of the nation. Analysts say that the change could also bring about a profound transformation of Kashmir’s population that would exacerbate unrest in this there. As the debates over its’ political sovereignty rages, the lives of its’ people deeply embroiled in these conflicts, and their aspirations being continuously trampled with impunity by a repressive BJP in power, it is a shame that their dire plight remains largely forgotten in the international arena, with India playing the ‘internal matter’ card.

The dispute over Kashmir between the two regional giants in the Indian subcontinent has been a searing wound for decades, with the roots of the conflict lying in their shared colonial past; both fighting three wars over the contested territory, while the Great Britain which colonised them  keeping aloof from the explosive developments in the region. This conflict thus largely reflects a bitter and troubled legacy of British colonialism and without a shade of doubt the leftover from the decolonization process. In fact, renowned author Arundhati Roy aptly captured this development thus ‘How carelessly imperial power vivisected ancient civilizations. Palestine and Kashmir are imperial Britain’s festering, blood-drenched gifts to the modem world. Both are fault lines in the raging international conflicts of today’. The parallels between the two have never looked as ominous as they do now.

History records, as partition-related violence raged across the two new nations-India and Pakistan, the pressures for Kashmir’s Maharajah Singh to align with either side led to the signing of a standstill agreement with Pakistan which allowed Kashmiri people to continue trade and travel and later signing of the Instrument of Accession, the document that aligned Kashmir with the Dominion of India, in October 1947. Kashmir was later afforded ‘special status’ within the Indian constitution—a status which guaranteed that Kashmir would have independence over everything but communications, foreign affairs, and defence. Article 370, empowered the State Parliament to provide special rights and privileges to permanent residents of the State, for example by banning non-locals from buying properties or have a government job, which stood revoked this month, in an effort to change the region’s Muslim-majority demography, violating the rights of representation guaranteed to Kashmiri people under the Indian Constitution and in international law. Jon Wilson, the author of India Conquered: Britain’s Raj and the Chaos of Empire, notes that while the governing project in India now is different from the ideology under British rule, the instruments of power that Modi is using are familiar: “military occupation, limitations on free speech, [these tools] that have at various times been used by India look like empire.”

It appears that the spirit of the 1972 Simla Agreement between India and Pakistan, which states that the final status of Jammu and Kashmir is to be settled by peaceful means” , in accordance with the UN Charter is in tatters. The UN has long maintained an institutional presence in the contested area, which both countries claim in its entirety, with the areas under separate administration, divided by a so-called Line of Control. The UN chief has called on “all parties to refrain from taking steps that could affect the status of Jammu and Kashmir.” UN Security Council discussed this issue recently at the request of China , with  Pakistan referring to the meeting as a testimony to the fact that this is an international dispute and that “the voice of the people of the occupied Kashmir” being heard “in the highest diplomatic forum of the world.” Although India maintains that matter related to Article 370 of the Indian Constitution is entirely an internal matter, there are clearly external ramifications of this conflict. 

Reasons for the conflict over Kashmir are argued among contenders on a number of points, more often than not to serve globalist interests rather than the fundamental needs or desires of the Kashmiris themselves. There are many outside players at play which have exacerbated the human rights situation in the Kashmir region, apart from Indian aggression. Israel is playing a big role in India’s escalating conflict with Pakistan. Modi appears to be taking a page straight out of the Israeli playbook. Critics have warned that metamorphosis in Kashmir could mirror Jewish settlements in the West. Many of the Indian ruling party BJP’s aspirations and policy proposals for Kashmir are imitations of extant Israeli practices in Palestine. Key among these is the desire to build Israeli-style Hindu-only settlements in Kashmir as a way of instigating demographic change as seen these days. For months, Israel has been assiduously lining itself up alongside India’s nationalist BJP government in an unspoken – and politically dangerous – “anti-Islamist” coalition, an unofficial, unacknowledged alliance, while India itself has now become the largest weapons market for the Israeli arms trade… Several Indian commentators, however, have warned that right-wing Zionism and right-wing nationalism under Modi should not become the foundation stone of the relationship between the two countries, both of which – in rather different ways – fought the British empire. 

Interestingly, the US appears to enter the fray, having identified South Asia as an epi-centre of terrorism and religious extremism and therefore has expressed an interest in ensuring regional stability, preventing nuclear weapons proliferation, and minimizing the potential of a nuclear war between India and Pakistan. US’ tentacles are seen to extend to Sri Lanka as well, in the Post-Easter period.  Meanwhile, India also lashed out at Pakistan, as amplified in a statement by an Indian Muslim political leader Asaduddin Owaisi, saying that Islamabad should stop meddling in the affairs of Kashmir. It also accuses Pakistan of supporting insurgents but Pakistan says it only gives moral and diplomatic support to Kashmiris who want self-determination. It is interesting to see muted responses from the Muslim world too, obviously due to substantial economic ties with India including the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC). UAE referred to the Kashmir issue as an internal matter. 

Be it as it may, India cannot get away from the fact that Kashmir is an “internationally recognized disputed territory”; thus unilaterally changing the status quo of the state, and terming the decision to reorganise Ladakh by India as a union territory is “unacceptable. With this annexation, Modi fulfilled the manifesto of the BJP, and the vows and fanatic fantasies of the fanatical RSS – the neo-fascist Hindu nationalist parent organization of the Indian ruling party which creates the conditions for a Kashmiri style Intifada. In the light of the Kashmir issue, Indian leadership began to resist approaching multilateral institutions to intervene in conflict areas fearing a threat to its state sovereignty. However, India’s response to the concept of international intervention in states’ affairs has been fluctuating over the years. In the 1960s,  India was quick to defend its intervention in Goa to drive out the Portuguese by force. India justified its interventionist role in East Pakistan in 1971, on the grounds of self-defence. Side-lining its ethical commitment to state sovereignty, India’s iron hand was regularly seen in reference to Sri Lanka’s civil war between the armed forces and LTTE; more specifically in 1987 which culminated in sending Indian troops to ‘help’ Sri Lanka keep peace as per the terms of the Indo Sri Lanka peace Accord. Thus, India’s stand has been based on its own national interest and on the merit of each case.

The truth is that the people of Kashmir themselves have always been hostile to the presence of India’s troops on their soil and have shown an iron determination to resist tens of thousands of killings, and thousands of rapes, disappearances and torture inflicted upon the population at the hands of these foreign occupiers. Long standing agreements in place have in fact afforded the Kashmiri people the right to determine their own destiny. This is a clear case of a large and a powerful country bullying a small nation into submission in violation of not only their right to sovereignty but international agreements and two dozen UN resolutions giving them the right to determine their own political fate. The purpose of so many troops stationed in this small country is no other than blatant oppression. Their presence makes Kashmir the largest army concentration anywhere in the world. It is quite conspicuous that the world powers feel awkward and unequipped to intervene in any international conflict because the country concerned is too powerful and does not listen to morals and ethics when economic interests are in question.

Indeed, the UN doctrine of the principle of ‘responsibility to protect,’ the international understanding to intervene to stop atrocities from taking place, was adopted at the 2005 World Summit. All the heads of state and government at the 2005 World Summit, without reservation, committed to the doctrine, and subsequent unanimous adoptions of General Assembly and Security Council resolutions reaffirmed the principle. “Sometimes known as ‘R2P’, the doctrine holds states responsible for shielding their own populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and related crimes against humanity, requiring the international community to step in if this obligation is not met. However, international intervention in domestic conflicts for the protection of civilians from genocide, war crimes, and ethnic conflict has been under normative criticism and contestation since its very inception.

It is a shame that UN has now become redundant to a resolution of Kashmir problem. It has lost its’ locus-standi and credibility beyond a talk-shop. It is time that the authority entrusted to the UN be taken a little more seriously. UN should play a more firmer facilitator and policing role in this conflict  to ensure that India acts more responsibly as per its’ R2P obligations. The primary reason the UN hasn’t bothered to intervene yet appears to be because the crisis is simply not large enough. If things do go out of hand though and God forbid it turns into a major crisis the UN will undoubtedly have to intervene and take control. However, the fact remains that unless there is a will to compromise and settle issues amongst the stakeholders no solution can be imposed. What is apparently clear is that unless both India and Pakistan move beyond their deeply entrenched positions of ‘settling’ scores at the expense of the Kashmiri people, the plight of Kashmiris will continue unabated. Further ,the world powers and the saner elements in both India and Pakistan also need to realise that bilateral talks have always remained barren. Experts suggest that trilateral dialogue between governments of India, Pakistan and the leadership of Kashmir — without any precondition from any side — is the only way to resolve the issue once for all. 

The Kashmir dispute will have to be resolved peacefully through a dialogue, on the basis of the aspirations of the Kashmiri people. Kashmir should not become another West-bank or Gaza and the international community has an obligation to ensure that this possibility never becomes a reality. It would be a mistake to look at what’s happening in Kashmir as a sad story in a vacuum. Kashmir is a percolating consequence of Modi, who, much like Trump, tears at the fabric of democracy, pluralism and security.By turning a blind eye to Kashmir, we get one step closer to a world where the  forces of evil prevail and decency is quashed, just like what happens to Palestine.

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Latest comments

  • 11
    1

    Yes Kashmir dispute has to be resolved peacefully on the basis of the aspirations of the people of Kashmir. This is how it is being resolved by BJP government. Firstly the aspiration of people of Ladakh who are Buddhists who had been agitating since independence for a separate statehood from being ruled by Muslims, has been fulfilled by the creation of an autonomous state which will first be a union territory and after a period of time when they are able to fully manage on their own will get a full statehood. This has been welcomed by Buddhists all over the world including those in Sri Lanka. Secondly the aspiration Hindus in Jammu and Kashmir valley who were the original people of the area who wanted Hindu rule of the region re-instated, has been fulfilled by bringing the area under direct Indian rule. Very soon Hindus who were subjected to ethnic cleansing by Muslim terrorists backed by Pakistan, will be resettled in their original places and Hindus from other parts will be settled to bring back Hindu majority, to take control of the area. Unlike Congress governments, BJP means business and this problem will be solved for ever. Pakistan can only bark, but it cannot bite. As per old saying, dogs can continue to bark but the caravan will move on. You know what happened at the security council meeting when Pakistan tried to internationalize it with the backing of China, where the matter was closed giving Pakistan a slap on the face. India is being backed by USA and Israel and will go all the way to finish the problem. Pakistan has fought three major and many minor wars with India and has lost all, and will have to sulk in a corner.

  • 10
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    Lukman the Islamic fanatic, place the record correctly. Pakistan and Afghanistan were Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms till Mughal invaders destroyed them and forcibly converted the people to Islam. Remember what they did to the glorious Buddhist university in Taxila, which was razed down and over 500 Buddhist monks were murdered.So don’t try to paint a wrong picture when an attempt is made to correct this historical injustice to Hindus and Buddhists. Muslims are creating trouble to others all over the world and Kashmir is not an exception to it. Pakistan like great fellows down graded diplomatic ties, imposed trade ban and stopped the use of air space. Do you think seriously that India cares about it, and will have an impact on India politically or economically. Days of the so called Islamic power is gone with Muslim countries kneeling at the feet of others. With support of USA and Israel and Russia standing neutral, India will finish off Kashmir issue once and for all.

    • 2
      4

      Lanka Perera,
      “Remember what they did to the glorious Buddhist university in Taxila, which was razed down and over 500 Buddhist monks were murdered.”
      In case you didn’t know, King Rajasingha killed 800 monks right here in Sinhala Buddhist Sri Lanka.
      So what’s the big deal?

  • 9
    1

    Modi is doing nothing wrong with the Kashmir dispute. India is a very demcoratic country which allowes every one to live as they want. Itis western way that promote various divisions on ethnic, religious, regional politics etc., use that for their advantage to make states fail. I think the Congress govt also allowed India to be destroyed. But, Modi is not allowing that. I read, West want to bring sikhs back to disrepute Hindus and Indian Muslims are another problem. Even Pakisthan should talk for some kind association with India. That is good for both countries as they were one country before.

  • 5
    0

    Non Islamic countries need not bother.

    Soma

  • 2
    7

    Modi is a puppet of the Hindu nationalists. There are extremist and nationalist elements in Sri Lankan society who may pose similar threats to Sri Lankan Leaders.

  • 11
    1

    Mohamed, Lakman Harees
    /
    Your article is an outrageous attempt to launch a demand for international intervention to thwart India’s reclaimed sovereignty over the ancient kingdom of Kashmir. You blame the UN and the British for not intervening on the matter!
    /
    Obviously, you rely on a distorted and largely untrue version of history of the world, and half truths, similar to the equally conspiratorial ramblings of your fellow Islamic soldier Ameer Ali. You selectively quote similar half truths written by several others, favourable to furthering your agenda.
    /
    Most outrageously, you try to paint a picture of India in Kashmir being the ‘coloniser’ of a foreign land (similar to Israeli occupation of Palestine). Yu write, “The purpose of so many troops stationed in this small ‘country’ is no other than blatant oppression”. You ham it up by writing, “The truth is that the people of Kashmir themselves have always been hostile to the presence of India’s troops on their soil and have shown an iron determination to resist tens of thousands of killings, and thousands of rapes, disappearances and torture inflicted upon the population at the hands of these foreign occupiers.military occupation…used by India look like empire.”
    Words can’t describe the blatant lie this description represents. Your beloved Allah should punish you for this lie alone.
    Kashmir was never another country, and it was historically a part of broader India with a written history of Indian kings, being part of the Mauryan empire shortly after the Buddha’s time.. The Islamisation of Kashmir (which you claim as merit) was part of the process of Mogul vandalisation of Indian civilisation that began around the 10th century. They established a Muslim rule in Kashmir under the Turkish robber Shah Mir in the 14th century (in 1339). Mogul vandals, in their accommodation of the British colonialism in India agreed to Kashmir becoming part of the ‘princely states’ fraud and when they left, they created Pakistan and planted a seed of destruction in Kashmir.

    • 8
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      contd…

      What India is trying to do is to reclaim sovereignty of the lands stolen by rampaging Islamic and British colonisers. They did that in Goa by chasing the Portuguese in the 1970s and they should do the same in Kashmir. Thy should also ask Turkey and the British to take back the nearly 200 million Islamic and nearly a million of so-called Anglo-Indians, who are left overs of colonialism.
      /
      There are lessons for Sri Lanka too. The must continue with the land reform program initiated by Mrs. B and beware of Islamic propaganda by people like Harees and Ameer Ali.

  • 3
    0

    The world will not act . Indian Jammu and Kashmir has three parts. Ladakh is predominantly ethnically Tibetan and Buddhist . Jammu is the historical homeland of the Hindu Doghra who are closely related to the Punjabi and they speak Doghri ( not Kashmiri) . The Kashmir vales is predominantly Muslim Kashmiri. Even here in the late 1980s the Hindu Kashmiri Pandits who are the original people of the land making up 10% of the Kashmiri population, owned 90% of the land in the Kashmir vale , were chased out by the Kashmiri Muslims with the help of Pakistan and are still not allowed to return. The Nehrus are Kashmiri Pandits. Kashmir was part of Hindu India and was a strong bastion of Saivaism with many important ancient Hindu shrines still there. Amarnath is a good example. Adi Sankaran from then Tamil Chera country arrived here in the 9Th century and strengthened Saivaism in the Kashmir area. The very north and south of India have always been strong bastions of Saivaism. Marauding Muslim Afghans arrived in the valley with Islamic conquest and forcibly converted most of this once staunchly Saivite Hindu population to Islam . They were given a choice convert or you will be tortured and killed brutally , most choose the former. Most of these so called Kashmiri Muslims are a mixture of these original converted Hindu Kashmiris and these Afghan marauders. It is the Hindu Kashmiri Pandits who are of pure Kashmiri origin. After the overthrow of Islamic rule and the Sikh rule that followed , Jammu , Kashmir and Ladakh were ruled by a Hindu dynasty , and the Hindus again became the ruling land owning elite and remained so , until they were forcibly evicted from their land in the late 1980s. 90% of he Kashmiri Muslims are landless peasants or only held small land ownings. Why should Doghra Hindu Jammu and Tibetan Buddhist Ladakh who have nothing to do with the Kashmir vale , come under the Muslim Kashmiri rule

    • 3
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      If there is any self determination it should be in the Kashmir Vale and not in Hindu Jammu or Buddhist Ladakh. Why should these people be under Islamic rule? As for Pakistani held Kashmir , ask most Muslim Kashmiris living there? They hate Pakistan rule , as they have now become second rates in their own land. Pakistan is very busy settling Punjabi Muslims in so called Azad/Free( sic) Kashmir , so they stop separation. It is they who are jumping up and down in so called free Kashmir. There was more freedom and protection given to Kashmiri culture in Indian Kashmir than in the Pakistan held part. When article 370 was introduced and passed it had nothing to with Muslim lands in Kashmir as 90% of the lands were owned by Hindus. It was passed to stop Punjabis from overrunning Jammu and Kashmir and purchasing all the land. This has worked in Indian Kashmir but Punjabi Muslims have over run Pakistani Kashmir with Pakistani state help and are very busy suppressing Kashmiri culture there and then crying crocodile tears about Indian held Kashmir and Kashmiri Muslims.

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

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