The Indian occupation of Kashmir has persisted for 75 years, and the people of Kashmir continue to suffer at the hands of the occupier. The Kashmir conflict is yet to be settled, despite multiple UN resolutions. The voices of Kashmiris have been silenced by India’s machinations and tyrannical forces. The local population is indiscriminately killed, wounded, blinded, and imprisoned.
Indian authorities unilaterally abolished the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, in contravention of international law and UN resolutions. In Kashmir, a massive siege and crackdown was imposed, with at least 12000 people imprisoned. The use of the internet was prohibited, and a blanket ban on communication services was imposed.
The economy of IOJK has been the worst hit after the lockdown and internet blockade was imposed by Indian authorities. The Narendra Modi government’s decision to abrogate Articles 370 and 35A, has already immensely dented the local economy to the tune of $10 bn in the last three years. At least 500,000 Kashmiris have lost their jobs since 2019, including nearly 100,000 employed in the flagship tourism and horticulture sectors.
Modi’s administration has made significant legislative and administrative reforms, raising concerns that it is attempting to manipulate India’s sole Muslim-majority region’s demographics. For the first time, Indians from other areas of the nation can buy land, get residence privileges, and apply for government employment in Jammu and Kashmir. The federal government has also removed Kashmiri Muslims from key posts in local government and law enforcement, replacing them with outsiders to carry out its objectives.
In Kashmir, the government has also suppressed freedom of expression by cracking down on journalists, human rights activists, social media users, and civil society in general. Journalists’ harassment and arrests, notably under harsh anti-terror legislation, are particularly concerning.
The world community was outraged, calling for the reinstatement of the unjustly removed articles 370 and 35A. The UN also condemned India’s indiscriminate restrictions in Kashmir, calling the situation ‘extremely worrisome’ and warning that it will worsen the human rights situation.
Pakistan attempted, but failed, to internationalize the Kashmir problem through several multilateral institutions such as the United Nations, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Pakistan looks to be at a crossroads, deciding whether to offer simply symbolic assistance to Kashmiris and then work out a settlement on the new status of Kashmir over time, or to take concrete measures, regardless of the cost and repercussions. It is imperative upon Pakistan to devise a strategy for resolution of the Kashmir issue. There is a significant clamp down on indigenous Kashmiri armed resistance by India. The future of Kashmiri struggle is in disarray.
With India’s chicanery and despotism in mind, now is the time to explore all possible avenues and fora to continue the battle for Kashmir and put pressure on India. Appraise the International community of the war crimes, genocide, and ethnic cleansing going on in Kashmir and hold India responsible for its war crimes, genocide, ethnic cleansing, torture, and other atrocities. To resist India’s settler colonial agenda in Kashmir, and hence stop the systematic demographic engineering by India in Kashmir. To facilitate the release of Kashmiri political prisoners, journalists, human rights defenders, members of civil society and students.