In the opinion piece “Dispelling the myths of Kashmir” by Brahma Chellaney in the Sept. 10 issue, the author incorrectly claims that the violence in India-occupied Jammu and Kashmir has been perpetuated by Salafist- oriented “jihadists” while conveniently overlooking the fact that the actual perpetrators of violence and human rights violations are the more than 900,000 Indian security forces in the most militarized region in the world.
The Kashmir freedom movement is an indigenous struggle, whereas the Indian government repeatedly uses the bogey of “cross border terrorism” to legitimize its draconian actions in the region and to divert world attention from its own failings and its pledges to the United Nations to grant right of self-determination to the people of Kashmir.
India’s latest unilateral and illegal actions of Aug. 5 to strip the state of Jammu and Kashmir of its autonomy and special status as granted by India’s own constitution without the consent of the state assembly is a nefarious attempt to change the demographic structure of Jammu and Kashmir, while the author has fallaciously blamed Pakistan for encouraging Sunni relocation to Gilgit Baltistan.
The scale and severity of the human rights situation in the state has since increased manifold. It has been several weeks since the lockdown of more than 8 million Kashmiri people with unabated curfew and a complete communication blockade. As a result, Kashmiri people have nearly no access to health services, hospitals, emergency services, medicines and life-saving drugs. Food supplies have also been severely hampered. Over 6,000 people have been arrested, including political leaders, professionals and activists; many have been transported to jails all over India.
In successive reports in June 2018 and July this year, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights comprehensively documented gross and systematic human rights violations by Indian security forces in Jammu and Kashmir. In her statement to the Sept. 9 session of the Human Rights Council, the high commissioner expressed deep concern about the impact of recent actions by India on the human rights of Kashmiris, including restrictions on internet communications and peaceful assembly.
India’s standard arguments like Jammu and Kashmir being India’s “internal affair” holds no ground because of numerous long-standing U.N. Security Council resolutions that affirm Kashmir as an internationally recognized disputed territory. The issue remains on the agenda of the Security Council as we speak. Moreover, the numerous Pakistan-India bilateral dialogues at different points in history have not yielded any results due to Indian intransigence and their standard position that there is nothing to discuss about Kashmir as it is an “integral part” of India.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.