The silence of India’s occupation of Kashmir blankets the valley, like the morning fog obscuring the Himalayan Mountains. The continued resilience of the Kashmiri people signifies the never ending struggle for Kashmiri sovereignty and independence. There is a strong current of popular nonviolent uprising for freedom. The belief and reverent hope for an independent Kashmir- liberation from occupation throbs vibrantly in every Kashmiris heart.
At the time of independence, Kashmiris predominantly Muslims, wanted to join Pakistan but the ruler hesitated with regard to making a choice. Thus forcing people to rise up against his tyrannical rule. The Indians used this situation to their advantage by sending in Indian forces to occupy Kashmir. With the Indian government’s own estimate of only 500- 700 armed militants in the area Kashmir remains the most densely militarized land on earth. There are approximately 700,000 Indian military and paramilitary in Kashmir, policing a population of 12.5 million.
The extent of torture, Killings and rapes perpetuated on Kashmiri people by Indian forces has already created a new record of atrocities. Gouging eyes, cutting off men’s genitals use of ever new methods of torture and endless curfews would shame Hitler’s SS death squad. The Indian occupation army’s deviltry such as gang rapes, burning of entire villages and crops, destruction of economic life of whole communities and genocide of the Kashmiri people in defiance of International human rights laws are everyday affairs.
From 1989 to 2011 there have been 8,000 documented disappearances and 70,000 deaths of Kashmiris resulting from the Indian occupation. Torture is uncontrolled and continued. Liaison of the International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Indian Administered Kashmir (IPTK), Khurram Parvaiz, works documenting the cases of torture. “The most under reported phenomenon in Jammu and Kashmir is torture. If you go to any village hundreds of people in every village have been tortured, not just men, but women, children and old people as well”. Parvaiz was involved in documenting the torture of over 1500 people who became impotent because their genitals were electrocuted. He goes on to explain that there have been hundreds of boys who were raped by soldiers.
However, the torture and deaths could not remain buried for long. In July 2011 the State Human Rights Commission of Jammu and Kashmir (SHRC) released a report documenting 2, 156 unidentified bodies in 38 graveyards. After the findings the government said that these unmarked graves are all of foreign militants and people need not worry about it. Limited DNS tests of 53 bodies identified that 49 were Kashmiri civilians, one was a Kashmiri combatant and three were unidentified. It is obvious that these bodies were not handed over to their families as the government was trying to hide something, some grave narks of torture.
While the people of Kashmir resist occupation and struggle for freedom everyday there prevails a deathly silence maintained by the International Community. The undeclared war on the people of Kashmir is brutal and violent dehumanizing the existence of being. Yet the International community remains silent on their suffering, remains silent on the suffering of the entire Muslim world. The whole world and the entire International community and organizations were quick to condemn and offer support to the people of France in the aftermath of the deadly attacks in France and rightly so as no country should face such horrific attacks on their general public. We Pakistanis are suffering such continuous onslaughts of terrorism and even our children have not been spared the brutal confrontation by them. However no one speaks or commiserate with the continuous onslaught of systematic torture, killings and rapes of the Kashmiri people.
In advance of Modi’s first visit to Kashmir this year Indian security forces beefed up security and detained nearly 400 Kashmiri separatists to prevent them to stage any protest during the Indian Prime minister Narendra Modi’s visit. Indian forces erected steel barricades and laid razor wire on roads and ordered residents to stay indoor in old part of Srinagar. The city’s main mosque was cordoned off and Friday prayers were barred. Separatist had planned a rally near the site of a public meeting by Modi in Srinagar. Ayaz Akbar, a spokesman for the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, an umbrella group of separatist political and religious parties said “our rally will be a message to India to read the writing on the wall that Kashmiris are against Indian occupation.”
While Modi’s visit was primarily to offer a financial aid package a year after Kashmir was devastated by massive floods the former CM Omar Abdullah said Modi had failed to deliver any concrete message. He said Packages have not resolved the Kashmir issue. He added that “we wanted to hear from the PM on dialogue with the Hurriyat and Pakistan as well as AFSPA”. Ghulam Ahmed Mir, J&K Pradesh Congress President said,” The announcement is a mere eyewash and political gimmick to appease the PMs Coalition partner in J&K”. While the Hurriyat Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said that money cannot buy the aspirations of the people of Kashmir. “This is a political issue not economic”. He added. The message to the Modi government has gone out loud and clear that the Kashmiri people will continue with their struggle of self-determination and will not yield to Indian occupied Kashmir.