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Indian army’s use of human shield

Mohammad Jamil

Mohammad Jamil

Indian army is innovative in finding ways for repression and oppression in the Indian held Kashmir. The recent by-elections in Kashmir faced a call for boycott from groups that called for implementation of UNSC resolution and also from pro-Independence activists. In the tense atmosphere surrounding the election, voter turnouts had been low as a result of a multiplicity of factors from indifference to fear of harm. In order to justify the state violence, the story was concocted that some participants had appealed to the armed forces for protection. However the method used to ensure this in the Budgum area of the state took an ugly turn. A young man was tied to the front of an army vehicle, allegedly to keep stone-pelters at bay, while passing through central Kashmir, what they said, to provide security to the polling staff.
This man indeed served as a human shield and, in a viral video that sparked outrage on social media h is seen bound while voices in the background threaten that this is the fate that other stone-pelters may face. Later identified as Farooq Ahmad Dar, a 26-year-old shawl weaver, the video implies that he was a member of the mobs that attempted to resort to violence in the wake of the elections. Leaders of All Party Hurrieyat Conference and other groups are protesting against Indian army resorting to human shield. Even Farouq Abdullah has been furious over the brutalities of Indian army in IHK. Even Education minister in the coalition government of Jammu and Kashmir Syed Altaf Bukhari said last week that Ram Madhav, the BJP general secretary is trying to legitimize the acts by armed forces in Kashmir which have been termed as illegal under international law. Madhav, while speaking to CNN-News18, had justified the controversial video in which armed forces are seen using a Kashmiri man as shield in front of their jeep. “I compliment the major for not allowing both these things to happen…If I were to blame anybody today for that scenario, it would be those who were responsible for failing to send reinforcements when the situation was critical and it was informed to the seniors…. In a war and love, everything is fair.” Madhav told CNN-News18. The PDP and BJP are seemingly on a war-path after Madhav defended human shield incident saying all is fair in love and war. Taking a strong exception Bukhari said one fails to understand against whom Madhav declared war! “These statements smack of a hyper-nationalist environment in the country. Unfortunately, people with right-wing approach consider any support for human rights in Kashmir to be anti-national.
Let Madhav be reminded that no civilised society can afford to use its citizens as shields for military operations,” said Bukhari, the close aid of the chief minister Mehbooba Mufti. The differences in the PDP-BJP coalition government are spilling out into the open with the two parties indulging in the war of words over the deteriorating law and order situation in valley. “Hitler and Mussolini killed people in gas chambers without any regret and today Ram Madav and somebody called Ganga by issuing nonsensical statements are proving their fascist credentials,” said Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik, while reacting to Madhav’s statement that killing and terrorising Kashmiris was “absolutely right thing to do.” Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani too hit out at Madhav for defending the forces saying human shield incident ‘illustrates their national policy about Jammu and Kashmir’. “They have declared war and his statement stands testimony,” said Geelani, while referring to the statement of Ram Madhav. “It is a clear clean chit to forces to carry massacre in state,” he added. Geelani said that it is red signal and carry perilous message for forces to go ahead with killings and serves an apparent threat to people. Anyhow, Kashmiris suffered death and destruction unparalleled in the history, first during Dogra Raj, and then faced murder, rape and killings at the hands of Indian armed forces. Frustrated by the apathy of the international community and non-implementation of United Nations Security Council resolutions, Kashmiri youth took up the arms in 1989. However after 9/11, political landscape of the world changed dramatically, adversely impacting the freedom struggles of the people the world over who were dubbed as terrorists. Nevertheless, writers, intellectuals and peace loving people condemned India’s repression on people of Kashmir and also for treating them as second class citizens. Renowned Indian novelist and political activist Arundhati Roy once again made a strong case for Kashmiri people’s right to self-determination before American audience on 12th November 2011. “I think that the people of Kashmir have the right to self- determination-they have the right to choose who they want to be, and how they want to be,” she said in the course of a discussion on ‘Kashmir’. In her remarks, she lamented the fact that so little is known about the atrocities being committed by more than 700,000 Indian troops and indignities let loose on Kashmiri men, women and children. Roy attributed the apathy towards Kashmir, especially in the western world, to their pursuit of commercial interests in India where they were more eager to sell their goods than upholding human rights.

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