A Memo to Philanthropists and Ambassadors

In fact an extremely pathetic and terribly neglected human plight of the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir deserves world’s focus today. Although the members of the United Nation’s Security Council made thread bear discussions on Kashmir’s future in between 1950s – 1960s, today Kashmir is subjected to allusion and termed a bilateral Indo-Pakistan dispute. India is against tripartite dialogue or any third party mediation on Kashmir. It shows callous disregard for human aspirations and political flexibility in the region. It is overlooking and undermining the most important question of the world body. This cynical and selfish approach towards the problem has encouraged enemies of humanity to suppress Kashmiris brutally. Nevertheless, Kashmir is a core issue. And Jammu and Kashmir has everything at stake, as the region is dangerously instable and uncertain. India and Pakistan have failed to move forward in line with the demands of the people of Kashmir.

Indeed, even the death of the human rights concept (in some governments) after the 9/11 tragedy, the Kashmiris were not cowed into submission. They proved their metal by their heroic struggle for freedom. Kashmir is backed by a chain of international promises made by India, Pakistan and the UN. India at the very onset of its invasion on Kashmir in 1947, gave unilateral assurances to the Kashmiris to grant them their right to plebiscite in a free, fair, and impartial manner. Then, the call to plebiscite echoed in the UN Security Council. They adopted resolution after resolution to give the right of self determination to the Kashmiris. A Plebiscite administrator was appointed by the Security Council to make arrangements for a plebiscite in the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

India and Pakistan fought wars against each other over Kashmir; also signed peace agreements, still they failed to resolve their differences. Today, they are atomic states, but the region is trembling with fear of poverty and terrorism, and the economic, industrial and agricultural life has become stagnant. Extra-ordinary military build-up and vigil along the borders and more than 6 million Indian regulars and paramilitary forces in Jammu and Kashmir have made life of the Kashmiris terribly insecure, uncertain and horrible.

A truly durable and sustainable peace seems now a hopeless dream in South Asia. The Kashmiris always tried sincerely to play their part by maintaining peace and communal harmony; still they met with a cynical response. It became evident in 1947, when the Kashmiris demonstrated an exemplary communal harmony and tolerance in the face of the mad monster of fanaticism and communalism–”but India sabotaged the move by launching an aerial aggression on Kashmir; followed by a brutal campaign of massacre of Jammu Muslims by armed Hindu gangs. The carnage began amid the Indian attack over Kashmir in Oct 1947. India claimed that she wanted to protect the Kashmiris from the armed tribal infiltrators of the NWFP. But the question arises why they didn’t stop the gruesome massacre of Muslims by the Hindu criminal gangs in Jammu, who forced innocent and unarmed Muslim inhabitants out of their homes and killed over 200,000 persons, and raped and kidnapped innocent women–”showing no mercy on the helpless women folk of Jammu.

Against this madness the Kashmiris in the valley had shown utmost communal restraint and unparalleled patience. Their appeals to contain the mad Hindu fanatics of the Jammu province backed by the ruling dynasty had fallen on deaf ears. Instead India herself set the dagger of human rights abuses on–”in Jammu and Kashmir. In spite of that the Kashmiris gave India and Pakistan enough of time to cooperate with the UN to hold a free, fair, and an impartial plebiscite for ascertaining the wishes of the Kashmiris. Certainly normalcy had returned to Kashmir, the frontier tribesmen had gone back to their homes, yet India broke the promise of withdrawing her occupying forces from Jammu and Kashmir.

It is strange, that after having passed over a dozen of the Security Council resolutions on Kashmir the world body sat idly, giving India free hand to concentrate upon its illegal military build-up in Jammu and Kashmir. India tried to seal the fate of the Kashmiris by entering into agreements with the leadership of J&K National Conference and staging election dramas in the territory. But, neither sinister pacts nor any election farce could deter the Kashmiris from their path of political struggle for the right of self determination.

India unmindful of fulfilling her pledge to hold a plebiscite in the state again dismayed the people by giving a free hand to its blue-eyed politicians to rig the 1987 elections and pre-empt a just, peaceful, and durable solution of Kashmir issue. No wonder, in Jammu and Kashmir, elections from day one were rigged and farce; and the then Prime minister of India Pt. Jawahir Lal Nehru had clearly stated in 1951 that ”Kashmir can’t afford the luxury of democracy”. So the international institutions or the majority of the Kashmiris never accepted these elections as a substitute to plebiscite under the auspices of the UN. But, India never bothered for transparency and legitimacy to its rule in Jammu and Kashmir. Instead, she bluffed out pro plebiscite parties in the polling booths by an unabashed foul play.1987 Assembly elections were a watershed in the post-partition history of Kashmir; when all pro-freedom parties lost their hope in the resolution of the dispute through the Indian ballot system. The dialogue between India and Pakistan and the negotiations under the track-II, only wasted time in superficial questions and public-lying. It could not pick the thread where it had been left by the representatives of the UN, India, and Pakistan in 1960s.

In 1980s this stagnant situation led to a mass-uprising against India. But, India had no political wisdom, and it simply enacted draconian laws–”giving extra-judicial powers to army to crush brutally the popular upsurge in Kashmir. Thus became time ripe for an armed resistance. Besides, the decade old war between USSR and Afghanistan on the one hand and the USSR and America on the other had made a tremendous impact on the people of the Indian occupied Kashmir.

The honeymoon between US and Mujahideen commanders in the White House caused excitement among innocent and desperate Kashmiris. They came under the false hope that America and the West might help them in the same manner as they did to Afghanis. But it was a miscalculation, which in the long run twisted the knife in the wounds of Kashmiris.

At the outset of the 21st century the Kashmiris got the point, that how the big powers took a u-turn on Kashmir to spoil the sacrifices of the Kashmiris. Since the Kashmiris had burnt their boats so earlier, the callousness of the world powers made no difference to them. The new generation in Kashmir took to streets in 2007-2008, protesting against the massive human rights abuses, draconian laws and the forcible occupation of the State by India. In April, 2008 the Kashmiris poured their anger and hate on India, over the discovery of unmarked graves in Kupwara, Uri, Poonch and elsewhere in the State. From June 2008 to August 2008, a sea of humanity was up in arms against the transfer of land to Amernath Hindu Shrine Board in Ganderbal and Phalgam; forcible blockade of essential goods and life saving drugs from India to the Kashmir vale, and embargo on the transportation of the Apple loads to India by the ultra- Hindu organizations of Jammu.

The economic embargo on Kashmir was actually a death knell, aimed at bringing the people in Kashmir to their knees. Thus rang the alarm bells over them, and they were forced to begin with a peaceful peoples march of more than one million to Baramullah on the historical Jhelum Valley road to demand opening of the pre-1947 trade and travel route to the outside world. The demand of the people was as old as the Kashmir dispute itself; people marching towards the LOC from South to North were unarmed and peaceful, yet bullets were rained on them mercilessly by the Indian police and paramilitary forces–”killing brutally people including the senior APHC leader Sheikh Abdul Aziz Shaheed on 11 August 2008–”in a dazzling challenge to India’s military occupation of Jammu and Kashmir.

In 2009, yet another forceful popular demand unnerved the Indian military command from Kashmir to Delhi. It was the issue of thousands of acres of fertile land under the army’s illegal possession. Now the world could imagine intensity of the repression Kashmiris had been subjected to since 1947. In the protest rallies people demanded army’s expulsion from these long stretches of army-occupied lands.

Again in 2009, another horrendous crime of double rape and murder by police in Shopian–”shielded by Indian bureaucracy added fuel to fire. The Kashmiris expressed their anger and anguish by massive demonstrations against the Indian army, police and bureaucracy across the turbulent region. Shopian the epicenter of this tragedy is still restless due to the criminal negligence and the partisan role of the Kashmir Government and CBI in this dual rape and murder case. In May, 2010 another fake encounter and tragic episode surfaced in Nadihal Baramulla, where three innocent youth were involuntarily disappeared and martyred in fake encounter by Indian troops in the Machil area of the LOC. Killings of the people by Indian forces still continue under one pretext or the other. This led to another uprising against the occupation forces in June 2010.

But India every time turns a deaf ear to all such sordid events. This reprehensible role of India has made peace process very shaky and fragile, with the result the Kashmiris find it difficult to believe in these negotiations or for that matter in the shuttle-cock track-two diplomacy over Kashmir. The irony is that the real Kashmiri leadership have/had no role in the bilateral talks. How can the Kashmiris believe in the efficacy of such talks, which are devoid of public trust and true representative character? The empty rhetoric of politicians and diplomats cannot fool the people of Kashmir.

The Kashmiris know that India has a big army with a nuclear arm, but it doesn’t frighten the people of Jammu and Kashmir. India is ruling over Kashmir by 6 million over huge army and a broad based network of intelligence agencies and rented terrorists. Yet they have totally failed to break the iron will of the people for freedom across the State.

Naturally, the gulf of differences between India and Kashmir can’t be bridged by superficial measures. The two stand poles apart. Mere bilateral talks can’t solve such an old, ”rusty and knotty” problem. A sad and complex state of affairs like this requires a firm moral, legal and diplomatic support by the international community, to prevail upon India’s intransigence on Kashmir, failing which this apparently passive volcano may start erupting any time to destabilize South Asia.

There are many reasons why Kashmir could not resolve during the last 63 years; one misconception was that with the passage of time Kashmiris might forget it. But this theory has been totally disproved. Kashmir has not been forgotten during all these decades of trial and tribulation. So it will not die down with the passage of time and no generation however surrounded by odd circumstances, will ever allow hobnobbing and harboring with India, at the cost of their struggle for the right of self determination. This factor must be born in mind by the world community before suggesting any nominal self rule formula, instead of the right of self determination for the resolution of Jammu and Kashmir.

It is strange that the US and the West having so deep involvement in Afghanistan, Central Asia and Mideast do not like to pursue the resolution of Kashmir, which is strategically as important as any other dispute in this region. If the powers at the helm of affairs take up this issue with the concerned parties, there is no reason why a just solution could not be worked out especially when there are valid grounds to support any such move towards a lasting peace in the sub continent.

So far many suggestions have been made regarding the solution of Kashmir, but it seems to preserve the status quo of the disputed State of Jammu and Kashmir, protect vested interests; ignore human rights and the right of self determination as the basic cause of friction with India since 1947. There are elements that shed crocodile’s tears on Kashmir, but don’t consider human rights plight of Kashmiris worth considering. So the draconian laws are there to humiliate and eliminate people and strangle their voice for freedom and free media activity. Equally arbitrary powers allow authorities to suffocate the voice of dissent in the state. Therefore CBMs of travel and trade across the LOC during the last 6 years could not move an inch towards the final resolution of the Kashmir dispute as was claimed by its’ advocates in both India and Pakistan. Honestly speaking the lollipop of some petty CBMs could not alleviate the pain and plight of the Kashmiris. These half way measures did not either lead to the restoration of human rights of the Kashmiris. The hollow CBMs only added insult to injury and forced people to further intensify their movement against human rights abuses, molestation of women, land encroachments, unmarked graves, fake encounters etc by India.

Despite worlds’ other priorities the Kashmiris have not given up their struggle for freedom. They think that the West has not been just to its own commitments on Kashmir–”as a result of which Kashmiris have been facing fearful odds and suffering great human losses for the past 63 years. However, we are not dismayed. The conscience of the world community couldn’t be totally dead; it could hear the wake-up call, rise to the occasion and urge on the two atomic states–”India and Pakistan to sink their differences and bury the hatchet on Kashmir by coming closer to the Kashmiri viewpoint regarding the right to self determination, which is the basis of the World Body’s manifesto and freedom and independence of India and Pakistan. It must be born in mind that neither pride nor prejudice will resolve the conflict.

The state of affairs in Kashmir is too shocking, crumbling and vulnerable to be ignored which can’t be resolved by either petty CBMs or by political trips of politicians, traders and media men to each others’ region. Dialogue is one of the best ways to address the Kashmir imbroglio, but here intentions are not good. India continues to squeeze the Kashmiris, generation after generation–”mentally, physically, politically and economically with the help of its army, ruthless spying network and harsh and inhuman laws of history. The world Body looks mum before this "beautiful prison", when the people of Kashmir bleed. India’s imperialists call Kashmiris terrorists to suit their own designs.

We believe that terrorism is a great menace to the future of humanity and human civilization. It is a virus. It can’t be destroyed just like a physical object. It has different forms and manifestations. Both the state and non-state characters fan the flames of terrorism today. The definition varies according to the interests of the state actors. The evil mind of any evil state in the modern world patronizes it and demolishes good human nature and humanity for its own nefarious ends. Nevertheless, such states are bringing their own dooms day nearer as a law of nature. Indian state’s actions in this regard are not doing any service to humanity or God in our world.

The basic flaw in the thinking of the Indian state is that it pleads dialogue and peace without the life and peace of Kashmiris. It has been pursuing this policy for the last 63 years. Unfortunately, there is no international pressure on India to take a leap forward in the right direction to stop killings of Kashmiris. Therefore, the process of dialogue on Kashmir does not satisfy the people of Kashmir. It is every time in the half way. Kashmiris don’t see eye to eye with it as it is always deceptive. Our people have had their bitter experience of it during the past several decades of Indo-Pakistan talks. In short, without the participation of the Kashmiris in the talks on Kashmir, it is a house of cards to fall down any time.

Therefore, we urge upon the UN, big powers, diplomats and philanthropists to take into account historical dimension of the Kashmir dispute and sacrifices of the peoples of the land before making efforts to settle the problem. All such efforts must begin with the process of demilitarizing and de-terrorizing the state and repealing of the draconian laws there. As ambassadors of your countries you should take cognizance of the ground situation and suggest to your Governments measures, required to settle this long standing and forgotten dispute in line with the principles of humanity and justice, as laid down in the UN manifesto and India- Pakistan commitments on Kashmir. Finally I would like to remind you of our current story of the freedom struggle, which is replete with the innocent human blood of the people of Kashmir in almost every home of Jammu and Kashmir. The wave of state terrorism–”so horrible since 1990s is responsible for a mind-set in the society that no political or religious leader however strong he may claim to be, can dare to sell a settlement formula minus freedom to the Kashmiris in Srinagar. Every such attempt failed in the past and will meet the same end in future. Our youth will never kneel before the enormities of the Indian occupation in Kashmir. Prudence is to win over the hearts and minds of the Kashmiris by peace and justice–”associating them with the process of dialogue to hammer out a just and honorable solution that truly relieves the oppressed people of their burden. So that all the Kashmiris living anywhere, could honorably and peacefully return to their homeland to live together, and make their best possible contribution to the peace, progress, and prosperity of their nation and humanity.