THE GLOBAL HYPOCRISY OF KASHMIR
By Vincent Lyn
On Aug. 5, 2019, former Indian President Ram Nath Kovind who served from 2017–2022 formally revoked Article 370 of the Indian constitution which protected Kashmir's special status and tightened the Indian central government's grip over the Muslim-majority region.
Pakistan has roundly and repeatedly condemned India's move on Kashmir. Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan who just this week an assassination attempt was made on his life said that Pakistan would “teach India a lesson,” and promised to “fight until the end.” Put aside the fact that India likely never would have changed the status quo had it not been for decades of overt Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. Terrorism is a tactic the states use to achieve aims at a relatively low cost. In this case, the Pakistani gamble backfired, and Khan, as well as Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence, have no one but themselves to blame. Lost in the Pakistani criticism of India's actions, however, is recognition of Pakistan's own hypocrisy. For four and a half decades before India revoked Article 370,Pakistan stripped both Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu Kashmir (as Pakistan calls the portion it occupies) of their special status.
The root of the Kashmir question rests in the 1947 partition of India. The princely state's leaders chose to join India, a move supported by the region's Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, and many of its Muslims. Other Kashmiri Muslims, however, wanted to join Pakistan. Still others would have preferred outright independence, although this was not an option offered. The nascent Pakistani state responded by invading — first with irregular Pashtun tribesmen and then more formally with the Pakistani army, eventually occupying about 30% of the region. A UN ceasefire established a line-of-control solidifying Kashmir's division and UN Security Council Resolution 47 called for a referendum to resolve the dispute. That referendum never happened and, despite multiple pledges to resolve the problem diplomatically,successive Pakistani governments sponsored terrorist groups to strike into India and twice, in 1965 and 1999, unsuccessfully started wars after seeking military to alter the line-of-control.
Indian soldiers having been accused numerous times of torture, extra judicial executions or rape of women would be immune to prosecution under a law that was implemented. Not that unruly Indian soldiers ever felt any compunction about killing or raping Kashmiris, but this law tells the army of occupation that it has a complete carte blanche in its dealings with them.
India has also doubled the strength of its military presence in Kashmir to nearly one million. Indian soldiers in Kashmir who have indulged in wanton killing, terrorism and gang-rapes. Nearly 100,000 Kashmiris have been murdered since the uprising began in December 1989, and countless others maimed.
The Kashmiri struggle for self-determination has been misunderstood by most Muslims: they think it is merely a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan.
The new Indian policy is also working closely with Israel. Their collaboration in the military, technological and intelligence fields has reached unprecedented heights. Both are also highly militaristic societies but present themselves to the world as “democracies”: Israel claims to be the “only democracy” in the Middle East; India maintains the fiction of being the “largest democracy in the world”. Yet their behavior in their occupied territories puts both outside the pale. Two other policies are common to both: each is involved in fighting the Islamic movement in the area that it occupies; each is an ally of the U.S.
These facts have important implications for Muslims globally. It is interesting to note that most Muslim regimes have no qualms about dealing with either. Israel, backed by the U.S, has been working overtime to smother debate on the theme of “Zionism is racism”, while India does not want its caste system to be discussed. At least 160 million Dalits in India live lives of degradation and humiliation under religiously-sanctioned apartheid.
India has been far more successful though in hiding its face than has Israel. But for some awareness among the Muslim masses of the Zionists' crimes in Palestine, every regime in the Middle East would have 'normalized' relations with Israel long ago. Yet the same awareness does not exist when it comes to dealing with India. Even in such places as Tehran, the Hindus are welcomed and a number of trade and other agreements have been signed. The Kashmiri struggle for self-determination has been misunderstood by most Muslims: they think it is merely a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan. This shows the success of Indian propaganda.
Indian propaganda implies first that the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir is an internationally-recognized border when it is not; second, that the uprising in Kashmir is not indigenous but instigated by “terrorists” from the Pakistani side of Kashmir. Indian rulers deserve full credit for deviousness; they have been trying to turn the LoC into an international border and have frequently suggested this at international forums, presenting it as a “reasonable” proposal. If Pakistan were to accept this, what was, and is the purpose of the uprising in Indian-occupied Kashmir that has been under way since 1989, in which nearly more than 100,000 Kashmirs have perished and countless thousands have been maimed?
To suggest that the uprising in Kashmir is not indigenous is also an insult to the aspirations and sacrifices of the Kashmiris. No outside help can sustain a movement for this long if it does not enjoy local support.
It's very apparent that the West has ignored the ongoing atrocities in Kashmir with tens of thousands of Kashmiris been killed by Indian troops. There is no other part of the world with a ratio of more than 10–1 Indian troop presence literally having put the nine million Kashmiris in jail. How this issue has been ignored by the western world is lamentable. Why is this not an issue? This is hypocrisy. The apathy of the West towards the plight of Kashmiri people facing the humanitarian crisis for decades.
One of the most misunderstood points on Islamophobia is a huge communication gap between the Islamic world and western societies. For now more than twenty years since 9/11, the term 'Islamic terrorism' was coined that misguided people in the West who started believing that Islam led to terrorism. It's extremely important to understand that the involvement of a few Muslims in terrorist activities, the entire 1.8 billion Muslim community became the target.
Despite all this, India continues to enjoy an excellent press in the West, especially now that the US has entered into a strategic partnership with it in order to contain China. Next time someone talks about “democracy,” human rights or self-determination in the US, advise them to examine the record of its two allies, Israel and India, and try to explain why they should have a license to kill, pillage and rape any people.
CEO/Founder at We Can Save Children
Deputy Ambassador of International Human Rights Commission (IHRC)
Director of Creative Development at African Views Organization
Economic & Social Council at United Nations
Editor in Chief at Wall Street News Agency
Rescue & Recovery Specialist at International Confederation of Police & Security Experts