Running out of steam

Massive Protests against Indian Occupation Forces in Srinagar, Indian Occupied Kashmir

Soumitro Das,
Hindustan Times

Journalism is not about patriotism. It is not about ‘my country right or wrong’. Journalism is about the Truth. In India, however, far too often a journalist’s first commitment is to his country rather than to the truth. Nowhere is this more evident than in our reportage on Kashmir and Pakistan. To talk about Kashmir first, we are in complete denial, we toe the government’s line unquestioningly: that everything in Kashmir would be hunky-dory if Pakistan stopped meddling; that Kashmir is actually madly in love with the Indian Army and it is only Pakistan which is holding Kashmiris back from expressing their true feelings about the army, the paramilitary forces and the J&K Police in good measure; that India has done nothing to deserve the violence and turbulence in that state; that the stone-pelters are just paid agents of the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba.

What is the truth? The truth could be that many Kashmiris are sick and tired of the Indian security forces; the truth could be that Kashmiris are looking for deliverance from the cycle of brutality in which they are caught. The truth could be that India had for years foisted corrupt and venal regimes in Srinagar through rigging and other acts of skullduggery. The truth could be that India had a chance to redeem itself when it brought in Sheikh Abdullah as chief minister of the state, but apart from fostering yet another political dynasty, the Abdullahs have had little impact on the climate of political feeling in the state. The truth could be that the stone pelters are the vanguard of a ‘revolution’ whose immediate political expression is the rejection of India and everything that India has come to represent in Kashmir.

As far as Pakistan is concerned, our media are even more slavishly patriotic. All the usual clichés and stereotypes are summoned whenever our journalists and intellectuals write on the subject. Pakistan is a rogue nation; it is a failed State; it is almost a criminal enterprise; its democracy is a sham…

Everything we say about Pakistan speaks of our hatred and resentment against the country. And yet, we see that Pakistan does not disappear from the map of the world and definitely won’t in a hurry. The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) may not be accountable, but how accountable is India’s Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) and the Intelligence Bureau?

It’s also the naivete of it all. I remember a journalist on national TV saying, “We (India) are better than them (Pakistan).” What does that mean? That Pakistan is an Islamic republic and India, even with its pogroms against Sikhs in 1984 Delhi and against Muslims in 2002 Gujarat is a shining example of democracy? It is India, if my figures are right, that has more than 50 per cent of its children suffering from various effects of malnourishment. India’s regular free-and-fair elections may be the only thing that should genuinely make us proud as citizens.

History has been kind to us. It has provided us with a stick with which to beat Pakistan: cross-border terrorism. So, we can use it as a pretext for not talking about Kashmir where our position is weak. Take the ruckus over Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafeez Sayeed. We want him gagged, arrested, tried and, ideally, executed, no matter what the legal position might be in Pakistan. We insist that Pakistan knows everything about Sayeed’s involvement in 26/11 and that Pakistan is resorting to lies and deception to evade taking responsibility. However, now, according to Home Secretary G.K. Pillai’s recent statement, it’s not Sayeed but the ISI “from start to finish”. What is germane is that no court in the world will convict a mass murderer only on the basis of what two major felons have to say about him. Ajmal Kasab’s and David Headley’s statements need corroboration. Read more of this post

Indian Border Security Force involved in Kashmir violence: Canada

Add to Google Buzz

Young painter shot dead by BSF & SOG men while painting wall in Habbakadal Srinagar

Srinagar, May 21st: In a stunning development, Canadian High Commission has accused the Indian Border Security Force of being anti human and is solely responsible for the violence that is going on in the Kashmir valley. In fact, the Canadian authorities have rejected a visa application of an ex BSF employee on the ground that they have been carrying on attacks on the innocent civilians in the valley.

Pandher, a retired jawan of the BSF, immediately took up the matter with the Director General of the BSF and has requested him to take up the matter with appropriate authority and at the appropriate place.

The matter was immediately reported to the Union Home ministry and they in turn, informed the Ministry of External Affairs about the developments and asked it to take up the matter with the concerned Canadian authorities.

Bodies of peaceful citizens used by Indian troops as human shield

NEW DELHI: The Canadian High Commission to New Delhi has dubbed BSF as a “notoriously violent force” engaged in “systematic torture”.

The High Commission, while denying visa to one Fateh Singh Pandher, a retired constable of BSF, has written to him that his status was “inadmissible” as he had served in a force that engaged in “systematic attacks on civilians”.

In his strongly-worded response to Pandher’s visa application, a First Secretary with the Mission here has said BSF was a “notoriously violent force”, which was responsible for “systematic attacks on civilians” and “systematic torture of the suspected criminals”.

The High Commission official has suggested to Pandher that he should have dissociated from the force to qualify for the visa. When contacted, external affairs ministry spokesman Vishnu Prakash said, “the matter has come to the attention of MEA and it has been appropriately taken up with the Canadian side.”

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

US report reveals grave Indian human rights violations in Indian Held Kashmir

Add to Google Buzz


WASHINGTON—US Human Rights record released on Thursday says serious internal unrest at times affected the state of Jammu and Kashmir, as well as several states in the Northeast. Although civilian authorities maintained effective control of the security forces, security forces occasionally acted independently of government authority.

Major problems included reported extrajudicial killings of persons in custody, disappearances, and torture and rape by police and other security forces. Investigations into individual abuses and legal punishment for perpetrators occurred, but for many abuses, a lack of accountability created an atmosphere of impunity. Poor prison conditions and lengthy detentions were significant problems. Some officials used antiterrorism legislation to justify excessive use of force. Corruption existed at all levels of government and police. While there were no large-scale attacks against minorities during the year.

The Report notified that there were credible reports that the government and its agents committed arbitrary or unlawful killings, including extrajudicial killings of suspected criminals and insurgents. A high rate of extrajudicial killings, in which security forces shot and killed alleged criminals or insurgents in staged encounters, occurred in the Northeast, particularly in the states of Assam and Manipur.

The Report referred to several incidents of killings in occupied Kashmir. It said on March 20, the army held three soldiers, including a junior commissioned officer, accountable for the February 22 killing of two youths in Bomai, Baramulla, in the Kashmir valley. On March 28, the CRPF admitted that two troopers killed Ghulam Mohi-uddin Malik on March 18.On May 18, the army ordered an inquiry into the alleged custodial death of Manzoor Ahmed Beig by the Special Operations Group in Srinagar, Kashmir valley. On September 13, the government ordered a magisterial inquiry into the alleged custodial death of Noor Hussain in Rajouri, Kashmir valley. Read more of this post

Legality of Indian Claim on Kashmir

Following the World War-II, there has been an unremitting resistance by the people of Subcontinent against the ruling British colonial power. Under the swelling pressure of the people of subcontinent, the British Government finally had to announce the partition of the Subcontinent on June 3, 1947. However, the British Parliament formally passed “The Indian Independence Act-1947” on July 17, 1947. As per provision of Article-I of the Independence Act, India was to be partitioned into two Dominions namely “India” and “Pakistan” from 15th day of August 1947.

However, Article 7 of the Indian Independence Act very clearly states that from 15th August 1947, “the suzerainty of His Majesty over the Indian states lapse and with it lapses all treaties and agreements in force at the date of the passing of this Act between His Majesty and the rulers of Indian states”. Consequent upon this, all powers and functions, which were exercisable by the British Government in relation to the Princely States, also ceased.

All agreements of British governments with either rulers or states also lapsed on 15th of August 1947. Since the state of Jammu and Kashmir was a Princely State with a special autonomous status, therefore, it can be very conveniently said that on 15th day of August 1947, the Maharaja Sir Hari Singh was not the permissible ruler of the state of Jammu and Kashmir as all his treaties with British India lapsed on that day. Once he was not a ruler of the state, he had no right to sign the instrument of accession (if at all he signed that) with the new Indian dominion. This title to the state was granted to him by the British Government (East India Company) under the Treaty of Amritsar (Kashmir Sale deed) signed on 16 March 1846 and lapsed on the appointed day of 15th August 1947.

Besides, on July 25, 1947 in his address to special full meetings of the Chamber of Princes held in New Delhi, Lord Mountbatten categorically told all princes of Princely States that they were practically free to join any one of dominions; India or Pakistan. He however clarified that, while acceding to any dominion they could take into account geographical contiguity and wishes of the people. In case of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, either of the above factors was favouring state’s accession to Pakistan, but Maharaja Hari Singh did not accept this basic precondition of accession.

Indian claim that its forces landed Srinagar Airport on October 27, 1947, only after signatures on Instrument of Accession by Maharaja and the Indian government is also fallacious. Indeed, a heavy contingent of Patiala State was involved in fighting against the Kashmiri rebellions in Uri Sector on 18 October 1947, which means that they were very much inside the State`s territory much earlier than October 27, 1947.

On 24 October 1947, Kashmiris formally declared their independence from Dogra Raj and established their own government with the name of Azad (Free) Kashmir Government. Following this Maharaja Hari Singh sent his deputy Prime Minister Mr. R.L. Batra to New Delhi for Indian military assistance to his Government against those revolted and tribal from NWFP who joined their brethrens against a tyrant rule. He (Batra) met the Indian Prime Minster and other prominent Indian leaders and requested for assistance without making any mention or promise of state’s accession to the Indian Union. The Indian government instead sent Mr. V.P Menon (Indian Secretary of State) to Kashmir to assess the situation on the spot by himself on 25 October 1947.

After assessing, the situation in Kashmir Mr. V.P Menon flew back to New Delhi on 26 October 1947, together with Kashmiri Prime Minster Mr. Mahajan, who met top Indian leadership, seeking military assistance. He was refused to get that until state’s formal accession with India. On this Kashmiri Premier threatened the Indian leadership that if immediate military assistance was not granted, he would go to Lahore for negotiations with Pakistani leadership over the future status of the state. In a parallel development, Sheikh Abdullah met Indian Premier, Jawaharlal Nehru, on the same day, October 26, 1947, who agreed to despatch military assistance to the Kashmir government.

As stated by Mahajan, the Kashmiri Prime Minister, that V.P. Menon accompanied him to convince Hari Singh for accession of the State with India on 27 October 1947. Under the compulsion, Hari Singh signed the instrument of accession on the same day i.e. 27 October 1947, which was later taken to Lord Mountbatten (Indian Governor General), who also signed that on the same day (27 October), which was practically difficult. V.P. Menon, however, states that all these formalities of signatures were completed on 26 October 1947, which is impracticable. This version, however, seems concocted as even contradicted by pro Indian Kashmiri Premier. Both however are unanimous on one point that Indian state forces landed at Srinagar airfield in the morning of 27 October 1947 and a battalion of Patiala State received them there, which was already there. Read more of this post

The ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’ is being observed today across the country, including Azad Jammu and Kashmir

LAHORE : The ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’ is being observed on Friday (February 5) across the country, including Azad Jammu and Kashmir for expressing solidarity with the people of Kashmir waging a struggle for their right of self-determination for the last six decades. The day has dawn with special prayers for the liberation of Kashmir, in all principal mosques throughout the country.

Prayers will also be offered for victims of Kashmir freedom struggle. One-minute silence will be observed throughout the country with sounding of sirens at 10 am and the traffic will be brought to a halt. Newspapers will also publish special editions on the occasion, while TV channels and radio centres will air special programmes, highlighting the freedom struggle of Kashmiris.

On this day, Pakistani nation renew its pledge that it would continue to extend unflinching moral and political support to their Kashmiri brethren in their heroic struggle for their right to self-determination. The day is also an occasion to salute the courage and bravery of the freedom loving people of Kashmir who have remained steadfast and resolute in their quest to attain their inalienable right of self-determination.

Political parties and people hailing from different walks of life will join hands to express complete solidarity and unity with their Kashmiri brethren on February 5, in their just struggle. To mark the day, seminars, public gatherings, rallies and other events have been planned in a bid to highlight the plight of Kashmiris besides expressing solidarity with their Kashmiri brethren.

Speakers through their speeches will press the peace loving nations all over the world to exert pressure on India to stop its aggressive policies and allow the Kashmiris to exercise their right of self-determination. The government has already declared public holiday for February 5 and all the government offices, as well as educational institutions will remain closed. Shops, markets and business centres will also remain closed on this occasion.

There is complete consensus among the ranks and file of political leadership in the country that Kashmir issue is a threat to peace and stability of this region while peaceful and durable solution to the dispute, in accordance with the UN resolutions and aspirations of the people of Kashmir is the only solution.

In Lahore, processions and rallies will be taken out from different areas to express solidarity with Kashmiri brethren and condemn atrocities against innocent people of the held valley. It may be mentioned that Pakistan has always emphasised the necessity of a meaningful and constructive dialogue to resolve the Kashmiri dispute.

Kashmiri leaders were of the view that the Kashmir Solidarity Day has assumed special significance in the changed geo-political environment of the region, where the Kashmir dispute is widely believed as a flash-point, drawing international attention for its resolution, according to the United Nations resolutions and aspirations of the Kashmiris. Mohammad Saleem

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

The struggle for freedom in Kashmir has undergone a radical change during the last few years

The struggle for freedom in Kashmir has undergone a radical change during the last few years, changing in character from essentially a reliance on the power of the armed resistance to embracing the tactics of non-violence. For freedom fighters to make this transition is a substantive step which is loaded with tremendous possibilities and is capable of unleashing the might of the pent-up anger and hurt caused by the roughshod treatment of Kashmiris into a potent and irresistible movement. The civil society in Kashmir is getting organised to challenge the  abominable way in which the Indian state has treated it and that is no cold comfort for their tormentors. The power of this trend is becoming manifest when the common people are coming together to defy the power of the state to represent themselves.

The efficacy of the trend is evident through formation of organisations like the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) and by resilience of activists like Parves Imroz, who have begun to draw attention at forums like the European Parliament for the unending pain that the Kashmiri population has to bear with.

The September Eleven incident has erased the line separating the freedom fighter from a terrorist and this has provided India with a handle to portray the alienation of Kashmiris with the Indian occupation as a foreign sponsored movement employing terror tactics. This has also enabled India to get away with the grave human rights violations it is perpetrating in Kashmir. One has to also take it into account that in the course of armed resistance spread over two decades the Kashmir landscape has been saturated with jackboot and the bayonet; thoroughly bruising and traumatizing the Kashmiri nation. The evolving non-violent mass resistance movement in Kashmir is in step with the global dynamics and reflects their impact on shaping local ground realities.

The Kashmiri armed resistance has been waged by around 1500 freedom fighters, operating in IHK at the peak of insurgency. Yet to neutralise this modest number of freedom fighters the Indians have physically deployed 700,000 troops who occupy every nook and corner of cities and hamlets and crisscross the forests, turning the landscape into a virtual jail. Around 100,000 Kashmiris have lost their lives during 20 years of conflict and 8000-10000 people have simply vanished after arrest by the
security forces. The Indian armed forces employ infamous Special Operations. Momin Iftikhar

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

%d bloggers like this: