How India mocked UN and World on Kashmir
On August 5, 2019, while delivering on its Lok Sabha Elections 2019 manifesto the Hindu ultranationalist BJP government unilaterally and unconstitutionally abrogated Article 370 and invalidated the Article 35A of Indian Constitution.
A Presidential order revoked constitutional provisions granting partial autonomy to the State of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). It was shortly followed by the ratification of the Jammu & Kashmir Reorganization Bill by Indian Parliament.
The act bifurcated J&K into two Union territories (UTs): Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh. Changing the status of J&K from State to Union Territory gave BJP central government more control over local administrative and legislative powers in J&K, in addition to direct control over the police and protection and maintenance of public order. Due to this controversial piece of legislation the citizens of India will now be able to settle in the International disputed territory of Jammu & Kashmir. This divisive move of BJP government is aimed at changing the demography of the Muslim-majority region at a time when the world’s attention is focused on the COVID-19 crises.
Indian government sent thousands of additional soldiers to J&K prior to the 5 August announcement.
The curfews are still enforced. Indian agencies also enforced an information blackout. Internet and social media website are still having restrictions in the region. India imposed the longest-ever internet shut down by a democracy, disrupting access to medical care, business, and education for seven million people. Thousands of Kashmiris remained in preventive detention, including key political figures.
The fascist moves of India contravene United Nations (UN) resolutions #122 and #126 adopted on January 24, 1957, and December 2, 1957, respectively. These resolutions prohibit any unilateral action targeted at changing the disputed nature of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
UN Secretary General António Guterres on 8 August 2019 while responding to Indian controversial measures on Kashmir has noted, ‘”the position of the United Nations on this region (Kashmir) is governed by the Charter of the United Nations and applicable Security Council resolutions.” On February 16, 2020, he again reiterated, “We have taken a position that UN resolutions (on Kashmir) should be implemented, there should be ceasefire (on LoC), and human rights should be respected.” India however rejected the offer of UN Secretary General for mediation on Kashmir.
The State of India is signatory to the Geneva convention and is thus bound by all the provisions of the International Humanitarian Law. The Article 2 of the Genève Convention strongly lays the responsibility on the conflicting armed forces that not to destroy the public and private property. Article 3 of the Geneva Convention stresses to secure the persons who are non-combatants, olds, women, children and particularly wounded.
This article also stresses the protection of those also who are taken into custody by the armed forces. As far as the practice in J &K is concerned, the Indian army is frequently committing torture and extra judicial killings. The wounded and sick persons are also not spared by the forces. The properties of the innocent Kashmiris are also being destroyed. Many people are made hostages on daily basis.
Article 5 of the Geneva Convention strongly prohibits the security forces to raid on the medical staff and hospitals. The purpose of this article is to secure the defenceless wounded and sick persons from the attack. It does not differentiate whether those are combatants or civilians, it is sufficient for the application of article 5 if they are defenceless and waiting for the medical treatment.
There are many cases which are described by the doctors in J &K that many wounded have passed away due to the unnecessary delay in transit and due the some hindrances made by the security forces. The patients of serious nature often died during the journey to the hospitals due the road blockages by the forces. Due to the unnecessary road crackdowns the doctors and other medical staff often reached late in the hospital which causes many casualties due the delay in medical treatments.
The US House of Representative through its Fiscal Year 2020 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs appropriations report has already urged the Government of India to release individuals detained pursuant to the Indian government’s revocation of Article 370 of the Indian constitution; lift its lockdown and curfew; and fully restore telecommunications and internet services.
A bipartisan group of four US Senators including Democrats Chris Van Hollen (Maryland) , Whip Dick Durbin (Illinois) and Republicans Todd Young (Indiana), Lindsey Graham (South Carolina) have also written to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asking for an assessment of the situation in Kashmir as well as the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizenship (NRC).
The revocation of article 370 is also considered to be one of the contributing factors to recent Indo-China conflict. Amidst the Indo-China standoff in the region, on 11th June Chinese diplomat Wang Xianfeng tweeted to convey his country’s position on developments in J&K.
The tweet read, “India’s actions of unilaterally changing the status quo of Kashmir and continuing to exacerbate regional tensions have posed a challenge to the sovereignty of China and Pakistan and made the India-Pakistan relations and China-India relations more complex”.
For the people of Kashmir, the revocation of article 370 is a final blow in a long series of betrayals and humiliations at the hands of the Indian state that have battered Kashmir’s constitutional and political identity. So far India has mocked the UN and International community on Kashmir but with mass detentions, extra judicial killings, curfews, human rights violations, pellet guns, barbed wire, and the suspension of liberties and rights India may be able to control the estate of Kashmir but it has lost state of Kashmir forever.