AJK President calls for holding India accountable for war crimes
MUZAFFARABAD: The Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) President Sardar Masood Khan has said if our current world order, impartially and non-selectively, pursued international rule of law, instead of realpolitik, Indian officials responsible for crimes against humanity would be in the dock in an international tribunal like the Nazi officials were after World War-II.
“There is a long list of India’s crimes against humanity in IIOJ&K, but the most despicable and culpable amongst them are genocide, systemic ethnic cleansing, war crimes against non-combatants, and the use of excessive force without respecting the principles of distinction, precaution and proportionality, under the false pretext of fighting terrorism,” he said.
Masood Khan stated this in an article published in a monthly magazine. He said that whatever the Indian government has done to the Kashmiris especially in the past year (and before) is a flagrant violation of international law, the Fourth Geneva Convention, international humanitarian law in general, and the UN Security Council resolutions on Kashmir in particular.
“All the “lawless” laws applied in IIOJ&K and actions taken thereby India are modelled on Nazism and fascism,” he asserted and added that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was not authorised to take these illegal measures, because the territory had been declared disputed decades ago by the United Nations Security Council.
He said that the future of the disputed region is yet to be determined by the people of Jammu and Kashmir in an UN-supervised referendum. Although India had tried all the tricks in its repertoire to annex the territory, it had failed in its mission because till August 5, 2019, after the passage of 72 years of the independence of Pakistan and India, the vales and hills of Kashmir resounded with the slogans of Azadi (freedom) and self-determination.
AJK President maintained that for India, Kashmir was and remains an alien territory, whose population has never accepted India’s illegal writ. On the other hand, the flame of their aspiration for affinity with Pakistan continued to burn brighter each passing year.
Highlighting the reasons behind Indian action of August 5, 2019, Khan said the violent-extremist BJP-RSS regime felt that the only option left for them was the invasion, occupation, annexation and colonisation of the occupied part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Around 900,000 Indian troops brazenly invaded the territory and laid siege to it, which was buttressed by a punitive security lockdown, a communication blockade and massive brutalisation of the people. The Indian occupiers knew that the population, despite such draconian measures, would not capitulate to foreign occupation of their land. They knew that no matter how many people they killed, Kashmir would remain a nursery for freedom. So they resorted to naked, blatant settler-colonialism.
The occupation authorities are, on a fast track, importing and transferring hundreds of thousands of Hindus from all over India to illegally settle them in the Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and making it their “own/Hindu” state.
AJK President stated that since the repeal of Articles 370 and 35A, India has taken a series of steps to merge Jammu and Kashmir into its federation.
The President said India first divided the occupied part of the state into two Union territories (federal/federally administered territories) – Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir – which would be ruled directly by Delhi, without the consent of the people. Ladakh, in fact, will have no legislature, while IIOJ&K, will have a puppet Assembly of handpicked henchmen.
India, he went on to say, annexed the occupied territory with the Indian Union (their term for federation) and showed it as its sovereign geographical territory. The fig leaf of the constitutional and juridical pretence was removed. The promises made to Kashmiris, Pakistan and the United Nations were barefacedly broken and the Hindutva zealots gloated over this breach. They did not stop at that. They had the temerity to show Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir as part of India’s geographical boundaries in the fake maps they issued last November.
New domicile rules ease new Hindu settlers and create huge barriers for the Kashmiris by demanding a large number of documents before they could be issued the requisite certification. This is a well-crafted formula for discrimination, exclusion and displacement of Kashmiris. The ultimate objective is to permanently change the demographic composition of the illegally occupied state, he added.
He said that the occupation authorities have promulgated New Domicile Rules that grant Hindu army personnel, civil servants, bank officials, university teachers and many others, who have served in the occupied land from 10 to 15 years, or do so in the future, as well their families to settle in Kashmir, buy land for settlements, qualify for affordable housing, compete for jobs and acquire tracts of land to construct industrial estates.
In addition, the so-called West Pakistan refugees, migrant workers from all over India and sanitation workers living in the IIOJ&K are being given these rights, while Kashmiris, especially Kashmiri Muslims, are being elbowed out. This, Khan said, is a well-crafted formula for discrimination, exclusion and displacement of Kashmiris. The ultimate objective is to permanently change the demographic composition of the illegally occupied state.