Over 700,000 In­dian troops in Kash­mir ag­gra­vate pop­u­la­tion

Views from Sri­na­gar

Pakistan Observer - - KASHMIR - [Writer is Chair­per­son Peace and Cul­ture Or­ga­ni­za­tion www.mushaal­mul­lick.com]

IMUSHAAL HUS­SEIN MUL­LICK NDIA has left no stone un­turned through ne­far­i­ous de­signs to sup­press the Kash­miris’ le­git­i­mate right to self-de­ter­mi­na­tion but has failed to break the will of the Kash­miri peo­ple. The pres­ence of over 700,000 In­dian troops in held Kash­mir cer­tainly in­cites un­nec­es­sary in­ci­dents of vi­o­lence which fur­ther ag­gra­vates the pop­u­lace, serves as an ex­pla­na­tion for war­like sit­u­a­tions, vi­o­la­tion of cease­fire line, dra­co­nian laws, dis­ap­peared per­sons, half wid­ows, half moth­ers, rape vic­tims, eco­nomic block­ades, lock­downs and cur­fews that last for weeks and weeks.

Just imag­ine a woman who is a wife and a widow at the same time, she does not know, where her spouse is, whether he is dead or alive, would he ever re­turn home or not? A mother, who con­tin­u­ously hopes to hear the foot­steps of her son, is stuck in a life of a shut­tle cock be­tween hope and fear. A child who is un­able to de­cide if he or she is not fa­ther­less or an or­phan, with cu­ri­ous eyes con­stantly glued to the door and a sis­ter watch­ing out­side from her win­dow with nev­erend­ing tears in search of her miss­ing brother.

These peo­ple sadly, have ex­tra­or­di­nary ti­tles as they face ex­tra­or­di­nary chal­lenges. These are the half wid­ows, half moth­ers, half or­phans and half sib­lings of the so­ci­ety. There is lit­tle left to say from them ex­cept to keep on search­ing for the traces of their loved ones who have en­tirely van­ished from the face of earth. The im­pacts of deal­ing with such en­forced dis­ap­pear­ances and in­vis­i­bil­ity have far deeper im­pacts com­pared to see­ing the spill of blood of their loved one.

The say­ing Hope never dies fits per­fectly with Kash­mir’s miss­ing Saga. The only faith that clings to fam­i­lies search­ing for their kith and kin is not be­ing able to see or re­cover the dead bod­ies of their loved ones. Most of the emo­tional, psy­cho­log­i­cal and fi­nan­cial bur­den is car­ried by the Kash­miri women, the moth­ers, the daugh­ters, the wives and sis­ters of such van­ished per­sons. Parveena Ahanger who heads the As­so­ci­a­tion of Par­ents of Dis­ap­peared Per­sons (APDP) is an or­ga­ni­za­tion that seeks the where­abouts of the miss­ing per­sons. She her­self is a mother of Javaid a mil­i­tant of Jammu Kash­mir Lib­er­a­tion Front who went miss­ing in 1992. Ever since, her un­tir­ing jour­ney be­gan to find clues, ev­i­dences of her miss­ing son. In the process it brought her in con­tact with thou­sands of fam­i­lies from Kash­mir fac­ing iden­ti­cal chal­lenges and ob­sta­cles in pur­su­ing the where­abouts of their rel­a­tives. 30th Au­gust marks the Global Dis­ap­pear­ances Day to show sol­i­dar­ity with the vic­tims of the worse form of hu­man rights vi­o­la­tion. Ac­cord­ing to the Dec­la­ra­tion on the Pro­tec­tion of All Per­sons from En­forced Dis­ap­pear­ance, ‘No cir­cum­stances what­so­ever, whether a threat of war, a state of war, po­lit­i­cal un­rest, pub­lic emer­gency may be in­volved to jus­tify en­forced dis­ap­pear­ances. Such days for vic­tims are only an­other painful and cat­a­strophic re­minder of what they have been robbed of or what has been hi­jacked from them. While miss­ing per­sons is not a new no­tion to the Kash­mir con­flict nonethe­less the ra­tio has kept ris­ing at a mount­ing per­cent­age in the cur­rent years. Even though In­dian States in­hu­man be­hav­ior in Oc­cu­pied Kash­mir is decades old but if take a close view of fig­ures rang­ing from Jan­uary 1989 to 2016 the sta­tis­tics are quiet grue­some and shock­ing. Ac­cord­ing to Kash­mir Me­dia Ser­vice Re­port dur­ing this pe­riod 94,212 in­no­cent peo­ple have been killed, Cus­to­dian deaths are 7,031, 106,036 struc­tures de­stroyed, 22,801 women wid­owed, 107,539 chil­dren or­phaned, 10,149 women gang raped/mo­lested by In­dian troops. Killings, ar­rest­ments, en­forced dis­ap­pear­ances are also con­tin­u­ously be­ing re­ported dur­ing these pe­ri­ods.

The United Na­tions Com­mis­sion on Hu­man Rights es­tab­lished the work­ing group in 1980 to as­sist fam­i­lies in de­ter­min­ing the fate and where­abouts of dis­ap­peared rel­a­tives. In­dia signed the In­ter­na­tional Con­ven­tion for the Pro­tec­tion of All Per­sons from En­forced Dis­ap­pear­ance in Fe­bru­ary 2007; how­ever, it mis­er­ably failed to obey by the laws of the con­ven­tion. ‘Miss­ing Per­sons’ ter­mi­nol­ogy is quin­tes­sen­tial crim­i­nal act that was first adopted by Adolf Hitler in his Nacht und Nebel Er­lass (Night and Fog De­cree) of De­cem­ber 7, 1941.

The sin­gle-mind­ed­ness of this de­cree was to seize per­sons in oc­cu­pied ter­ri­to­ries “im­per­il­ing Ger­man se­cu­rity” who were not im­me­di­ately ex­e­cuted and were taken se­cretly to Ger­many, where they were dis­ap­peared with­out a trace. Ger­man au­thor­i­ties banned of­fi­cials from pro­vid­ing any in­for­ma­tion in or­der to achieve the de­sired in­tim­i­dat­ing ef­fect. The same tact was prac­ticed in Latin Amer­ica in 1970s and 1980s.

Un­der in­ter­na­tional law, forced dis­ap­pear­ances (or en­forced dis­ap­pear­ances), as they are of­fi­cially called, are con­sid­ered one of the most se­ri­ous vi­o­la­tions of the fun­da­men­tal rights of hu­man be­ings, as well as a “sin to hu­man dig­nity and self-re­spect” and “a grave and abom­inable of­fense against the in­trin­sic dig­nity of the hu­man race.” The United Na­tions Gen­eral Assem­bly has said that forced dis­ap­pear­ance “con­sti­tutes an of­fence to hu­man­ity, a grave and fla­grant vi­o­la­tion of hu­man rights and fun­da­men­tal free­doms and a vi­o­la­tion of the rules of in­ter­na­tional law.” Kash­mir has the high­est num­ber of Half Wid­ows in the world. The irony is that those in­volved in such crimes are the ones of­fer­ing jus­tice, what relief or com­pen­sa­tion can be ex­pected by the fam­i­lies of such vic­tims. —Email

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