Kashmiri Americans reject Indian occupation and demand self-determination
In commemorating the third anniversary of the abrogation of articles 370 and 35A, the World Kashmir Awareness Forum (WKAF), exhibited a painful message of human rights atrocities committed by 900,000 Indian occupation army in Jammu & Kashmir on August 5. These messages were carried on digital advertising trucks in Washington, DC across the federal buildings, foreign embassies, shopping centers, and busy intersections. The demand displaced on the digital truck was simple the United Nations intervention must stop the genocide in Kashmir.
The digital trucks carried the messages: “Hold India accountable for war crimes”; “Kashmir under siege: Knocking at world conscience”; “Stop Demographic terrorism in Kashmir”; “India stop state terrorism in Kashmir”; “India criminalizes press freedom in Kashmir”; “End Indian colonization in Kashmir”; “Implement UN resolution on Kashmir”; Indian: Allow international NGOs in Kashmir”; “Indian army out of Kashmir”,
Dr. Ghulam N Mir, President, WKAF called upon India to end its annexation of Jammu & Kashmir, restore civil liberties, and let the people decide their future. Since, August 5, 2019, the Indian government, in order to crush any resistance to their illegal occupation, has instituted new draconian measures. First, they unilaterally removed any relics of initial recognition of their occupation by abrogating Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution, imposed a total military lockdown, and complete communication blockade in anticipation of the protest and resistance these measures would inevitably cause. In a ruthless campaign, they imprisoned politicians, journalists, and civil society members, to intimidate and suppress any form of dissent.
We stand in fierce opposition to India’s actions against the people of Kashmir, Dr. Mir added and condemn any restriction of free speech and expression throughout the region. World powers must stop the Indian government’s attack on free speech in the region and urge the Indian government community to ensure that rights activists, political leaders, and local journalists are allowed to work freely and without harassment. Our thoughts are with all political prisoners and their families during this unlawful arrest.
“Right of free speech and free movement, particularly international travel is limited and, in some cases, completely denied. Kashmir is going through an untenable existential crisis and must be stopped by international intervention. Kashmiri political prisoners must be set free, and the reign of terror must be stopped.
Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Secretary General, WKAF said that on August 5, 2019, the Government of India laid bare its naked ambition by brutally colonizing the state of Jammu and Kashmir. On that date, it threw away any pretense of acknowledging the Kashmiri’s right to self-determination as outlined by the United Nations’ Security Council resolutions and agreed to at that time by the Government of India 72 years earlier.
Dr. Fai added that the events of August 5, 2019, are consistent with the ruthless occupation and suppression the people of Kashmir have suffered under the unpopular Indian rule. As is widely acknowledged and documented internationally, this brutal occupation has led to over 100,000 civilian deaths, more than 8000 individuals missing or disappeared, and thousands of Kashmiri women raped. This does not even begin to account for the tens of thousands tortured, maimed, and permanently injured men, women and children by the Indian security forces during their 72-year reign of terror.
But despite this persistent and pernicious tyranny, Fai emphasized, the people of Kashmir never have, nor ever will give up their right to be free. It is based on this internationally recognized, and principled stand the Kashmiri diaspora and its allies worldwide stand in solidarity with the people of Jammu Kashmir. We stand in support of their unyielding struggle to resist occupation and achieve their right to self-determination. We stand with them in their struggle to stop the Indian government from dehumanizing them and completing their settler-colonial project to remove them culturally, politically, and ethnically from the face of the earth.
Dr. Imtiaz Khan, Professor at George Washington University Medical Center said that we are commemorating the third anniversary of the abrogation of articles 370 and 35A which revoked the autonomous character of Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir. On this day three years ago, the Indian parliament flouted UN resolutions and thumped the nose of the world body. About 10,000 young men ranging from 15 to 30 years of age were arrested and additional 100,000 paramilitary forces which brought the tally to more than 900,000 were deployed in the area. Peaceful protests were countered with brute force and several innocent Kashmiris were martyred. Since then, the Indian government has unleashed its nefarious plan to alter the demographic status of the region so that down the road if a plebiscite is held the outcome is to their liking. Daily crackdowns are a routine and during this process, the civilians are subjected to severe abuse. During the search operations under the pretext to flush militants, the civilian residences are looted of their valuables, womenfolk are harassed, and young men are eliminated with impunity.
Dr. Khan reiterated that the leadership of the freedom movement has been incarcerated and many of them like Yasin Malik, Shabir Shah, and Masarat Aalam, have been subjected to solitary confinement and implicated under false charges. Land grab movement by occupation forces is continuing at breakneck speed and thousands of acres of land have been taken over by the occupation forces. Kashmiri people are being denied their property and armed Hindu militants are being settled on these properties. There is a government-sponsored policy to infuse drug culture so that youth get addicted to this menace and are weaned away from the freedom movement. All of these steps are being taken under a well-planned scheme so that Kashmiris are restricted to ghettos, their employment opportunities are scuttled, and they are deprived of religious freedom.
The situation in the region is highly explosive. Kashmir is sitting on a power keg and the slight trigger can catapult the situation to point of no return. With the absence of leaders like Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Yasin Malik, it is very likely that youth may be forced to take extreme steps and macabre of violence with no recourse. We appeal to the United Nations to take practical measures that will dissuade India to indulge in gross human rights abuses against the innocent Kashmiri population and sway them to participate in tripartite negotiations involving Pakistan and genuine leadership of Kashmir, Dr. Khan highlighted.
Shoaib Irshad, Joint Secretary, Kashmir American Welfare Association (KAWA) said that since August 5, 2019, the Indian government has unleashed a well-designed imperialist plan that seeks to forever change the political nature of the Kashmir dispute through demographic changes, political maneuverings, and administrate machinations.
Sardar Aftab Roshan Khan said that in the past year, the people of Jammu and Kashmir have been locked in their homes, terrorized by the Indian military and paramilitary, and cut off from basic communications with each other and the outside world. These are violations of both human rights and international law.
Tahseen Hussain said, let us send a clear message to the world community that Kashmiri diaspora and friends of Kashmir stand committed to carry on the struggle till the final righteous settlement of the Kashmir dispute.
Dr. Fai can be reached at: 1-202-607-6435. Or email@example.com