–Imran says BJP’s extremist ideology is harming very ‘fabric’ of Indian society, systematically targetting minorities
–US Senator Bernie Sanders condemns ‘unacceptable’ annexation of Kashmir by India, seeks govt’s intervention in peaceful resolution of dispute
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan and US Senator Bernie Sanders on Sunday slammed the curfew imposed by the Indian government in occupied Kashmir and urged the international community to stop Indian atrocities against the innocent Kashmiris.
They said this while separately addressing the 56th Convention of Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).
PM Imran, who could not attend the convention in Houston, addressed the attendees via video call.
The prime minister urged the international community to realize the importance of the “serious threats” posed to regional peace by the supremacist Hindu group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which is the parent group of the ruling Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) in India. “They have taken over a nuclear-armed country with a ‘mad ideology’,” he said.
“I am trying my best but from ISNA’s platform you have to make the concerted effort to make people understand this phenomenon which has taken over India. You have to make the Western societies understand the RSS.”
He said that the RSS party believed in the racial supremacy of the Hindu civilisation and the ethnic cleansing of Muslims from India, and urged people to research and find out about its origins. “After the recently won elections by the BJP, they have come back as a stronger force. We are talking about a country of over a billion people with nuclear weapons taken over by an extreme ideology.”
He said that India is under the control of that extremist ideology which is threatening the very fabric of Indian society and is systematically targeting all minorities. He added that the threat also extends to Pakistan and the whole region in general.
“We fear in Pakistan that we are not dealing with a rational government in India. We believe that the sort of oppression they will do in Kashmir and are already doing, they will need to divert the world’s attention to Pakistan and we believe as they did in February, they will take some sort of an action, an attack in Pakistan,” he added.
To make his point, he referred to the recent development in India’s Assam region where 1.9 million minorities, including the Muslims, are being stripped of their nationality. He added that the Christians are forcibly converted to Hinduism and their churches are attacked in India, while the Sikh community would soon face a similar scenario.
“Muslims have no rights in India and this does not stop here because the RSS genie has come out of the bottle and would not return back,” he said, while expressing concerns for the future of 200 million Muslims in India.
“What the Nazi party proved was that a small, highly organised ideologically motivated group could actually take over a country. That is what has happened in India. An extreme ideology has taken over India,” he added.
He said the former Indian home minister, in his public statement, had admitted that RSS terrorists were trained in camps and it had about four million members. The prime minister once again urged the international community to understand its responsibility in resolving the Kashmir issue.
“The dispute has put the two nuclear armed countries face to face with each other after the Indian government’s unilateral and illegal action in occupied Kashmir,” he said. India.
The prime minister cautioned the world to realize the consequences of such a conflict which would not be like something happened in Rwanda or Bosnia as both countries were nuclear armed and in case of any aggression, Pakistan would retaliate in a befitting manner.
He said that the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) was requested to play its role, besides he would raise the issue at the upcoming United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session in New York.
“The Indian government clamped curfew in the occupied valley, which had entered into its 26th day, to suppress the Kashmiri struggle for freedom and self-determination as mandated by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions,” he said.
“About nine million people are under curfew. There is a complete communication shut down and media blackout whereas people are being picked up forcibly. Around 8,000 are in prisons and about 4,000 have been taken out of the valley,” he added.
He further said that the Kashmiri leadership was arrested and even Indian opposition leaders were barred from entering the occupied valley. “About 900,000 Indian soldiers have been deployed in the valley and all this is happening in the 21st century while the world watches,” he added.
The premier said that Narendra Modi’s government had annexed Kashmir, which was a disputed territory. “The UNSC resolutions had given the Kashmiris the right to decide their own destiny through referendum. The UNSC resolutions still stand,” he added.
The BJP government, he said, annulled its own constitution, by scrapping Article 370, which gave a special status to IOK, besides Article 335A with the aim to change demography of the area by turning Muslims majority into minority.
“It is also a violation of Geneva Convention as its Article 49 says that you cannot change the demography of the occupied lands,” he stressed.
Speaking about the global surge in Islamophobia, the prime minister said it was unfortunate to link any religion with terrorism. “Islam is a religion of peace and has nothing to do with terrorism. Rather, terrorism has nothing to do with religion. People in the West need to be sensitised on how to differentiate religion from individual acts,” he said.
He said that after 9/11 every Muslim in the West was viewed with suspicion, adding that the term ‘Islamic terrorism’ was to blame for the Islamophobia rampant in today’s world.
“Islamophobia is to blame for the attacks on Muslims in Europe and around the world, including the recent attack on a mosque in Christchurch,” the premier said, while urging ISNA members to use their platform to address misconceptions in the Western world about Islam and Muslims.
SANDERS URGES US GOVT TO HELP IN PEACEFUL RESOLUTION OF DISPUTE:
Speaking at the event, Democratic presidential candidate for the US Elections 2020 Bernie Sanders expressed deep concerns over the situation in occupied Kashmir where the Indian government had revoked Kashmiri autonomy, cracked down on dissent and initiated a communications blackout, while terming India’s move to annex occupied Kashmir as “unacceptable”.
“The crackdown in the name of security is also denying the Kashmiri people access to medical care. Even many respected doctors in India have acknowledged that the Indian government-imposed restrictions on travel are threatening the life-saving care that patients need,” he said.
“The communications blockade must be lifted immediately and the US government must speak out boldly in support of international humanitarian law and in support of an UN-backed peaceful resolution that respects the will of the Kashmiri people,” he added.