- The agony of the Valley continues
Notwithstanding the fact that the world at large has not endorsed the Indian action regarding Indian-Occupied Kashmir, expressed growing concern over the humanitarian crisis building up in the Valley and continued reports in the international media about human rights violations and killing spree by the Indian forces, India is claiming return of normalcy in the state. One is really amazed at the audacity of the Indian leadership in making such absurd claims to hoodwink the world; not realising that in this age of revolution in the modes of communication and media scrutiny made possible by the latest technological advancement, it was not possible to camouflage the ground realities.
Reportedly Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, in an interview with a French daily Le Monde and interaction with other media outlets claimed that the situation in IOK was returning to normal. He also repeated the Indian mantra of Pakistan sponsoring terrorism. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan in a statement has rightly asked the question whether the situation in IOK was normal then why it was not visible to world? The statement also regretted that Indian leaders continued to concoct stories with regard to the issue of terrorism and the situation in IOK notwithstanding the fact that convicted spy Kulbhushan Jadhav was the face of Indian export of terrorism to Pakistan.
The reality is that Indian has not been able to sell such stories to the world as the international media continues to unravel the situation in IOK in a way that nullifies the Indian stance on the situation. The Valley is still under curfew and the siege of 80 million people continues without any let-up. A recent report in the New York Times by its South Asian Bureau Chief Jeffrey Gettleman, based in New Delhi, revealed “With soldiers and militants claiming the streets, and most schools simply shuttered, education has been on hold through months of crisis in Kashmir. At least 1.5 million Kashmiri students remain out of school. Virtually all private schools are closed, and most government schools are shut— one of the clearest signs of the fear that has gripped Kashmir since the Indian government locked down the disputed territory. Parents in the Kashmir Valley say they are terrified of sending their children out with troops everywhere and separatist militants on the prowl for trouble. This generation of Kashmiri children has been among the hardest hit. They have known nothing but conflict. For the past 10 years, huge protests and clashes keep erupting. Many young people have seen friends killed, maimed or hauled off by security forces. Their schools are constantly closing, sometimes for months at a time.” The report effectively explodes the myth of normalcy claimed by the Indian foreign minister.
India stands exposed before the world, and it is another matter that those who really can help in the resolution of the Kashmir dispute which has waited to be resolved for well over 72 years in conformity with the UN resolutions and can dissuade India from her inhuman pursuits, are maintaining a criminal indifference. Their selective humanitarianism and strategic and commercial interests take precedence over the sufferings of the people of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the UN is also helpless because of the big powers which have the veto power and the capacity to manoeuvre issues to their liking. Their world view, conditioned by their strategic and commercial interests, is in fact the root-cause of all the conflicts around the world.
Prime Minister Imran Khan had rightly told Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that climate change and poverty were the two biggest challenges confronting both the countries and they should focus on them by resolving the contentious issues between them, including the core issue of Kashmir. Closing eyes to the irrefutable realities will ultimately prove disastrous for the entire region, including India
But history bears an irrefutable testimony to the fact that movements for independence cannot be muzzled through brutal military force and they ultimately triumph, no matter what the cost. Those who support and encourage India in continuing with its oppression of the people of Kashmir and to pursue a supremacist ideology of Hindutva fail to see the consequences of their actions. They might be able to reap ephemeral benefit from the developing situation, but in the long run it will proved fatal for their interests in the region as well as in India.
The people of Kashmir are fighting for their inalienable right of self-determination and they have proved beyond any iota of doubt that even the killing of more than 1000 Kashmiris has not been able to dent their resolve for winning their freedom. The Indian leadership and the world community needs to remove the blinkers from their eyes and see the ground realities. It is in the best interest of India not to behave like a war-like state and take the path of bonhomie with its neighbours, particularly with Pakistan.
The two nuclear states are standing face to face with each other and any miscalculation from either side can lead to disastrous consequences for the region and the world at large. The world has seen the consequences of the pursuance of a supremacist ideology by Hitler and cannot afford yet another catastrophe is in the making. It is therefore incumbent upon the world community, especially the big powers, to intervene before it is too late, realising that their own strategic and commercial interests would be best served if there was peace in the region.
Pakistan has made several peace overtures towards India and shown remarkable restraint in the face of Indian provocation in the backdrop of the Pulwama incident. It is fully capable of giving a befitting response to the Indian aggressive moves as was proven on 27 February when the intruding Indian planes were hit, and an Indian pilot was captured and released as a goodwill gesture with a view to avoid any escalation.
Regional peace and security unfortunately is hostage to the Indian hostile designs. It is also adversely impacting the potential for the shared regional economic prosperity. Indian leaders need to understand that the continuation of conflict and non-resolution of the Kashmir issue will also have a debilitating effect on the Indian efforts to change the economic situation of its teeming millions. Prime Minister Imran Khan had rightly told Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that climate change and poverty were the two biggest challenges confronting both the countries and they should focus on them by resolving the contentious issues between them, including the core issue of Kashmir. Closing eyes to the irrefutable realities will ultimately prove disastrous for the entire region, including India.