Struggle is in the DNA of Kashmiris

  0 comments   |     by Momin Jamal

2018 was the worst year for Kashmir, as 355 casualties were reported including 55 deaths.

The martyrdom of Burhan Wani has given a new impetus to Kashmir movement. The Kashmir freedom struggle is indigenous and has gone into the DNA of Kashmiris. UN report of 4th June 2018 was the watershed in UN history where Indian atrocities have been exposed and the first time brought to the world. According to this report, 145 civilians were killed by SFs and up to 20 civils were killed by armed. As many as 6,221 people had been injured by pellet guns in Kashmir between 8 July 2016 and 27 February 2017; among the victims, 728 had eye injuries. The chief minister reported that 54 people suffered some form of visual impairment due to pellet injuries. Civil society organizations claim that the number of people partially or completely blinded due to pellet injuries is higher. A right to information query found that 16 personnel from the Jammu and Kashmir Armed Police were also injured by pellet-firing shotguns. Similarly, there are varying figures of the number of Kashmiri Pandits who were killed by armed groups since an armed insurgency started in the late 1980s. According to the Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti, which represents the small Pandit population that has remained in Kashmir, approximately 650 Kashmiri Pandits have been killed by armed groups. Other Pandit groups, especially those based outside Kashmir, claim much higher figures. A 2008 Jammu and Kashmir Police report stated that 209 Pandits had been killed since 1989. In December 2017, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs told the Parliament that according to state government figures, 174 Kashmiri Pandits had been killed by armed groups. It added that the state police had filed charges in 30 cases while 142 cases had been reported as “untraced”. In 2017, a Kashmiri Pandit group, ‘Roots in Kashmir’, petitioned the Supreme Court of India, calling for investigations into the killing of Pandits and their “exodus” from the Kashmir Valley. It sought to reopen 215 cases in which over 700 members of the Kashmiri Pandit community were killed in 1989-90. The Supreme Court dismissed the petition on the grounds that “…more than 27 years have passed…. no fruitful purpose would emerge, as evidence is unlikely to be available at this late juncture. Using Human shields for the move has exposed Indian Military unethical behavior violating all norms.

Raping of young eight-year-old Kashmiri girl Asifa Bano (Rasana village in Kathua in the north Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir) and forced conversions to change Kashmir demographics is also seen with suspicion. 2018 was the worst year where 355 casualties were reported including 55 martyred and 300 injured. Pellet guns were used against innocent children particularly young girls. UN report had asked for an inquiry into the Indian atrocities. Even Farooq Abdullah rejected India allegations calling it rubbish and said India has to look inwards. In February 2018, the Support Group for Justice for Kunan Poshpora Survivors filed a petition before the State Human Rights Commission, urging the investigation into all cases of alleged sexual assault by security forces and non-State actors as well as reparations for survivors. The group provided the Commission with documentation in 143 cases of alleged sexual violence committed between 1989 and 2017. One significant case that illustrates the state’s failure to investigate and prosecute allegations of sexual violence and addressing impunity for sexual crimes in Kashmir is the Kunan-Poshpora mass rape, which took place 27 years ago, where, on the night of 23 February 1991, soldiers from the 4 Rajputana Rifles regiment of the Indian Army gang-raped around 23 women of Kunan and Poshpora villages of Kupwara district and for which attempts to seek justice have been denied and blocked over the years by the authorities at different levels.

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