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Indian Forces and Kashmiri Youth

It is a well established fact that since 1989, India has been using above 700,000 security forces in the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJK)to crush the Kashmiris’ freedom struggle, which the people of IOJK started in 1989, because since 1948, India had failed all the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) efforts to hold a plebiscite as per the its Resolution 47 adopted on 21 April 1948, to enable the people of Jammu and Kashmir to decide, whether they wanted the state to join Pakistan or India. In the process, since 1989, the Indian security forces have committed endless human rights (HR) violations and atrocities in IOJK.

As per the Kashmir Media Service, since 1989, around 100,000 Kashmiris have been killed by the Indian occupation forces in the IOJK. Out of these, more than 7,120 persons have been killed in Indian custody. 109,200 structures have been destroyed. 22,896 women have been widowed, 107,754 children have been orphaned and more than 11,110 women have been raped and gang raped by Indian occupation forces.Moreover, the Indian occupation forces have mass blinded Kashmiri civilians, including youth, women and children, by deliberately targeting their eyes with pellet guns. TheseHR violations and atrocities of the Kashmiris by the Indian security forces have been widely acknowledged by the international community, media and HR organizations.

Crossing all the limits, on August 5, 2019, the Modi government in India abrogated Articles 35-A and 370 of India’s constitution and took away the autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir dividing the state into two union territories. By doing this, India has converted a UNSC declared disputed territory between Pakistan and India, into its integral part, which is in total violation of the UNSC resolutions on Kashmir.

To preempt Kashmiris’ reaction, while India had increased its security forces number to above 900,000 in July 2019, it hadalso clamped lockdown/curfew in the Kashmir valley, including theclosure of the telephone/internet services in Kashmir, which has still not been completely lifted. India has also apprehended all the Kashmiri leaders and maximum number of the Kashmiri youth. Since 5 August 2019, the Indian forces have been carrying out the genocide of the Kashmiris by killing the young men and boys through fake encounters.Even the mortal remains of those martyred are not being handed over to the families.

To illustrate the Kashmiris’ killings by the Indian security forces through fake encounters, the Shopian fake encounter is an example, in which three Kashmiri labourers were killed, by dubbing them as terrorists. On 17th July 2020, Imtiyaz Ahmed, Abrar Ahmed and Muhammad Ibrar, who was living in Rajopuri left for Shopian. On 18th July 2020, the Indian occupation forces during an operation arrested them in an Amshipora area of Shopian, subsequently killing them and burying their bodies.

The Shopian fake encounter reminds of the killing of Burhan Wani in 2016 and the killing of a Kashmiri youth Riyaz Naikoo 35, with other three young Kashmiris in May 2020 through fake encounters, and many other such encounters, where many Kashmiris have been killed to suppress their voice from seeking their right to self determination granted to them by the UNSC. In view of the above discussion, to stop the genocide of the Kashmiri youth in the IOJK by the Indian troopsby orchestrating fake encounters and phony search and cordon operations, it is imperative that the international community, especially the UNSC member countries intervene.The UNSC should direct India through a fresh resolution to lift the restrictions from IOJK, stop extra- judicial killing of the Kashmiri youth in fake encounters and cordon and search operations, reverse the 5 August 2019 actions in Jammu and Kashmir and withdraw its forces from Jammu and Kashmir. The fresh UNSC resolution should also instruct India to get ready to hold a plebiscite under the UNSC supervisionto enable the Kashmiris to give their opinion, whether they wanted the state of Jammu and Kashmir, including Laddakh to join Pakistan or India.

The writer is a former Consultant and Research Fellow of Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI), and an Ex Senior Research Fellow of Strategic Vision Institute (SVI), Islamabad