We are heading for a human rights apocalypse in IOJ&K: AJK President

MIRPUR - Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) President Sardar Masood Khan had said that the worst human rights violations in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJ&K) and the silence of the United Nations (UN) over it indicates that the world body had been side-lined in the dispute over Kashmir. “The United Nations has been side-lined in the dispute over Kashmir (and as such) we are moving towards a human rights apocalypse in the Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJ&K).”

He made these remarks in an interview with the International news web portal, Byline Times. The President said that in its resolutions, the UN Security Council had emphatically stated that Kashmir was a disputed region, and its future was to be decided through a free and impartial plebiscite in accordance with the wishes of the Kashmiri people. But in violation of these resolutions, India had been denying right to self-determination to the Kashmiri people for the last seven decades, AJK Presidential Office told media on Wednesday.

Khan urged the OIC and sub-state members of the international community to stop India from implementing its next phase of Hindu settler colonial project in Muslim-majority Kashmir, in defiance of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions numbered 47, 51, 80, 96, 98, 122 and 126, which determined that the final status of the disputed territory “would be made in accordance with the will of the people expressed through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite conducted under the auspices of the United Nations (UN)”.

UN has been side-lined in dispute over Kashmir

“For the past seven decades, India has defied these resolutions in denying eight million Kashmiri Muslims the right to determine their own future by maintaining military control over the territory while granting semi-political autonomy to the local population,” Khan said.

He added that on 5 August 2019, however, New Delhi suddenly revoked this symbolic status by signaling its intent to illegally annex the territory and launch its Hindu settler colonial project, and illegally incorporated the disputed territory into Indian union and announced to settle Hindus citizen there. Under this plan, India had issued domicile certificates to 25,000 Indian citizens during the last six weeks. Explaining background of recent Indian actions, Khan said when Narendra Modi came to power in 2014, and when he was re-elected in 2019, he stated in his election platforms that he would rescind two articles in the Indian Constitution – Article 370 and 35A. “Article 370 was symbolic; it was an empty shell. It just kept up this myth of autonomy in the occupied territory. But Article 35A was important. It recognised Kashmiri’s rights to acquisition of property, permanent residence, education and employment,” Masood Khan emphasized. 

All those rights had now been taken away and New Delhi was taking steps to sub-divide the territory into two parts, with one called ‘Union Territory’. Union territories were like municipalities, which were being directly governed by Delhi and without the consent of the people, he said.

 “Recently, they have taken another step by introducing new domicile rules, which allow Hindus from all over India, but have lived in the occupied territory as civil servants or as military officers or in other capacities or have served in other statutory bodies or educational institutions, to apply for domicile certificates, as can their families.” This was a move, he went on to say, to disenfranchise and dispossess the people of Jammu and Kashmir and displace them, ultimately. India was moving at a breakneck speed and had fast-tracked the issuing of these domicile certificates to non-natives.”

Responding to a question about the measures adopted by the Indian Government after the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic, the AJK president said that under the garb of Covid-19, the Indian troops had intensified their repression in occupied Kashmir. In order to divert attention of the world from the bloodletting and ethnic cleansing in occupied Kashmir, he said that the Indian Army had stepped up shelling on the defenseless and peaceful citizens of Azad Kashmir from across the LoC. He disclosed that during the last one month, the Indian Army violated the ceasefire agreement for 1,100 times.

To another question, Sardar Masood Khan said that there was misconception in the world that Kashmir was a bilateral dispute between Pakistan and India, while the fact remained that the issue was between India and the people of Jammu and Kashmir. He said that the people of Jammu and Kashmir were an important party to conflict because they were to decide their future according to the UN resolutions.