London 29 June 2017:
A delegation of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front’s Diplomatic Bureau, met with officials of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office-FCO- The delegation led by the head of the Bureau Prof Zafar Khan, included JKLF’s senior leaders Bureau members, Mr Mahmoud Hussain, Mr Tariq Sharif, and General Secretary of JKLF’s British Chapter Sayed Tehsin Gilani. The two hour long meeting involved detailed discussion around the current situation in Indian held Jammu Kashmir, and in particular the ever growing repressive aggression unleashed by the Indian state, and its armed forces against the peaceful dissent of Kashmiri people.
Each of the following points were fully analysed by the head of the delegation who asked the British government to adopt a people centric approach to the Kashmir issue and support the unfettered right of 20 million people of Jammu Kashmir to freedom.
The following are the points that were fully discussed and explained at the meeting with the British FCO.
Historic context of the Kashmir issue- (January 1948)
Kashmir is recognised by the United Nations as an issue whose political status is yet to be determined by its inhabitants on both sides of the cease-fire line (LoC). India and its leadership is in denial of this historic fact. India denies the existence of the Kashmir issue, and claims it to be an integral part of India. India denies the existence of over a dozen UN resolutions on the issue. India refuses to ratify article 1 of the UN’s International Covenant on Civil and political rights.
Article 1of the ICCPR states that: “All peoples have right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status, and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development”. People of Kashmir feel aggrieved that the United Kingdom supports India’s demand for a permanent seat on the UNSC.
Indian attitude toward Kashmiri dissent is violent and aggressive: PM Modi has given the Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh and the Indian army Chief of staff General Bipin Rawat a free hand, to end the Kashmiri dissent in two months. India’s COAS considers hundreds of thousands of Kashmiri dissenters as ‘militants’ and has expressed his desire to use military methods against their peaceful resistance, and dissent against his military’s violence.
Repression by Indian state has become systematic. India is at war with the people of Kashmir. There are hundreds of half widows. There are many thousands of orphans. Thousands of mass graves. There are hundreds of blind and half blind children as a consequence of the use of pellet guns. Indian state wages an undeclared war on the youth of Kashmir.
There is a mass involvement of the people in the movement for freedom. Fourth generation of the Kashmiris is now involved in the struggle for a right to decide the nation’s destiny. India wants to defeat the Kashmiri nation by force. Kashmir is the most militarised country in the world. India has by all accounts well in excess of 700,000 military and paramilitary forces who have a free hand to act in Kashmir. It seems India wants to subdue the will of Kashmir and its people, through the use of brute and unbridle military power.
Harassment of ordinary people through search operations has reached new heights. Demonstrators’ homes are raided at night. Young people in particular are taken away. Kashmiris are being used as human shields by the Indian army. Many recent reports have testified on the excesses and violations committed against the civilians by the Indian state and its forces in Jammu Kashmir.
Among these include, amnesty International 2017, 2015, Human Rights Watch 2016, and others including the State Dept. 2015, International Peoples’ Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Kashmir 2015 and the Association of Parents of the Disappeared Persons (APDP) and many other international- including British- press and media organisations, regularly report on excesses committed by Indian forces in Kashmir. We expect therefore, that British authorities are informed about India’s unprecedented aggressive attitude towards Kashmiris’ peaceful resistance and their legitimate dissent.
Indian Democracy? India is famed for being world’s largest democracy. Nothing like democracy exists in Indian held Jammu Kashmir. Political leadership is denied its fundamental right to free speech and assembly. Collective resistance Leaders, are subjected to house arrests, and are either lodged in police custody, or as in the case of Mr Yasin Malik, regularly incarcerated at Srinagar Central Jail. Mr Malik was not allowed to offer even Eid prayers on 26 of June. India deliberately stifles a peaceful political movement by not allowing the leadership free expression and movement to engage with the public.
India is embarked upon destroying a popular struggle which was transformed from militancy to a political movement as part of a considered policy by our leadership in the 1990s. Our friends in Britain, and elsewhere had also encouraged us to do so. We expect our British friends therefore, to ensure that Indian repression in the territory does not exceed India’s historic international responsibility in Jammu Kashmir- namely assisting the United Nations- during holding of a plebiscite/ referendum, to decide on the political status of Jammu Kashmir. Indian army therefore, represents a colonial power in Jammu Kashmir today and has surpassed in its oppression of the Kashmiris by any colonial power in history.
The inability and unwillingness of the Modi government to recognise, and accept the legitimate Kashmiri right to political dissent, is inevitably causing frustration with in the youth of Kashmir today. We do not consider it in our interest that our peaceful, and indigenous political movement should once again become a militant one. Indian ‘democracy’ however, exacerbates the situation by giving its forces a licence to kill over and above the existing impunity of action that they already exercise in Jammu Kashmir.
Indian media: The Indian media is so biased, one sided and partisan, that like the Indian government and the military, it also sees in every Kashmiri dissenter, stone pelter, political activist, and resistant leader, a Pakistani. This is a gravest injustice to a nation that has continuously striven to determine its destiny for almost 70 years. The Indian media fails to see that over a hundred thousand civilians have been killed by India’s armed forces since 1988, and the disappeared, the half widows, the orphans, the maimed and the blinded by India’s military forces.
Fact Finding: India has refused access to the U N Human Rights Council to visit Indian held Kashmir, and see for itself the excesses committed against peaceful protesters. Needless. We would expect the British government to support such a fact finding visit of the UNHRC and other humanitarian organisations. We would like to ask HMG to send a fact finding delegation of its own to visit both sides of the cease-fire line (LoC), to determine voracity of our very serious concerns.
Cease-fire line (Line of Control-LoC): Regular incidents, and violations, across the cease-fire line (LoC) take place almost daily between the Indian and Pakistani armies that are deployed eye-ball to eye-ball across hundreds of miles long de-facto line of control. Thousands of Kashmiris along both sides of the cease-fire line have a fundamental right to safety and life. Dozens of fatalities, hundreds of injuries and immense losses to livestock and property take place regularly.
The cease fire line should have no detrimental impact on the free movement of people on both Indian and Pakistani controlled sides of Jammu Kashmir under UN resolution of 21 April 1948. People of Jammu Kashmir can assert this right of movement should they wish to do so and the Indian state has no legal international basis to stop them.
We expect that British High Commissions in New Delhi and Islamabad respectively keep abreast of the dire and repressive situation, not only inside Indian held Kashmir but also of the suffering of civilian population along the cease-fire line (LoC) that forcibly divides 20 million people of Jammu Kashmir.
Head of Diplomatic Bureau
Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front.