An open letter by the JKLF to the Foreign Ministers of OIC States, meeting in Islamabad on 22 March 2022.
An open letter by the JKLF to the Foreign Ministers of OIC States, meeting in Islamabad on 22 March 2022.
RE: Indian Gov’t’s nefarious and pernicious Jammu & Kashmir -J&K- Policy: decimation and re-writing of history.
At the OIC conference on 22-23 March 2022 in Islamabad your Excellencies will be seized with numerous issues of serious concern within the worldwide Muslim ummah. We take the opportunity however, to remind the OIC that in their long history, the people of Jammu & Kashmir, (generically known as Kashmir) face existential threat. Furthermore, to impress upon the OIC that it, unequivocally affirms the centrality of the Kashmiris, and the territorial integrity of their homeland, for an equitable resolution of the 74 year old Kashmir issue.
Excellencies, India’s right wing Hindu ultra-nationalist BJP/RSS Government’s decision to abrogate articles 370, and 35A on 5 August 2019 to annex, and bifurcate Kashmir, is illegal, her decision to do so however, is designed to obliterate Kashmir’s heritage, destroy its religious and cultural identity, turn the majority Muslim population into an inconsequential minority, and to communalise the centuries’ old harmony and tolerance in Indian occupied Kashmir to further its nefariously pernicious objective, of the BJP/RSS Government’s flagship Hindutva project. Primarily, India’s policy is designed to bring about demographic change. This is intended to be achieved with new domicile rules which replaced article 35A. Through these illegal rules, Indian occupied Kashmir has literally been opened up to 1.3 billion people of India. It is pertinent to remind your Excellencies that by revoking article 370 on 5 August 2019 India no longer has a conditional arrangement to be in J&K, and therefore, India’s presence in Kashmir is that of an occupier.
Excellencies, Political dissent, systematic human rights violations and detentions of civilians, including political leaders are perpetrated under repressive Public Safety Act PSA, the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act UAPA, and the Armed Forces Special Powers Act AFSPA. Mr Yasin Malik, the Chairman of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), is held under such punitive laws which are colonial in nature and designed to force him into submission. Having been arrested on 22 February in 2019 and detained at a local police station in Srinagar, Mr Malik was slapped with the inhuman PSA on 7 March and removed to Kot Balwal jail in Jammu, while on 9 May 2019 he was taken to the Indian capital Delhi where he was subjected to physical and psychological torture by India’s National Investigation Authority (NIA). The NIA is tasked with fabricating evidence against Mr Malik as part of Modi Government’s malicious campaign to malign, stifle and discredit Mr Yasin Malik’s peaceful struggle to resolve the Kashmir issue.
Excellencies, the arrest of Mr Malik and the subsequent banning of his party, the JKLF on 22 March 2019, was in fact, to pave the way for India’s military build-up, and subsequent illegal actions against Kashmir and its people. As the most prominent and internationally acknowledged pro-independent pacifist leader of Kashmir, Mr Malik actively seeks a political resolution of the conflict which remains a constant threat to peace and a danger of nuclear confrontation in the region.
Mr Malik stood up to defy Prime Minister Modi’s ideologically driven policy of Hindutva; the manifest objective of which is to obliterate Kashmir’s history, geography, socio- cultural, and religious harmony and identity, through demographic change. Mr Malik has opposed the Indian Government’s policy to deprive the people of Kashmir valley, Jammu and Ladakh of their fundamental citizenship rights, which had been secured with enormous sacrifices by them during their heroic struggles throughout the twentieth century.
Excellencies, prior to Mr Malik’s arrest, he stood firmly opposed to the anticipated abrogation of articles 370 and 35A. He led peaceful political dissent. Under Mr Modi’s rule however, right of Mr Yasin Malik, and role of his party the JKLF, to organise peaceful democratic dissent, is called anti-national, even when the dissent is in Kashmir, which since 1947 is under de- facto rather than de jure Indian control. Therefore, India’s, and that of Pakistan’s presence in Kashmir, has always been contingent upon a final settlement of Kashmir’s status. Mr Malik has engaged with previous leaders of both India and Pakistan including the current Prime Minister Mr Imran Khan when he was an opposition leader. And in the past 28 years Mr Malik has assiduously sought support, both in the sub-continent and across the world, for a peaceful and equitable resolution of the Kashmir issue.
Excellencies, within the first two years of Kashmir’s annexation, around 4 million domicile certificates under the new illegal rules have been issued to non-Kashmiris. At this rate, when Prime Minister Modi’s ultra- Hindu-nationalist BJP goes to the polls in the 2024 general election, a declaration of complete victory over Kashmir, will be proclaimed by the ideological progeny of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh- RSS- to heighten majoritarian extremism in India, at his bid to be re-elected for the third time. Success of the RSS supported BJP and Mr Modi in the 2024 Indian general elections appears assured, not only due to the socio-cultural, religious and political obliteration of the 70% Muslim population of J&K, but also at the expense of more than 225 million Muslims of India itself! Today’s India therefore, is poised to take the next step against its religious minorities, and the brunt of the highly polarised, and politicised extremist Hindutva frenzy, will inevitably be borne by the Indian Muslims.
Excellencies, since coming to power in 2014, the Modi led BJP/RSS India, has used its Kashmir policy to weaponise the majoritarian political fervour in India, to support its Hindu supremacist Hindutva ideology against religious minorities, especially the Indian Muslims. Lynching of Muslims on suspicion of eating beef is a common occurrence, and convicted murderers are garlanded by union ministers in the India of BJP/RSS era. Drastic policies by many State governments, like Karnataka, are introduced against Islamic attire including hijab and meekly upheld by the courts, since the Indian judiciary has simply become a compliant instrument of the BJP/RSS at the centre and the state level. Today’s India is a dark place for the Muslim minority. Influential OIC countries have huge economic leverage in India which does not appear to have helped the Kashmiris’ right to self-determination or eased the impact of hugely discriminatory policies of the BJP/RSS’s political chauvinism against the Indian Muslims.
Excellencies, India’s illegal action on 5 August 2019 not only betrayed people of Kashmir, but defied the UN by showing utter contempt for more than 20 UN-SC and UN-CIP resolutions, and the UN Charter, on the status of J&K and Kashmiris’ right to self-determination. With annexation, and disintegration of the 176 year old State, the BJP/RSS nexus has embarked upon its nefarious and malicious policy to decimate, and obliterate centuries’ old heritage, and identity of the interconnected heterogeneous State J&K by fomenting divisions on religious, ethnic, linguistic, and cultural grounds across the diverse people. India defied UN resolutions 91 of 1951, 123 and 126 of 1957, which clearly stipulated that unilateral action to change territorial and political disposition of Kashmir was prohibited for India and Pakistan.
Excellencies, Kashmiris on both sides of the ceasefire line CfL expect that Pakistan, a prominent OIC member country which is hosting the current OIC Foreign Ministers’ conference in Islamabad, will refrain from emulating India by changing political and territorial disposition of Azad Jammu Kashmir-AJK, and Gilgit Baltistan AJK&GB. Developments around Gilgit Baltistan in Islamabad however, signify that through back channel facilitation of friendly countries, Pakistan and India may be persuaded to formalise the CfL so as to effect permanent division of Kashmir. We hope that no OIC country will either condone, or facilitate such an abominable solution, as it would amount to the annihilation of Kashmiris’ heritage, identity, and the territorial integrity of their beloved homeland- Kashmir.
Excellencies, quite poignantly therefore, India’s aggression against Kashmir on 5 August 2019 will remain etched in the collective psyche of the Kashmiris as their nakba- the great catastrophe- which the people of Palestine also suffered having been ‘ethnically cleansed’ from most of their homeland in 1948; and seven decades on Palestinians are disenfranchised and seen as strangers in their own land as a direct consequence of the settler policy of the Israeli government. Unfortunately similar fate not only awaits but has descended on the defenceless Muslim majority and their leadership in Indian occupied Kashmir with India’s Hindutva project to settle non Kashmiris.
Excellencies, India follows a similar pattern of repressive policies and laws to delegitimize Kashmiris’ internationally recognised right to self-determination. The BJP/RSS Modi government projects the legitimate freedom struggle as a struggle for Muslim religious rights. In a calculated policy to vilify and denigrate the freedom struggle, India has weaponised the Pandit minority of the greater valley of Kashmir to project the struggle as ‘Islamic terrorism’. Ironically projecting the Kashmiris, as the problem, in their own homeland, just as Israel projects the people of Palestine a problem in their homeland.
Excellencies, since the annexation on 5 August 2019 the economy and livelihood of the relatively prosperous Indian occupied part of Kashmir has nose-dived drastically. The economy of Indian occupied J&K has lost around 7 billion US dollars with more than half a million unemployed, while the economic slide continues to move downward. It is quite clear therefore that at best it is indifference and neglect, and at worst a calculated policy of the Hindu- nationalist BJP/RSS Modi Government of India to pauperise the masses in Indian occupied Kashmir. We are dismayed and disappointed that despite India’s heinous conduct in Kashmir of brutalising and inhuman treatment of the population which includes extra judicial killings, collective punishment, depriving the families of appropriate religious burial rites for their loved ones killed in all too frequent fake encounters, goes un-noticed, with very few exceptions, by the OIC countries.of the issue based on the international legality with UN resolutions, and Kashmiris’ right to self-determination Excellencies, we anticipate that the OIC will take an extended view to seek an equitable resolution. We expect the leaders of the OIC countries to support people of GB in their legitimate need for Self-Government, structured on the AJK model, and will encourage Pakistan to facilitate the needs of Gbians rather than to annex the region as a province of Pakistan. As people of the divided State including the Gbians, we fully support China-Pakistan Economic Corridor CPEC. It is appropriate to expect, however, that GB’s Government must be represented as a full-fledged partner on the all-important CPEC project.
Excellencies, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to the governments and peoples of nations that support the rights and aspirations of our people’s valiant struggle for freedom. In particular our heartfelt gratitude to the people of OIC countries whose leaders during their address at the UN General assembly in September 2019, 2020 and 2021 extended their support to the people of Kashmir despite considerable opposition, and threats of trade boycott by the Hindu-nationalist majoritarian BJP/RSS Modi Government of India. Kashmiris wish to see their State become a cross road, and a bridge of peace in South Asia to unlock prosperity, and create amity in the region.
All that is required is to take the first step based on the inherent and inalienable sovereign right of more than twenty two million Kashmiris in accordance with the UN mandate. Many of the OIC countries including Pakistan, have close ties with Britain, the US and the PRC. All these powers have a direct diplomatic and economic stake in peace and prosperity of the South Asian sub-continent. A just and equitable resolution of the Kashmir issue will ensure peace and prosperity in the region to the advantage of all concerned.
Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, JKLF.