By Batool Subeiti 

Britain's shadow over India's crimes in Kashmir

August 13, 2019

LONDON - While there is no doubt that the Indian armed forces and the fascist Hindu nationalist ruling party in India need to be held to account for the reign of terror they have unleashed on the people of Kashmir throughout these decades, the latest attempt to annex the disputed territory to the union of India is particularly alarming and a matter of grave concern. 

It is important we don’t lose sight of the genesis of problems we are currently witnessing in South Asia. In other words, we need to hold the real culprits responsible for the violence and unrest in the subcontinent to account.

The partition of British India ended almost two hundred years of British colonial rule that conquered one of the richest countries in the world, having owned 27% of GDP in 1700, and by the time they left in 1947, they had reduced it to one of the poorest, most diseased and most illiterate countries on earth, after having claimed the lives of more than 35 million Indians in over two centuries of looting and exploitation.

It is important to note that Britain did not grant India its independence after all this time in goodwill, neither did Britain’s creation of two independent nations on the basis of religion stem as a result of its desire to avoid bloodshed (even if they did desire to avoid bloodshed, it was never in good faith but rather was a hindering factor to stability in the region that is their interests). 

Britain realized that after centuries of exploitation, it had drained the oppressed people under their rule, to the extent that it was no longer in Britain’s interest to continue maintaining direct control over the Asian subcontinent. This led them to realise a change in strategy may be the most effective way they can still maintain control to some extent, granting the nations hope in independence whilst still maintaining indirect control through the puppets

The ‘divide and rule’ strategy came into play and this change in strategy allowed the British to ensure that Muslims were never a majority in the Asian Subcontinent, as through the West’s experience of colonising they are well aware that standing up in the face of oppression is a duty in the Islamic faith and therefore they feared rebellion from the Muslim population and as a result, nations were split into India and Pakistan.

This partition caused the ‘greatest mass movement of humanity in history’, with twelve million refugees moving across the new national borders drawn up by the British barrister Radcliffe and leading to the deaths of up to 2 million lives, as a result of the ensuing upheaval and violence. India and Pakistan have since fought three wars over disputed territory of Kashmir in 1947, 1965, and 1999.

In 1947, Kashmir was handed over from an unpopular ruler without the legitimacy of popular vote to the Indian state, and has been under occupation of India that has wretchedly attempted to market the occupation of Kashmir as a ‘fight against terrorism’.
The number of civilians that have died under Indian occupation of Kashmir is unknown, to the extent that human rights groups have only been documenting the crimes of the Indian state for the past 3 decades, some of which have stated that over 100,000 deaths have been documented since just 1989.

The tactics of occupation and humiliation employed by the Indian army include fake encounters and killings; widespread use of torture; summary executions; disappearances; with the current estimated number of disappearances to be over eight thousand, last seen in government detention and are believed to be dumped in thousands of mass graves across Kashmir; sexual violence, where according to a report by Human Rights Watch in 1993, the security forces use rape as a method of retaliation against Kashmiri civilians during reprisal attacks after further militant ambushes, amongst many more crimes, all of which are documented by Human rights NGOs.

It is imperative we understand that without the legacy of Britain in dividing and conquering the Asian subcontinent, we wouldn’t even be facing this issue today. Britain holds a historic and moral responsibility for what is going on in Kashmir today and has the responsibility to partake in solving the problem, as people and history will never forgive and forget. 

The least Britain can do today, as a nation with a powerful standing on the international platform and a core member of the UN, is to ensure the passing of the UN resolution against the violence ensuing within Kashmir by the Indian forces and rein-stating Article 370 within the Indian parliament, which has allowed the illegal and unconstitutional accession towards occupying the land of Kashmir. 

Every law and ethical book condemns such steps because this is a mere injustice to those who truly own the land. Abolishing Article 370 and Article 35A has suffocated the voices of the Kashmiries by force, their denial of the basic entitlements guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of freedom, security and self-determination is illegal and a threat to the world justice system, not just the justice of the 7 million Kashmiries.

Recent examples of the Indian government annexing the land by force includes: sending heavy armed forces as at present there is 1 soldier for every 10 people in Kashmir. This ratio of army to civilians is unprecedented in human history. Cutting sources of communication and adopting slogans such as 'if anyone speaks against us - we will shoot or kill them'. Medical facilities and doctors are denied to the civilians, including pregnant woman and children in critical states.

Despite all this, India is heralded as a beacon of democracy. In India If you're not part of the Hindutva national identity, you should be worried about living in the world's largest democracy. This rule by force, violence, and oppression is unacceptable by all standards. 
This recent act hasn't included the majority representatives within the parliament as the opposition and many Indians have spoken against this decision as well and held their protests within India. This decision had been planned secretly and enforced forcefully hence, it doesn’t in any shape represent the whole India.

We demand the UN intervenes and makes it mandatory for India to allow the International media, International Red Cross and Human Rights Watch free access to Kashmir. India must allow international investigation of human rights violations in Kashmir, as requested by Human Rights Watch and it is imperative the UN and world powers are held accountable for all the lives lost in this massacre and occupation by force.

The silence of the UN and its lack of action against the illegal conduct of the Indian government has given the oppressors their power and we need to hold them to account. For occupation is never accepted, injustice is never accepted, abuse is never accepted.
Every moral and ethical value based British Citizen must demand our British government intervenes now in between India and Pakistan to solve the matter of Kashmir and to correct what has been committed as a grave mistake by Britain. 


 

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