India’s Belligerence in Kashmir

Love begets love, tyranny gives birth to tyranny

Kashmir, a valley, where humanity is bleeding, the valley itself is burning with the brutality of Indian occupation forces, people are groaning under the weight of an occupation that is becoming harsher day by day. This brutality might be the reason why Adil Ahmad Dar, a local Kashmiri, blew himself up on Feb 14 killing 44 paramilitary personnel convoy with an SUV packed with explosives. As the militarisation of Kashmir has grown, so have victimization of Kashmiri people at large.

It is not at all surprising that right after the event India has blamed Pakistan to be responsible for this terrorist attack linking its connection with Jaish-e-Mohammad. Though Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs clarified that the attack has nothing to do with Pakistan and that Pakistan has always highlighted and condemned the rising violence in the Kashmir valley. 

Such an approach is clearly manifested in India’s attempt to:

(a) Divert global attention from the continuing grave human rights and international humanitarian law violations in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir,

(b) Brand those seeking to safeguard their legitimate political and human rights including the right to self-determination as “terrorists.”

Also, the Prime Minister of Pakistan has strongly rejected the Indian allegations and stated that India has just blamed Pakistan without any supporting evidence. He also referenced India’s government to come up with some proofs if they have any and Pakistan will cooperate in every way to capture the culprits. Pakistan strongly denies providing any support to Kashmiri combatants in any way.

India continues to brutally and violently suppress the Kashmiri people’s rights to life and self-determination through a belligerent occupation. Adil Ahmed Dar, who carried out the deadliest attack has been described as shy and kind by his family. The family of the Adil claimed that a government militia called the Special Task Force had humiliated him in the past, detaining him and making him rub his nose on the ground. This can be the reason why the Pulwama attack was carried out by a Kashmiri militant who was also under the Indian captivity — a combatant — against enemy combatants belonging to the Indian occupying forces. Keeping this in mind the causes of extreme discontentment and resulting violence are not hard to find.

The right of self-determination is considered a foundational part of customary international law, recognised in the UN Charter under Articles 1(1) and 55. It is also enshrined in both Article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The right of self-determination of colonial people and those under foreign occupation has been reaffirmed in scores of Security Council and General Assembly Resolutions, including GA Res. 1514, 2526 and GA Res. 37/43 passed in 1982, which

reaffirms the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from colonial and foreign domination and foreign occupation by all available means, including armed struggle”.

However, any use of force in occupation or in an armed conflict must comply with international humanitarian law. This leads to many question that still go unanswered i.e. Under which canon of fundamental law is blinding of innocent protesters by pellet guns is a justified action? Where in the world will you find such a heavy concentration of armed forces, equipped with draconian laws meant to institutionalize violence by these forces against an unarmed civilian population? Where will you find mass rape and sexual abuse being used as instrument of torture? The Kuna Poshpura incident that led to gang-rape of over one hundred innocent women by Indian army personnel back in 1991 is without a parallel in modern history? Where’s justice for eight-year-old Asifa Bano of Kathwa who was raped to death? Every new day in occupied Kashmir witnesses the Indian army’s devilish acts. The use of pellet guns for crowd control has also intensified, which led to what is now known as the world’s first case of mass blinding. This troubling situation in Jammu and Kashmir warrants attention from the international humanitarian law perspective to bring peace in the region.

In this context it is, therefore, imperative that India must now work towards a genuine resolution to the Kashmir issue in line with the aspirations of the Kashmiri people. It’s time now to stop themselves in rhetoric and vitriol to isolate the other within the international community and delay the resolution of the Kashmir dispute. India must fulfil its obligations under international human rights and humanitarian laws besides implementing UN Security Council’s resolution for conduct of plebiscite in Kashmir.

Rabia Javed
Rabia Javed
Rabia Javed is a freelance writer and doing Masters in Diplomatic and Defence Studies from Fatima Jinnah Women University.