India is busy celebrating Swarni Vijay Parv (golden-victory festival) to commemorate its “victory” against Pakistan in the 1971 Indo-Pak War. India’s defence minister Rajnath Singh thinks that this victory is even greater than the two world wars fought. It was “the most decisive” as the “Indian Armed Forces in the 1971 War changed the history and geography of South Asia. The Tribune reported “India rightly claims credit for her ‘politico-military midwife’ role in the creation of an independent Bengali-speaking state in 1971 (How Pakistan lost the plot, The Tribune India December 16, 2020).
Like India’s prime minister Narendra Modi, RSS’s Mohan Bhagwat , too declared “India’s partition on religious grounds a ‘historic mistake’’ (The 1971 Indo-Pak war that led to the creation of Bangladesh tells us that the partition of India on the basis of religion was a historic mistake, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, India today, December 12, 2021). Rajnath Singh added “India has never invaded any country, nor has it ever captured an inch of the land of any other country.” He lies.
India did invade East Pakistan
He makes no bones in a YouTube interview that Indira Gandhi compelled him to attack East Pakistan; He initially delayed the attack in view of impending monsoon. But he later complied with her order. He inter alia admits “The Pakistani forces fought extremely well”.
RAW officers Raman’s and RK Yadav’s disclosures
In a published letter, Yadav made a startling revelation that India’s prime minister Indira Gandhi, parliament, RAW and armed forces acted in tandem to dismember Pakistan’s eastern wing. The confessions in his letter are corroborated by B. Raman’s book The Kaoboys of R&AW. He reminds `Indian parliament passed resolution on March 31, 1971 to support insurgency. Indira Gandhi had then confided with Kao that in case Mujib was prevented from ruling Pakistan, she would liberate East Pakistan from the clutches of the military junta. Kao, through one RAW agent, got a Fokker Friendship, the Ganga, of Indian Airlines hijacked from Srinagar to Lahore. Indian army chief Manekshaw initially refused to carry out Indira Gandhi’s order because of the impending monsoon when rivers flooded in East Pakistan and troops’ movement became difficult. Not only intelligence officers but also officers of armed forces are employed to carry out subversion and sabotage inside Pakistan.
There are several other myths and bitter truths (exposed by Sarmila Bose and others) about the 1971 War.
Some misleading autobiographies
After the failure of the Bay of Pigs, John F. Kennedy told a journalist that, “victory has 100 fathers and defeat is an orphan.” It’s an old idea. The historian Tacitus (who happened to be fascinated by and a peer of Seneca), once said, “This is an unfair thing about war: victory is claimed by all, failure to one alone.”
Regrettably, the autobiographies of the East Pakistan commanders like AAK Niazi, Abu Bakr Osman Mitha et. al. bear out the victory dictum. Niazi was rueful that he was removed from service. But several of his colleagues went scot-free, He wrote a 13 page application to the then Pak president Farooq Leghari for restoration of his pension (AAK Niazi, The Betrayal of East Pakistan, pp.291-304).. But “the president of Pakistan chose not to reply” (page304, ibid)
Major General Mitha also lamented that his pension was delayed (Major General A. O. Mitha, Unlikely Beginnings A soldier’s life). The greatest tragedy has perhaps been the treatment meted out to Maj Gen Mitha after his retirement was announced on national television. His pension was withheld for seven years and his life was made very difficult (The forgotten hero, Dawn August 2, 2009).
In psychological parlance, such autobiographies are “defence mechanisms” and can’t be quoted as evidence, as the Indian writers including Indian generals and writers do. In his over-ebullience, Niazi alleges Sahibzada Yaqoob ‘opposed the two nation theory” (page 38, Niazi, ibid). Niazi blamed Yaqoob for war plan that “the battle of the East will be fought in the West”.
He blamed General Tikka for”atrocities” (pp.46-47, ibid.) which in fact were figments of his own imagination.
True, in a war the truth is the first casualty. The truth about the casualties, strength of the Pak forces, and several other aspects is well exposed by Sarmila Bose n his book DEAD RECKONING — Memories of the 1971 Bangladesh War. Bose says, ‘Many facts had been exaggerated, fabricated, distorted or concealed. Many people in responsible positions had repeated unsupported assertions without a thought; some people seemed to know that the nationalist mythologies were false and yet had done nothing to inform the public. I had thought I would be chronicling the details of the story of 1971 with which I had been brought up, but I found instead that there was a different story to be told’.
She points out thatMujeebur Rehman’s landslide electoral victory did not certify people’s desire to secede from Pakistan. She suggests that the people voted for Mujeeb as they were alienated by neglect of their welfare by the then government. In any case, a huge chunk of population, over 40 percent did not vote. They certainly were not enamoured of Mujeeb’s tactics.
Bose examines specific incidents of violence across East Pakistan from about January 1971 until March 1972. She gives eyewitness accounts of the survivors of the incidents as well as the accounts of the kin of those killed, and of the Pakistan Army officers who had served in East Pakistan at that time. She approaches the subject with the élan of a journalist and the seriousness of an academic.
She discredits the Indian and Bangladeshi claim that the Pakistani Army committed genocide of three million Bengalis. She calls it the “ultimate word-number combination” and a “gigantic rumour”. She deflates the figure to between 50,000 and 100,000. It is not unusual to play with numbers of vested interests. For instance, there is a lot of confusion about the numbers of Jews killed in holocaust.
Bose questions the figures like 300,000 deaths of Bengalis and 200,000 rapes of Bengali women. She says that there were more villains and one cannot single out the Pakistan Army in the whole episode of violence which resulted in the creation of Bangladesh. Indian involvement, Bengali forces and Sheikh Mujibur Rehman were equally responsible. She has questioned the figure of 93,000 prisoners of war in Indian custody, when the total Army was not 93,000 in East Pakistan. She has challenged the facts with the records; she had conducted the interviews of people who lived the war.
She highlights individual acts of kindness of Pakistani soldiers, narrating them with poignancy. She shrugs off generalisations about or “demonisation” of rivals epitomized by “Shaala Panjabi” or “Khan sena”.
India’s silent invasion
Forty-five minutes before 12.00 pm on December 14, 1971, Indian Air Force pilots bombed the Government House , Dacca. At that time, East Pakistan’s Cabinet had begun an emergency meeting to discuss the political measures to avoid the looming surrender of their army at Dacca. A.M. Malik, head of the then East Pakistan government, survived the bombing along with his Cabinet , but resigned .
India’s Chief of Army Staff issued a secret order to the General Officer Commanding, Eastern Command, initiating the campaign that would end with the dismemberment of Pakistan.
The Eastern Command was to ensure that the guerrilla forces were to work towards “tying down the Pak [Pakistan] Military forces in protective tasks in East Bengal,” “sap and corrode the morale of the Pak forces in the Eastern theatre and simultaneously to impair their logistic capability for undertaking any offensive against Assam and West Bengal,” and, finally, be used along with the regular Indian troops “in the event of Pakistan initiating hostilities against us” (Praveen Swami India’s secret war in Bangladesh, The Frontline, December 26, 2011).
In July 1971, the first Bangladesh irregulars, trained in India, were infiltrated across the border at Madaripur. This first group of 110 guerrillas destroyed tea gardens, riverboats and railway tracks. These acts tied down troops, undermined East Pakistan’s economy and destroyed “communications between Dhaka, Comilla and Chittagong.”
The Indian forces initially set up six camps with some 3000 volunteers each, for training.
By September 1971, recruitment went up to staggering 20,000 guerrillas each month. Eight Indian soldiers were committed to every 100 trainees at 10 camps. On the eve of the war, at the end of November 1971, over 83,000 Gano Bahini fighters had been trained, 51,000 of whom were operating in East Pakistan — a guerrilla operation perhaps unrivalled in scale until that time. In the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Brigadier Uban sent in Indian soldiers or, to be more exact, CIA-trained, Indian-funded Tibetans using hastily-imported Bulgarian assault rifles and U.S.-manufactured carbines to obscure their links to India. Fighting under the direct command of RAW’s legendary spymaster Rameshwar Kao, Brig. Uban’s forces engaged in a series of low-grade border skirmishes..
Rejecting an offer for conditional surrender in the East, the Indian forces entered Dacca on December 15.
Brutality of Indian forces
Swami writes, ‘The role of irregular forces, though, needs a more nuanced assessment. … They were also, however, responsible for large-scale human rights abuses targeting Pakistani sympathisers and the ethnic Bihari population. There is no moral equivalence between these crimes and those of the Pakistani armed forces in 1971, but the fact also is that the irregular forces bequeathed to Bangladesh a militarised political culture that would have deadly consequences of its own’.
Sarmila Bose writes, ‘Many Bengalis, supposed to be fighting for freedom and dignity, committed appalling atrocities; many Pakistani Army officers, carrying out a military action against a political rebellion, turned out to be fine men doing their best to fight an unconventional war within the conventions of warfare. The Bengalis splintered into many fragments, those who wanted an independent Bangladesh, those who supported a united Pakistan, those who desired autonomy but not secession, those who actively fought for whichever side they supported and those who like Doctor Zhivago wanted to ‘just live’ but got caught up in the upheaval nevertheless. There were combatants and non-combatants, victims of violence and its perpetrators’.
Brutality of Bengalis
According to Archer Blood, an American career diplomat, “Indian soil was made available for training camps, hospitals and supply depots for the Mukti Bahini” (freedom fighters) and the Mukti Bahini had a “safe haven to which it could retire for rest, food, medical supplies and weapons”. According to Yasmin Saikia , thousands of Bihari women were raped and tortured by the Mukti Bahini (Women, War and the Making of Bangladesh, page 41).
The pro liberation Bangladeshis deny, minimise or justify the brutalities committed by Bengali nationalists against non-Bengalis and non-nationalists during 1971. However, the post-1971 events testify how the Bangladeshi culture had become brutal.
Within months of the creation of Bangladesh, Sheikh Mujibur Rehman’s Awami League, turned the country into a personal autocracy formalised later as a one party state. In August 1975 Bengali Army officers who had supported the liberation movement assassinated Sheikh Mujibur Rehman and massacred his entire family except for two daughters who were away at the time. Several former freedom fighters and Mujib’s cabinet colleagues were imprisoned and then murdered in jail. So called “international tribunals were set up to execute Awami League opponents, even the elderly and doddering old men.
India’ role in stoking insurgency is obvious. To tarnish Pakistan’s image India has propagated many myths. Some of these myths have been exploded by Sarmila Bose and Praveen Swami. India officially authorised invasion of East Pakistan. Yet it was not declared an aggressor by the United Nations.
The situation in occupied Kashmir is worse than it was in East Pakistan (custodial deaths, fake encounters, rapes, arson, and so on). Even children and women are rounded up and held incognito during cordon-and-search operations. Pakistan is a convenient scapegoat to blame for indigenous insurgency. Orphaned Kashmiri babies are being sold in Indian states. To destroy traditional Kashmir shawl industry, pashmina wool is being exported from Ladakh to Uttar Pradesh.
Shaking Things Up: A Feminist Pakistani Foreign Policy
Almost eight years ago, under Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom in 2014, Sweden created its first of a kind feminist foreign policy and released a handbook later on about how it has become a part of the entire Swedish Foreign Policy Process i.e. initiation, formulation and implementation. Consequently commendable results were achieved covering rights, representation and resources. The handbook states that such a foreign policy propels the idea of application of a systematic gender equality perspective throughout the whole foreign policy agenda of the Swedish government.
A feminist foreign policy is a framework which uplifts the day-to-day lived experience of ostracized communities to the forefront and delivers an expansive plus profounder analysis of international issues. Moreover, it takes a step beyond the black box approach of customary foreign policy discerning. It provides an alternate coupled with an intersectional rethinking of security and that too from the viewpoint of the most marginalized strata of the society on military force, violence, and domination. Furthermore, it is a multidimensional policy framework that aims to elevate women’s and marginalized groups’ experiences and agency to scrutinize the destructive forces of patriarchy, capitalism, racism, and militarism. The Swedish Feminist Foreign Policy is designed to enhance women’s ‘rights’, ‘representation’ and ‘resources’ in every facet of its operations using a facts-based methodology, indicating out the hard numbers and statistics behind systemic inequalities that exist between men and women in rights, representation and resources, while remaining stranded in the fourth concept — the ‘reality’ of where these females live, which is an affirmation to the feminist notion of intersectionalism.
Considering the principle of these four R’s, Pakistan is a great candidate for following the footsteps of Swedish foreign policy as the citizens of Pakistan are still struggling to believe in the central principle of the Feminist Foreign Policy which is to enjoy while having the same power to shape society and their own lives by both men and women. Furthermore, based upon Pakistan’s patriarchal status quo, the principles of inclusion and removal of gender parity in the fields of diplomacy, foreign policy, economics, decision making and especially Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) are need of the hour. For reference, it is pertinent to note that Pakistan secured a position of 153rd out of 156 countries in the Global Gender Gap Report 2021 published by the World Economic Forum (WEF). Regretfully, the country got placed at 7th position among eight countries in South Asia, only better than Afghanistan.
Pakistan had a female prime minister (11th and 13th PM), a female foreign minister (21st FM) and quite recently a couple of days ago, the country sworn in its first female judge of the Supreme Court. The latest development sounds promising as it brings in a new ray of light to ensure a more gender sensitive shift in decision making lens of the apex court in the judicial hierarchy of Pakistan. However, this is just a single piece of jigsaw puzzle due to which the bigger picture still remains incomplete and awaits a proper addressing mechanism. The simple math tells evidently that if women are not part of decision-making and leadership especially in underrepresented and highly patriarchal provinces of Pakistan such as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Balochistan where conflict also adversely affects the women’s lives, it affects society as a whole. In Pakistan, where the reserved seats for women in parliament are also questioned amongst some facets of society, it is highly necessary to formulate foreign policies based upon the footsteps of Swedish government to inculcate a sense of importance of women participation in diverse areas following the principle of ‘representation’.
For starters, Pakistan should start with strengthening women participation domestically and then move towards achieving global objectives through its foreign policy. Working on the footsteps of Swedish government these goals to be achieved are to provide globally, by the Pakistani foreign ministry through promotion of women’s full enjoyment of human rights; freedom from violence; participation in conflict resolution and peace-building; political participation and influence; economic rights and empowerment; most importantly sexual rights along with reproductive health. Moreover Pakistani foreign policy makers should recognize the link between certain treaties and acts which are directly or indirectly related to gender-based violence since women are the largest sufferer of violence resulting through use of force either through state or non-state actors as women are the first to be affected by power dynamics during and after conflict. The best example of such sensitiveness towards marginalized strata was set by the Swedish foreign minister Margot Wallström when she declared the revocation of a 37 million euro arms deal with Saudi Arabia back in 2015 over human rights issue. Pakistan should do likewise in similar situations to establish a firm stance.
A feminist perspective has been implemented in academic scholarship throughout, but less so in policy practice. Lessons should be drawn from key critical scholarships into tangible policy development and discussions should be made on how to make foreign policy more accessible and democratic. In order to do this, Pakistan must challenge the dominant narratives of international political discourse and push for structural and hierarchical change to challenge systems that perpetuate the status quo; the intertwined structures that sustain global patterns of oppression and discrimination must end. Pakistan must ask difficult questions and engage those who have traditionally not been included in foreign policy in order to elevate the voices of those who’ve suffered from global injustices. This means emphasizing historicized, context-specific analyses of how destructive dichotomies play out in practice, as well as interrogating domestic and foreign policy decisions to push for a more just global order.
A feminist approach to foreign policy will provide a powerful lens through which we can interrogate the hierarchical global and national systems of power that have left millions of people in a perpetual state of vulnerability. Looking at foreign policy of countries such as Pakistan from the feminist perspective, will not only bore fruits to the women but also other nations as a whole. The future is promising under the ambit of such a foreign policy but it requires cultural and policy shifts in the country. Much evidently, the idea of a secure and just world will remain a utopia without a feminist foreign policy.
India’s Unclear Neighbourhood Policy: How to Overcome ?
India has witnessed multiple trends with regards to its relations with its neighbours at a time vaccine diplomacy is gaining prominence and Beijing increasing the pace towards becoming an Asian superpower, whereby making these reasons valid for New Delhi to have a clear foreign policy with respect to its neighbourhood.
The Covid Pandemic has led to increased uncertainty in the global order where it comes to power dynamics, role of international organisations. New Delhi has tried to leave no stone unturned when it comes to dealing with its immediate neighbours. It has distributed medical aid and vaccines to smaller countries to enhance its image abroad at a time it has witnessed conflicts with China and a change in government in Myanmar. These developments make it imperative for New Delhi to increase its focus on regionalism and further international engagement where this opportunity could be used tactically amidst a pandemic by using economic and healthcare aid.
According to Dr. Arvind Gupta, New Delhi has to deal with threats coming from multiple fronts and different tactics where it is essential for New Delhi to save energy using soft means rather than coercive measures.. India under Vaccine Maitri has supplied many of COVAXIN doses to Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka where many have appreciated this move. The urgency of ensuring humanitarian aid during these periods of unprecedented uncertainty are essential in PM Modi’s Security and Growth For All ( SAGAR) initiative, which focusses on initiating inclusive growth as well as cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region.
This pandemic witnessed various threats coming in India’s neighbourhood through multiple dimensions which include maritime, land, cyber as well as air threats where adversaries are using these to put pressure on New Delhi to settle land as well as marine disputes as per their terms. These encirclement strategies have made it necessary for India to open up various options such as holding maritime joint exercises with like-minded countries, developing partnerships, providing economic as well as healthcare support to weaker countries plus having a clear insight about changing global dynamics and acting as per them.
This piece will discuss about various changing tactics, pros and cons which India has with respect to developing its national security vis-à-vis its neighbourhood, why should it prioritise its neighbourhood at the first place?
India’s Neighbourhood is filled with many complexities and a lot of suspicion amongst countries, some viewing India because of its size and geography plus economic clout as a bully where it is wanting to dominate in the region putting others aside. This led to New Delhi play an increased role in nudging ties first with its neighbours with whom it had multiple conflicts as well as misunderstandings leading to the latter viewing Beijing as a good alternative in order to keep India under check.
Ever since PM Modi has taken charge at 7 RCR, India’s Neighbourhood First Policy has been followed increasingly to develop relations, to enhance understandings and ensure mutual cooperation as well as benefit with its neighbours. The relations with Islamabad have not seen so much improvement as compared to other leaders in the past. Even though former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was invited for PM Modi’s 1st Swearing In ceremony in 2014, terrorist activities have never stopped which could be seen through Pathankot, Uri and Pulwama terror attacks which killed many of the Indian soldiers. Even though surgical strikes were conducted on terror camps in retaliation to these bombardments, Islamabad has not changed its heart at all about its security or regional demands. New strategies and friendships are being developed where Beijing has played a major role in controlling power dynamics.
The Belt and Road initiative, first time mentioned during President Xi’s 2013 speech in Kazakhstan, then officially in 2015, lays emphasis of achieving a Chinese Dream of bringing countries under one umbrella, ensuring their security, providing them with infrastructure projects such as ports, railways, pipelines, highways etc. The main bottleneck is the China Pakistan Economic Corridor when it comes to India’s security threats, passing through disputed boundaries of Gilgit and Baltistan in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir till Gwadar. Other projects have been initiated in Chittagong, Hambantota, Gwadar , Kyapkyou. These projects form a String Of Pearls in the Indo Pacific where New Delhi is being balanced against through economic plus development incentives being given to the member countries under the project. That’s why in the recent past, New Delhi is asserting its influence in the region, looking at new dimensional threats where Beijing’s threats in the maritime domain in the islands in East as well as South China seas are not being seen favourably in many countries such as ASEAN, US, Australia and Japan which is giving India an opportunity to look towards countries with a common threat. Amidst this great power struggle between Washington and Beijing, New Delhi is stuck between a rock and hard place i.e., having a clear and strong foreign policy with its neighbours.
In this region, India has a sole threat which is mainly Beijing where the latter has achieved prowess technologically and militarily where New Delhi lags behind the latter twenty fold. So, there is a need for improvising military technology, increase economic activities with countries, reduce dependence on foreign aid, ensure self-reliance.
South Asia is backward when it comes to economic development, human development and is a home to majority of the world’s population which lives below poverty line. The colonial rule has left a never-ending impact on divisions based on communal, linguistic and ethnic grounds. Even, in terms of infrastructure and connectivity, New Delhi lags behind Beijing significantly in the neighbourhood because the latter is at an edge when it comes to bringing countries under the same umbrella. Due to these, many initiatives have been taken up by New Delhi on developing infrastructure, providing humanitarian aid to needy countries.
There have been numerous efforts made by India with respect to reaching out to the Neighbours in 2020 through setting up of the SAARC Covid Fund where many Neighbourhood countries such as Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka gave contributions to ensure cooperation, joint scientific research, sharing information, healthcare kits where the countries contributed USD $ 18 million jointly towards this fund where New Delhi made an initial offer of USD $ 10 million.
New Delhi has even mustered ties with the Association of Southeast Asian countries during the pandemic under its Act East Policy where proper connectivity through the Northeast could be useful in easing movement of goods but currently, the infrastructure in Northeast needs more improvement where issues such as unemployment, poor connectivity are prevalent whereby disconnecting it from rest of the other states. This region could play an important role in linking Bangladesh, Myanmar to New Delhi along with the proposed India-Thailand –Myanmar Trilateral Corridor. Focus has also been laid to develop inland waterways, rail links and pipelines to ease connections between countries, making trade free and more efficient.
India is focussing on developing the Sittwe and Paletwa ports in Myanmar under the Kaladan Development Corridor, at the cost of INR 517.9 Crore in order to provide an alternative e route beneficial for the Northeast for getting shipping access
These above developments and power display by a strong adversary, give good reasons for New Delhi to adopt collective security mechanisms through QUAD, SIMBEX and JIMEX with a common perception of having safe and open waters through abiding to the UNCLOS which China isn’t showing too much interest in, seen through surveillance units, artificial islands being set up on disputed territories which countries likewise India are facing in context to territorial sovereignty and integrity. These developments make it important for India to look at strategic threats by coming together with countries based on similar interest’s vis-à-vis Chinese threat.
There is a need for India to develop and harness its strength through connectivity and its self reliance initiative ( Aatmanirbharta ) so that there is no dependence on any foreign power at times of need . Proper coordination between policy makers and government officials could make decision making even easier, which is not there completely because of ideological differences, different ideas which makes it important for the political leadership to coordinate with the military jointly during times of threats on borders. Self-reliance could only come through preparedness and strategy.
India is in big trouble as UK stands for Kashmiris
A London-based law firm has filed an application with British police seeking the arrest of India’s army chief and a senior Indian government official over their alleged roles in war crimes in Indian-administered Kashmir.
Law firm Stoke White said it submitted extensive evidence to the Metropolitan Police’s War Crimes Unit on Tuesday, documenting how Indian forces headed by General Manoj Mukund Naravane and Home Affairs Minister Amit Shah were responsible for the torture, kidnapping and killing of activists, journalists and civilians – particularly Muslim – in the region.
“There is strong reason to believe that Indian authorities are conducting war crimes and other violence against civilians in Jammu and Kashmir,” the report states, referring to the territory in the Himalayan region.
Based on more than 2,000 testimonies taken between 2020 and 2021, the report also accused eight unnamed senior Indian military officials of direct involvement in war crimes and torture in Kashmir.
The law firm’s investigation suggested that the abuse has worsened during the coronavirus pandemic. It also included details about the arrest of Khurram Parvez, the region’s most prominent rights activist, by India’s counterterrorism authorities last year.
“This report is dedicated to the families who have lost loved ones without a trace, and who experience daily threats when trying to attain justice,” Khalil Dewan, author of the report and head of the SWI unit, said in a statement.
“The time has now come for victims to seek justice through other avenues, via a firmer application of international law.”
The request to London police was made under the principle of “universal jurisdiction”, which gives countries the authority to prosecute individuals accused of crimes against humanity committed anywhere in the world.
The international law firm in London said it believes its application is the first time that legal action has been initiated abroad against Indian authorities over alleged war crimes in Kashmir.
Hakan Camuz, director of international law at Stoke White, said he hoped the report would convince British police to open an investigation and ultimately arrest the officials when they set foot in the UK.
Some of the Indian officials have financial assets and other links to Britain.
“We are asking the UK government to do their duty and investigate and arrest them for what they did based on the evidence we supplied to them. We want them to be held accountable,” Camuz said.
The police application was made on behalf of the family of Pakistani prisoner Zia Mustafa, who, Camuz said, was the victim of extrajudicial killing by Indian authorities in 2021, and on behalf of human rights campaigner Muhammad Ahsan Untoo, who was allegedly tortured before his arrest last week.
Tens of thousands of civilians, rebels and government forces have been killed in the past two decades in Kashmir, which is divided between India and Pakistan and claimed by both in its entirety.
Muslim Kashmiris mostly support rebels who want to unite the region, either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country.
Kashmiris and international rights groups have long accused Indian troops of carrying out systematic abuse and arrests of those who oppose rule from New Delhi.
Rights groups have also criticized the conduct of armed groups, accusing them of carrying out human rights violations against civilians.
In 2018, the United Nations human rights chief called for an independent international investigation into reports of rights violations in Kashmir, alleging “chronic impunity for violations committed by security forces”.
India’s government has denied the alleged rights violations and maintains such claims are separatist propaganda meant to demonize Indian troops in the region. It seems, India is in big trouble and may not be able to escape this time. A tough time for Modi-led extremist government and his discriminatory policies. The world opinion about India has been changed completely, and it has been realized that there is no longer a democratic and secular India. India has been hijacked by extremist political parties and heading toward further bias policies. Minorities may suffer further, unless the world exert pressure to rectify the deteriorating human rights records in India.
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