Pakistan: Remember October!
By Waheed Hamid
The month of October is remembered with so many gloomy incidents which have made this part of the world suffer and humanity cry that we often forget 27th October the BLACK DAY for Kashmir. The tragedies of earth quake, floods and now attack on Malala of Swat has further increased the miseries of October. But how can we forget the 27th of October 1947 the Day when India landed its army in Jammu and Kashmir, in total disregard to the Indian Independence Act and Partition Plan in 1947. In order to change the demographic composition of the territory, Indian troops, the forces of Dogra Maharaja Hari Singh, and Hindu extremists massacred hundreds of thousand Kashmiri Muslims within a period of two months and the same path of terror continues today even after lapse of decades.
Back in 1947 India violated the guidelines set for deciding the future of Hyderabad, Junagarh and Kashmir, three of the independent Princely States at that time, which were given the choice to either accede to Pakistan or India, considering the geographical situation and communal demography. It forcibly occupied the Hyderabad and Junagarh, which had Hindus in majority but their rulers were Muslims. Kashmir was a Muslim-majority state and had a natural tendency to accede to Pakistan, but its Hindu ruler destroyed the future of Kashmiri people by announcing its accession to India under a controversial accession document. The UN Security Council through its successive resolutions nullified Indian invasion and occupation of Kashmir. It also approved a ceasefire, demarcation of the ceasefire line, demilitarization of the state and a free and impartial plebiscite to be conducted under the supervision of the World Body. Although the ceasefire and demarcation of the ceasefire line was implemented while demilitarization of the occupied territory and a free and impartial plebiscite under UN supervision remain unimplemented till date. As a result of the demarcation, about 139,000 square kilometers area of Jammu and Kashmir remained with India while 83,807 square kilometers constituted the territory of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Indian rulers promised before the UN to resolve the dispute and provide the people of Kashmir with their basic right of self-determination, but later backed away from their commitments.
The time may have changed but the Indian style has not, their atrocities keep coming to lime light by researchers who find a chance to get across to Indian side of Kashmir despite their strict media blackout. The journalists Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark an award-winning investigative journalist in their book comprising 500 pages published in May 2012 "The Meadow: Kashmir 1995 — Where the Terror Began" claim the Westners were murdered by a group of Kashmiri militants who worked for the Indian Army. The writers say that adventurers and nature lovers across the globe, envy to see Kashmir a paradise on earth. But for this group , a trip to the Meadow became a nightmare . These men – two Americans, two Britons, a German and a Norwegian – journeyed to Kashmir in search of nature and humanity – but became entangled in a hostage drama that lasted for six months before they vanished from the face of the earth leaving their loved ones and family in agony for rest of their life. The conclusions in the book are drawn through investigations based on the interviews with police officials then investigating the case and the wives and girlfriends of the missing men. It reveals how the Kashmir hostage crisis was an opening shot in the war on terror; what these terrorists did to a group of western adventurers and set them on a cold-hearted path to terrorize the West. Indian government, Indian Intelligence agencies and Indian Military prolonged their capture and sabotaged negotiations with the kidnappers which resulted in the killing of the hostages. This was later discovered that it was an Indian conspiracy to put the blame on Pakistan and its intelligence agencies afterwards for the killing and kidnapping of the tourists.
The annual report of UNHRC’s “Report of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances“ by HRC was published 0n 6 Feb 2012. The Working Group was the first United Nations human rights thematic mechanism to be established with a universal mandate. The reported says that between 1989 and 2009 the actions of military and paramilitary forces in Kashmir have resulted in more than 8,000 enforced and involuntary disappearances. HRC report talks of 65 certain instances where non-combatant persons were extra-judicially executed following detention, and labeled afterwards by the government of India, and the authorities in Jammu and Kashmir as militants who emigrated to Azad Kashmir in Pakistan to seek arms training. It was alleged that security forces personnel selected local male residents or professional grave diggers, usually those respected within the local community, and asked that graves be prepared to bury the dead. The graveyards were constructed on local religious or community owned or used land and dug by local residents at the coercion of security personnel. In instances where the number of bodies brought by security personnel exceeded the initial count given by security personnel, more than one body was buried in each grave. The bodies examined were routinely delivered at night, and some of them were bearing marks of torture and burns. Photographs of the dead were reportedly documented by local police stations, while identification occurred through clothing and distinguishing features or numbering.
According to the source, between April 2008 and November 2009, a total of 2,700 graves were examined by civil society organisations in three provinces, encompassing a total of 55 villages. It was documented that in the Baramulla province 1,321 bodies were found; in the Kupwara province 1,487 bodies were found; and in the Bandipora province 135 bodies were found. In 177 cases, a grave contained more then one body, resulting in the discovery of more than 420 bodies. It was alleged that approximately 99 percent of those buried were men. There are allegations that some people were killed in the state of Gujarat in India, outside of Kashmir. It was alleged that security forces manufactured the identities of victims and their records of weapons possession. The report further alleges that the persons who were forced to bury the dead in unmarked and unknown graves suffered psychological health impact as a consequence. In some cases, these graveyards are placed next to schools and homes, impacting on women and children. The Working Group has transmitted 433 cases to the Government; of those, 12 cases have been clarified on the basis of information provided by the source, 68 cases have been clarified on the basis of information provided by the Government, and 353 remain outstanding.
But despite these clear and authentic reports by credible organizations and writers India succeeds in keeping a lid over its atrocities by a strict media control. The world media and its ethics demand that true picture of sufferings in Kashmir and other parts of India must be exposed. 27th October be observed as a day of solidarity with oppressed people . The Indian government must be pressurized to provide the basic rights to its minorities and fulfill its commitments made with the world community.