What’s happening in Kashmir & Why?
Earlier this month, India’s minister for home affairs, Amit Shah, who is also the president of the Hindu nationalist BJP party, presented a presidential order to revoke Article 370. This was the sole constitutional provision which granted rights and safety to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Article 370 gave Kashmiris the autonomy to make their own laws regarding almost everything bar foreign affairs, defence, and communication. These were still controlled by India. Kashmiri’s had the right to form their own constitution as well as bear their own flag. With the sudden abolishing of Article 370, India has launched what is nothing short of a violent ethnic cleansing and mass erasure of the Muslim Kashmiri region. The BJP proposed a new bill that divided Jammu and Kashmir into two “union territories” that would be directly ruled by New Delhi. India has essentially stripped Kashmir of its autonomy and identity.
While parliamentary leaders in Kashmir were put under house arrest, BJP politicians celebrated the removal of Article 370 and congratulated the Prime Minister of India, Modi. According to Al Jazeera News, Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah, former chief ministers in Kashmir, heavily criticised the decision by BJP, saying in a statement, “The Indian government’s unilateral and shocking decisions today are a total betrayal of trust that the people of Jammu and Kashmir had reposed in India when the state acceded to it in 1947.” Because Article 370 forbade Indians outside the state of Kashmir from permanently settling, buying land, holding local government jobs and securing education scholarships, it’s now open season.
Shortly after India’s power move, thousands upon thousands of Indian Military Forces units were deployed into what was already a heavily militarized zone in Kashmir. Instead of celebrating the holy day of Eid ul-Adha, families were observing strict curfews and lockdowns, as well as a complete shut down of internet and telephone lines. The streets were filled with men in uniform carrying weapons instead of children in their Eid day best. Families were unable to reach one another and uncertainty plagued the air. Although there was very little media coverage on India’s plan to ethnically cleanse Kashmir of its Muslim population, Pakistanis took to the streets in Islamabad, Kashmir, and Lahore, to protest on behalf of their Kashmiri brethren.
Sixteen days later, and Kashmir is still under siege.
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Swipe for more ➡️ All stats are from verified reports by TIME/Al Jazeera/CNN, and The Structures of Violence Report by JKCCS. The people of Kashmir are in the grip of state terror imposed on them by the Indian government. On August 5, 2019, the entire valley of Kashmir was forced under a complete lockdown. The Indian government deployed tens of thousands of troops, imposed a state-wide curfew, placed leaders under house arrest, cut communications and shut down local media under the false pretense of a security threat. During this time India abrogated Article 370, a special clause in the Indian constitution that gave Kashmir the ability to make its own laws and have its own constitution. Kashmiris were not consulted or informed, instead they were locked up in their homes and silenced. India has a history of committing serious and widespread human rights violations in Kashmir. As the Kashmir communication blackout continues, they depend on us to be their voice. @standwkashmir #StandWithKashmir #HumanRights #SOSKashmir #RedForKashmir
Amidst the unrest and Indian imposed trauma in Kashmir, many people are left wondering what they can do to help. Kashmir is the world’s most militarized zone. Whilst it may seem impossible to do something, there are ways you can participate in Kashmir’s fight for liberation.
What can you do to help?
Recently, Ayesha Malik made headlines when she called out Priyanka Chopra Jonas on her hypocrisy in supporting nuclear war whilst being an Ambassador for peace. Whilst this catalyzed mainstream media to look into Chopra’s political alliances on a deeper level, it also paved the way for conversations surrounding Kashmir. A week ago, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan took to social media and posted this lengthy, public attack on India in an Instagram post:
“Modi, if you try anything in AJK, the time has come where we will teach you a lesson. You have been emboldened for all the wrong reasons for far too long.
The history of the world shows that when people fight for their freedoms, that they defeat big and powerful armies. We will go to the end to defend ourselves and our sovereignty. We bow to no one except Allah.
Hitler had arrogance and Modi’s arrogance is no different. But history has shown that Hitler was destroyed, Napoleon was destroyed. War is never the solution; it leads to multiple other conflicts.
We are observing where the events go from here. Pakistan is fully ready; our army, our people are on one page. We have decided we will not tolerate any violation and are fully ready to counter.
We will go to United Nations. We will go to every Global Forum. We will go to the International Court of Justice. We are mobilising the global community of Kashmiris and you will see a historic number of people come out.
I‘ve always maintained that war is no solution. I‘ve constantly said you take one step forward & we’ll take two. Our interest should be poverty alleviation, increased trade, climate change; this should‘ve been issues of common interest :: Prime Minister Imran Khan#PakistanStandsWithKashmir”
So what can you do?
One of the biggest things right now is the forced and systematic silence that is being imposed on Kashmir by India. We have access to the internet and by extension, to the world. It’s our responsibility to amplify the voices of the oppressed. Educate yourself on what is happening, and speak up about it to your close circle of family and friends. Having difficult conversations is important. Follow reliable accounts on your social media to keep up to date with what’s happening. With Kashmir is an Instagram account that seeks to do just that.
We need to stand together to reject the military barbarianism that India is inflicting on Kashmir. Organize and attend protests in your local towns and cities. Call your local representatives and members of parliament. Speak to them candidly about what is happening in Kashmir and why it matters to you. Why it should matter to them. Call them and ask them to bring this humanitarian crises to the Federal government. We need to call for:
- An end to the occupation of the State of Jammu and Kashmir
- The withdrawal of all the partitioning powers’ armed forces including paramilitary police from this region
- The release of all political prisoners and detained protesters
- A lifting of all restrictions on democratic freedoms of assembly, the media etc.
- Recognition of the pre-1947 sovereign status for the whole of Jamu and Kashmir
In a shocking turn of events, amidst Sonam Kapoor’s blatant disregard for human life in Kashmir and her insensitive comments about India’s involvement in Kashmir, fellow Bollywood actress “Rani Mukerji” offered the world some words of much needed wisdom.