Humanitarian Crisis in Kashmir: India’s “Economic Opening” Has “Closed Off Kashmir”

The following is the speech that Andrew Korybko gave at the “Humanitarian Crisis In Kashmir: Paths To A Resolution” conference that was held in Moscow on 23 September.

We’re here today to draw attention to what’s been happening in Indian-Occupied Kashmir for the past month and a half, and from the little that we know, it’s extremely alarming. The 8 million people of the valley have been living in lockdown since early August, with a military-imposed curfew upheld by nearly one million Indian troops who have arbitrarily arrested thousands since then.

The locals have been cut off from the internet and many of their families across the Line Of Control and elsewhere in the world haven’t heard from them since. International journalists aren’t allowed to visit the disputed region, nor for that matter are opposition politicians, who earlier tried to see for themselves what’s really happening there but were turned back at the airport. The occasional news that does manage to break through the Indian information blockade is of spontaneous protests, pellet gun shootings in response, and injuries to innocent civilians that have sometimes left them blind. Just as troubling, Muslims were forbidden from publicly participating in Ashura processions, which is an indisputable violation of their fundamental human rights.

All of these worrying factors contribute to the credible fears that a genocide might be about to unfold in Indian-Occupied Kashmir, and the occupying authorities aren’t doing anything to put these concerns to rest by continuing to keep UN officials and the international media out of this disputed region. India’s reasons for doing this are obvious enough, and it’s that the ultra-nationalist and fascist-inspired BJP Hindu extremists harbor a deep hatred for Muslims, who they’ve conveniently framed as scapegoats for their country’s many problems. Influential figures in the Indian establishment and media have openly called for changing the demographic balance in Kashmir, which could be furthered through the large-scale migration of outsiders to this disputed region in violation of international law and/or the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Muslim population there. That’s why India denied its inhabitants the right to a plebiscite on their political future in contravention of UNSC Resolutions on the matter, unilaterally annexed Kashmir, and continues to keep the world out of this disputed region as the ruling extremists contemplate the “most efficient” way to impose their hoped-for “Hindu Rashtra” — or fundamentalist Hindu state — on the non-Hindu population there.

One would ordinarily expect the International Community to universally condemn the rogue state of India and at the very least impose sanctions against it for blatantly violating UNSC Resolutions, though most of the world has remained quiet because India’s economic opening over the past few decades bought their silence. Those many countries, including some leading Great Powers, value their trade ties with India over the human rights of the Kashmiris and respect for the same UN Charter that they all officially agreed to uphold.

The sad state of affairs is that the Kashmiris continue to suffer and face a fate that might even be worse than death for some of them given how notorious India’s rape gangs are if they’re ever God forbid released on the region or already have been without the world knowing about it because of the ongoing information blockade. As unfortunate as it is to acknowledge, it’s pretty much only Pakistan and to a lesser extent China that have done anything tangible in support of this pressing humanitarian cause and egregious violation of international law, though Iran’s religious authorities deserve to be commended for speaking out about this as well. Ahead of this week’s UN General Assembly meeting, let’s hope Prime Minister Khan can get the rest of the world to finally wake up.

By Andrew Korybko
Source: Global Research

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