Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani

Indian government has banned Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir (Indian administered) for five years. This socio-religious organization has been banned a third time by BJP government in power in Delhi. The JI was first banned in 1975 during the emergency for opposing the Indira-Abdullah accord and second time in 1990. The second ban was revoked in 1993 by the P.V. Narasimha Rao headed Congress government.

JI runs around 500 schools and orphanages, where more than five lakh children are enrolled. At least 100 Jamaat activists and leaders including its chief Dr Hameed Fayaz have been arrested. Properties of scores of Jamaat leaders have been sealed by the police on the directions of deputy commissioners of various districts of Kashmir in the wake of New Delhi’s ban order.A strong rumour is doing rounds that Government of India is in discussions to slap a ban on Kashmiri resistance alliance called Hurriyat ahead of Lok Sabha and Assembly polls due for the State any time this year. Government of India has accused that Jamaat had been working “to carve out an Islamic State out of Jammu and Kashmir” and disputes the accession with the union of India.

Accusations against Jamaat have no merit. Unfortunately, the present Indian Government does not hesitate to stamp on public consent and breach its obligations agreed at home and at the United Nations. If RSS could march against the Muslims of Kashmir on 20 December 1932 on the streets of Lahore and support the Hindu Maharaja and his army, anything could be expected of its child BJP.

The question remains would BJP take the second step and ban Hurriyat in Kashmir? The answer under normal circumstances and under a saner government in Delhi would have been a ‘No’. There is a gossip that Hurriyat led by Syed Ali Gilani and the Hurriyat led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq would be banned.

BJP would go the extra mile in this mischief tomake gains in the coming elections. It has already made an error of judgement and carried an air strike across the border into Pakistan. Humiliated in the air and frustrated on the ground, it may foolishly trundle into taking away the freedom of association and assembly from Muslims of the disputed State. Raids carried on the residences of Hurriyat leaders, in particular on the residence of Mirwaiz Dr. Umar Farooq, seizingtheir electronic gadgets including mobile phones etc, are a pointer that India is getting into a bacchanalian mood in Kashmir.

Would India squeeze all the political space for the expressed politics and dissent? The question needs an examination. Does India have a grand plan to force the people of Kashmiri origin to take up guns to undo the Indian occupation and in the process provide India a fresh opportunity to decimate another generation of Kashmiri youth? It seems so because Indian government has a “Strong State Doctrine” in place and it entails to use brute force and kill as many Kashmiris as possible.

But GOI cannot ban Hurriyat. Hurriyat is has a Constitutional Discipline adopted on 31 July 1993. It is a union of “political, social and religious organizations of the State of Jammu and Kashmir with its Head Office at Srinagar”. Its main objectives are:

“To make peaceful struggle to secure for the people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir the exercise of the right of self-determination in accordance with the UN Charter and the resolutions adopted by UN Security Council”, and “To make endeavours for an alternative negotiated settlement of the Kashmir dispute amongst all the three parties to the dispute….under the auspices of UN or any other friendly countries, provided that such settlement reflects the will and aspirations of the people of the State”.

Government of India has restrained Hurriyat leaders in their homes and denies them opportunity to carry out their political programme slated under Chapter II comprising of five elements in Hurriyat Constitution. All this activity is in accordance with article 1 (2) of UN Charter and UN Resolutions on Kashmir. Government of India is a member nation of the UN and has affirmed these Resolutions on Kashmir. Government of Pakistan is a party to the Kashmir dispute and it too has affirmed these Resolutions on Kashmir.

World community represented at the United Nations stands as a guarantor for the implementation of UN Resolutions on Kashmir. The 14 June 2018 report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Human Rights Situation in Kashmir affirms the Kashmiris right to self-determination. A resolution adopted at the 46th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM), the OIC member states reiterated the obligation of the international community to” ensure implementation of UN Security Council resolutions on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute”.

Would India get away with this kind of ‘surgical strike’ on the freedom of expression and freedom of expressed politics of the people of Kashmir? The answer is no. India does not have the capability and merit to lock horns with the people of Jammu and Kashmir living under three administrations on either side of cease fire line, 2.5 million Kashmiri refugees living in the four provinces of Pakistan, a huge and vibrant Kashmiri diaspora spread all over the world, Government of Pakistan, the people of Pakistan, United Nations, NGOs, and other international institutions.

There would be voices like Justice Markandey Katju and Suzanna Arundhati Roy from all over India, who would opposethe BJP action and say ‘not in our name’. The ban on Hurriyat would be a violation of rights guaranteed under UN Security Council Resolution of 21 April 1948 and the matter may be referred to International Court of Justice. It is not all clear for BJP or any Indian Government in Kashmir.

The writer is the President of JKCHR — NGO in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations.

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