India illegally scrapped Kashmir’s special status: JKLF

London, August 07 (KMS): The Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front UK chapter has said that the Indian government illegally scrapped Kashmir’s special status on August 05, last year and divided it into two union territories.

Zafar Khan, Chairman of Diplomatic Bureau of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front-London, in a letter addressed to the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, said that a year ago on 5th August 2019, India abolished articles 370 and 35A of its Constitution and divided Kashmir two union territories to be ruled from Delhi. He said that it was done in a veil of secrecy, and with the arrest of political opponents including JKLF Chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik, under the draconian Public Safety Act (PSA). Jaamat-e-Islami, and JKLF were banned under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) in March 2019.

He said the illegal act of the Indian government not only betrayed Kashmiris but also snubbed the international community, as India defied many UN resolutions on Kashmir. He said that leading up to the illegal decision India made certain that opponents of its undemocratic and sinister machinations, were put behind the bars. Yasin Malik in particular, who being head of the JKLF, was also one of the three leaders of the Joint Resistance Leadership, was arrested on 22nd February 2019 from his residence in Srinagar. Currently he remains incarcerated in solitary confinement at Tihar Jail in Delhi.

The JKLF leader said India negotiated with the government of Kashmir in 1949 to agree on a special status for Kashmir and Article 370 was created in its constitution. He said Article 35A was added to India’s constitution in 1954, and it empowered Kashmir’s Legislature to define rights of residence and citizenship.

He said the UN has a duty of care towards Kashmiris, not only to protect their democratic, social, economic, cultural and religious heritage, as well as their fundamental human rights, but to ensure territorial integrity of their homeland.

He said people are deliberately deprived of communications and internet services, not because there is a threat to India’s enormous and unaccountable military, and bureaucratic power in Kashmir, but rather through use of India’s unrestrained oppressive military and civil power, it is as part of its ‘operation all out’ policy to humiliate, and break the spirit and dignity of Kashmiri people.

The JKLF leader wrote that the manifest Indian policy is to open up Kashmir for Indian settlers, and dilute and obliterate centuries-old character and heritage of Kashmiri society, through domicile rules. Abolition of articles 35A and 370 has enabled Indian government to set in motion processes to achieve its nefarious objectives with impunity. Inevitably new domicile rules will disenfranchise, and dispossess the Muslim majority in the territory, he added.

He said the identities, and heritage of non-Muslim communities like the powerful Dogras of Jammu, and the Pandit minority of the valley of Kashmir, will also be severely affected because of their shared identity, history and heritage with Muslims of the territory, rather than with the Hindus of Bihar, Maharashtra or any other part of India.

The JKLF leader said the controls on the media in IIOJK are like a death blow for independent reporting and freedom of expression. Over the past year local Kashmiri journalists, who dared to report on events as they happened, are booked and incarcerated under PSA, he deplored.

The draconian PSA and UAPA, he said, are clearly the oppressive weapons in India’s legal armoury, and have been used to deprive Yasin Malik and dozens of other prominent political and civil society leaders like Shabbir Ahmad Shah and Aasiya Andrabi of their liberty.

He said on 28th February 2019, the Indian government declared religious-political organization, Jamaat-e-Islami (Jammu and Kashmir) an unlawful association under section 3(1) of UAPA. He said on 22nd March 2019, the Indian government declared the JKLF an unlawful association. Political leaders in Jammu and Kashmir criticized the ban on Jamaate-Islami and the JKLF as an attack on civil liberties and one that would have a major social impact in the territory, he added.

“The UN’s silence on these fundamental questions, has meant that since 5th August 2019, and by end of June 2020 more than 25,000 domicile certificates were issued, which is a tip of the iceberg as 400,000 domicile certificates have been granted to the applicants since then as reported by the KashmirWalla on 1st August 2020,” he added.

He said in view of the ongoing situation, it is clear that the United Nations has failed people of Kashmir, by abdication of its responsibility to protect both them and their homeland. “And that the Kashmiris have been abandoned, and left at the mercy of an oppressive, undemocratic and draconian rule by India. We are deeply aggrieved at the indifference of the UN, which could legitimately take action to protect Kashmiris’ political, social, economic, cultural, and above all their basic human right, simply to exist in their homeland, he said.

Zafar Khan said massive violations of human rights have taken place with deliberate and calculated policy of deprivations, privations, physical, mental and psychological disorientation, as a callous means to humiliate and undermine the collective dignity of more than ten million people.

He urged the United Nations to ensure that the UN Human Rights Council sets up an independent and impartial commission of inquiry, to ascertain the extent of excesses committed by India’s occupation apparatus as a direct consequence of the Modi government’s policy. He also asked the UN to put pressure on India to stop its policy of demographic change, withdraw its illegal Domicile Rules, and restore State Subject Rules with immediate effect.

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