Fahad Ali describes a failed Indian attempt
Modi Fails To Sanitise Annexation Of Kashmir – India’s desperation to get its illegal annexation of the disputed Jammu & Kashmir accepted was evident by the efforts of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in organising a harmless-sounding tourism moot in Srinagar but the efforts did not succeed as many leading countries refused to participate in it. In fact this venture boomeranged as it brought the issue right back into the international forefront with the focus now being laid on the intransigence of Modi and his extremist government that is clearly witnessed as it is trying to force not only the Kashmiris to agree to the annexation but also applying pressure on the international community to concede to the Indian aggression. However, the BJP government is adamant in pursuing its illegal policy despite the Kashmiris not agreeing to it and dissent spread over the entire valley. Reports from the occupied territory indicate that India is trying very hard to sanitise the situation with the result that the reign of repression is on and Modi regime is not relenting. According to Mehbooba Mufti, former chief minister of India Held Kashmir (IHK), India has unleashed unprecedented arrests, raids, surveillance and persecution ahead of the G20 moot. As the UN special rapporteur on minority rights recently noted, by organising the meeting in Srinagar, India sought to normalise brutal and repressive denial of rights of Kashmiri Muslims while adding that the G20 was unwittingly providing a veneer of support to India’s violations of human rights in the disputed region.
Modi regime is bent upon destroying any resistance to its policies in the valley and is going to any degree to quell it. The latest in this respect is the action of India’s top anti-terrorism investigation agency that has again sought the death sentence for Kashmiri leader Muhammad Yasin Malik after he was given life in prison. Malik, 57, former chief of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), was sentenced for life by an Indian court last year in a terror funding case after he refused to accept a government-appointed lawyer or to defend himself against the charges. The court had also turned down a plea by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for a death sentence, saying capital punishment was for a crime that shocks the collective consciousness of society. However, the NIA petitioned the high court in New Delhi again seeking a death sentence for Malik apparently defying the orders of the apex court. The JKLF was one of the first armed freedom fighting groups to come into existence in India-occupied Kashmir. It supported an independent and united Kashmir. Led by Malik, the group gave up armed resistance in 1994. A resistance movement broke out in Indian occupied Kashmir in 1989 with fighters demanding an independent Kashmir or its merger with Pakistan.
India’s presidency of the G20 group of leading nations has become mired in controversy after China and Saudi Arabia boycotted a meeting staged in Kashmir. India’s elite National Security Guard, including its counter-drone unit and marine commandos, were helping police and paramilitary forces to secure the event venues. China has said it will not attend, citing its firm opposition to holding any kind of G20 meetings in disputed territory. In April, Pakistan, which also lays claim to Kashmir but is not a G20 member, described the meeting as irresponsible. Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Indonesia also stayed away. Indian designs are very clear to the international community as is evidenced by China taking the lead in boycotting the event in the occupied region by stating that his country is firmly opposed to holding meetings in disputed territory. It is heartening to note that these nations have taken a brave step in solidarity with the oppressed people of held Kashmir. While Srinagar may be a picturesque locale for a tourism conference, the suffocating footprint of India’s occupation and the blood of countless Kashmiris spilled by Indian forces means that all conscientious nations should stay away from what is still internationally recognised as a disputed territory.
To the chagrin of rational observers India is promoting tourism in the region with its spectacular mountain scenery and signs at the airport declaring it paradise on earth. However, the dissent about the annexation of the valley has been criminalised, media freedoms curbed and public protests limited in what is described as a drastic curtailment of civil liberties by New Delhi. Security was beefed up to avoid any chance of an attack during the G20 meeting with soldiers and armoured vehicles were deployed at multiple locations in Srinagar. But many checkpoints — wrapped in metal mesh and barbed wire — had been dismantled overnight, and some paramilitary police stood hidden behind G20 advertising panels in what appeared to be an effort to minimise the security forces’ visibility. The People’s Anti-Fascist Front, a new rebel group that emerged in occupied Kashmir after 2019, issued a statement condemning the event and threatening to deploy suicide bombers. To visit occupied Kashmir, foreign journalists require special permission, which is not normally forthcoming, though it has been granted for the event. Even within India questions have been raised over the choice of location. They ask that whether the Modi government believes that tourism can be promoted in closed conference halls next to a scenic lake being patrolled by marine commandos with surveillance drones overhead and point out that is a foolish step to take that may further complicate the situation.
Residents have chafed under the stepped-up security measures. Hundreds have been detained in police stations and thousands, including shopkeepers, have received calls from officials warning against any signs of protest or trouble. Indian officials said they fear Kashmiri fighters could try to promote their cause with an attack before or during the G20 meeting. Military and police officers said they had intelligence information that Kas¬hmiris might target a military-run school in Jammu and take students hostage. In response, all such schools had been shut and classes moved online until after the G20 meeting. Kashmiris organised a series of rallies against Delhi’s decision to hold a meeting of the G20 tourism working group in Sri¬n¬a¬gar, calling upon all member sta¬t¬¬es to boycott the con¬troversi¬¬al moot. The last of the rallies was held un¬¬der the aegis of Pasban-i-Hurriyat Jammu and Ka¬¬s¬hmir (PHJK), an organisation of post-1989 migrants from India-held Kashmir. It was the 16th such ev¬¬e¬nt organised by the outfit in as many cities and towns in AJK since 26 April. Participants of the rally held banners and placards inscribed with slogans against Indian machinations to mislead the international community by holding the G20 huddle in occupied Srinagar. The participants, who were also carrying black flags, chanted pro-freedom and anti-India slogans as they paraded from local courts to the town’s grand mosque. They said that the G20 me¬¬eting, being hosted by an occupying country in an internationally acknowledged disputed territory should be unacceptable for all the countries that believe in the sanctity of the United Nations and the resolutions passed by its Security Council. The Kashmiri people maintain that all those nations which believe in the inherent rights of oppressed people should not fall prey to India’s wiles because their participation in G20 meeting will not only enc¬ourage India to carry on its brazen disregard of the UN Security Council resolutions and international conventions and treaties but will also render them equally responsible for the destruction of peace in the region. The Weekender