India And Pakistan Abuse Human Rights In Kashmir.
The region of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh is one of the most hotly disputed regions on earth. Fought over since 1947, when the British withdrew from the Indian subcontinent, in effect partitioning India and Pakistan, it was then that territorial disputes began to emerge.
Warfare and separatist fighting have reigned over this region since, with little love lost between India and Pakistan. Internal factions still fight for their right to be heard and the two state nations claiming Kashmir is theirs, seem from the outside, to have lost their direction for peace and an end to the bloodshed.
Since partition, Kashmiri Hindus and Buddhists have remained politically marginalised and unrepresented within the governing body of the region. Muslim politicians and political parties have dominated the state government and have openly ignored the economical and political needs of Jammu and Ladakh. Militants have destroyed many thousands of Kashmiri Hindu businesses, shops, schools and homes over the years and hundreds of religious temples have been raised to the ground. Illegally occupied by muslims.
Over the years Pakistan terrorism, which has been openly admitted to by the former ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani saying, the goals were to destabilise India through warfare by militant groups in Jammu and Kashmir and to spread global Jihad, has forced over 400,000 Kashmiri Hindus to flee the region and find their way in to India.
The Jihad on Indian Kashmir has been an official instrument of Pakistani state policy, organising both the operations of the militants, their arming and training. These terrorists now have strong ties with Al-Qaeda operating in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border; who use this area as the centre of their Islamist terror networks, growing the fundamentalism and their illicit trade in drugs, small arms and international terrorism.
State sponsored terrorism by Pakistan started in 1989 and it is said that up to 14,000 civilians have been killed with well-documented campaigns by militants to systematically cleanse Hindus from Kashmir. It has been common that public announcements put in newspapers, sermons in mosques and posters order all Kashmiri Hindus to leave, threatening violence and death if they stay. The Hindu minority has, all this time, been subjected to terrible treatment. Innocent civilians have been massacred; rapes, assassinations and much intimidation, has ruled their lives for 20 years and many are forced to leave, still living in refugee camps in Jammu and Delhi to this day.
Pakistan terrorism in Kashmir, has turned Hindus from the valley in to an un people. Unable to return to their homes, unable to vote, unrepresented in political and everyday life constantly abused and stuck for the foreseeable future in IDP camps which are isolated, overcrowded and without adequate facilities or care.
Propaganda though has ruled this conflict from both sides, but it has been India who has played this game to the greatest advantage and kept a huge amount of international support firmly on its side. India claims that the terrorist insurgency is down to Pakistan’s interference alone; which India believes gives it the right to turn Jammu and Kashmir in to a military zone, with hundreds of thousands of troops on the ground. This huge military presence is without doubt there to intimidate the population but the truth is its proportion to the militant problem is vastly over subscribed.
There has never been more than a couple of thousand militants and to this day their numbers have dwindled probably to less than 300. These militants are not, as India would have you believe the problem, but they re a symptom of the problem which is the denial of the Indian government for the Kashmiri people’s right to self-determination and free speech.
Over the years, the indian military has faced many allegations of human rights abuses against civilians. Torture and disappearances are common and many Kashmiri’s have been executed in fake armed skirmishes, where so-called militants are said to have been killed to cover up the original execution. The Indian government has given the military free rein to carry out is operations with extreme prejudice, carrying out summary executions of so called militants, instead of taking them to trial and impunity by law for the security forces has been enabled by the indian government. Even when cases against the Indian security forces seem air tight for human rights abuses, prosecutions are rare.
For human rights Kashmir, Neither the Indian or Pakistan governments hold respectively, their military or militants to account for their actions and it would seem neither do the international community. While both sides break the rules of war, executing and torturing civilians, their actions have taken the lives of over 50,000 civilians since 1989. For the people of Kashmir the divide is bitterly resented, cutting families and villages in half. At the very least free movement across the border and accountability for human rights abuses and the right for the hugely diverse Kashmiri population to be involved in the decisions for their future would be the place to start.
Photography And Writing By Thomas W Morley.