It was on December 10, 1948, when the members of the UN General Assembly announced Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), now annually celebrated as the Human Rights Day. Consisting of 30 Articles, it was a kind of ‘foundational document’ of international human rights law. The UDHR tends to ensure all the key civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights indiscriminately to all human beings around the world. Truly, the Declaration was an initiative for the protection and provision of 30 fundamental rights of the people all around the world. It was supposedly “a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this declaration can be fully realized.” The declaration promises freedom of all types to the people of all types without any discrimination of color, creed, religion or race. If, however, one looks at the world around us, the picture appears painful and tragic. The UDHR is, so far, unable to play any role for the protection of rights of the people of Jammu-Kashmir, and other parts of India. Human rights violations are at peak. Among other UN member countries, India, in its constitution, has expressed powerful commitment to the UN’s human rights obligations. India has committed to safeguarding all the fundamental rights of its people whatever religion they belong to. On the other hand, when the issue of the human rights violations of the minorities arises, India’s inhumane policies are no more secret. In Ahmadabad and Gujrat, Godhra train burning, and 2007 Samjhauta Express bombings, scores of Muslims were mercilessly murdered. Similarly, in the incidents such as 2006 Malegaon bombings, Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013, and such other terror and violence occurring, hundreds of Muslims lost their lives. Despite Indian extremists’ proven involvement, Indian authorities were always found biased towards the culprits. Due to this discriminatory attitude, in the aforementioned cases, a large number of Muslims, today, are rotting in various detention centers.
In India, in various fields of life, especially in education, Muslims are being deliberately kept backward. In streets, towns, and cities, it is normal to construct temples, but Muslims are forcibly stopped offering prayers in the mosques. Hindu fanatics annihilated hundreds of mosques. In several historical mosques, entry of Muslims is completely banned. The situation of human rights violations in Jammu-Kashmir is even worse than wretched. India, right from the partition, fixed its tyrant claws on the valley and started maiming and killing the inhabitants of the region. Even to raise voice for human rights in the valley is worst of the crimes. The region is the most militarised zone, and one sees a man-in-uniform in every second street of the area. Killings, abductions and illegal detentions, rapes, besides the right to live, deprived of basic human rights, such as health and education, are the norm of the day. The eight lac troops are the major source of gross human rights violations there. These troops would kill many innocent youths in fake encounters. Majority of the clues of the youths dead bodies would be traced to the Army camps. Similar to the Kunan Poshspora tragedy of February 23, 1991, there are countless days of the Kashmir’s history where humanity needs to hang its head in shame, particularly those who claim to be the flag-bearers of humanity. Brutal rape and strangling case of Asifa, painful gang rape incident with 70 years old woman and many such other incidents terrorized the whole Valley, but no vibe could be witnessed in any of the world’s power corridor. From 1978, a draconian law, Public Safety Act, was imposed in the Valley. In 1990, the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) was implemented in Jammu- Kashmir. According to AFSPA, any JCO has the power to take any military action against any individual over suspicion. Concluding more, despite all what Indian authorities have been doing to the helpless Kashmiris, they have demonstrated unrelenting perseverance and determination towards their cause. They are offering countless sacrifices but are unwilling to remain silent in the face of a ruthless tyrant. The loss of their whole generation did not make them bogged down. Now, time is not far when India won’t have any option but to organize a free and fair plebiscite as per the wishes of the Kashmiris. However, the real irony is the criminal silence of the world community. The need is to fully support the self-determination rights of Kashmiris.
Note: Writer is a freelance columnist based in Lahore. He can be reached at [email protected]