The Prime Minister and his Party colleagues, as well as the leaders of the opposition never refrain from talking about Jammu and Kashmir as being an integral part of India, and blaming Pakistan for the violence in Kashmir. However the attitude of the Indian state to the people of Kashmir has not been one of treating them as a colonial or imperial power would treat its subjects.
The Prime Minister and his Party colleagues, as well as the leaders of the opposition never refrain from talking about Jammu and Kashmir as being an integral part of India, and blaming Pakistan for the violence in Kashmir. However the attitude of the Indian state to the people of Kashmir has not been one of treating them as a colonial or imperial power would treat its subjects. Its armed forces act as an army of occupation, raping and plundering with impunity. All the people are considered as enemies to be crushed, while the so called civilian government in Kashmir is a puppet government whose strings are controlled by the Center.
Over 6 lakh troops are deployed in the state and over 80,000 people have been killed by the armed forces in the past two decades. On 28th September 2013, even as the Prime Minister was preparing to address the UN General Assembly, the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), which was formed in 1993, issued a press release exposing the Human Rights record of the Indian State in Jammu and Kashmir.
The APDP release points out that this record includes more than 8000 victims of enforced disappearances, over 7000 unknown, unmarked and mass graves, killings, torture, sexual assault and numerous other human rights violations.
It points out that this record “includes a State Human Rights Commission [SHRC] finding of October 2011 that confirmed the phenomenon of unknown, unmarked and mass graves. Numerous recommendations were made by the SHRC, including Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid [DNA] testing and forensic examinations of the bodies in the graves. Further, the SHRC recommended that an independent body be set up to enquire into the issue of unknown, unmarked and mass graves. The record of a State lies not just in its acts, but also its omissions. To date, none of the recommendations of the SHRC in this matter have been acted upon.”
India has not ratified the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance. To date, the Indian State has ensured absolute impunity as not a single armed forces personnel has been prosecuted for crimes committed in Jammu and Kashmir. On the contrary, the perpetrators have been protected and rewarded. The victims, and the crime, dismissed and ignored. This clearly shows that the terrible violation of human rights in Kashmir is being carried out as part of the official policy of the Indian state towards the people of Kashmir.
The Kashmir problem is not a law and order problem, but a political problem requiring a political solution. The Armed Forces must be withdrawn to the barracks. The Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) under which army personnel enjoy complete immunity from prosecution for the most barbaric crimes, including rape and murder of innocents, must be completely repealed. The perpetrators of crimes against the people must be punished, no matter what rank or position they occupy. Only this can create conducive conditions for a political solution to the problem of Kashmir.