For the last several weeks, the northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir has been the setting for an immense crackdown by the Indian central government against the civilian population. In a news article “Kashmir: A Time for Freedom” by Angana Chatterji states that,
Between June 11 and September 22 of 2010, Kashmir witnessed the execution of 109 youth, men, and women by India's police, paramilitary, and military. Indian forces opened fire on crowds, tortured children, detained elders without explanation, and coerced false confessions.
At the root of both the military occupation and the civilian protests is actually a long-lasting problem that was left unsolved when India and Pakistan were partitioned in 1947 following their independence. The conflict between India and Pakistan has reached to the pick. The life of the common people in this state is very miserable and getting worst day by day. The common people have hand-to- mouth problem. It is reported in the article,
Since June 7, there have been 73 days of curfew and 75 days of strikes and agitation. On September 11, the day of Eid-ul-Fitr, the violence continued. The paramilitary and police verbally abused and physically attacked civil society dissenters. Summer 2010 was not unprecedented. Kashmir has been subjected to much, much worse.
Kashmir is not only one of the world's most heavily militarized places; it has also seen its economy wracked by war. The consequences have been devastating, especially for young men. Without access to jobs or a decent education, many of them have grown frustrated at their lack of opportunities and begun challenging the 63-year long military occupation of their homes.
The resulting economic and social devastation have ruined the lives of an entire generation. Rates of depression and suicide among young people in Kashmir are astonishingly high. Because of the strike and agitation, the youths are forced to migrate to other countries. The educational institutions, social organizations are directly affected. Their voices are suppressed. As it is mentioned in International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights article no-6 that, “Every human being has the right to life”. This right shall protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life (Reichert, 2006). Their freedom of speech, freedom of education is blunt. As reported in the Times of India, a student expresses his anger. This voice is the representative voice of all the students in Kashmir,
"We want to be free. We want the Indian army out. Why are they killing us? What have we done?' The words poured out in a burst from 18-year-old Younis, a Class 12 student living in Lal Chowk. He hasn't been to school for almost a week now because of hartals [strikes], bandhs [shop-closures] and the fear of violence, which have brought life to a standstill in the Kashmir capital....”
It is really difficult to believe the violation of human rights in this state. Freedom without acceptance of responsibility can destroy the freedom itself, whereas when rights and responsibilities are balanced, freedom is enhanced and a better world can be created (Reichert, p. 124). Human rights must be directed to protecting and promoting human dignity (Walter, 2009). As Chatterji reported in her article that,
I have met with torture survivors, non-militants and former militants, who testified to the sadism of the forces. Men who had been petrol injected through the anus. Water-boarding, mutilation, being paraded naked, rape of women, children, and men, starvation, humiliation, and psychological torture. A mother, reportedly asked to watch her daughter's rape by army personnel, pleaded for her release. They refused. She then pleaded that she could not watch, asking to be sent out of the room or be killed. The soldier pointed a gun to her forehead, stating he would grant her wish, and shot her dead before they proceeded to rape the daughter.
Kashmir is not the center for the political issue but also a center for religious conflict. Hundreds of people were killed on the religious matters. It is reported in the article that, in Srinagar, more than 100 young men were rounded up for participating in the protesting. This was merely the most recent in a long line of police killings and "disappearing" of young Muslim men in Kashmir. As mentioned in the article, on September 13, crowds in Kashmir torched a Christian missionary school and some government offices while protesting the call to desecrate the Qur'an by Florida Pastor Terry Jones. On September 13, 18 civilians were killed by the Indian forces in Kashmir (a police officer also died).The people of Kashmir, a Muslim-majority state, were supposed to be allowed to choose which state they wanted to join, but its Hindu ruler, Hari Singh, opted for India, overriding any democratic process. In the confusing treaties and conflicts that followed, India and Pakistan both captured part of the territory for themselves. Chatterji in her article writes,
There is a refusal to recognize the inequitable historical-political power relations at play between Muslim-prevalent Kashmir's governance by Hindu-dominant India. The racialization of the Muslim, as "Other" and barbaric, reveals the xenophobia of the Indian state. Distinctions in method and power, between stone palter and armed soldier, between "terrorist" and "freedom fighter," are inconvenient.
Independence is not a new slogan in street protests in Kashmir. Kashmiris have been advocating for their independence from both India and Pakistan since 1947 and have used protests and their limited political voice to organize the movement for freedom. We even cannot imagine the life of the common people; how they are physically, emotionally, mentally tortured. It is really a brutal and a savage human behavior, which have been practiced since decades.
Both the countries should ensure the fundamental civil and political freedoms that pledged to uphold in the main international human rights treaty. All human beings belong to a single species and are decided from a common stock. They are born equal in dignity and rights and all forms an integral part of humanity (Reichert, 2006). Both of the countries must vow to enhance and safeguard for the life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to the people as stated in the Universal Declaration of the Human Rights.
Angana Chatterji, A. (2010, September). Kashmir-a-time-for-freedom. Retrieved from:
M. S. (2010, June). Volcano-valley. Retrieved from:
Reichert, E. (2006) Understanding human rights: an exercise book. Sage publication, London.
Walter, Kalin (2009). The law of international human rights protection. New Delhi: OUP.