ISLAMABAD, Dec 20 (APP): The participants of the Russell Tribunal on Kashmir fell into tears listening to the accounts of the Kashmiri women who had been suffering the “weaponized rape” by the Indian Occupation Forces which used it as their “primary weapon.”
Held in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina by a Canadian registered NGO Kashmir Civitas from December 17-19, to highlight the war crimes in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, the Russell Tribunal was attended by the Bosnian community with over 70 foreign delegates.
The Russell Tribunal focused on genocide, de-colonization, the phenomenon of settler-colonialism including land-grabs, coercive patriotism, and the theme of nuclear war and threat to global peace.
Different witnesses from IIOJK also narrated their accounts of atrocities faced by themselves of other Kashmiri people including men, women, children by the occupation forces.
“The most difficult part of the Russell Tribunal on Kashmir — for all attendees — has been listening to accounts of mass rape of Kashmiri women. Rape has been a primary weapon of the Indian army. Tribunal attendees are in tears at each account,” Mohamad H Elmasry wrote on Twitter.
Dr. Mohamad Hamas Elmasry is an Associate Professor in the Media and Cultural Studies Program at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies.
He said the Indian army has weaponized rape against Kashmiris. Estimates suggest that between 8,000 to 11,500 Kashmiri women have been raped by Indian forces.
“The evidence is overwhelming and the details are unspeakable. No one has been held to account,” he added.
Dr Mubeen Shah, a prominent businessman in IIOJK, who also served as President of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce, spoke as a witness at the Tribunal saying, “India is on a major propaganda offensive to convince the world that its brutal occupation and repression in Kashmir are part of the epic battle against Muslim terrorism—an epic battle that is completely manufactured to justify war, occupation, genocide.”
He told the Tribunal that since 1990, more than 100000 killed, 150000 civilians arrested, 8500 custodial killings, 12000 disappearances, 110000 structures destroyed, 11,170 rape cases, hundreds of thousands injured with at least 7000 with pellet injuries.
Highlighting the Indian occupation of resources, he mentioned power generation from water resources which is under their central government company NHPC Limited.
“This company has an asset base of 97 billion dollars with a yearly income of 710 million dollars. One-third of its generating capacity is in Kashmir and has rightly got the name of “East India Company “ in local parlance.”
He said the Chamber had fought regarding the return of the assets which were built with or without the agreement of limited time but never returned to the state although different commissions like Rangarajan Commission recommended the return of some projects.
“The world can understand it more with the experience of covid lockdowns. We lost more than 10 years in the closure of the last 30 years. You can realize that how businesses can survive and a lot of them have become bankrupt.”
Calling it a genocide with continuing daily killings of Kashmiris and serious body injures or mental harm with almost half of the population suffering from Post-traumatic stress disorder, which he said India was doing under Article 2 of the Genocide Convention which defines what amounts to genocide.
“What is the biggest human right violations in Kashmir? It is the refusal of providing the right to self-determination which is an integral element of basic human rights and fundamental freedoms and till it is addressed we will not get justice and the human right violations will continue,” he told the Tribunal.
In a statement issued following the conclusion of the Tribunal, Dr. Farhan Mujahid Chak
Secretary-General Kashmir Civitas said several notable and illustrious global personalities were present to listen to the proceedings, participate and act as citizen judges. That includes Professor John Anthony Carty, Professor Sami Al Arian, Hatem Bazian, Tarek Chertaoul, Yvonne Ridley, David Hearst. Professor Dalia Mogahed, Professor Jonathan Brown, Professor Khaled Beydoun and Shaikh Dr. Omar Suleiman, and many more.
“This panel of judges will listen to the proceedings and, thereafter, finalize a report that will be distributed to UN Agencies, EU Parliament and other world bodies and Governments,” he said.
He said the Russell Tribunal on Kashmir aims to reaffirm the primacy of international law as the basis for solving the Kashmir conflict. Moreover, it aims to raise awareness of the responsibility of the international community to prevent ongoing crimes against humanity and the potential for genocide to occur.
APP Digital Report by Ishtiaq Ahmed