US urged to take ‘firm stand’ against India to halt Kashmiri people’s rights abuses

US urged to take 'firm stand' against India to halt Kashmiri people's rights abuses

WASHINGTON, Aug 10 (APP):A retired US military officer and a counterterrorism expert has urged the United States to take a “firm stand” against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “aggression” in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) to put an end to the human rights abuses now being conducted on Kashmiri people.

“Instead of standing firm against human rights abuses, the United States seems to be trying to appease Modi and further gain his allegiance in an effort to curb China’s growing influence in the region,” Colonel (Retd) Wes Martin wrote in an opinion piece in The Hill newspaper published on Tuesday.

“This, plus the escalation of cross-border tensions with Pakistan, are nothing less than intentional sparks,” he said. “Refusing to accept Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s call for ‘two steps toward peace,’ Modi is determined to start a conflict. Modi is stirring up of trouble will likely serve as justification for further military action.”

Noting that the European Union and the United Nations have recently released reports documenting human rights violations in IIOJK in an attempt to pressure Modi to cease and desist his aggression in Jammu-Kashmir, Col Martin said the UN Security Council had held discussions on the Kashmir dispute three times since 2019, debunking the false claims that this was an internal Indian matter.

After giving background to the Kashmir dispute, Col Martin said that in August of 2019, Modi revoked the constitutional state status of IIOJK, declaring the region “Union Territory” completely under the control of the Indian government.

“This action was the beginning of a siege,” he said, pointing out that Kashmiri people greatly suffered without proper food and water as well as by the denial of COVID-19 treatment and vaccines.

“Meanwhile,” Col Martin wrote, “Indian citizens are being relocated into the region. Under the ‘Jammu and Kashmir Grant of Domicile Certificate (Procedures) Rules, 2020’ millions of certificates have been issued to Indian citizens. Land, property, religion, culture and lives of IIOJK citizens are being extinguished.

“It was India that took the matter (of Kashmir) to UNSC to hold a plebiscite,” he said, “Should a public forum be allowed on whether IIOJK should remain part of India or be transferred to Pakistan, Modi wants to ensure he has the votes to support his will.

“Modi claims he is exercising the ‘Public Safety Act’ to prevent disturbances,” Col Martin wrote. “In truth, his unwarranted aggression against the Muslim citizens is fueling the flames of discontent. Political leaders have been detained. India’s emphasis on detaining moderate Kashmiri leaders is for the sole purpose of isolating and providing calming influences on the population.

“Pushed beyond the limits of reason and isolated from their moderate leaders, the citizens of the IIOJK have risen up to demonstrate against oppression and genocide. The result has been brutal suppression by military forces Modi has stationed in the region.

“Many residents have been killed. To date, over 3,700 Kashmiris have been injured, many by the pellets of buck-shot that can rip out eyes and flesh off a dozen parts of the body with just one round. At least 15,000 citizens have been subjected to arbitrary arrests. While in custody, hundreds have reportedly been tortured.

“It is recognized that gaining long-term stability on the Indian sub-continent is very critical. Kashmir’s borders include Pakistan, India, and China. All three are nuclear powers and have strained relationships with each other…

“Concerning Modi actions, the United States has failed to examine the past, observe the present and predict the future. Today, it is the citizens of IIOJK who are paying the price of these failures.”