The Dossier – A reality check ahead of UNGA

The Dossier - A reality check ahead of UNGA

ISLAMABAD, Sept 22 (APP): India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be sharing with the world his government’s achievements on the domestic front at the United Nations General Assembly on Sept 25.

But all his sweet talk of the “Incredible India” would be simply an eyewash to cover up the stench of the heinous crimes committed by the ruling junta against the minorities and in particular the Kashmiri Muslims.

The Indian Prime Minister, backed by the extremist RSS and a staunch Hindutva approach, however, would have to do a lot more, as things are heating up back home; where politically motivated prosecutions, harassment, online trolling, and even lynching of opponents is now a norm.

The situation for Modi has become a bit more difficult as days before his address Pakistan unveiled an incriminating piece of evidence; laying bare gross, systematic, and widespread human rights violations perpetrated by the 900,000 Indian Occupation forces in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJ&K).

The comprehensive dossier released by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf on September 12, shared with the world evidence of events that constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide under international law.

The 131-page dossier covered separate chapters on war crimes committed by the Indian army, the indigenous Kashmiri freedom
movement and India’s false flag operations, and, how United Nations Security Council resolutions and international law were being violated through orchestrated efforts to bring about a demographic change in the occupied territory.

The document pointed out that the human rights situation in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) further deteriorated after August 5, 2019, illegal, unilateral Indian actions. The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed concerns “over reports of restrictions on the Indian side of Kashmir.” He pointed it “could exacerbate the human rights situation in
the region”.

The latest testimony from the Human Rights Watch at a United States Congressional Briefing on “Religious Freedom in India,” maybe too bitter for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to swallow, as he looks forward to meet US President Joe Biden, on the sidelines of the 76th UN General Assembly.

The Human Rights Watch testified in a briefing about the BJP government’s appalling record on human rights placed on record “scathing and detailed criticism of Indian government’s assault on religious minorities in India.”

The facts are clear: attacks against religious minorities in India, especially Muslims, have increased especially since the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in 2014. BJP leaders and affiliated groups have long stigmatized minority communities as a threat to national security and to the Hindu way of life, in particular making divisive, hate-filled remarks against Muslims around state and national elections, targeting the Hindu vote. The BJP government has adopted laws and policies that systematically discriminate against Muslims and stigmatize critics of the government.

According to Human Rights Watch, this divisive political discourse has served to normalize violence against minorities, especially Muslims, in India.

“Prejudices embedded in the government have infiltrated independent institutions, such as the police, empowering nationalist groups to threaten, harass, and attack religious minorities with impunity.”

The testimony documents Indian laws and Policies to Discriminate Against Religious Minorities, the bias Against Muslims in the Indian Justice System, the ongoing clampdown in Jammu and Kashmir, BJP’s government’s empowering of vigilantes and Crackdown on Civil Society for Raising these Issues.

Jammu and Kashmir remains one of the oldest unresolved disputes on the agenda of the UN Security Council and for the past seven decades, India has resorted to ruthless oppression, committing grave human rights violations with impunity against the Kashmiris.

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), in its two dedicated reports on the human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir in 2018 and 2019 expressed concerns about the excessive use of force, including the use of pellet-firing shotguns, detention of Kashmiris political leadership, curbs on freedom of religion and belief, movement, peaceful assembly,
and restrictions on the rights to health, education, and freedom of expression.

Several UN Special Rapporteurs have termed the overall human rights situation in IIOJK a “free fall” and categorized the communications blockade and curfew as “a form of collective punishment of the people of Jammu and Kashmir,
without even a pretext of a precipitating offence”.

The most damning part of the report is details of War Crimes; based on testimonies of victims and several independent investigation reports by human rights organizations, civil society, and the media.

The Dossier - A reality check ahead of UNGA

The Dossier covers accounts of 3432 cases of war crimes perpetrated by senior officers of the Indian occupying forces. The crimes catalogued in the dossier are corroborated by audio and video evidence that has been meticulously collected over time.

The Dossier records that since 1989, there have been over 96,000 extrajudicial killings, around 162,000 cases of arbitrary arrests and torture, and over 25,000 pellet gun injuries. Moreover, 11,250 women were raped, around 23,000 widowed and over 108,000 children orphaned.

The Dossier - A reality check ahead of UNGA

The long list of 1128 military officials involved is nothing less than an eye-opener. The perpetrators of these crimes include, among others, 1 Major General, 5 Brigadier Generals, 4 Inspector Generals, and 5 Deputy Inspector Generals of Police.

Referring to the crimes amounting to “Genocide” the Dossier points that since 1947, over 400,000 Kashmiris have been massacred in IIOJK due to their ethno-religious identity.

The Dossier - A reality check ahead of UNGA

The dossier also gave gruesome details of the “Mass Unmarked Graves, as yet another evidence of genocide and war crimes. The Dossier reveals details of 8652 unmarked graves that have been identified in 89 villages and 6 districts of IIOJK. Earlier, the OHCHR also revealed details of mass graves in the Kashmir Valley and Jammu region in its two reports.

In 2009, the International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in IIOJK produced a report revealing the details of 5643 mass graves in 55 villages. Around 154 graves had two bodies each while 23 graves had up to 17 bodies in each grave.

The Dossier - A reality check ahead of UNGA

The dossier points that rape and sexual violence have been used widely as a weapon of war by the IOF. According to Human Rights Watch Kashmiri women are subjected to rape by occupation forces: during ‘search and cordon operations’ and during reprisals after military ambushes.

One of the most horrific incidents of sexual violence in the occupied territory is the Kunan Poshpura mass rapes and gang rapes of 1991 where more than 300 Indian army soldiers of “Rajputana Rifles”, under the command of Col. K.S. Dalal, raped as many as 150 women in just one night. Despite condemnation by the international community, and even after 30 years, the Indian state has refused to acknowledge the crimes, while the survivors are left with no avenues to pursue justice, even as the IOF has continued its barbarism with complete impunity.

The Dossier points that violence against women has increased in recent years. Since 2014, 3884 women and girls have been raped and gang-raped by occupation forces, while 662 women have been killed. 141 perpetrators, involved in 63 cases of sexual violence, have been identified in the Dossier.

The Dossier - A reality check ahead of UNGA

According to Human Rights Watch the Indian government had already been using counterterrorism laws, allegations of sedition, and other serious charges to jail peaceful activists.

Now, the list of those the government and its supporters view with suspicion has grown, including philanthropic actors, poets, jewellers, journalists, social media executives, entertainment companies, and other businesses.

The world has started to take note of the double talk by the Indian leadership, and it’s time that the UN General Assembly demands an impartial investigation into the war crimes, genocide and torture and takes the perpetrators to task.