Washington, DC.: “The people of Kashmir wish the people of India well. They do not consider them their enemy. Therefore, on India’s Republic Day, Kashmiris extend their best wishes to the people of India. Kashmiris, however, voice deep regret at the hypocrisy of the Government of Indian of its high-minded ideals in Kashmir, which marked its entrance into the family of nations after long years of British rule: shocking human rights violations, ignoring the international law, and disregard of binding UN Security Council resolutions on self-determination,” Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Chairman, Washington-based ‘World Forum for Peace and Justice’ said in a message on the eve of India’s Republic Day.
Indian Ministry of Defence states that “the celebration of the (Republic) Day mark the spirit when democracy and justice were chosen to run the nation.” That is a ludicrous statement, indeed, Fai said. Kashmir is dreadful testimony to India's false democratic credentials. And peaceful political dissent is made a crime. India's detentions of Yasin Malik, Shabir Shah, Masarat Alam, Aasia Andrabi and other authentic Kashmiri political leaders besmirches India's boast as the world's most populous democracy and insistence that its military occupation of Kashmir is welcomed and endorsed by the Kashmiri people.
Within the very heart of democracy is the constant flow of ideas, of broad public opinion, which gives a country the strength to grow and mature through a fair evaluation and consideration of those ideas which represent wisdom by their inclusiveness rather than by exclusion. New York based, ‘Committee to Protect Journalists’ described Indian government’s freedom of expression in these words: ‘Kashmiri news media has been pushed to the brink of extinction.’ British historian, Bertrand Russell described India’s democratic credentials in 1964: “The high idealism of the Indian government in international matters breaks down completely when confronted with the question of Kashmir.” I think it is better, Fai added that a country like India that celebrates itself as a secular democratic state must pay its dues to the most fundamental democratic freedom of all, and the right of dissent. ‘Silence becomes cowardice,’ Mahatma Gandhi said, ‘when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly.’
Fai condemned Government of India’s latest attempt to arrest human rights activists under the draconian law: Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). Khurram Parvez, Dr. Asif Dar and Muzzammil Thakur are the prime examples. Mary Lawlor, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders said Khurram Parvez is not a terrorist, he's a human rights defender. What these three human rights activists were saying has legal, constitutional, and international legitimacy. They have been pleading the issue of ‘Self-determination, Freedom and Justice for Kashmir’, these are neither secessionist nor separatist slogans. It is a reminder to those at the helm of affairs in New Delhi that these were the very words pronounced by Pandit Nehru, then the prime minister of India and Mahatma Gandhi, the founder of India. Does the BJP-led government also want to lodge sedition charges posthumously against Pandit Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi who are on record to have said that the people of Kashmir have the right to decide the fate of their nation?
The people of Kashmir were heartened to listen again from the UN Secretary General of the United Nations on January 21, 2022, that Kashmir issue has to be resolved under UN Charter and applicable UN Security Council resolutions. Secretary General added: ‘we hope that this is something that can be solved peacefully and that the situation in Kashmir is a situation in which human rights are respected and in which people can live in peace and security.’ I think it is the time, Fai added that the Secretary General should listen to Dr. Gregory H. Stanton, Founding President Genocide Watch who warned the international community “We believe that the Indian government’s actions in Kashmir have been an extreme case of persecution and could very well lead to genocide.” “So many of the early stages of genocide are already present. We don’t wait until it is a full out mass killing campaign to declare genocide. There are early warning signs of genocide now and that’s what we believe is the situation in Kashmir.”
The only solution to the problem lies in allowing the people of Kashmir to exercise their unrestricted right to self-determination to decide their destiny – a pledge given to them by the world community some 74 years ago. Fai said that it is not rocket science. If the Kashmir question were resolved, much of the hostility between India and Pakistan would dissolve. The region would not be living on the edge of a nuclear holocaust. Trade between the two countries would flourish. Jobs and meaningful lives would be created. Families split apart the ceasefire line by the conflict could join together again. There would be no more shelling at the ceasefire line. Those 900,000 Indian military and paramilitary forces could go home and do something constructive instead of beating up on women and children. What intelligent person could not agree with that?
Dr. Fai can be reached at: 1-202-607-6435 or firstname.lastname@example.org