Calls for restoration of Article 370

By: Sardar Hameed

On 5 August 2019, India revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir provided by Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, scrapping Article 35A, split the state into two Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh and annexed them. Indian Occupied Kashmir was clamped under curfew and to silence Pakistan, unprecedented shelling across the Line of Control and the use of cluster bombs to slaughter innocent Kashmiris was launched. Brute force against a just struggle is in direct contravention to the Geneva Convention but India is known to have no respect for human rights organizations. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a diabolical plan to annex Kashmir, when he ascended to power in 2014. Two impediments blocked him: Articles 370 and 35-A of the Indian Constitution. The former grants special status to the residents of Kashmir. Article 370 was a solemn commitment of the government of India to the Kashmiris and it arose out of the special circumstances that confronted the Constituent Assembly as it wrote the Indian constitution in 1948. Article 35-A, which was promulgated by India’s first president, Rajendra Prasad, on May 14, 1954, in exercise of the powers conferred by clause (1) of Article 370, prohibits ownership of land in Kashmir by non-residents. On assumption of the Prime Minister’s mantle, Modi had a three-pronged plan. Firstly, to win the state elections in Jammu and Kashmir in 2014 and with a majority, repudiate Articles 370 and 35A and change the demographics of Inian-Occupied Kashmir, resettling Hindus to change the majority of the Muslims into a minority, so that if a plebiscite did take place, the majority would vote for accession to India. As the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status is set to complete one year on August 5, Kashmiri Pandit body called for restoration of Article 370 and hoped the Supreme Court would render justice by striking down the repeal of Article 370 provisions. An organisation of migrant Kashmiri Pandits has asked the government of India to restore the statehood and special status for Jammu and Kashmir. The organisation called Reconciliation, Relief and Rehabilitation has demanded that Article 370 be reinstated in Jammu and Kashmir ahead of the completion of a year of its abrogation by the government of India on August 5. The abrogation removed the state’s special status and bifurcated it into two Union Territories- Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh. It seems that, Indian Occupied Kashmir is going to become another Palestine. While India is continuing its killing spree in the Valley under strict curfew since 5 August 2019, the resistance movement is becoming more and more irrepressible. There are threatening portents in regards to regional peace and security. Pakistan has not only rightly rejected the Indian actions but has also been sensitizing the world through her diplomatic offensive about the dangers lurking on the horizon posed by the proponents of the RSS ideology which is very much akin to the Nazi supremacist ideology that pushed the world into a horrible World War II. India, by annexing Indian-Occupied Kashmir and adopting hostile posture towards Pakistan, is treading a disastrous course. But who cares for the human sufferings, UN resolutions, international law and UN conventions? Those powers which really matter and can play an effective role in ending conflicts, wars and ensuring implementation of UN resolutions, are simply not pushed to take notice of it. Same has been happening in Palestine notwithstanding UN resolutions because it suited their strategic interests. Human lives and human rights never tickled their conscience. Kashmiris and Pakistan would not take it lying down. Kashmiris are determined to take their freedom movement to its logical end and Pakistan as ever is steadfastly extending moral, political and diplomatic support to their cause. Any aggressive action by India against Pakistan is surely going to elicit a matching response. Pakistan and India are both nuclear powers and military confrontation between them could have horrible consequences not only for this region but the entire world. In that event their own strategic, political and commercial interests would be jeopardized. As per Kashmir Media Service (KMS), since 1989, around 100,000 Kashmiris have been killed by Indian occupation forces in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK). Out of these, more than 7,120 persons have been killed in Indian custody. 109,200 structures have been destroyed. 22,896 women have been widowed, 107,754 children have been orphaned and more than 11,110 women have been raped and gang raped by Indian occupation forces.As of January 2019, 8500 Kashmiri youth have been injured due to Pellet Gunshots. Of these, 207 have been blinded in one eye, while 130 have been made totally blind. Crossing all the limits, on August 5, 2019, the Modi government abrogated Articles 35-A and 370 of India’s constitution and took away the autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir; dividing the state into two Union territories. India has converted a UNSC declared disputed territory between Pakistan and India, into its integral part, which is in total violation of the UNSC resolutions on Kashmir. To preempt Kashmiris’ reaction, while India has increased its security forces number from 700,000 to above 1100,000, it has also clamped lockdown/curfew in the Kashmir valley, which is still there and internet services in Kashmir are also blocked. India has also apprehended/ jailed all the Kashmiri leaders/youth and the Indian forces are busy in carrying out genocide in the Kashmir valley. When Pakistan referred the matter to the UNSC in August/September 2019, except China, the other veto power members even did not condemn Indian actions, although they asked India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir dispute through bilateral talks. The UNSC also could not agree to adopt a binding resolution to constrain India’s from unilaterally changing the status of the disputed Jammu and Kashmir by dividing it into two union territories and for ending restrictions and genocide in Kashmir. In view of the above mentioned precarious situation prevailing in the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, to draw the attention of the international community and the UNSC veto powers towards India’s barbarism, as announced by the Prime Minister of Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Kashmiris living on the both sides of LOC (line of control) and across the world will observe Black Day on 5th of August 2020by organizing the protest processions and programmes, against the illegally abrogated Article 370 of Indian constitution on August 5, 2019, to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir,and the genocide being committed in the Kashmir valley. In this context, the AJK Prime Minister, Raja Muhammad Farooq Haider Khan will lead the protest procession in Muzaffrabad, and will present a protest memorandum to the UN observer mission to draw the attention of the UNSC towards the genocide being committed by Indian forces in occupied Kashmir. The protest processions will also appeal to UNSC members that they should adopt a fresh binding resolution on Kashmir, to ask India to lift the restrictions, end the genocide in the Kashmir, and reverse the steps it had taken on 5 August 2019. And that, India should also be bound to either prepare for holding a plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir, or hold a dialogue with Pakistan without any preconditions, to resolve the Kashmir dispute with in a maximum period of next 5 years. -The writer is senior journalist, Editor-in-Chief at Daily Country News