September 11, 2019 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Chandigarh: Dal Khalsa, a Punjab based pro-freedom Sikh groups has once again raised its concerns over situation of human rights in Kashmir. Dal Khalsa spokesperson Kanwarpal Singh has written an open letter to UNHRC Commissioner Ms Michelle Bachelet Jeria. Notably, Kashmiris are living under lockdown and restrictions enforced by the Indian state since August 5, when the Modi government changed domestic constitution of India to abrogate the special political status of the disputed region of Kashmir.Full Text of the Dal Khalsa Letter to UNHRC Reads As Follows:
DEAR COMMISSIONER Ms Michelle Bachelet Jeria: Notwithstanding the present Indian political leadership’s continuous harping on Kashmir as an internal legislative issue and undermining the aspirations of the people of Kashmir as a law and order issue, it is comforting that, slowly but surely the international community and the OHCHR is making the right observations about the grave human rights situation in Kashmir.
As the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights sets in motion its three-day session, with a primary focus on Kashmir, Dal Khalsa -as the Sikh party concerned about the grave situation in Kashmir -which despite the unsubstantiated utterances of the Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, writes to you seeking immediate intervention.
Clearly, India will not relent from its position and narrative on Kashmir. So far, the response of the international community and the United Nations has been muted, utterly respectful of India’s stance without questioning the policy of the state of India going back on its promise to the people of Kashmir as well as backing out of its legal and moral commitment made to the United Nations through the 1953 UN resolution on Kashmir.
Sikhs of Punjab are geographical neighbours of Kashmir and share political boundaries with two the nuclear-power countries -India and Pakistan. The relationship between the two countries, always on lock-horns, is at its lowest ebb, as both take diametrically opposite positions on India’s total occupation of Kashmir by revoking the special status, which was giving the people some semblance of their autonomous status, even though, in practice it had huge gaps and loopholes. As the tensions escalate, a war-like environment looms large in the region, which is grossly feared by the people of Punjab.
As Kashmir continues to be a concentration camp for all its peoples since the last 40 days, with zero or minimal communication, with food and medical supplies in doubt and no internet, Kashmir -the heaven on earth has been turned into a living hell.
With the entire pro-freedom and other Kashmir leadership in detention, Kashmir is on the precipice of a political and military catastrophe. An iron curtain separates Kashmir from the rest of the world. India is pursuing a systematic policy of continuation of its gross abuse of human rights and a complete denial of political rights.
In September 2018, when you assumed the office of this august institution, we wrote to you with hope as you had even then called upon India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir conflict. It is evident now that like at all times, India ignores all international and UN advice and suggestions. Your office is also credited with issuing the first-ever detailed report on gross abuse of human rights in Kashmir. However, international opprobrium on India’s track record of rights of human rights defenders and its intolerance of dissenting media has had no effect on the psyche, attitude or working of the Indian establishment. India’s Narendra Modi regime has pushed Kashmir back in time and reverted it to its pre-1953 status, flagrantly evading India’s international obligation.
The subjugation of Kashmir must stop. Stray voices of concern on Kashmir are not enough. Accepting India’s fraudulent stand on the abrogation of Article 370 of the India’s constitution and the Kashmir issue as an internal issue, not even a bilateral one, will further push Kashmir to be another Bosnia Hercegovina or Rwanda.
The five countries of the Security Council, for reasons of economic interest, have totally overlooked the issue of human rights in Kashmir and other parts of India, granting the whole state apparatus impunity to harass, detain, maim and kill dissenting individuals, groups, regional identities and nations.
Dal Khalsa unambiguously endorses the right to self-determination of the people of Kashmir, Punjab and all other struggling peoples who fight for this inalienable and internationally-recognized right safeguarded under the UN Declaration of Human Rights.
It is time to recognize that rights of Kashmiris, the deteriorating geopolitical situation in South Asia, cannot be a bilateral issue. Your office has the ominous task of seizing the situation, holding the mirror to India and ensuring respect for human rights and justice in Kashmir.
It is our humble submission that the UNHRC will be failing in its duty towards a peaceful world, should it not play a proactive role in this crucial hour.
Spokesperson, Dal Khalsa
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