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Punjab Based Sikh Groups Writes to UNHRC on Human Rights Situation in Kashmir

September 11, 2019 | By

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.

Dal Khalsa Spokesperson Kanwar Pal Singh [File Photo]

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.

Image used for representational purpose only

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.


Kan­warpal Singh
Spokesper­son, Dal Khalsa

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