Before you read on, I want to ask you for a favour. Just one. Even if you only have 5 followers on social media or 5 contacts in your phone and 4 of those are your family members, please spread the news about Kashmir.
This is a community that has suffered for 70 years: torture cases have never been addressed and international media has rarely reported what is happening. And what is happening right now, at this moment, is unprecedented.
Give this issue and all future issues pertaining to your ummah and fellow humans, the same energy, the same amount of time you have given to other causes before it. You may be tired of talking about Gaza, Sudan, Yemen, Burma….but chances are you are not directly suffering, you are not under siege, you are alive and well, and therefore able to continue raising awareness.
“Whosoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then [let him change it] with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart — and that is the weakest of faith.”
A few months ago, I wrote 5 things you should know about Kashmir in which I explained the land is disputed and claimed by three countries but it is Jammu & Kashmir (the Indian Occupied land) that is one of the most dangerous places in the world. Here is what has happened since.
|Overview: Friday 2nd – Sunday 4th Aug
Security alert issued by the Indian government. Hindu pilgrims, non-Kashmiris, non-local students, tourists, foreigners etc. – all told to leave, reason being a possible terrorist attack by militants.
Pakistan reports LOC targeted by Indian army using cluster ammunition on civilians.
Additional 35,000 troops deployed to Kashmir- already a highly militarized space with 500,000 troops previously stationed.
Curfew imposed on locals, lockdown enforced:
- Schools, college buildings, public offices closed
- Queues outsides petrol stations, banks, food stores to gather rations
- Internet and landlines shut down – Kashmiris have no access to the outside world
- Separate satellite phones issued to army and admin
- Public gatherings of more than 4 people banned
- Chief Ministers of Kashmir put under house arrest
- Silence from Indian govt. adding to fear and anxiety
|Update: Mon 5th Aug
Amit Shah (Indian Home Minister) revoked Article 370 and Article 35(a) both of which allowed the state of Jammu & Kashmir to have independence over some of its affairs.
Revoking both articles means:
- Kashmir is no longer a state and instead will be divided into two territories (the good old divide and conquer technique!)
- Jammu and Kashmir territory to form a lesser union territory of India (i.e no special privileges granted, same law as the rest of Indian territories despite it being a Muslim majority land wishing to be independent)
- A370 formed the foundation of the relationship between India and J&K. Without it, there is no legal relationship between the two (no democratic procedure/no consultation took place, new law forced onto Kashmiris much like colonisers dominating natives.)
- A35a prevented outsiders (Non-Kashmiris) from buying property, obtaining state jobs, or receiving educational bursaries in J&K, without this the demographics of the valley will change drastically (think Palestine).
What’s more, the ministers placed under house arrest have since been arrested and taken into custody. The presence of a ridiculous number of paramilitary and the complete disregard of what the Kashmiri people want indicates more violence to come in the future.
If you still don’t understand why this is such a serious matter, please do some research to find out what Kashmiri people have endured for the past 70 years, and remember – this is what their life was like when they had the ‘special privileges’ of Articles 370 and 35a. Now imagine what life might be like without those laws. Then try to imagine that there might come a time when you, or your loved ones, face something similar and no-one in the world is willing to talk about it.
In the end, me writing this post or you talking to someone about it might bring zero change to those who are living through it, maybe, but is that really reason enough to stay silent?