British MPs lift the curtain to reveal India atrocities in Kashmir, as the disputed region has caught fire this week.
During their visit to South Asia on Thursday, a British parliamentary delegation expressed concerns over the worsening human rights violations in India-administered Kashmir, as Indian Army chief warns of “tough actions” against people in Kashmir, which is disputed between India and Pakistan.
Kashmir, which both New Delhi and Islamabad claim in its entirety, has caught fire earlier this week, with clashes intensifying on the volatile Himalayan territory in the wake of the killing of a prominent leader of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) group.
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Addressing reporters in Islamabad, Member British Parliament Andrew Flint and his colleagues urged the international community to not ignore the deteriorating human rights violations in Kashmir, as reports of India atrocities being inflicted on Kashmiri people keep mounting in the media.
British MPs Reveal Human Rights Violations in Kashmir
With the death toll steadily rising in Kashmir over the past few weeks, the British parliamentary delegation urged the rest of the world to take notice of one of the worst human rights issues of Asia.
While Pakistan has made a series of attempts to hold a plebiscite in Kashmir to allow the Kashmiri people decide if they want to stay with India or be part of Pakistan, India has refused to do so, citing its argument that “Kashmir is an integral part of India.” As India’s negotiating track record shows that it is willing to prolong the deadly conflict that has resulted in the deaths of nearly 70,000 people in the clashes and India’s military crackdown, Kashmiri people see no light at the end of the tunnel.
Addressing the press conference held in Islamabad, British MP Flint said “it is the basic right of people to live with freedom and peace,” while his colleague Wajid Khan said the blood of Kashmiris is “as valuable as that of anyone living in Britain or any other country.”
New Delhi is no stranger to being accused of human rights violations in Kashmir, as Indian Army has for years vehemently denied all the India atrocities it is being accused of in the long-standing conflict.
The British delegation said it would request the Indian government to allow them to visit occupied Kashmir to reveal the truth about the disputed conflict between India and Pakistan. British MPs are due to visit Azad Kashmir on Friday, August 4.
Anti-Indian Sentiment in Kashmir On the Rise Amid India Atrocities
Indian Army killing a militant leader, commander of banned terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) Abu Dujana, along with his aide Arif Nabi Dar on Tuesday served as a spark that grew into a raging fire. Kashmir erupted in violent protests that saw at least one civilian fatally shot in massive protests the same day.
With anti-Indian sentiments and protests against India atrocities on the rise, Thursday brought more deaths. Two Indian Army soldiers and two suspected militants have been killed, as the death toll of brutal clashes is rising.
Hundreds of people in Kashmir throw rocks at Indian soldiers and police officers, as the Indian government continues suppressing rebel groups and public opposition to Indian rule in the disputed area. An increasing number of Kashmiri people are taking to street protests to voice their anti-India sentiment.
India Reluctant to Hold a Plebiscite in Kashmir
Most people in Kashmir, whose population is comprised of mostly Muslims, support the rebels, who want to escape Indian rule and have been fighting against the Indian government to align with Pakistan or become independent.
As India refuses to confront the elephant in the room, Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had repeatedly called for a plebiscite in India-administered Jammu and Kashmir. While the decision would allow Kashmiri people to decide their own fate, India’s has been reluctant to hold a plebiscite.
Nuclear-armed neighbors – India and Pakistan – have fought three wars over the disputed area, while many experts worry that the long-standing dispute may trigger another all-out border war between Indian and Pakistani troops. India is no stranger borderline stand-offs, as the Hinduism-majority nation remains locked in a heated border stand-off against China at the disputed Doklam plateau.
Would Kashmir Vote in Favor of India or Pakistan in a Plebiscite?
Violent street protests and reported catastrophic atrocities by Indian soldiers in Kashmir continue reopening a festering wound of the disputed Jammu and Kashmir with its area of 222,236 km². As both New Delhi and Islamabad claim Kashmir in its entirety, India has shut down Pakistan’s efforts to hold a dialogue and let Kashmiri people decide their own fate peacefully through a plebiscite.
India fears to hold a plebiscite in Kashmir because it considers the Himalayan territory its integral part, and a referendum in the disputed Kashmir could potentially give birth to referendums in other parts of the diverse India, which is home to more than two thousand ethnic groups.
However, Kashmir is the only part of India that is demographically very different from the rest of the country, which is why a risk of other parts of Indian holding a plebiscite is extremely low.
The disputed Jammu and Kashmir area is essentially divided into three districts: Jammu (62% Hindu/32% Muslims), Ladakh (46% Muslim/40% Buddhist) and Kashmir (97% Muslims/2% Hindu).
Kashmir Dispute Could Bring Millions More Deaths of People
If India agrees to put an end to the bloodshed in the disputed area by holding a plebiscite and agrees to hold three different referendums in each of the districts, Jammu would most likely vote to remain a part of India, while Kashmir would most certainly vote in favor of merging with Muslim-majority Pakistan. This leaves only Ladakh to be the only unpredictable vote, but it could side with Pakistan as well amid the growing concerns of an alleged Muslim genocide in India.
Late last week, ABC reported that Indian Muslims are living “in constant fear” as the frequency of vigilante murders against Muslims have reached unprecedented heights lately. The report goes in line with a recent lengthy op-ed published in The Indian Express, where a Muslim author revealed Indian Muslims are “cornered and demonized” and dealing with “a silent, undeclared psychological war that the State has unleashed on it.”
As India continues ignoring Pakistan and the international community’s calls to resolve the Kashmir dispute peacefully, the deadly protests in the disputed area are likely to bring more deaths. But will it be dozens, hundreds, thousands of millions more deaths?