Published On: Mon, Apr 2nd, 2018

Bloody Sunday in Kashmir- in the line of duty?

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Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani

Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani

National Conference President and former chief minister of Indian occupied Kashmir Omar Abdullah has tweeted, “A Very Bloody Sunday in Kashmir today. 13 militants killed but not without extracting a high cost – 3 army men killed in the line of duty and 4 protestors killed around the encounter sites.”

One need not doubt the sense of concern shown by Omar Abdullah on the loss of life. However, the rationale of the concern is lopsided. It is equally an ignorant and unfair interpretation of the “Bloody Sunday.” In addition, the tweet falls short of a convincing version of the situation. The 13 militants killed, are the State Subjects and killed by non-State Subjects. These are Muslims and have been killed by non-Muslims. The 4 protestors are also State Subjects and Muslims.

20-killed-150-injured-in-south-KashmirIt is unfortunate and unfair that Omar Abdullah should fail or avoid to identify the 17 killed as Kashmiri Muslims or at least as Kashmiris. Short listing them into militants and protestors, is denying them their genuine identity. One should not support loss of life in any manner. But to separate 3 army men(non-State people) and accredit them to have died in the line of duty is way beyond a just interpretation or understanding. It is untrue that the 3 Indian army men have died in the line of duty.

Indian army was placed under a temporary bilateral discipline agreed on 27 October 1947 to perform 4 duties and to act as a supplement and as a sub-ordinate force in the State. The bilateral arrangement with the Government of Jammu and Kashmir (elected from only a part of the territory) has been challenged by the Government of Pakistan at the United Nations. United Nations on 21 April 1948 hasplaced 3 further restrictions on the number, behaviour and location of these Indian forces. Any action outside the bilateral agreement and international restraints, is indiscipline and an erring behaviour. It constitutes an offence and in the case of Kashmir, it would be a war crime.

Omar Abdullah in particular and politicians in Delhi in general, need to know that, international community has been misinformed and mislead at the UN in regard to the presence of Indian army in Kashmir. India managed a lead favour from Sheikh Abdullah and extracted a favourable reference for these forces. History and the future generations in Kashmir or outside Kashmir would always be angry with Sheikh Abdullah for compromising the life and honour of the people and dignity of the habitat.

On 5 February 1948, Sheikh Abdullah made a statement at the UN Security Council and stood as a reference for the Indian army. Sheikh Abdullah said, “There need be no fear, since the Indian Army is there, that this army will interfere in the exercise ‘of a free vote. After all, a commission of the Security Council will be there in order to watch. The Indian Army does not have to go into every village. It will be stationed at certain strategic points, so that in the event of danger from any border, the army will be there to protect that border. The army is there to curb disorders anywhere in the State; that isall. The army will not• be ineach and every village in order to watch each and every vote.”

Omar Abdullah and others in Delhi need to know that since after 01 January 1949, when UN brokered a cease fire between India and Pakistan and installed UNMOGIP to supervise the cease fire line, the role of Indian army (except helping the State Government to put in place Plebiscite Administration) came to an end. On 15 January 1948 India has surrendered the provisional accession for a UN supervised vote. At this point in time there is no accession and the Indian army is an occupation army. Death of a member of Indian army in Kashmir, is not in the line of duty. The death of a State Subject on the contrary is a war crime.

United Nations Security Council has admitted at its 241st meeting held on 5 February 1948 that ‘invaders’, ‘insurgents’ ‘people of Kashmir’ ‘Government of Pakistan’ and the world community represented by the United Nations, are interest groups in the just resolution of Kashmir Question. Indian Government has been duly cautioned that its army could not kill the ‘insurgents’. United Kingdom representative Noel Baker made a serious point in regard to the killing of ‘insurgents’ and said, “We want a real total stoppage now, without further bloodshed, without more killing of the insurgents, whose votes, after all, we want in the plebiscite when it comes, our aim being to secure a responsible government, as the representative of India has stated. We must get such a scheme. The question is how to do it.”

Omar Abdullah and the Indian leadership need to be told that the representative of the United Kingdom at the same meeting of UN Security Council in February 1948 has made it clear that, “It is my conviction that raids and incidents will continue to occur until the question of Kashmir has been disposed of by the Security Council…And, so long as fear dominates the minds of the peoples in that area of the Punjab and of Kashmir, incidents will continue and the situation will remain extremely grave.” The statement highlights that the six interest groups retain a right to fight the Indian occupation severally or collectively. The people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, called the State Subjects, reserve a right to use any means, any time and in any part of the world to weaken the Indian military occupation in Kashmir.

Indian Government has decided to replay a Mahabharata in the Valley of Kashmir. It is high time that the six interest groups identified at the UN, namely, ‘invaders’, ‘insurgents’ ‘people of Kashmir’ ‘Government of Pakistan’ and the world community represented by the United Nations, re-group and consider the status of the freeze placed on them by the UN Security Council Resolutions. There is a need to liaise with all others in the Diaspora who are engaged in defending the rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and in particular the right of self-determination.

Indian army is an occupation army in the State. India has surrendered the temporary accession for a UN supervised Kashmiri vote. Therefore, any loss life at the hands of Indian forces in Kashmir, is a war crime. The Government at Srinagar is an accomplice in the continuation of this occupation and in the daily loss of life. Omar Abdullah needs to re-dress his tweet and make it just. Non-State Subjects have killed the State Subjects in cold blood. These are war crimes.It needs only a teeny-weeny twinge of conscience, to consider an urgent termination of the temporary entry of Indian army into a part of Kashmir. Six elements identified at the UN have an immediate role to play, in undoing the Indian occupation and in terminating the presence of Indian occupation forces in Kashmir.

The author is the President of JKCHR – NGO in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations. He is on UN Register as an Expert in Peace Keeping, Humanitarian Operations and Election Monitoring Missions. He is a senior advocate of the Supreme Court. Author could be reached at dr-nazirgilani@jkchr.com

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