On Friday 16th September, the dead body of 11 year old Nasir Shafi was found on the outskirts of Kashmir’s capital Srinigar, riddled with metal pellets, after Indian security forces used pellet guns to break up protests of Muslims demonstrating against decades of subjugation and brutal violence under Hindu occupation. According to his father, the body of Nasir also showed signs of torture, including a broken arm and hair that had been pulled out. Over the last 2 months, the brutality of Indian forces against the Muslims of Kashmir has claimed the lives of over 80 people. This is since mass protests erupted following the extrajudicial killing by Indian soldiers of Burhan Wani, a 22 year old rebel commander, who called for the Muslims of Kashmir to resist the criminal occupation. Many of those demonstrating and many of those murdered and maimed by Indian forces have been youth. Since July 9th, over 8500 Muslims have been injured, with around 500, including children as young as 4, sustaining serious eye injuries including being blinded by metal pellets fired by Indian police and soldiers. 14 year old Insha Malik was blinded in both her eyes by pellets; 13 year old Mir Arafat was injured in his heart and intestines by pellets; and 4 year old Zuhra Majeed was hit by pellets in her abdomen and legs when Indian police targeted her family while they were outside their home. Infact, the Central Reserve Police Force, an Indian paramilitary unit admitted to the Jammu and Kashmir High Court that it had used 1.3 million pellets in just 32 days of unrest. According to a consultant ophthalmologist at Srinigar’s Shri Maharaja Hari Sing Hospital, 14% of pellet gun victims in Kashmir are below 15 years of age. Alongside this brutal violence, the Indian government has imposed a media blackout in Kashmir, closing down local media, and cutting off mobile and internet communications in order to prevent reports of its horrific crimes reaching the outside world.
Life is intolerable for the Muslims of Kashmir who have lived in a state of terror for decades under repressive Indian occupation. The murderous Indian regime has stationed over 600,000 troops on this Muslim-majority land – equivalent to 1 soldier for every 20 or so citizens – and its forces have a notorious history of engaging in abductions, torture, rape, and extra-judicial killings with impunity. More than 68,000 people, mostly civilians have been killed since 1989 due to violent Indian military crackdowns. Despite all this, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who presides over the 6th largest army in the world which undoubtedly could crush this occupation, stood shamelessly at this week’s UN General Assembly, and resorted to asking the redundant and hopeless UN to stop the bloodshed in Kashmir. Rather than mobilizing the Pakistani army to liberate the Muslims in Kashmir, the Raheel-Nawaz regime, chooses to utilize the army in the service of their American master to fight their colonial war against the Mujahideen and also abdicate responsibility for protecting Kashmir’s Muslims to an international community that itself has the blood of hundreds of thousands of Muslims on its hands. Furthermore, this is the same international community that has for decades turned a blind eye to the flagrant violation of their so-called human rights by the Hindu government against Kashmir’s Muslims, including mass-murder, and erected a wall of silence to the media blackout imposed by India in Kashmir, despite claiming that freedom of expression is one of their fundamental principles. This international community has served as nothing but an instrument that prolongs the suffering of this Ummah through offering false hopes of protection and change. It stands as a graveyard of broken promises and pledges to the Muslims.
Dr. Nazreen Nawaz
Director of the Women’s Section in the Central Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir