New Delhi, April 12, 2023 (PPI-OT):The incarcerated Chairman of All Parties Hurriyat Conference, Masaraat Aalam Butt, has said that by holding the G20 meeting in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir, Narendra Modi-led fascist Indian government is maliciously attempting to hide its crimes in the territory. Masaraat Aalam Butt, who is presently lodged in New Delhi’s infamous Tihar Jail, in a letter sent to the G20 members wrote that India has planned to organize the G20 meeting in the UN-mandated disputed land of Jammu and Kashmir, which is under its military occupation for more than seven decades. He said that since 1989, when the Kashmiris intensified their freedom movement, more than half a million Indian troops have been deployed there, making it one of the most highly militarized regions of the world. “Some estimates place the number of Indian occupying troops deployed as high as 900,000. With a ratio of one soldier to every ten civilians, the army treats the civilian population as the enemy. The troops are deployed not only along contested borders but across civilian areas as well,” he said.
The APHC Chairman pointed out that in this situation, human rights abuses occur on a massive scale: torture in the vast military camps and interrogation centers that sprawl across the Valley, rape, disappearances, extrajudicial killings, the use of civilians for forced labour and as human shields, destruction of crops and homes, arson, arming pro-India militias to terrorize the population. Masarrat Aalam Butt said by attempting to hold the G20 Summit in IIOJK, India is not only trying to maneuver its soft power against Pakistan which is primary party to the Kashmir dispute but to pretend hoax normalcy in the occupied territory. In February 2019, the UN genocide watch statement on Kashmir warning that the region is at the brink of genocide and the recent US intelligence report during the US congressional hearing apprehending increased tension between India and Pakistan and India and China with the possibility of a conflict between them must be an eye-opener for the G20 countries that India is playing diplomatic faux which will aggravate an already tense, sensitive and explosive environment.
“As a citizen of Jammu and Kashmir, I would like to express my deep concerns regarding India’s decision to host the G20 summit in IIOJK. Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed territory that has been the center of a conflict between two nuclear powers India and Pakistan. Here, the situation remains tense and volatile. India’s decision to host the G20 summit in Jammu and Kashmir without considering the wishes and aspirations of the people is deeply distressing. It sends a message that India wants to impose its will on the people of Jammu and Kashmir rather than engaging in a meaningful dialogue to address the underlying issues that have led to the conflict,” he said. Additionally, he said, the human rights situation in occupied Jammu and Kashmir is a matter of great concern. According to records of Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) hospital Srinagar, where most pellet victims are treated, 1253 people lost their eyesight by metal pellets used by Indian forces from mid-2016 to 2018. Similarly, in 2016, more than 15,000 people were injured due to the use of brute force on public demonstrations in IIOJK and, out of the total injuries, 4,500 people were injured due to pellet-firing shotguns and more than 352 people among the injured were partially or completely blinded, he added.
“Furthermore, half widow is the term coined for Kashmiri women whose husbands have disappeared. These women do not know whether their life partners are dead or alive. These cases of half-widows or half-wives are closely related to crimes of enforced disappearances and unidentified graves. These enforced disappearances have been carried out by Indian armed forces. Currently, no human rights organization or group knows the exact number of half-widows due to the widespread violence and lack of access to remote areas. Despite the information blockade, the human rights group named Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society has reported around fifteen hundred half widows in Kashmir Valley,” he said.
The APHC Chairman maintained that the crimes of unmarked mass graves and enforced disappearances are closely related to each other. The Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) took cognizance of the underground facts, complaints and buried pieces of evidence, confirmed 2730 graves and recommended forensic examination and DNA testing with the setting up of a commission of inquiry but none of these recommendations was implemented. Additionally, in seven districts of IIOJK, more than seven thousand unidentified graves were found in April 2011,” he added. Likewise, Masarrat Aalam said, the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) and the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society also reported that more than 8,000 people in Kashmir have disappeared since 1989. The APDP also filed a petition about the presence of 3844 unknown, unmarked mass graves in two districts of Poonch and Rajouri in Jammu division and the State Human Rights Commission in response also acknowledged the phenomenon of mass graves based on the submission made by the department of police and deputy commissioners of both districts of Rajouri and Poonch.
The APHC Chairman pointed out that journalism, free press and free speech are always under attack in IIOJK. According to a report by the Office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) published in 2019, since the 1990s, 21 journalists have been killed. According to a Frontline report, Kashmiri journalists often receive calls from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to fill up forms giving details about their assets, bank accounts and kin. Masarrat Aalam hoped that the G20 leaders and world human rights defenders will speak against India state terrorism in IIOJK. Furthermore, we call upon the international community, including the leaders of the G20 countries, to speak out against India’s decision to host G20 events in the occupied territory, he said. We also urge the G20 members to use their influence to bring about a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
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