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Press statement tragedy in Kashmir

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By Ibrahim Vawda – Media Review Network

The Media Review Network expresses its concern at the latest atrocities carried out by the Indian Government in Indian Held Kashmir. An amnesty international letter to the Indian Prime Minister, Mr Manmohan Singh in 2008 listed his country’s human rights abuses in Kashmir and called for an independent inquiry claiming that unlawful killings, enforced disappearances, torture and the rape of women persists in the state of Kashmir.

The struggle for self-determination by the Kashmiris began six decades ago. The Indian Government invaded the territory in 1947 and to this day has controlled it with an iron fist, through draconian laws such as the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, the Jammu and Kashmir Disturbed Areas Act and the Public Safety Act. The provisions of these Acts enable the Military to operate with impunity. 800 000 security forces are deployed in the region with a population of 7 million.

Kashmir remains a disputed territory, awaiting the referendum promised by Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, in 1947/48. The Government of India remains intransigent and will not recognise this.

The recent uprising, which began in June of this year, has seen scores of civilians killed, hundreds wounded, many detained, many women gang raped, widowed and children orphaned.

With crimes committed by states friendly to the West, atrocity fatigue hastily sets in. Similarly, daily home demolitions, rape of women, and theft of land and detention of Palestinians by Israel is ignored. Is it because Israel trains the Indian military in the art of “counter terrorism”?

The MRN urges the South African Government to immediately impress upon the Indian Government to revoke all draconian laws which promote human rights violations. Also, to withdraw all its armed forces from populated areas and to release all Kashmiri leaders and activists languishing in Indian jails and in Indian Occupied Kashmir prisons. Furthermore the Government should call upon the Indian Authorities to honour all United Nations Resolutions, thereby securing a rapid solution to the problem.