The Battle for the Vale III

Muslim Matters

The Battle for the Vale III

By Geofrey Cook, MMNS


An Indian policeman walks under snow-covered trees during the winter season’s first snowfall in Srinagar December 30, 2010.

REUTERS/Danish Ismail

Santa Rosa–Today, your writer is composing the third part of this article on the South Asian Muslim zone in this good-size city about fifty miles north of San Francisco and Oakland.  The development between San Raphael (just above the Golden Gate) and this metropolis is tremendous.  The farmland through Marin (County) and the Sonoma Valley will one day be as urbanized as Silicon Valley with the same high-tech industries.

My subject, of course, is not about the Northern San Francisco Bay Area, but the human rights situation in the disputed occupied terrain of Kashmir. 

Your essayist takes most of his information from the comments of Vikram Batra, a lawyer based in New Delhi and a human rights investigator from Amnesty International for India, who led a two-man team to the Vale to determine the human rights conditions there.  Although he is of Hindu heritage, the Delegation’s report became quite controversial in Hindustan itself because it was quite damning to the State’s legal system and the brutality of its border militia and the Federal military treatment of dissenters and or / non-combatants.

Kashmiri citizens have more in common with Pakistan, whose official position is that Kashmir’s future political composition should be determined by the Kashmiris themselves and the Islamic world in general than the (majority) Hindu Bharat.

Most dramatically have been the mysterious disappearances of citizens.  (From your researcher’s studies, only small percentages of those incidents have been instituted by violent jihadists, but the majority has been proven to be by perpetrators from New Delhi’s military and paramilitary forces.)

AI (Amnesty Internal) became critical of the persecution against Muslims within this geographical sector in 2000.  The persons behind this violence committed the crimes with impunity. 

The removal of the military is the fundamental demand of the Islamic majority of “Indian-” occupied Kashmir’s civil society.  Batra stated that it is beyond a doubt that gross human rights have occurred within Srinagar’s realm.  Most NGOs are regional, (and are doing a tolerable job) although the Red Cross established an international presence there during the last decade. 

It was difficult to enter the territory, but the delegation was able to do so without a visa.  They received resistance by Islamic inhabitants to relay the stories of atrocities from the Kashmiris themselves because the two-person mission was Indian.   Another minus was that they could only spend a week there in the districts in and around the Vale. They concluded that most of the Muslims there would accept a reduction of Indian troops and the Islamic militant irregulars as the foundation for any future negotiations between the Islamic natives and the Indians. 

The process of detention within the district subverted the principles of Indian law.  An individual can be held without trial for two years under a legal principle that is referred to as the “Security of the State,” but under this dictum the prisoner has the right to appeal to the High Court.   This process takes about a month to prepare; then, Mr. Batra, Esq. estimates it will almost assuredly be procured under Constitutional bases within five months after the initial filing.  Therefore, the local State authorities are assured six months of imprisonment.  As the detainee walks out of incarceration, he is arrested again on another trumped up charge.  The process can proceed for decades.  Thus, the indigenous Muslims leaders are perpetually imprisoned by the regional prefecture of the Center.  There are at least 725 persons who are confined at any one time.   This amounts to one-sixth of J & K’s penal population who, in turn, will never have the right to trial as long as the current regime remains in ascendancy.   

Decisions on the Indian peripheries (which includes J & K – Jammu and Kashmir) fundamentally are made by the military and /or the infamous factious Indian bureaucracy on the local level.

The methods of repressing the rebellion through what may be described as “Extraordinary Law” have not succeeded.  To quite the contrary, it has produced sympathy for those who practice public disobedience, and even for the extremists themselves.

If your columnist may have the privilege of the last word, a solution on the Kashmir quandary, and, further, on the Indo-Pakistani nuclear stand-off can only be achieved if New Delhi will lighten its stand on the the Simla Agreement.   This “Accord” forced upon Pakistan after the 1971 War states that all bi-lateral issues between Islamabad and New Delhi must be resolved bi-laterally.  Firstly, shuttle diplomacy — by neutral trusted external governmental participant(s) — that are acceptable to the regional State and sub-national actors  be instituted as soon as possible to avoid a nuclear conflagration, furthermore, in consideration of Srinagar’s populace and situation, the Kashmiris themselves must be a key participant in any discussions. 


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