(New York, Aug 10, 2019) – Kashmir is under siege and silence is no longer an option. On Monday, August 5 2019, the Indian government abrogated article 370 of the Indian constitution, which gave the state of Jammu and Kashmir special status within the Indian Constitution.
The article was instituted by India’s early leadership to give a certain degree of autonomy to its only Muslim-majority state — one it had incorporated without the consent of its people, who would have preferred independence or accession to Pakistan.
The Indian government also abrogated article 35A, which gives the local Kashmiri state the right to define who is a “permanent resident” of the state. Permanent residents are able to own property or buy land. This was a condition that the pro-accession local leadership insisted upon to protect Kashmir’s Muslim-majority status, and was the last thing Kashmiris were holding onto to preserve some semblance of their nationhood.
A few days before the abrogation announcement, the Indian government put Kashmir under military curfew and ordered all Hindu pilgrims and non-Kashmiris to leave the valley. The following restrictions were also put in place: no access to the outside or with each other no access to cellular phones and landlines no access to television or internet. This is nothing short of a crisis for the entire humanity. The Indian atrocities continue unabated. Every week dozens of Kashmiris are losing their lives.
For more than five decades, the people of Indian Held Kashmir have been denied their inalienable right to self-determination. The people of Kashmir are helpless. The international community has abandoned them to the Indian repression.
More than 100,000 killed during the last decade, over 15,000 Kashmiri women violated, over 5,000 Kashmiri youths imprisoned in India, interrogation center and torture cells, more than 20,000 kids orphaned, 8,000 to 10,000 involuntarily disappeared, over 200 totally blinded with pellet guns. By repealing Article 35A & 370 of the constitution, people from the rest of India will now have the right to acquire property in occupied Kashmir and settle there permanently. Kashmiris see the move as an attempt to dilute the demographics of Muslim-majority Kashmir with Hindu settlers.
This act of abrogating these two articles is an open contravention of UN resolution #122 adopted on January 24, 1957; # 123 adopted on February 21, 1957 and # 126 adopted on December 2, 1957. These resolutions prohibit any unilateral action to change the disputed nature of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. It is also against Tashkent Declaration of 1966, Simla Agreement of 1972, and Lahore Declaration of 1999 between Pakistan and India.
It is beyond doubt that the longer the uncertainties continue and the longer the United Nations and world powers ignore Jammu & Kashmir, the more dangerous and intractable the crisis becomes in light of the fact that both Indian and Pakistan are nuclear powers. The crisis requires immediate diplomacy that recognizes the explosive situation on the ground in Jammu and Kashmir and takes immediate measures to avert it before it explodes.
Under all international agreements and United Nations Security Council resolutions, Kashmir is not the internal matter of India or Pakistan. It is a disputed territory whose status is yet to be determined by its people. We urge more than 200 World Affairs Councils in the United States to arrange a program on Kashmir because of the nuclear danger there the greatest in the world-and unspeakable daily suffering.
The Islamic Circle of North America is a leading American Muslim organization dedicated to the betterment of society through the application of Islamic values. Since 1968, ICNA has worked to build relations between communities by devoting itself to education, outreach, social services and relief efforts.
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