(Letter Also Forwarded To UN General Secretary's Office and Offices of the Respected Canadian and Australian Prime Ministers.)
Parliament Buildings Private Bag 18041 Wellington 6160 New Zealand
Respected Prime Minister of New Zealand, Mr. John Key,
It was a positive affirmation from Ban Ki Moon in a recent press release that the security forces dealing with the protestors in Kashmir should involve restraint. But these are literal concerns. Kashmiri people want practical concerns from his honourable chair and responsible countries like New Zealand should also condemn the violence that is happening. Infact, there has been a tradition of Oceania scholarship on Kashmir represented by Australian scholars like Sir Owen Dixon, Richard Snedden, and Major William Alan Reid. Indian Army have used force as intimation for direct murder by the use of pellet guns once again. India has violated ‘Basic Principles On The Use Of Force And Firearms By Law' of the UN Charter during the July 2016 protests. About 48 people have been killed and more than 2600 have injuries and this has happened in the matter of ten days. Over two lakh people attended a militant’s funeral in July 2016 and it has once again proved to the world that Kashmiri people have sacrosanct desires of an independent homeland. The desire of freedom is torched and it is once again resonating in the hearts of Kashmiri people. But lives are also been lost. Pallbearers in Kashmir have been most active lately. In the last sixty years, Kashmir has seen birth of armed insurgencies and secessionist institutions inspired by religious and secular nationalism. It has seen in numerous martyrdoms of youth whose blood has been spilled through Palestinian Arab inspired resistance of stones – The new eastern intifadah. During turbulent times, Kashmir is reduced to deserted streets due to exaggerated fear. When Kashmir is locked for months, even buying essential commodities becomes an arduous task. Same is the case now - A whole generation has lost family members, either killed or disappeared with no official records. Unmarked graves run into thousands in Kashmir, which are only researched by international humanitarian organisations like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and local research centres like Association of Parent of Disappeared Persons and International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Kashmir. The Indian government pays no heed to all these tragic developments. All these problems are direct offshoots of militarism on which the UN Commission has taken no concrete steps besides drafting resolutions. But even after every cyclical protest happened in Kashmir, the biased Indian media or its brainwashed people can't evolve their morality over the political problem. There is some kind of official sponsorship in censorship reigning at top Indian news channels, on issues that ignite the sentiment which the Indian State wants to periodically challenge through oppressive means. Militarisation has been cruel to a civil way of life in Kashmir because people have seen raging soldiers lingering around block after block. Curfews cannot get peace nor Kashmir problem is an employment problem as Indian media is projecting to the world. The major grievance of the protestors has been the lack of respect of human rights in the past and also about their political demands that haven’t echoed in the chambers of Indian politicians, who very conservatively take it as an internal security problem and less of an international political problem. But by no means does India get the right to injure common people by using weapons that imply authoritarianism and direct murder. The administration in Kashmir is not the real stakeholder in the resolution process. A referendum or an exhaustive political arrangement according to the will of the people won’t only cover the protestors who hurl stones. It will be a political perception test for every politically aware adult. It has been enshrined by UN to us. In 2016 Kashmir protests, however, hundreds of people have been injured in a very short amount of time in the quest of this ambition. The Kashmiri masses have been entangled in a cyclical form of totalitarianism through force after each mass protest. Kashmiri masses have never been given a significant opportunity to represent their aspirations at the international stage. Regional politics has resulted as a political drama where our governance actors bank on politics as an entrepreneurial venture to stay in power, rather than acting as a mediator towards the resolution process. Is their a career motive behind their actions? With such a turmoil history in Kashmir, there simply seems to be no scope in intellectual respectability towards the States which divided Kashmir into two halves. The use of controversial pellet guns, criticised by Human Rights Watch officials, have maimed protesters, mobile and internet communications are barred, press has been muzzled, ambulances have been attacked by the police, there are dwindling food supplies and a curfew culture has been imposed like it has happened after every mass political strike. Eye surgeons have been working day and night to heal the wounded. The situation is like a war zone and ordinary life has been inured to a rising panic. Infact on tools like Twitter, a user can witness that hardcore Indian people are trying to renew their nationalist ideals after every civilian death in Kashmir. In what way do they get a right to celebrate our slaughter? Why are they blinded by Indian democracy so much that they can see nothing beyond it? See their tweets, general comments or perceptions, the hate against a prejudiced Kashmiri population is all there. Every other ordinary Kashmiri is not allowed to step outside. Infact “house arrest” – a term which was synonymous for Kashmiri separatist leaders, holds true for common Kashmiri people as well. People are living like in a prison cell. The violence has been engraved in our memories as obituaries. The separatist faction have isolated themselves from the resolution process for a rancor because for India every solution is under its constitutional ambit. There can be no end to perpetual sufferings until India pacifies its nationalism, talks with Pakistan & demilitarise - or let the UN take over like it happened in the Bosnian conflict. Status Quo is not in the interest of Kashmiri people nor of the UN. The Line of Control (LOC) has been carved out of war, just like in other conflict zones like Israel-Palestine, Bosnia, Cyprus, Sri Lanka to name a few. The LOC is such a barb wire where both the countries lock horns in fourth generation warfare exchanging shells and bullets. Between 2002 and 2004, India erected a ' multi-tiered fencing system' along the 742 kilometer border to dissuade movement of insurgents. The system comprised of two to three rows, about three meters to ten feet high, which were electrified and connected to a motion of sensors, with thermal ageing devices, and alarms that were imported from United States and Israel. When bus routes for peace started in 2005, Indian military establishments were actually in the process of repairing these technologically advanced barbed wires due to adverse weather conditions. In those times, there were even cases when many guerrillas had a firefight with the Indian army. This two - fold diplomacy actually has resulted as a superficial peace making drama, as no responsible solution was granted to the dispute. The Kashmir conflict has never seen a solution based on some pattern, similar to those which were proposed in Cyprus in 2004 or in Bosnia in 1996. Importantly, why are separatists been talked about in the Indian media only during political upheavals? There is a perceptive difference in the Indian media and the international media the way they see the Kashmir dispute. During elections, separatists were fringe elements but now they are stakeholders. Why does India want civilian blood to spill first & then want to recognise their viewpoints on Kashmir? Unless and until, common Kashmiris are not made part of the resolution, no such resolution is valid or can be accepted under any circumstances. India & Pakistan have failed to revere the sacrifices rendered by the people of Kashmir; Till then no such resolution can take place because it would be against the existing social persuasions. The case of Ireland and the recent Scotland referandum, South Sudan solution have been effective exercises for perceiving the political and ethnic realities in these countries. But in our case there have been such blatant naiveties in the lack of good judgement for emendations of our constitutional machinery by our local politicians. The interlocutors that were formed in recent years by Indian Government made suggestions that were misleading because they aligned their reportages to India's interest. There can be no half-baked solutions. This is a grave concern of how India has handled Kashmir over the years. As violence runs unabated and no reactionary measures growing, world sees a political struggle of a long forgotten Kashmiri people. We appeal to UN and Government of New Zealand to please take note of our situation. We are desiring freedom and emancipation. There is a subtle discontent in Kashmiri public right now and a lot of rhetoric is permeating through media channels. The infinite silence by the government of India should shun for the cost of reconciliation. Both countries have failed to look at conciliation resources for bridging the deep political divide that has only reverberated violence in the vale of Kashmir. Only a testament of practically can augment our resolution- nothing less than that and UN Commission has a big step to play. Therefore, I, on the behalf of Kashmiri people, want to request your good self, Mr Prime Minister, in applying some practical concerns regarding our issue. Please instill some pacification through requests of institutionalization of mediation, as India and Pakistan both have failed to arrive at any consensus for decades since both countries came into existence. They have had a lack of obedience to UN resolutions and the resolution is still pending because UN has not taken any concrete steps besides drafting of resolutions. Please connect with senior politicians of India and Pakistan, request and direct them for immediate mediation of Kashmir conflict. Let Kashmir get out of this political turmoil.
(An independent intellectual activism, political human rights group based in Kashmir)
From The Office Of The Prime Minister of New Zealand:
Dear Naveed I am writing on behalf of the
Prime Minister, Rt Hon John Key, to acknowledge your email of 19 July 2016 concerning protests and the people of Kashmir. Please be assured your comments have been noted. As the issue you have raised falls within the portfolio responsibilities of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon Murray McCully, your email has been forwarded to the Minister's office for consideration. Thank you for writing to the Prime Minister. Yours sincerely A Ireton Correspondence Manager