'Occupied Kashmir being turned into Indian colony as world watches'

Novelist Mirza Waheed says since erasing region’s special status, India is selling off its rich land, mineral rights

News Desk August 07, 2020
Award-winning novelist Mirza Waheed says inflict indignity on Kashmiris now seems to be Delhi’s primary strategy. PHOTO: FILE

In an article with The Guardian, award-winning novelist and essayist Mirza Waheed while criticising the Modi-led government over its atrocities in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), saying that the disputed region is being turned into a "colony" as the world is watching.

"India has embarked on a project to shut out Kashmiris from even a semblance of control over their lives. It was evident on 5 August 2019, when India rushed in thousands of additional troops and cut off Kashmir from the world, and it has been evident since then," he added.

Describing the cruelness of the Indian regime in the occupied valley, Waheed said that the administration now prohibits Kashmiri families from burying their martyred sons in neighbourhood graveyards.

To prevent people from attending the funerals, he said, Indian officials have taken away bodies of freedom fighters to remote places for quiet burials.

Waheed said that one of the ways an oppressive regime exerts control is by dramatising a population’s powerlessness by subjecting it to daily indignities. "To inflict indignity on Kashmiris now seems to be Delhi’s primary strategy."

He said that India was reprogramming the economic and social life of Kashmiris by amending domicile laws by allowing Indian citizens to acquire property and land, and by abolishing longstanding institutions of the state of Kashmir.

"Among the bodies disbanded are a children’s commission, a women’s rights body, and the state’s semi-autonomous human rights commission," he added.

The award-winning novelist said that India has made plans to steal IIOJK resources and added that recently, mining rights to Kashmir’s sand from its riverbeds was given to Indian companies via an online auction that was expressly out of bounds for local families who have depended on the sand for their livelihood for years.

"India is creating 'land banks' for investment opportunities: granting itself powers to procure land for its armed forces just about anywhere in Kashmir. Until recently, it required the consent of the local government, which was last year replaced by an unelected, and unaccountable, Indian governor." 

Waheed in his article also said that India is turning Occupied Kashmir into a colony while the world was merely watching the ordeal of the Kashmiri's.

"India’s home minister has talked about building settlements and temples. There has been a suspension of even the most nominal form of autonomy. Local law is frozen. An astonishing 99% of habeas corpus pleas since last August are pending. The 70-year-old president of the Kashmir Bar Association, Mian Qayoom, who spent a year in prison, was released on the condition that he can’t go home until a certain date and that he shall not speak," he added.

"A year after the annexation, this is where Kashmir is. A terrifying moment made infinitely worse by the lockdown necessitated by the pandemic: a siege within a siege, as we witness in real time the full-scale occupation of Kashmir," he concluded.

The article originally appeared in The Guardian


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