Only days ahead of the UNGA summit that will also deliberate on human rights abuses, India stoops to a new low by arresting prominent Kashmiri religious leaders to stifle their voices and pave way for forcible implementation of Hindutva agenda.
The Indian authorities since Thursday have arrested several prominent Islamic scholars including Maulana Sarjan Barkati, Maulana Abdul Rasheed Dawoodi, Maulana Mushtaq Ahmad Veeri, and Abdul Majeed Dar Almadni and booked them under the draconian Public Safety Act (PSA) in Kot Bhalwal Jail Jammu.
“This all is aimed to force Kashmiris to forsake their demand for freedom,” Convener All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) Azad Kashmir Chapter Mahmood Ahmad Sagar said while reacting to the development.
He said that expression of freedom was already banned in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) as activists and journalists were being booked under draconian PSA and now they have arrested religious scholars to stifle their voice.
Political activists termed the move as the beginning of the Indian design to forcibly seize and occupy prominent religious places as well as Waqf Board lands and properties all across the occupied territory. The BJP-led regime has already taken control of Waqf Board.
“Since any such sinister move could trigger state-wide protests, arresting religious leaders is a preemptive measure to deprive the Kashmiri masses of any leadership," Kashmir activist Mushtaq Gilani told APP. He said that these scholars have massive followings and had the potential to mobilise the public against any malicious Indian designs.
The Kashmiri leadership has continuously been pointing out that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was taking into possession of all religiously and politically significant places and positions in IIOJK to efface its Muslim identity.
“It is unfortunate that the RSS-influenced fascist Narendra Modi-led Indian government after snatching every right from Kashmiris was now hell-bent on seizing the Waqf Board lands and properties all across the territory,” said APHC Vice Chairman Shabbir Ahmad Shah in a message from infamous Tihar Jail while terming the move as an infringement into the religious affairs of the Muslims.
Kashmiris apprehend that Indian authorities had planned to take the famous Eidgah, Srinagar, which is revered by the Kashmiris for its historical Martyrs’ Graveyard. The Indian authorities have also been eying different Khanqahas including Khanqah-e-Moula and Bulbul Shah among others. This sinister move is aimed at obliterating the Muslim identity of Kashmir.
The All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) Azad Kashmir Chapter has also taken strong exception to the arrests.
Talking to APP, APHC General Secretary Shaikh Abdul Mateen termed the act a clear interference in religious matters, saying that on one side India was illegally colonising Kashmir by snatching lands of Kashmiris, and killing people while on the other hand, it was depriving Kashmiris of their religious heritage.
“It is shocking to see India not only arresting religious scholars but has also been locking religious institutions to drag the young generation away from religion and promote obscenity and vulgarity in the land of saints,” Shaikh remarked.
The arrest of Islamic scholars even surprised prominent peace activists. “Three prominent Islamic religious leaders of Kashmir have been arrested, but no one knows why!” Ashok Swain, Professor of Peace and Conflict Research at Uppsala University tweeted.
Currently, the entire pro-freedom leadership is in jails or in house arrest while hundreds of journalists, human rights activists, lawyers and political activists have also been put behind bars. The authorities are gradually picking up every individual who they think has the potential to influence the public or ability to expose gross human rights violations.
Since August 5, 2019, when the fascist Modi regime snatched the special status of the state, it issued domicile certificates to millions of non-Kashmiris, changed land laws to enable outsiders to purchase properties in Kashmir, redrew political constituencies in favour of Hindus and also gave voting rights to over 2.5 million non-Kashmiris. All this is being practised to change the demography of IIOJK.
Despite having dozens of resolutions of the UN Security Council, Kashmir is still the oldest issue on the agenda of the world body, exposing the double standards being adopted in promoting world peace.
Pakistan has also called on the UN Human Rights Council not to remain “a passive bystander” as India intensifies its state-directed suppression of Kashmiri people’s fundamental rights and freedoms.
“In the face of eerie silence by some members of the (Human Rights) Council, the crimes of self-professed largest democracy are getting entrenched, and its sense of impunity being rewarded,” Ambassador Khalil Hashmi, permanent representative of Pakistan to the UN’s offices in Geneva, said in the 47-member Council’s general debate which began in Geneva.
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