Friday, 19 February 2010

Human Rights & Self Determination

Kashmir is an internationally recognized dispute and there are as many as eighteen resolutions which have been passed by UN’s Security Council favoring Kashmiri people’s inalienable and unfettered right of self determination. According to International Court of Justice the principle of self-determination has the legal status of “erga omnes” which means “flowing to all”. Accordingly state owes an obligation to the international community to respect this basic right of people under their jurisdiction or administration in all circumstances. But after six decades this basic and fundamental right is yet to be respected in Kashmir and Kashmiris continues to remain oppressed, victimized, humiliated and enslaved. The denial has led to massive human rights violation, brutal killings, arrests, detentions, rapes and molestations enforced disappearances and custodial killings, these the tools used by the state to muzzle and stifle the voice of Kashmiris.

Since only from January this year eight young souls have fallen prey to the tyranny of troops and police forcing people to come on streets and government to bring back the ghost of undeclared curfew’s to suppress the protests against human rights violations. Despite government calling for probes to give ‘exemplary punishment to the culprits’ nothing has been done so far, as troops continue to indulge in massive human rights violations with lack of accountability and the availability of impunity.

There are many cases where the perpetrators of have been identified yet they have got away because of the presence of the draconian laws which are empowered to them. Indian Prime Minister’s assurance on the soil of Kashmir about ‘Zero tolerance’ to human rights violation proves a mere political gimmick. And will prove so in future as long as the draconian laws which are implemented in the state are not withdrawn, which will also make atmosphere conducive for the resolution of Kashmir dispute.

It was India who took Kashmir dispute to U.N and promised plebiscite to Kashmiris before the whole world. In his historic address broadcasted by All India radio on 2nd November, 1947 then Indian P.M Pandit Nehru Said “We have declared that the fate of Kashmir is ultimately to be decided by its people. This pledge we have given, while the Maharaja has supported it, not only to the people of Kashmir but also to the world at large. We are prepared when peace and law and order has been restored to have referendum held under the auspices of UNO.”

How grotesque it is on the part of India which claims to be world’s largest democracy to renege and backtrack on its own promise of plebiscite so brazenly and then lay claim for permanent membership of UNSC of whose resolution it is continuously violating. Against the solemn pledges of its founding fathers and relentless struggle of the people of Kashmir India can’t escape from its international obligation of granting Kashmiris their right of self determination by calling U.N resolutions as outdated. Time cannot abrogate moral values and commitments nor invalidate international community’s right to intervene in conflicts arising from denial of freedom. We have the example of East Timor, where a dispute was settled through a reference to the wishes of people under UN supervision, where Indonesia upheld people’s verdict.  

How shameful for India that on one hand it parrots peace to the world and is proud of its peacekeeping efforts in many parts of world as in DRC, MONUC and on another hand dreaded killers and extortionists whose hands are drenched red by the blood of innocent Kashmiris demanding nothing but the life of their own choice are awarded and encouraged to do more and praises are lavished on them for their ‘public services’. 

Kashmir dispute is lingering because of such hippocratic attitude and policies of Indian leadership and with it the peace and security of South Asia, though the recent thaw in Indo-Pak relations is encouraging after India expressed desire to resume talks which may be restarted after Chidambaram’s visit to Pakistan yet the success lies in sincerity and respecting human rights, pledges and resolutions to which both India and Pakistan are signatories as continued stand-off suits neither India nor Pakistan.