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EDITORIAL: In pursuance of India’s ultra-nationalist ruling cabal’s bid to suppress Kashmiri freedom movement a ‘special’ court in Delhi has sentenced the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Chairman 56-year-old Yasin Malik to life term under various sections of the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, implicating him in a terror funding case which carries death or life sentence. Earlier, the court had formally framed charges against several prominent Kashmiri leaders.

Malik who has been incarcerated in the infamous Tihar Jail in Delhi since August 2019, when the Narendra Modi government stripped the Illegally Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJ&K) of its special status and resorted to mass arrests. Aware that he won’t get a fair trial he had refused to contest the charges saying “if seeking azadi (freedom) is a crime then I am ready to accept this crime and its consequence.”

His fate may not be different from another freedom fighter, Afzal Guru’s, similarly tried on concocted charges. He was hanged and buried in the Tihar Jail after Supreme Court of India upheld his death sentence declaring that “the collective conscience of society will only be satisfied if the capital punishment is awarded to the offender.” The verdict has since haunted the conscience of many civilised people in that country because Guru was denied due process.

Pakistan has handed a demarche to Indian Charge d’ Affaires, expressing deep concern over Malik’s imprisonment and lack of decent healthcare facilities despite his chronic ailments.

Islamabad also strongly condemned framing of fabricated charges against him, urging the international community, including the UN and relevant humanitarian agencies and human rights organisations, to take immediate cognizance of the treatment meted out by India to one of the top Kashmiri leaders, who has been leading a peaceful freedom struggle for several decades.

It is important to note that OIC-IPHRC (Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission) has criticised New Delhi for the court ruling against Yasin Malik. Meanwhile, the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) issued a statement on Wednesday to remind the outside world that the Kashmiri leadership is either in jail or confined to home, including APHC Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, under arbitrary detention for the last nearly three years.

And that there is a complete ban on any expression by the people or their leadership as repression, disempowerment and marginalisation of the people of IIOJ&K continued unabated. Furthermore, averred the statement, such tactics of repression, persecution and a general environment of intimidation will not work.

If anything they will only strengthen the Kashmiri people’s resolve to get rid of Indian occupation, like the July 2016 martyrdom of the young resistance leader Burhan Wani in a gun battle with Indian security forces inspired a whole new generation of young Kashmiris to stand up to oppression.

It is worth noting that Wani took up arms at the age of 15 after he and his brother were beaten up by the police “for no reason”. Since then countless people have been arrested from their home for no reason, to be humiliated and tortured, even killed.

Many female members of families have also been subjected to sexual harassment. The result is a complete alienation from India, as noted by some well-regarded individual in that country. The ruling BJP-RSS combine will fail to control their rage as long as the Kashmir issue is not resolved according to the wishes of the Kashmiri people.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022


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