ISLAMABAD, (APP): Lal Chowk massacre of 1993 is still considered one of the grisliest incidents of brutality and gross human rights violations committed by the Indian occupational forces in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, exposing the repugnant masquerade of the Indian government.
On 10th April 1993, a large section of downtown Srinagar known as Lal Chowk was burned to the ground by Indian paramilitary troops. More than 60 houses, five commercial buildings, 150 shops, two official buildings, shrines, and schools were completely burnt to ashes.
A total of 47 innocent civilians were burnt alive and over 125 were killed by Indian Border Security Forces (BSF).
This massacre was consistent with the policy of repression and subjugation by the government of India and its collaborators to silence the people’s resistance against the illegal occupation, according to experts.
They were of the view that India had purposefully adopted laws and policies that systematically discriminated against Muslims, turning India into an unsafe place for Muslims.
Besides, the Indian Judicial system was saffronized that failed to provide justice to the Muslims and due to this, convicted criminals of the Lal Chowk massacre were still freely moving in India.
India has been the largest violator of human rights. From Kashmir to mainland India, minorities’ rights had been violated under the patronage of the Indian state.
“Indian army doesn’t regard international humanitarian laws and violates human rights with sheer impunity. India disrespects international laws and international norms and has become a threat to regional peace. Excessive chauvinism and pseudo-pride have engulfed the whole state; thus, India acts irrationally on the global stage and uses disinformation to hide its heinous crimes,” the experts opined.
They demanded the international community take notice of the dire situation in IIOJK. The resolution of this lingering dispute was important for regional peace and security.
The world community must come forward to stop the genocide of the Kashmiri people and conduct investigations into all massacres carried out by Indian troops in the IIOJK, they added.
Since 2017, there had been a series of reports released by different forums. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation released a report of its fact-finding mission to assess the human rights situation in Kashmir in March 2017.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights released its report on the human rights situation in June 2018, and again on July 8, 2019.
Similarly, the All-Party Parliamentary Kashmir Group in the UK also released its report in November 2018.
Taking advantage of laws like the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and Public Safety Act that gave immunity to security forces, the Indian security forces had been on a killing spree. Since 2016, the Indian army has launched a military operation named “Operation All Out”.
According to reports, 2021 again saw bloodshed of Kashmiris and silencing of Kashmir’s civil society, arbitrarily arresting of human rights defenders, journalists, and members of the civil society.
Besides Human Right Watch, Amnesty International had also highlighted massive human rights violations in IIOJK with the comments that “The Muslim majority population in Kashmir valley suffers from the repressive tactics of the security forces”.
A report by Asia Watch and Physicians for Human Rights documented rape cases that occurred since 1990 in Kashmir. One of the earliest cases was the mass rape in Chanapora Srinagar committed by Indian security forces. The report also said that Indian soldiers committed rapes frequently after January 1990, and used it as a weapon of war, but, disproportionately, most of them targeted Kashmiri Muslim women.
On 5th Aug 2019, Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) abrogated Article 370 and revoked Article 35A over IIOJK. The changes were welcomed by Indians who saw Kashmir as an integral part of India but the Kashmiris rejected it as a threat to change the demographics of the valley from Muslim-majority to non-Kashmiri and non-Muslim.
Expecting a severe reaction from the people of Kashmir, the experts said, the Modi government rushed 180,000 fresh troops to Kashmir. These troops were in addition to 700,000 troops already stationed there.
Curfew was imposed and a complete blackout of all sorts of communication was enforced which continued after the lapse of 6 months and later continued under the pretext of COVID-19.
The entire Kashmiri leadership, including pro-India leaders, were arrested. Since August 5, some 4000 people including minors had been taken into custody and were being kept in jails outside the state.
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