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July 14, 2020

The martyrs of Kashmir

Editorial

 
July 14, 2020

On July 13, for the 89th time, Kashmiris on both sides of the Line of Control marked Martyrs Day, an event which is held to mark the death of 22 Kashmiris in 1931 under Dogra rule. Since then, Kashmiris have continued their quest for something resembling the right to autonomy and a decision on their own future. The removal of Article 370 in August last year by the Indian government, removing what autonomy they possessed as a state, and splitting the territory into two parts has only further worsened the condition of Kashmiris with Indian security forces retaining a hold over the Valley and reports of new atrocities coming in at regular intervals. There are also fears that Delhi has already begun a campaign to change the demographic profile of Kashmir by removing the law which allows only Kashmiris to own land in the area.

To mark Martyrs Day, the All Parties Hurriyat Conference in Kashmir called for a strike which was widely observed. Leaders of the Conference also said that Kashmiris would not give up their quest for self-autonomy and an end to the repression they have suffered for well over seven decades under Indian rule. This possession has of course grown considerably worse since the election of the Narendra Modi-led government with its determination to make Kashmir an integral part of India.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, in a tweeted message, has said that the Kashmiris have valiantly fought repression. Pakistan has indeed also tried to take the issue to international forums. But sadly, till now, there are too few voices speaking up for Kashmir and against the human rights violations committed there. Many of these have been captured on camera and are spread across social media. Despite this, the pelting of Kashmiri teenagers and young people with rubber bullets continues as do other forms of horrendous violence. We need a louder voice from the global community to highlight the issue of Kashmir and to speak for its people. The situation in the Valley is beginning to resemble that of Palestine with a risk that Kashmiris will be made a minority in their own home. This must not be allowed to happen and it is the duty of the world, especially Muslim countries, to stop it.