At his weekly media briefing, the Foreign Office spokesman drew attention to the worsening human rights situation in occupied Kashmir as well as in various parts of India. Giving some details of India’s chilling crimes, he said, during the last one year alone, over a hundred Kashmiris have been killed; 19,000 wounded, many with life threatening injuries; hundreds either completely or partially blinded by pellet gunfire; thousands of women molested; and 18,000 people arrested whose fate is unknown. Meanwhile, members of minority communities – Muslims, Christians and Dalits – are being lynched by Hindutva proponents for trading or consuming beef, even on suspicion of transporting cows – considered holy by many Hindus – for slaughter. These are all well recorded facts and a subject of deep concern by international rights organisations and sane elements within India itself. Yet there is no let up. It is worth recalling that no less a person than the UN Human Rights Council chief, Zeid Raad al-Hussein, has been urging the establishment of an independent, impartial international commission to assess the rights situation in occupied Kashmir, albeit unsuccessfully. He could only express his disappoint over failure to do anything saying, “human rights violations will not disappear if a government blocks access to international observers and then invests in a public relations campaign to offset any unwanted publicity. On the contrary, effort to duck or refuse legitimate scrutiny raises an obvious question: what, precisely are you hiding from us?” Likewise, on the other issue earlier this year, the US government’s own Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) had issued a damning report, noting that hate crimes against religious minorities, their social boycott, and forced conversions had escalated since 2014 – that is when the country’s Hindu extremist Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power. Religious tolerance, said the report, had deteriorated and religious freedom violations increased in some areas of India, recommending that the US government put the issue at the heart of trade and diplomatic interactions with India. That of course was a futile suggestion. For at the heart of the US and other Western nations’ policy to ignore rights violations in Kashmir and hate crimes all across that country are economic and strategic interests. Rights issues are raised only to shame rival powers, not friends.
That though should not discourage Pakistan. It must use every international platform, especially various UN forums, to highlight oppression in occupied Kashmir as well as the plight of the minority communities. Pakistan’s Arab friendsshould also be asked to play a proactive role and use their clout with influential Western countries to stop bloody repression in Kashmir, and to have India rein in its ‘cow protectors’ killing innocent people on mere suspicion of possessing cow beef.Recorder Report, "India’s unchecked human rights crimes," Business Recorder. 2017-08-03.
Keywords: Political science , Human rights , Religious minorities , Diplomatic interactions , Public relations , Freedom violations , USCIRF , UN