Delhi damaged nation by letting Amnesty International visit Kashmir
by Hari Om on 26 May 2010 14 Comments

The London-based Amnesty International (AI), which has set up branches all over the world to “monitor” human rights, particularly in conflict zones, had been trying to persuade the Government of India to allow its members to visit Jammu & Kashmir to examine complaints of “human rights abuses” there since 1990, when Pakistan-sponsored secessionist and communal violence engulfed the state. The Government of India did not entertain them; it was a rational and national decision.


The Government of India, the Foreign and Home ministries, knew well that Amnesty’s intentions were not noble and that Amnesty, like all so-called human rights outfits whose members masquerade as “democrats”, “secularists”, “liberals”, “peace-mongers” and trouble-shooters”, were actually separatists- and anarchists-friendly. The authorities knew that AI and its agents in India talked peace but shamelessly sided with and promoted those who consistently breached peace and unleashed from time to time orgies of death and destruction to achieve their nefarious political goals. The assessment of the Indian authorities was based on hard realities.


One reality was that Amnesty and other human rights outfits, including the People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL), had repeatedly proved by their words and deeds that they were least concerned with the inhuman, unlawful and terrorist activities indulged in by separatists and rank communalists. For them, whatever respective governments did to rein in these ultras and mercenaries and restore peace and normality in disturbed or insurgency-hit areas was a manifestation of “state terror unleashed to curb the civil liberties of the aggrieved people”. 


These so-called champions of human rights had seldom condemned any incident of gruesome killing of unarmed and innocent civilians, or cold-blooded murder of Army jawans and others engaged in counter-insurgency operations, by those indulging in subversive and anti-State activities. There is hardly any instance of these so-called champions of human rights, including their mentor AI, ever denouncing any militant/terrorist/Maoist-sponsored attack on Army jawans, CRPF men, and policemen.


Rather, there are instances galore of their defending hardcore criminals, mercenaries and merchants of death; arguing that the State, not they, was responsible for what happened in a particular insurgency-hit area or what the “aggrieved people” did to draw the attention of the authorities to what were struggling to achieve. There are innumerable instances to show that neither Amnesty nor its agents and outfits like PUCL had ever taken cognizance of what the terrorists, including the Maoists and Naxals, and Kashmiri separatists and terrorists, had perpetrated on poor villagers and tribal population. Their atrocities included rape of helpless women, including young girls, kidnapping and extortions.


One can cite any number of instances to show that these so-called champions of human rights never condemned the terrorists and separatists, including the Maoists and Naxals, for their subversive activities leading to the destruction of school buildings, dispensaries, panchayat ghars, roads and bridges, and disruption in rail traffic. The fact of the matter is that the so-called human rights activists hailed killers and separatists like Yasin Malik of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), and Shabir Ahmad Shah of Democratic Freedom Party (DFP), as “Mahatma Gandhi” and “Nelson Mandela” of Kashmir!


Yet another reality was that all these so-called champions of human rights belonged to outfits that wanted to overthrow democratically-elected governments and subvert the very institution of the State in order to create an environment that would help them establish their own rule. They believed in the concept that “power flows from the barrel of gun” and acted accordingly. It is significant that seminaries like Jawaharlal Nehru University and Leftist journals like Economic and Political Weekly, a number of perverted academics and lawyers and a few leading journalists, consistently extended unstinted support to these ultras and mercenaries. It is hardly necessary to name them. They and they alone sustained the ultras, separatists and mercenaries of all hues. The truth, in short, is that the separatists, extremists and anti-State actors and the so-called human rights activists worked in tandem all through.


The attitude of human rights organisations remains the same today. They continue to term separatists, Maoists, Naxals and others of their ilk as representatives of the “aggrieved and oppressed sections” of society, and they continue to denounce the institution of the State in scandalous language. Yet the Government of India thought it prudent to allow the Delhi-based Gopal Krishnan and Bikramjit Batra of Amnesty International to visit the highly prosperous and pampered Kashmir; this appears to be a sinister move.


The duo reached Srinagar on May 17 for a six-day visit and started work in right earnest the same day. They met almost all separatist leaders, including Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Yasin Malik and Syed Ali Shah Geelani. They also met the Chief Minister, Director General of Police, and some others manning important positions, but these were not very significant meetings.


The disturbing meetings were the ones between AI team and the separatists. At these meetings, the likes of Geelani, Malik and the Mirwaiz poured venom on India, denounced the Army and paramilitary forces, painted everything black, made mountains out of the molehills and painted in lurid colours trivial incidents of daily occurrence, with Batra and Krishnan behaving in a manner that indicated that they fully shared these perverted views.


According to available reports, neither Batra nor Krishnan even once questioned the one-sided examples of atrocities allegedly committed by the Army and paramilitary forces on the Muslims of Kashmir. Nor did they tell them that Kashmir has been enjoying unbridled political power and exploiting and humiliating the people of Jammu province and Ladakh region since October 1947. Nor did they question the Kashmiri leadership for ruthlessly violating the human rights of the people of these two provinces. They should have told the Kashmiri leadership that it had rendered the people of these two provinces ineffective and unreal for all practical purposes, and that the people of these two discriminated against areas were rendered third grade subjects.


Instead, they allowed the likes of Geelani, Malik and the Mirwaiz to make a case against India and did not talk about what they and their followers had done at the behest of Pakistan during the past 20 years to bleed India and butcher and maim innocent civilians. They did not say that in a war-like situation certain things happen, it is par for the course. They did not tell Geelani, Malik and the Mirwaiz that the State retaliates when forced to do so, or when the unruly elements and subversive forces refuse to see reason and go beyond constitutional limits. All this was disturbing and dumb-founding in the sense that the Amnesty team made common cause with the merchants of death and destruction, and virtually endorsed all that these primitive and intolerant elements told them.


Even more disturbing was what the meek and biased Batra told Syed Ali Shah Geelani on May 18, in response to the latter’s perverted view that the Amnesty members were Indians, and non-Muslims to boot, and that they had come to Kashmir only to defend the Indian case, so he did not expect fair-play from them. Batra, campaigner of South Asia chapter of AI, meekly demurred that “Geelani should make judgments on the basis of the credibility of AI, which is working for safeguarding human rights since many decades throughout the world. Judgment should not be made on the basis of persons involved in the work carried out by the organisation... Syed Ali Shah Geelani has presumed that we have to seek permission from the Indian government to visit here. We are Indian nationals and can visit wherever we wish to”. Batra went to the extent of saying they were not Indians. The duo told everyone they met that “they will be focusing on Public Safety Act (PSA) cases” and “take up the (alleged) Shopian (rape and murder) incident”.


It seems reasonable to conclude that Krishnan and Batra will prepare a report on the lines indicated by the Geelanis of Kashmir, to convince them that Amnesty was with them, and AI like the Geelanis, stands for anarchy, subversion, unlawful activities, murder and mayhem.


The AI team should have visited Jammu and spent most of its time there as it is Jammu that has become a land of refugees – a land which has been witnessing violation of human rights on an unprecedented scale since 1947, when Jammu & Kashmir acceded to the Indian Dominion.


It is Jammu that houses refugees from West Pakistan, who have been deprived of their fundamental rights and are even today struggling to obtain citizenship rights, including the right to own immovable property and obtain government jobs in the State, right to admission in professional and technical colleges and universities, right to participate in the Assembly and local body elections, right to bank loans and so on, without success. The Kashmiri Muslim leadership is opposing their demands on the ground that grant of citizenship rights to the refugees will change the demographic profile of Jammu province, the result of which would be increased representation of Jammu in the Legislative Assembly. As for New Delhi, it has been watching the human rights violations in Jammu as a mute spectator.


The AI team should have visited the places these refugees inhabit and listened to their heart-rending stories. But Amnesty had no time to listen to their tales of woe, or to take cognizance of the fact that the both the Kashmiri leadership and New Delhi have consistently violated the human rights of these hapless refugees, all non-Muslims, predominantly members of the poor Scheduled Caste communities. Actually, Amnesty and similar organisations are concerned only with the human rights of those who take the law into their hands, cause murder and mayhem, and preach secession.


Jammu also houses several thousand internally displaced Kashmiri Hindus. They, like the refugees from West Pakistan, have suffered all kinds of humiliations. Most are living in one/two room tenements. Their life, like that of the refugees from West Pakistan, is not one of political aspirations, but one of toil. Neither the Kashmiri Muslim leadership nor the authorities in Delhi have ever taken note of the extent to which the human rights of this community have been violated by Kashmiri extremists and separatists. The attitude of the so-called human rights organisations towards them has been no different. The hostile attitude of the authorities towards the internally-displaced Kashmiri Hindus has forced many of them to leave even Jammu and settle elsewhere to earn two square meals a day.  


Jammu houses nearly one million refugees from Pakistan-occupied-Jammu & Kashmir as well. They quit home and hearth in 1947 to escape physical liquidation at the hands of the votaries of the pernicious two-nation theory, who looked down upon non-believers. These refugees have been moving heaven and earth since 1947 to persuade the authorities in the State and New Delhi to compensate them for the losses they suffered at the hands of the fanatics, but in vain. There is none in the State and in New Delhi who is willing to redress their grievances. They, like the refugees from West Pakistan and internally-displaced Kashmiri Hindus, have on many occasions been subjected to senseless police brutalities, being repeatedly cane-charged, arrested, disgraced.


Jammu also houses thousands and thousands of border migrants. There are border migrants of 1965 and border migrants of 1971 – all victims of the India-Pakistan wars. They have been leading a wretched life since, with authorities in Srinagar and New Delhi summarily dismissing their complaints of human rights violations. The Kashmiri Muslim leadership and its cronies in Jammu do not want New Delhi to rescue the border migrants. The Kashmiri rulers, backed to the hilt by New Delhi, have done all they could do to harm all refugees who altogether number over 1.5 million.


Amnesty International was morally bound to spend maximum time among these persecuted and hapless refugees. Refugees always deserve special attention and special treatment. That Amnesty simply turned the Nelson’s eye to the human rights violations of these persecuted sections of society and spent all six days in Kashmir to ascertain the human rights situation of those who are responsible for the prevailing situation in the State, establishes that the purpose behind the visit was ill-motivated. But the real culprit is New Delhi, which took a complete U-turn by permitting the biased and vindictive AI team to visit Kashmir.


Had New Delhi put its foot down as it did repeatedly between 1990 and April 2010, and not permitted the Amnesty team to visit Kashmir, or had New Delhi candidly asked the AI team to visit only the refugee camps in Jammu for an on-the-spot assessment of the human rights situation there, the result would have been altogether different. Such a stand on the part of New Delhi would have gone a long way in exposing the perpetrators of all kinds of cruelties on the law-abiding citizens of the state, who are leading the life of refugees since decades.


Such a stand would have helped New Delhi make a strong case against the Pak-backed Kashmir-based violators of human rights. Now, however, the AI team will surely come out with a report that can be used by Kashmiri extremists to batter India. Perhaps New Delhi under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wants to prepare the ground for Kashmir’s separation from India, by systematically creating an environment that helps Kashmiri extremists and separatists to enslave, exploit and humiliate the non-Muslim minorities in the state.


As Panun Kashmir chairman Ajay Chrungoo told reporters on May 24, “the way the AI (team) conducted itself during (its) visit to Kashmir Valley has given an ample demonstration that their visit to Kashmir Valley has been guided more by political considerations than any concern for human rights.” Chrungoo added, “AI, by its actions, is trying to redefine human rights, primarily to play international politics”; and that “if the AI refuses to recognize the real content and character of the human rights violations in Jammu & Kashmir and seeks to politicise resistance against the jihad and international terrorism, it is actually trying to put the human rights movement upside down”.


The author is Chair Professor, Gulab Singh Chair, Jammu University, Jammu

User Comments Post a Comment
Comments are free. However, comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate material will be removed from the site. Readers may report abuse at
Post a Comment

Back to Top