Hurriyat should adopt a holistic approach to Human Rights in Kashmir
by Jaibans Singh on 10 Dec 2018 4 Comments

On December 10, the world will celebrate Human Rights Day. This date coincides with the adoption and proclamation of the universal declaration of human rights by the United Nations General Assembly’s in 1948. In Kashmir, the day is normally marked by protests orchestrated by the Hurriyat Conference, a miniscule separatist segment in the Kashmiri political landscape that attempts to project the fallacy of the Indian state as an oppressor of human rights. These attempts have not elicited any results so far. This year, it decided to up the ante by spreading the disruptive activities over a week from December 3 to 9, and culminate the deceptive narrative on Human Rights Day.


The itinerary includes some candle light vigils, sit-ins especially outside the United Nations Military Observers Group headquarters in Srinagar, some seminars, street protests and such like disruptive and provocative activities. Sadly, the conglomerate holds a subjective posture on the sensitive issues of human rights, due to which the so-called protests invariably end up as Shakespeare’s famous “full of sound and fury but signifying nothing.”


The issue of HR violations by terrorists has plagued Kashmir since the advent of foreign-sponsored terrorism in the state. Highly respected personalities like Mirwaiz Mohammad Farooq, separatist leader Abdul Gani Lone and several others were not spared and were brutally murdered despite being unconditionally committed to the cause of self determination. Surprisingly, the Hurriyat has never criticised these cold blooded murders; it has, instead, alleged that these luminaries were killed by Indian security forces and intelligence agencies. If the aim of Hurriyat was to malign the security forces and the Government of India, then its plan misfired very badly as its allegations were never accepted by the people of Kashmir or the international community.


The Hurriyat sees a human rights violation when security forces fire at a mob trying to help an armed terrorist escape, but does not consider the abduction and killing of innocent Kashmiris as deserving strong condemnation. Terrorists have been killing Kashmiri Police personnel and Kashmiri soldiers in the most brutal and sadistic manner. Mohammad Ayub Pandith, a 57 year old Deputy Superintendent of Police, was lynched by an irate mob outside Srinagar’s Jamia Masjid on June 23, 2017, the evening preceding Eid al-Fitr.


One month earlier, in May 2017, terrorists brutally murdered Lt. Umar Fayaz, a young Kashmir Army officer from Shopian, who was not even posted in Jammu and Kashmir and had gone on leave to meet his family. Another brave Kashmiri soldier, Aurangzeb, was abducted and killed by terrorists in June this year when he was off-duty and going home to celebrate Eid with his family. Will the Hurriyat protest against such atrocities and cruelties perpetrated by terrorists upon its Kashmiri brethren, whose only fault is that they have taken up Government service as a profession and are merely doing their job to sustain their families?


The Hurriyat puts each and every action of security forces through minute scrutiny while turning a blind eye to the misdeeds of terrorists. It is very prompt in ordering shutdowns to protest against the killing of terrorists in encounters and has been falling backwards to organise misleading events like the Human Rights week, but becomes a mute spectator when innocents are killed or injured by terrorists. All such actions embolden the terrorists who have made life hell for the common man in Kashmir.


The Hurriyat wants the world to believe that terrorists are Mujahedeen - noble souls who are putting their lives at stake for the sake of the oppressed Kashmiris. However, the gruesome manner in which terrorists have been murdering civilians on mere suspicion of being informers and endangering lives of civilians by using cover of crowds to attack security forces, belies this claim. The Hurriyat’s repeated attempts to bail out terrorists harming innocent civilians by shifting blame on the security forces has been done so often and in such a shoddy manner that now no one takes such accusations seriously.


What Kashmir needs is honesty and sincerity. It cannot be denied that the Kashmiri people have faced certain violation of rights in this period of turmoil marked with foreign-sponsored gun culture. Even being incessantly checked on the streets is a violation of human dignity. Undoubtedly, the people have suffered, but the fact is that all this is an outcome of the advent of terrorism which led to the establishment of a security dragnet to combat the same. Both aspects have to be considered in tandem.


The complete lack of concern that the Hurriyat leadership exhibits whenever terrorists commit acts of violence against innocents raises serious doubts regarding the sincerity of this separatist amalgam towards the people of Kashmir. When Hurriyat openly follows double standards on the issue of human rights violations, how can it expect the world community to take note of its protests?


Leaving aside the Hurriyat, on Human Rights Day, the Indian nation needs to stand as one and take a solemn oath to do whatever is possible to wrest the beautiful land of Kashmir and its people from the foreign-sponsored shadow of the gun. A serious effort involving the people, government and civil society will accrue positive results.


The author is a defence expert, columnist and author 

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