By Kadijah Suliman | Image: Kashmir Post | 13 July 2019
Kashmir is a small region bordered by Pakistan, India, China and Afghanistan and has been the subject of dispute between India and Pakistan since the partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947. It is a predominantly mountainous area with deep, narrow valleys and high, barren plateaus. China became active in the eastern area of Kashmir in the 1950s and has controlled the north eastern part since 1962.
The northern and western portions are administered by Pakistan and comprise Azad Kashmir, Gilgit, and Baltistan, the last two being part of a territory called the Northern Areas. The southern and south eastern portions constitute the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. A “line of control” agreed to in 1972, divides the Indian and Pakistani administered portions. Neither country recognises it as an international boundary.
It has been documented that Kashmir had been “created rather off-handedly by the British after the first defeat of the Sikhs in 1846, as a reward to a former official who had sided with the British”.
After many, many years of conflict Kashmir remains an occupied territory with an oppressive Indian military presence over a Muslim majority population. Like Palestine, the youth of Kashmir are born fighting for independence and self determination. Every day clashes between Kahmiri citizens and Indian soldiers steal the innocence, vitality and hope from young men, women, mothers and fathers and children.
Zakir Musa, 23 May 2019. He was executed in what was described as a 6 – hour encounter with Indian troops. Regardless of heavy rains, a curfew, internet shutdown and extra deployment of Indian troops, thousands of Kashmiris from all over the valley paid their final respects. His execution is said to have been part of a brutal military campaign of hunt to kill operations waged against “armed militants”.
Asif Ahmad Parray, 16 May 2019. At 16 years old was hit by pellets in both eyes during a brief encounter between “militants” and government forces.
Mehran Banday died as a result of pellet injuries to the head sustained at a protest last year, 3 June 2019. He was 22 years old.
Kaiser Ahmed, 24 years old, was crushed to death by Indian occupying forces in an armoured vehicle.
Insha Malik, 14 years old, was inside her family home when Indian soldiers bombarded her with pellet munitions in 2016. A studious girl with dreams of becoming a doctor. She has no chance of regaining her vision.
Like the Israeli occupying army, the Indian occupying army makes mosques, streets and homes a target of their assault and desecration. Like the Israeli army, the Indian army fights militants who are stone throwing youngsters protesting their oppression. Like the Israeli army, armoured vehicles, machine and pellet guns, curfews and bullying are the ammo of the Indian army.
This is an occupation raging for many years. Kashmiris, themselves surviving a brutal occupation, have been amongst the most consistent and committed in their support for the Palestinians and Rohingyas. Theirs is a fight that needs louder voices, deeper prayers, better understanding and greater coverage.
Beyond the politics there are real people, our Muslim brethren, who are being oppressed and persecuted. The Muslim World is not just the Middle East. Muslims from every part of the world who are being persecuted, who are living under oppression, who are forced to flee their homes, who are fighting with only stones as their weapons, form part of the Muslim community, the Ummah, and should be recognised.