Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Chairman, ‘Of World Forum for Peace & Justice’ said that “The comments of Manoj Sinha, Lt. Governor of Indian occupied Kashmir on India’s Republic Day that ‘Kashmir is marching forward on the path of progress’ and that ‘people of Kashmir are at the centre of governance’ sound like nice words, sort of like you might have heard in the sixties in the West’s hippie movement, with the Beatles crooning, ‘All You Need Is Love.’ Perhaps we should all go out and pick flowers and do some of that funny stuff. But in the city of Srinagar (The Capitol of Kashmir) where such a speech was accompanied by tightened security measures with drones flying overhead, heavily armed men, camera-fitted vehicles and CCTV monitoring the move of every single person that walks towards Sheer-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium, have shut off all access of a common man. It’s hardly reminiscent of a lovefest in Berkeley, nor does it reflect the spirit which a constitution-creating democratic process in the Republic of India would otherwise exhibit. One thinks more of the Bob Dylan song written during that era and made popular by Peter, Paul and Mary, “Blowing In the Wind,” with the lyrics, “How many roads must a man walk down before you call him a man?” How many roads must Kashmiris walk, it must be asked before they are given their right to self-determination, promised by India at the highest global forum – the United Nations?” The subsequent unilateral actions of India in refusing to permit a plebiscite and declaring then that Jammu and Kashmir and all its people were the property of the state has since defined the conflict between India and Pakistan and led to hundreds of thousands of deaths. For what reason? “India certainly has the right to celebrate this historic day within its legal boundary. But according to all recognized UN resolutions and stated policies of the United Nations, Kashmir remains a disputed territory whose future has to be decided according to the UN Charter and applicable UN Security Council resolutions. Therefore, India persists in allying itself with a position that has no legal, moral or constitutional authority to celebrate Republic Day in occupied Kashmir. Its advocacy that Kashmir is an integral part of India is no doubt the prime cause of continued suffering in Kashmir and persistent violations at the Ceasefire Line, sustaining the potential for a more all-out war between India and Pakistan,” Dr. Fai added. Fai reiterated that India has defied United Nations Security Council resolutions for more than 76 years because she knows Kashmiris will never vote in her favor. The irony of the fate is that even the Biden administration would like India to be a member of the Security Council whose resolutions have been blatantly violated by India right from 1948. “India also violates the basic right of the people of Kashmir, like freedom of speech, freedom of opinion, freedom of travel, freedom of assembly, and above all freedom to choose their destiny. But that freedom to choose their destiny has to take place in an atmosphere that is free from coercion, intimidation and the military occupation by 900,000 Indian military and paramilitary forces who pillage and kill at will,” Fai warned. Dr. Fai cited the reports of various international NGOs which show that the killing fields in Kashmir continue to be sown with the blood of women, children and young boys. The United Nations cannot simply stand by and allow India to continue to kill and torture and maim the people of Kashmir in this way. This must not stand. Perhaps now is the time for President Biden to act on his vision of global peace. The United States should realize that the time to merely try to defuse the tension between India and Pakistan is over. Now is the time to address the root cause of the tensions between New Delhi and Islamabad — the unresolved dispute over Kashmir. Fai reminded President Biden of his statement that he gave in 2022 “As people around the world, including nearly four million proud Indian-Americans, celebrate the 75th anniversary of India’s independence on August 15, the United States joins the people of India to honor its democratic journey, guided by Mahatma Gandhi’s enduring message of truth and non-violence.” President Biden should also know that Mahatma Gandhi has also said that Kashmir’s real rulers were its people and not its Maharajas. “If the people of Kashmir are in favor of opting for Pakistan, no power on earth can stop them from doing so. But they should be left free to decide for themselves.” (Gandhi’s Passion by Professor Stanley Wolpert, Page 247.
(Courtesy Kashmir Watch)