“The unabated cold-blooded murders and brutalisation of innocent Kashmiris are a clear manifestation of state terrorism to which unarmed Kashmiris have been subjected to for over seven decades,” says an official statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan.

This message comes in anticipation of February 5, when Kashmir Solidarity Day is observed across Pakistan to express unity with the people of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), and to demand the world’s attention towards the atrocities committed towards the lives and rights of Kashmiri citizens.

India’s repressive laws squash Kashmiri rights

The people of Kashmir continue to be oppressed by the Indian state’s relentless, brutal, and repressive occupation, protected by the right-wing Bharat Janatiya Party (BJP) government’s continuous attempts at gaining legal cover. The abrogation in 2019 of Jammu and Kashmir’s autonomous status was a major setback for human rights in Kashmir, with increasing armed violence and digital blackouts imposed by the Indian state attempting to render Kashmiri citizens voiceless.

On August 5, 2019, India had repealed Article 370, nullifying occupied Kashmir’s special autonomous status. Article 35-A, a law barring non-residents from settling in occupied Kashmir and occupying government jobs, was also abrogated. The removal of these laws is seen as a move to shift the demographic of the Muslim-majority region and integrate it within a Hindu nation.

In 2020, India introduced also new domicile laws, under which any person residing in Kashmir for a period of 15 years could the territory as their domicile. Per these laws, any persons to studied for a period of seven years, or appeared in class 10 or 12 examinations in an educational institution located in the territory would also be considered domiciled. The domicile law also covers the children of those central government officials “who have served in Jammu and Kashmir for a total period of ten years or children of parents who fulfill any of the conditions in sections,” further threatening to dilute the Muslim region’s demography

Such laws not only sparked fears among the Muslim population in India, numbering around 200 million, about their rights and status within the Hindu-majority country, but showed the increasingly totalitarian and anti-Muslim state policy of what is deemed the world’s largest democracy.

International organisations call for peace in Kashmir

The long-standing issue of Kashmir has been raised on multiple international platforms, the foremost being the United Nations (UN).

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres urged nuclear-armed India and Pakistan to “come together and seriously discuss their problems” stemming from the unresolved Kashmir dispute, offering his good offices for mediation.

Addressing his first press conference of 2021, the UN chief warned that there was no “military solution” to the decades-old conflict. He said any military confrontation between the two would be “a disaster of unmitigated proportions for both countries and for the whole world.”

Guterres called on de-escalation of the situation along the Line of Control that is “absolutely essential for the two countries to be able to come together and seriously discuss their problems.”

To a question about the continuing human right abuses in Occupied Kashmir, he said: “I think it’s essential that human rights are fully respected in all territories that you mentioned.” He said he stood by his August 8, 2019 statement which called for the resolution of the Kashmir dispute based on UN resolutions and the UN Charter.

India’s refusal to entertain any mediated resolutions to the conflict, claiming it to be a “internal issue” is illegal and opposed to all international standards of peacekeeping.

The United Nations Human Rights has also expressed “extreme concern” over the Kashmir situation, urging Indian authorities to “unlock freedom curbs” in disputed Kashmit.

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), an international organisation consisting of 57 member states reassured Kashmir of its “unequivocal support” against Indian aggression.

“The OIC categorically rejected illegal and unilateral actions taken by India since 5 August 2019,” revealed Pakistan’s Foreign Office.

China’s permanent representative to the UN Zhang Jun called Kashmir’s occupation ‘concerning’.

“Judging from what I heard from the discussion of the Security Council members, they have serious concerns about the current situation in Jammu and Kashmir. They are also concerned about the human rights situation there”.

In June 2020, during the US presidential race, then-presidential candidate and inumbent President Joe Biden’s campaign foreign policy advisor Antony Blinken said “the Biden administration, if elected, will raise the issue of Kashmir with India and would also convey its concerns on a recent Indian law that discriminates against Muslims.” Kashmiri citizens now optimistically looks upon Biden and other world leaders to take up their plight and free them from the Indian state’s repressive laws and illegal occupation.


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