Letter To UN:I Ask Why You Can’t Do Justice To My Motherland

8 mins read

Ain Wani

An open letter is a letter that is intended to be read by a wide audience or an individual and most commonly addressed to political leaders of a nation.

But today as I sit to write this letter, I fail to understand who to write it to.

One thing I know is that I definitely do not intend to write this letter to my political leaders as they’ve repeatedly failed me and my people.

Hence, I’m writing this letter to you, the largest audience of the world.

Supposedly, the most appropriate address of this letter should be ‘The United Nations, as it claims to be an intergovernmental organization to promote international cooperation and peace. But its existence in Kashmir has been reduced from a mighty institution of peace to an old building with voluntarily deaf people who’ve not just shut their ears but also their hearts to the bereaved families of the martyrs of my country.

(UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has declined to comment on a report by a rights group that sought the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Jammu and Kashmir and investigation into the alleged human rights violations by security personnel.)

 Yes, I call it a country because once upon a time Kashmir had a constitution, currency and a flag of its own.

The UN office stands insignificantly near the Sonwar market which lies parallel to the river Jehlum in the Srinagar district of Kashmir.

It is nothing but an old building where sometimes you’d see common people hopelessly searching for the answers to their unattended questions.

Oh, what the Mighty have fallen to!

For those of you, who do not know the history of Kashmir and as to why we Kashmiris demand ‘Azaadi’ or freedom from India; let me simplify it for you.

In 1947, when the partition of the Indian subcontinent took place, India and Pakistan became two independent countries.

Kashmir then was a princely state and was ruled by a Maharaja, until the Pakistani armed forces under the guise of raiders (Qabalis) invaded Kashmir.

This compelled the Maharaja to seek help from the neighbouring country India to drive these raiders out of the valley.

India agreed to help and promised that they would leave as soon as things stabilize in Kashmir. But India never left and ended up forcefully occupying it.

Initially there were talks between the Kashmiri leaders and Jawahar Lal Nehru, the then PM of India.

It was decided that India would let Kashmir have its own constitution and freedom but its defence and foreign affairs would be looked after and managed by the central government of India.

This never happened!

Instead Kashmiris were deprived of their right to an individual identity, their own constitution and their own flag.

So today, my country is rightfully called ‘The Indian Occupied Kashmir’

In September 1990, a very inhuman act was passed in Kashmir to lace the Indian troops which is now infamous for the constant violation of human rights here.

This act is called the AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act) and has been in force ever since.

 The AFSPA gives unduly powers ‘To arrest without a warrant anyone who has committed a cognizable offense or is reasonably suspected of having done so and may use force if needed for the arrest’ which has again been exploited to an extent which according to the recently recorded statistics has landed 7038 people in custody, caused over 8000 people to disappear turning 22,806 women half widowed or widowed and 107,545 children orphaned.

According to the report released by the Research section of Kashmir Media Service, around 10,167 women of Kashmir have been molested, raped or sexually harassed and 106,050 residential houses of the common people of Kashmir have been damaged.

I wonder how a country that lived under the British rule for such a long time and fought so much for their own independence can oppress another country to such a demeaning level and deny them freedom.

This is what you could call ‘Double standards to a whole new level!

If you ask me to depict the state of mind of a child born and brought up in Kashmir in the form of art, I would ask you to imagine!

Imagine a group of innocent children playing cricket on a frozen lake (It is said that in earlier times, it used to be so chilly that the famous Dal Lake in Kashmir would freeze and children would use it as a playground to play Cricket).

And imagine the majestic mountains standing tall, drawing their silhouette against a pure and infinite blue yonder.

Imagine the blue sky almost plummeting downwards to plant kisses on the auburn leaves of the lofty Chinars  (They don’t call it  paradise for nothing).

Imagine a group of innocent happy little children playing on the frozen lake, each pulling an attitude of their respective favourite cricketers, tugging at the ends of their pherans (traditional winter gowns).

Imagine them mocking each other as they fall down with a thud on the slippery surface of the frozen lake.

Photo: Xuhaib Maqbool
Photo: Xuhaib Maqbool

Little kids with little hearts and little fingers!

Imagine them giggling and laughing and walking like they are heroes with not a care in the world.

Their life should literally be playing all day long, eating happily and then coming back to sleep, exhausted, in the loving arms of their mother.

Now imagine suddenly they hear opening of fire (the noise of a gunshot), and suddenly they’re asked to run home to their families.

There is havoc everywhere. Now, children, they act like their favorite TV stars or like superheroes but their hearts are too small to take the grunt of the bullets and other live ammunition.

But in Kashmir, we’ve had the smallest coffins made for these little heroes who lived through what they had done nothing to deserve.

Imagine one of the kids is running back home in a state of chaos. He is recalled of stories of people his mother warned him about.

These people wear uniforms and were meant to be our protectors but these are the people who turned into predators of Kashmir.

So the kid is running, panting, sweating as he enters a dark alley to find his way back home.

It’s a chilly winter and the sun is not shining so bright, hence, the further he runs into this alley ,the darker it gets. He’s afraid that one of the army men will catch him and beat him so much so that he falls to a sleep that he can never wake up from.

Such is the state of mind of a Kashmiri child.

If you look closely into his eyes, you wouldn’t find far sighted ambitions and dreams; you would see their eyes almost brimming with dread of death.

Out of fear, the child feels like the alley is getting only darker and narrower and he does not know when it might just close down on him.

Out of fear the sky and the brick houses look like they’ll collapse on him any moment.

The beautiful majestic mountains look like they’re drawing him closer and will crash on him.

The land looks like it is building cracks in itself so that he falls into one of them and becomes his grave.

Oh what they did to the paradise Kashmir was!

This is what fear of dying has done to the children of my motherland. They do not plan so much for the future because they do not know if there is a future at all.

Such is the state of the people of Kashmir, they see family members going away every morning, doubtfully hoping and praying that they return home safely so they can have one more dinner together.

In the year 2010, after many fake encounters having happened before, a fake encounter was held by the Indian army, in which three innocent young Kashmiri men from the Nadihal village of the Baramulla district were killed.

This led to a huge outburst of anger by the people here and they came out on the streets in huge masses and protested against years of injustice and genocide.

They raised pro independence slogans and pelted stones which represented their anger towards the brutal Indian army and in retaliation got hit by bullets, tear gas shells and rubber bullets which resulted in further 112 deaths of innocent Kashmiri civilians.

If I start to name the martyrs of the uprising of 2010,you’d be shocked to learn that most of them hadn’t even hit 30 years of age and an undeniably large number of them were still in their teens. To name a few martyrs, there was one Tufail Mattoo, 17,

Firdous Ahmad Kakroo, 16,

Tauqeer Ahmed Rather, aged only 9,

Ishtiyaq Ahmad Khanday,15, Bilal Ahmad Wani,22, so on and so forth.

The youngest victim of this genocide was Sameer Ahmad Rah (8).

What had a child, 8 years old, possibly done to anybody to die such a brutal death, I ask!

Who will relieve the pain of the mothers of these dead children of my motherland, I question!

What have Indians turned my motherland into but a pile of its own dead children?

Where are the people of this world?

Where are the humans of this world?_P1A9612

Where is humanity, I ask?

Are we blinded so much by boundaries of religion, faith area or colour that we cannot raise our voices against an oppressor country?

I ask the common people of India why they have shut their minds, ears and hearts to this cold murder that we witness almost every day?

If India is a democracy then why is it not from the people, for the people and to the people?

If Kashmir is an integral part of India then why does it ban internet services in Kashmir during unrest and murder?

Why do they decline us the right to speak about the atrocities done to us?

On April 12th, 2016, a Kashmiri girl was allegedly molested by an army officer in the Handwara district of Kashmir, following which protests occurred against this disgraceful act of the army, by the youth of the valley.

And 4 more people, including a woman fell prey to the unquestioned bullets of the Indian army in Kashmir.

We are not against India. We are against the injustice done by it. We demand to repeal the AFSPA that gives the Indian army undue impunity and due to which they cannot be held responsible or answerable for the bullets they savagely fire.

I ask the UN that the very first line of Chapter 2 called ‘Dimensions of International Justice and Social Justice’, states that ‘The Charter of UN makes no explicit distinction between international justice, or justice among nations and social justice, or social justice among people’

So I ask the UN why they cannot do justice to my motherland.

I ask them what will it take to evolve their consciences enough to finally intervene and serve justice to this part of the globe?

Will it take a wiped off nation and every single drop of blood, of Kashmiris, to finally resolve this issue?

Really, where is the justice they boast about in their preambles and forums?

This is an open appeal to the people of this world, rather the ‘humans’ of the world to protest against the genocide that is happening in Kashmir. This is an appeal to humanity (if any left),to all the political leaders of the world, to all the justice serving world organizations, to the common people of this world, and to the intellectuals, if not anything, please protest against AFSPA and help us to repeal it.

Come out on streets and show us that we cannot do without high profile officials and ministries to get justice.

Come out on the streets to remind each one of us that it is we that make these ministers, these governments and these nations and they are answerable to us.

Come out on the streets, irrespective of cast, creed, ethnicity and religion and show us that you don’t have to belong to a certain religion or a nation to stand against injustice and violation of rights.

To open your hearts you just have to be human.

Your’s truly

(A common Kashmiri girl)

The article first appeared in print edition of April 20, 2016.

The views expressed in this article are writers own and can be reached at [email protected]


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