As the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)’s 75th scheduled session draws closer, the need to highlight Indian atrocities in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) on the UN stage becomes ever more apparent. Civil liberties, human rights and local politics have been encroached upon from the Kashmiri people in IIOJK for over a year now, with no end in sight. The coronavirus pandemic has given the government further cause to deprive the Kashmiri people of their right to assembly and movement, yet the pandemic has not convinced the government to provide the basic liberty of internet and phone connections. The internet is available only sporadically and in many parts of Kashmir only via a flimsy 2G service. This has upended educational life, since disruption to the internet proves an insurmountable barrier to online classes. Totalitarian laws on censorship are enforced, which the Indian government uses to round up Kashmiri teenagers who post resistance on the internet.
Instead of getting better, Modi’s India is getting worse. He does nothing to allay the fears of the Kashmiris or of the world that his actions are part of a plan for ethnic cleansing- he has just enacted new criteria to make many more Indians eligible for “domicile certificates”, intending to bring in an influx of migrants to replace the Kashmiri population.
With the upcoming United Nations General Assembly session, it is important that the Pakistani team makes sure that all these facts are placed front and centre in front of the international community. Every passing day in lockdown is a day lost for Kashmiris. This past year has seen many neutral observers to notice this as well. The government must continue to stress this until the UN has no choice but to bring this issue back to the table.