By News Desk
UNITED NATIONS, Geneva—A Kashmir Delegation arrives at the 32nd session of UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva at the worst possible time for India. Protests and resistance against the Indian military occupation is rising. And India’s ability to justify its repression creates uneasy moments for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his foreign trips. Recently, he has faced Kashmiri protesters during his visits to United States and Europe.
A group of activists from Indian-occupied Kashmir are leading the Kashmiri delegation to the largest international gathering of diplomats and human rights defenders at Palais des Nations in Geneva. Rights activists and defenders will interact with representatives of more than 190 countries and contribute to the global humanitarian agenda.
The Kashmir Delegation’s presence counters India’s desperate attempts to play down the conflict at international forums.
“This is the time to push India in a corner over its horrid record in Kashmir,” said Altaf Hussain Wani, who belongs to Srinagar but lives with his family in exile in Pakistan like thousands of other Kashmiris.
Kashmir is the oldest pending item on the agenda of UN Security Council.
Violating its international commitments to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, India has issued non bail-able arrest warrants on Monday for Yasin Malik and Syed Ali Geelani, two leading peaceful freedom activists. The Indian clampdown is designed to stop Malik and Geelani from organizing a seminar in Srinagar on Israel-style settlements that India plans in Kashmir to move population from India into the valley and change demography in its favor.
“We need to draw more international attention to India’s plans and actions in Kashmir,” said Syed Faiz Naqshbandi, a lawyer who belongs to Srinagar and lives in Pakistan.
Pakistan is home to the largest population of Kashmiris outside Kashmir. Hundreds of families are also exiled here from parts of Kashmir under occupation. They are here to escape unrest and suppression.
Activists in Kashmir have been getting creative in their peaceful resistance to Indian occupation. In May, 2016, hotels and halls in Srinagar refused to allow a Kashmiri author to hold a book launch. Hall managers said they feared Indian reprisals. So the author launched the book on the roadside, drawing international admiration, sympathy and support.
“Kashmiris have to be creative and avail all opportunities to internationalize what is happening in Kashmir,” said Ishtiyaq Hameed, a senior member of All Parties Hurriyat Conference, or the APHC, the umbrella group of Kashmiri political parties. Hameed is a member of the Kashmir Delegation to UN, Geneva.
Mrs. Shamim Shawl launched a book titled, “Prisoner No.100”, the riveting story of a female Kashmiri prisoner in India’s notorious Tihar jail.
The eight-member Kashmir Delegation for UNHRC’s 32nd session consists of Altaf Hussain Wani-Delegation leader and senior Kashmir freedom leader, senior APHC leader-Syed Faiz Naqshbandi and Ishtiyaq Hameed, senior Kashmir freedom leader Mir Tahir Masood, senior woman Kashmiri leader Mrs. Shamim Shawl, Ahmed Quraishi-Executive Director Youth Forum For Kashmir (YFK); an international Kashmir Lobbying Group, Prof. Shagufta Ashraf-human rights defender working with women & children and Zartasha Niazi-human rights defender.