By News Desk
UNITED NATIONS, Geneva—Kashmir is India’s hostage for seven decades, and the current state of emergency in occupied territories demands immediate international intervention, a leading political activist from Indian-occupied region told the UN Human Rights Council during 34th session.
The statement by Ishtiyaq Hameed, a senior leader of the APHC, the umbrella group of pro-freedom parties in Kashmir, comes at a time when India’s international standing has been damaged by military suppression and extrajudicial killings in the fresh wave of anti-India protests since July 2016.
Addressing state delegations and human rights defenders, Hameed painted a bleak picture of the current situation in the Kashmir valley.
“A new phase of terror by Indian occupation forces has been unleashed in the territory,” Hameed noted. He said the Indian military suppression “has resulted in killing 125 innocent Kashmiri civilians and injured more than ten thousand civilians since July 8, 2016.”
The UN’s top rights body heard how the Indian military crackdown relied heavily on the use of lethal weapons like pellet guns. In addition, Indian soldiers have orders to target the eyes of school- and college-age young Kashmiris to blind them permanently using pellet guns. Nearly 500 young Kashmir teenagers have partially or completely lost eyesight in eight months, Hameed said.
In January 2017, Indian forces fired teargas shells and pellets during protest against the ransacking of houses at Rohmoo in Pulwama, a district of Jammu & Kashmir. A 14-year-old orphan girl, Ifra Jan, stepped out of her home to look for her younger brother who had gone out to play with neighboring kids. As soon as she stepped out of her house, Indian soldiers sprayed pellet guns on her face. In seconds, this Kashmiri teenage girl, just 14, lost her eyesight.
“Let the international community listen to the wakeup call from Indian-occupied Kashmir. There is an emergency in the territory and the people of Jammu and Kashmir are sending out repeated SOS calls.”
There is no choice left for world nations except to support Kashmir in the face of Indian military suppression. “Everybody in every nation having belief in the values of morality and justice has to side with the oppressed people of Kashmir,” Hameed concluded.
The eight-member Kashmir Delegation for UNHRC’s 34th session consists of Altaf Hussain Wani-Delegation leader and senior Kashmir freedom leader, senior APHC leaders-Ishtiyaq Hameed, Syed Faiz Naqshbandi and Hassan Banna, Sardar Amjad Youssef Khan-Executive Director Kashmir Institute Of International Relations (KIIR), senior Kashmiri leader Mrs. Shamim Shawl, Ahmed Quraishi-Executive Director Youth Forum For Kashmir (YFK), an International Lobbying Group and Prof. Shagufta Ashraf-Human rights defender working with women & children.
Youth Forum For Kashmir (YFK) is Pakistan’s first pro-Kashmir, registered and nonpartisan International lobbying group led by young Kashmiris and Pakistanis working to ensure justice to Kashmiris living under Indian-military occupation.