UN Chief Concerned Over Worsening Situation in Kashmir

Kashmir has never been as tense as it is now braving military curfews, busy burying dead and nursing the injured running in thousands. Over fifty people as reported in the media have recently been killed in direct firing from Indian forces. The injured mostly through pellet gun firing have either lost their eyesight or are struggling to receive some medical aid to reduce the damage done to eyes and rest of the body. Kashmiris are confined to their respective homes due to imposed military curfew for the last 17 days.

United Nations Secretary General Ban KI Moon has shown serious concern for the prevailing situation especially in the light of human right violations of this magnitude. The UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told reporters that the UN chief has noted with concern the situation unfolding in Kashmir. "No one is denying that we are concerned about the happenings in Kashmir", Dujarric added.

India and Pakistan in a routine manner exchanged fire across the ceasefire line in Kashmir and even on the international border. Soldiers and the civilian population were targeted and scores perished while the two countries blamed each other for starting the skirmishes. The world community took the notice of escalating tensions resulting in warlike hysteria bound to have perilous consequences especially when the warring factions are known to possess unspecified number of nuclear bombs.

To put a check on the happenings UN swung into action and in June this year appointed Major General Per Lodin of Sewden to head the mission to monitor the ceasefire line between India and Pakistan. The United Nations Military Observers Group (UNMOGIP) has already been keeping the vigil on the ceasefire line for the last sixty seven years. Security Council mandate given in resolution 307 of 1971, UNMOGIP observes and reports on ceasefire violations along and across the line of control and the working boundary between nuclear rivals India and Pakistan. The new UN action has definitely brought some peace both on ceasefire line and on international border.

Though India has repeatedly shown displeasure for deployment of UNMOG on the ceasefire line or its presence in the cities of Kashmir especially in the capital city Srinagar; Pakistan, on the contrary, has welcomed the step right from the start. It is noteworthy that India is uncomfortable with third party mediation and insists on bilateral talks. But when Pakistan offers talks India takes a somersault and refuses to talk on Kashmir. It is very unfortunate when responsible political leadership like Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj issues irresponsible statements saying ´All Of Kashmir Is India´s´ or ´Kashmir is ours´ or even ´Kashmir is an integral part of India´ when the whole world recognizes Kashmir´s right of self determination as per UN resolutions. Kashmiris, as all know, do not recognize Kashmir to be a part of India.

Indian Express reports quoting United Nations Counter Terrorism Executive Director Jean-Paul Laborde stressing the need to resolve the Kashmir issue requiring goodwill of the member states and without this cooperation Kashmir issue and the problem of terrorism in the region due to the conflict cannot be addressed. The honesty and a clear good intent can pave the way for resolving the issue of Kashmir. Sofi Ahsan reports (Indian Express July 23, 2016), the drastic measures like stifling print and electronic media, ban on Internet, social media or suspension of mobile networks results in frustration and becomes counter-productive. Pakistan, in the meantime, has asked UNHCR to send a fact finding mission to Kashmir, reports Indian Express.

Indian Congress leader P. Chidambaram stated that India should assure the people of Kashmir that the grand bargain promised during the time of "accession" would be honoured. Chidambaram added that "we look at Kashmir as an issue of land, but it is a problem of people instead. Let the people of Kashmir frame their laws and we have to assure that we will respect identity, history, culture and religion and Kashmir needs a unique political solution".

However, the ruling BJP rejected Chidambaram´s Kashmir plan and apparently believes in using stringent measures to quell the volatile political situation in Kashmir with an iron hand. But political observers believe that Chidambaram´s statement is a policy matter to judge the reaction of people of Kashmir to the political concessions with definite political strings attached to India. The genuine leadership in Kashmir has time and again rejected such proposals and will settle with nothing less than total independence.

India´s NDTV reports that China monitoring situation in Kashmir hit hard on India and warned that in the continuous deteriorating political situation and escalating human right violation; China could take Pakistan’s side in the Kashmir dispute.

Professor Noam Chomsky, the American philosopher and an intellectual speaking to a Kashmiri author Mehboob Makhdoomi stated on the face of horrible atrocities committed, Indian army should leave Kashmir. Chomsky added that Indo-Pak conflict is ridiculous for both and both nations should agree to a federal structure which gives more or less independence for Kashmir.

People of Kashmir in a reminder appealed to United Nations to put pressure on India by calling it to implement the UN resolutions according the right of self determination under UN supervision. US Department Deputy spokesman Mark Toner in a statement stressed the need for India and Pakistan to engage in a direct dialogue to reduce tensions and decide pace and scope of dialogue on Kashmir. The normalisation of relations between Pakistan and India is vital to both countries and the region. Toner added.

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