India stop human rights abuses in Kashmir, restore communication and freedom of movement
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Dear Prime Minister,
Re: Kashmir Crisis
With reference to the escalating crisis in Indian Administered Kashmir, we, Australian Kashmiris, are deeply concerned by the recent developments and are writing to you, to urge you to take action.
The Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir is an internationally recognised disputed territory. On the 5th August 2019, the Indian Parliament, led by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu Nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) revoked Article 370 and 35(A).
Article 370, has provided sovereignty to the Kashmiri people since 1948. It ensured the state its own constitution, flag, independence over all matters except foreign affairs, defence and communications.
The United Nations Security Council in 1948, declared that the issue of Kashmir’s future should be determined by a plebiscite. Kashmiris should decide whether to accede to India, Pakistan or become an independent state. The United Nation’s Security Council Resolutions are international law and as this resolution has not been withdrawn, Kashmir’s future should be decided by the people of Kashmir and not by the BJP.
On 4th August 2019, the Indian Government deployed thousands of troops to the already existing 700,000 troops there. Political leaders in Kashmir have been held under house arrest. The territory is under complete lockdown. All communication networks have been cut off; both internet, mobiles and landlines. There is no way of reaching relatives or families in the disputed region. Hindu pilgrims from other Indian states were told to evacuate and authorities informed citizens to stock up on supplies, which are running low after one week.
The unilateral decision by the Indian Parliament to revoke Jammu & Kashmir’s special status, without consulting the people of Kashmir, depriving them off their civil liberties and holding them hostage in their own land, is both illegal and unconstitutional.
India’s complete disregard of International Laws, will provide an avenue for a new period of conflict, oppression and bloodshed in the region. It is in not in the interest for the leaders of the west nor the east to bear witness to this.
Kashmiris are unable to protest online or on the ground. The Public Safety Act is used against those protesting online and weaponry is used to injure or kill Kashmiris in order to suppress their right to self-determination. This has allowed thousands of political prisoners to be held without trial. The civilian population has been suppressed for over three decades and denied some of their basic civil liberties. This is not only in contravention of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but also The United Nations Charter.
The people of Kashmir demand a referendum on the right to self-determination. Kashmiris are currently being held in an open air prison, while India determines their fate and the world watches.
Australian Kashmiris urge the Australian Government to appeal to the United Nations to intervene and protect the constitutional rights of Kashmiris, by placing pressure on the Indian Government to:
1. Stop the International Human Rights abuses in Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir,
2. Restore communication and freedom of movement by ceasing house arrests and detention of innocent people, and
3. Uphold the promise made by Prime Minister Nehru in 1947 that people of Kashmir should have a referendum on the status of Kashmir.
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