By Abdul Hameed Lone
Jammu and Kashmir is a UN-recongized disputed territory. The people of Jammu and Kashmir were promised the right to self-determination by the United Nations itself. India, as the occupying party, not only accepted this right, but its first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, repeatedly made the pledge to the Kashmiri people that as and when the situation would improve, Kashmiris would be allowed to decide their future through plebiscite. However, India later reneged on its commitment. Nevertheless, the territory enjoyed special status under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution until August 5, 2019. Subsequently, New Delhi unilaterally revoked this status, thereby illegally annexing the disputed territory to India.
The repeal of Article 370 was challenged in the Indian Supreme Court. In violation of Jammu and Kashmir’s internationally recognized disputed status, India’s top court has upheld the Modi government’s decision to strip the territory of its special status.
The verdict, although disappointing, is not a surprise. This is the same court that upheld Kashmiri leader Afzal Guru’s death sentence, although its chief justice admitted that the evidence of the alleged crime was inconclusive, and that the judgment came “to satisfy the collective conscience of the nation”.
A few years ago, the same court issued a judgment giving India’s Hindu majority the right to build a temple in place of the historic Barbari Mosque. The decision came as a shock to legal luminaries who have disparaged the acumen of judges on the country’s highest court. It is naive to expect a fair judgment from Indian courts as the rule of law has been buried under the rubble of BJP Hindutva policy by the Indian government.
It is obvious that the decisions concerning these cases are taken within the confines of the establishment and that all that remains for the judges is to recount the judgment. Although much awaited, this decision is a slap in the face of the freedom-seeking nations and institutions of the world who are eloquently advocating a peaceful and amicable resolution to the Kashmir issue.
India, and especially the current government, has expansionist designs that can be detrimental, disastrous and devastating not only for the South Asian region, but for the entire world. This appalling judgment should leave no doubt in anyone’s mind that peaceful resolution of the protracted Kashmir problem is not part of India’s agenda. It is therefore up to the World Body to mobilize all its resources to dissuade India from embarking on its nefarious designs.
It must be noted that the decision of the Indian Supreme Court contravenes UN Resolutions 122 and 126 adopted on January 24, 1957 and December 2, 1957 respectively. These resolutions prohibit any unilateral action aimed at changing the disputed nature of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
This decision will in no way dampen the spirit of Kashmiris who want freedom, guaranteed by the UN, from Indian occupation.
It is up to the UN to decide whether the world body prefers a cataclysmic outcome to this struggle or whether it will restrict India to ensure peace, tranquility and justice in Kashmir.
His Excellency, Antonio Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, has himself declared on 8 August 2019, that “the position of the United Nations on this region (Kashmir) is governed by the Charter of the United Nations and the applicable United Nations security regulations. Council Resolutions.”
We, therefore, call for the intervention by the United Nations Security Council to ensure early peaceful settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the World Body.
The writer is Hurriyat leader and Vice Chairman Friends of Kashmir International