Kashmir: The Silence is Deafening, Prime Minister Trudeau
It is now approaching three weeks since the Indian leadership unilaterally abrogated Articles 35A and 370 of the Indian Constitution. These are the Articles that confer special status on the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Since that time, over 2,000 letters have been sent to Prime Minister Trudeau. Still we wait for a response.
The situation is urgent. The people of Kashmir Valley are under complete and indefinite lock down. They are forbidden to venture outside their homes thereby preventing them from access to food, medicines or freedom of movement in violation of the Geneva Convention. There are also Canadian citizens trapped in Kashmir that have not been able to leave.
Internet and mobile services remain blocked as tens of thousands of additional troops have been deployed to the state. These are in addition to the 700,000 Indian occupation troops already there that have indulged in wanton killings, rape and torture for decades.
While the situation is now URGENT the human rights and international law violations are not new. Over the last twenty years, Indian occupation troops have murdered more than 95,000 Kashmiris. Rape of women is also used as an instrument of war. Thousands of Kashmiri youth have simply disappeared. The use of pellet guns has resulted in thousands of children being blinded. Reports from human right observers who have returned from Kashmir over the last weeks, report of a rash of night raids where young children and teens are abducted by the Indian military, and their parents are afraid to speak of the abductions lest their children simply disappear.
Organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International as well as the UN High Commission for Human Rights (UNHCHR) have documented Indian state crimes against innocent Kashmiris. The UNHCHR’s latest report was released on July 8, 2019. Read both the 2018 and 2019 reports.
Canada had played a leading role in formulating the UN Security Council resolution in 1948 calling for an internationally supervised referendum in Jammu and Kashmir. The people of Jammu and Kashmir are still waiting 71 years later for a referendum to determine their future promised them through UN Security Council resolutions.
Write to Prime Minister Trudeau with copies to opposition parties and Senate Human Rights committee making it clear that:
- The state of Jammu and Kashmir is recognized as disputed territory by the United Nations and under International Law;
- No state has the legal right to unilaterally change that status;
- Modi's August 5 declaration revoking articles 370 and 35A of the Indian constitution is illegal;
- The unilateral abrogating of Article 370 by India revokes the guarantee of special status to Jammu and Kashmir. Article 370 was the contract between Kashmir’s leadership and India. Had that contract not been signed, Kashmir would not have acceded to India over 70 years ago.
- The revoking of Article 35A opens the floodgate for a settler-colonial project of moving in the occupier’s own population into Jammu and Kashmir. Settler-colonization needs to be condemned and not imposed on people in the twenty-first century.
Write to Prime Minister Trudeau asking him to speak up immediately against these illegal acts of the Indian government, specifically using our own Canadian domestic law to hold India accountable, and to show leadership at the United Nations.