By Hamza Shams Abbasi & Mahita Owk :-
Kashmir is not just a valley, but it is heaven on earth. Not to say, but the beauty of Kashmir is incomparable. But, Unfortunately, heaven has turned into hell for millions of people for years now. Kashmir is one of the highly disputed areas in the world.
Both India and Pakistan claim Kashmir as an integral part of their country since the time of independence, 1947. Violation of Human rights in Jammu and Kashmir is very high women are being raped, men are being killed, children don’t get basic education, and the violence has hampered the growth in the region.
The United Nations has played a major role in maintaining peace in the region, but in 2019 the abolition of article 370 has come as a shock not just to the Kashmiri’s but to the entire world.
When India got independence from British rule, many princely states were either joining India or Pakistan. But Raja Hari Singh, the then king of Kashmir, did not want to join either of the countries but wanted to stay independent. The story said is that Pakistan sent its troops to Kashmir, and under pressure, Maharaja Hari Singh asked India for help. India agreed to help Kashmir, but only if Kashmir joins India. That is when Maharaja Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession and agreed to accede Dominance of India.
However, Pakistan claims that India forced Maharaja Hari Singh to do so. Now, by abrogating Article 370, India has taken over Kashmir completely. The ruling BJP party made sure to arrest all the political personalities of the region and completely cut internet and mobile services before abrogating article 370. Kashmir’s had complete communication blackout, without any connections with the outside world. Slowly, internet services have restored and political leaders have been released.
Moreover, it was so strategically planned that there was no way for people to even oppose what was happening there as they were not aware of it. In addition to that, a massive number of troops have been sent to Kashmir before the abrogation of article 370 was announced. The issue was not even internationally discussed as India kept telling the world that it is the internal issue of the county and it doesn’t want any foreign body involved in it.
Although, India justifies its moves by saying that it was necessary to do so to maintain law and order. This communication blackout and the insurgency has affected millions of Kashmiri’s. Their business was shut, exports and imports were restricted, and almost every individual struggled to make their living. More importantly, their freedom was lost, the freedom to choose to be what they want to be. The question that remained unanswered is, is this what Kashmiri’s want? If not this, then what? Kashmir has become a lost paradise.
(Mr Abbasi and Mahita Owk are the media students of University of Swinburne, Melbourne. Mahita is an Indian national and Abbasi belongs to Pakistan)