My Kashmir

In a statement, the Pakistan Foreign Office has strongly condemned the actions taken by the Indian authorities on Saturday when dozens of protesters were injured after they had gathered for a procession to mark Ashura. At least 25 people were seriously injured and removed to hospitals while 40 suffered injuries of various kinds. Doctors at hospitals say their bodies had been pelted with rubber bullets, while many had also suffered the effects of tear gas. This is not new. It has happened again and again in Kashmir. The special laws in place in the area, which allow security forces permission to take extraordinary actions, violate the human rights of people in the valley consistently and are used without fail by the Indian security agencies to do so. The idea of course is to terrorize people and prevent any kind of uprising against the Indian government in New Delhi.

The Pakistan government has noted that a religious procession was targeted and people participating in it attacked by security agencies. It has called on the UN and other agencies to take note of what happened in Kashmir and to prevent further actions of a similar kind. There has been too much death, too much injury, too much blood flowing in Kashmir. There was no reason to disrupt peaceful Ashura day precessions in the valley. The fact that this happened simply shows the intent of the Indian government to continue its policy of terror in Kashmir and other areas.

Once again Muslims appear to have been especially targeted with the use of rubber bullets and tear gas against Ashura day marchers. In this too there is a message. Quite obviously the New Delhi government’s strategy of silencing the voice of minorities continues. It is astonishing that the world has not taken greater notice of what is happening in Kashmir. Similar incidents elsewhere have met with angry reactions from world leaders and agencies including the UN. We cannot continue to permit a situation in which the people of Kashmir are targeted for violent attacks by a hostile occupying power. The sight of bodies hit by pellets has shaken all those who have witnessed them. The youth in particular have been made a special target. These are serious violations of rights which must not be tolerated by the world.