On October 18, 2019, INDUS-Mobilizing People’s Power
organized an event in New York University (NYU) on the humanitarian crisis in Indian administered Kashmir after the revocation of the special status of Indian administered Kashmir by the state of India. This event was moderated by Raza Rumi, President of Indus. In his introductory remarks, Raza Rumi highlighted that the Kashmir issue has become a global issue and international media is talking about the Kashmir crisis and deteriorating human rights situation in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Fundamental objective of the event was to focus on the humanitarian crisis in Kashmir.
Tahira Naqvi, senior lecturer at NYU read an essay written by a group of women activists who visited the Kashmir valley. The essay reflected the sad reality of the crisis of human rights in Kashmir. The essay also highlighted the tragic suicide committed by a young Kashmiri guy Yawar who was badly tortured by Indian armed forces in Kashmir.
Mahum Shabir from the City University of New York pointed out that when we talk about the Kashmir issue we should keep in mind the language that we use for this, some people call it a dispute between India and Pakistan others call it a conflict or humanitarian crisis. The real language is colonization and occupation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The demand for self-determination by Kashmiris is older than the Indian state itself which goes back to the 1930s. Even before the accession of Kashmir with India, it was considered as sovereign territory. She was also of the view that Kashmir is going through the worst kind of curfew and hardship. People are not allowed to even go out for medical emergencies. India is a colonizing force in Kashmir and controlling the region by using its military might.
Salman Rawala a New York based lawyer talked about the Kashmir crisis in the context of international law and legality of the crisis. Article 370 of the Indian constitution was created through the instrument of accession between Kashmir and India which was a conditional agreement. The article urges the Indian state to consult state constituent assembly before making any legal changes in Kashmir. He also highlighted that there is a need for Kashmiri Muslims around the world to play a critical role in awakening the consciousness of the international community. Like other communities, Kashmiris in the US should get united and start lobbying for their rights and they should raise the issue at international forums including the UN and other human rights organizations. Even within India Kashmiri leaders should go to Indian Supreme Court to challenge Indian actions that changed the status of Kashmir.
Rafiq Kathawari highlighted that all kinds of draconian laws have been imposed in Kashmir which allows Indian armed forces to arrest anybody without giving any reason and keep him in jail in the name of investigation for a period of two years. He stated that there are three parties to the Kashmir dispute, Kashmir is number one, and India and Pakistan will have to decide who is number 2nd and 3rd party to the dispute.
The Event was attended by New York based Pakistani community leaders and human rights activists.