The three-year-old who witnessed his grandfather’s violent death in Sopore, Jammu and Kashmir, has been seen replicating the sound of gunshots as “thak thak” on his innocent lips.
The image of him sitting on his grandfather’s bullet-ridden chest has raised many questions on the glorious notions of human rights as upheld by world leaders – in theory.
Bashir Ahmed Khan was allegedly shot dead by India in the town of Indian-administered Kashmir. Locals reported that Khan was pulled out of his car and shot dead by security forces in front of the innocent child. The bewailing family of Khan accused the security forces of putting the child on the lifeless and bare chest of the deceased “for taking pictures.” The barbaric incident yet again ruined the life of a child, triggered an uproar on social media and lead to thousands chanting “Freedom from India.”
The Kashmiris’ struggle for the right of self-determination has cost innumerable lives in the valley. The everlasting Draconian attitude of India led it to massacre thousands and to turn a blind eye to numerous U.N. peace resolutions.
The situation took a particularly deplorable turn when in mid-2019, the Modi-led government abrogated the special status of Kashmir given under Article 370 and 35A of the Indian constitution. The gradual encroachment on Kashmiris right to self-determination has been audaciously carried out by the BJP government – especially by allowing Indian nationals and their children residing in Jammu and Kashmir to be eligible for permanent residence. Stripping off the constitutional rights of Kashmiris, India has been unabashed in changing the demographic and political status of Indian-administrated Kashmir. The restrictions on people’s everyday freedom of movement imposed in occupied Kashmir on the 5th of August 2019 by the Indian government have now stretched over months, leading to the forceful confinement of perhaps millions as their mobility is strangled.
Under the draconian rule of India, hardly a day passes where a Kashmiri does not lose their life to Indian security forces. The everyday living conditions of Kashmiris are far from normal due to persistent strikes, shutte-downs, protests, rallies, house arrests and curfews in the valley of Kashmir. Maiming, incapacitating and killings are norms of the day for hapless Kashmiris.
No conceptualization of human rights or constitutionality in the world allows the Indian state to continue such behaviour. Replicating the model used against the Palestinian Arab people of the occupied West Bank by Israel, it seems that India hopes to implement a combination of brutal repression and settler colonialism. However, even though the Indian forces could take the lives of Burhan Wani and Bashir Khan; they cannot liquidate the decades-long journey of self-determination. The growing repression in valley will only invite hatred and resistance. In this explosive situation, the United Nations must play its role as a global peacemaker and as a force for stability in the world.
Humanity demands self-determination, justice and peace for all. It requires the safety of all people irrespective of their colour, creed and nationality. In Kashmir, just as in so many other unfortunate lands, the elimination of “Thak Thak” could provide some semblance of a bright future for generations to come.