Kashmir – and what you can do to help!

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By Sana Shoukat

It has been one long, devastating year since India began its brutal lockdown of the
disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir and placed a military siege and
communications blockade across the region. The Hindu-nationalist government
agenda under PM Modi has transpired into a reality, as the settler-colonial scheme
continues to alter the demographics of the nation.

While India’s heinous crimes within the state have been recorded over
the last 72 years, little has been done to unravel the chokehold it has on the region.
The right to self-determination was always a hopeless dream but has recently
turned into a dystopian nightmare since India’s decision in August to revoke
Kashmir of its special autonomy under Article 370.

2020 has seen worst of it so far as COVID-19 has taken over the world and heavily
affected the detained Kashmiris. The first case was detected in March, after which
Pakistan called on India to lift the blockade and allow essential supplies to be sent.
Despite multiple pleas and international outcry, the region remains under lockdown
as the number of cases rise with recent data showing nearly 25,000 cases.

A more crucial and cruel move by the Indian government is placing a new domicile
law of “Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Order (2020)”, which allows a person
who has resided in IOK for 15 years to call the occupied territory his or her place of
residency. It ultimately grants those from outside the region to seize and claim jobs,
land, and benefits, which were initially available to local Kashmiris only. According to
sources, nearly 1.74 million Indian workers are currently permitted to apply for
domicile certificates.

Demographic changes aren’t the only ones as environmental demolition ensues due
to the plethora of resources Kashmir offers to the Indian population. India is rapidly
following the same destructive path as the Israeli one with the occupied West Bank.
Apart from occupation of land, historical infrastructure, and separation of religious
entities, and cultural backgrounds, India is also strategically moving towards, what
seems to be, ethnic cleansing of a nation.

The international community has created a massive outcry and spoken out on
multiple platforms online and through international organizations to deal with the
issue that has been ongoing for more than seven decades. India’s decision to not only rid
Kashmiri’s of their basic human rights but also block out journalists, human rights
organizations, and international parties is leading towards a dark time in history,
once again.

If you’d like to help out, you can begin by informing yourself and learning more
about the situation online. All the information needed is one click away!
Another important way to help is to write a letter to a Member of Parliament or Senator.

You may also visit the following websites:

1: https://u4h.org.uk/muslim-charity-appeals/charity-work-in-kashmir
2: https://hhrd.org/new/kashmir
3: https://www.crisisgroup.org/asia/south-asia/kashmir/steps-towards-peace-putting-kashmiris-first

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