A Muslim from Kashmir, where millions of Muslims live in suffering and that has literally turned into an open-air prison for them, wrote this on his blog this week.
Imagine that an open-air prison with a population of 7 million has been closed. Imagine living in a labyrinth with military camps in every district. Imagine the psychological trauma. Imagine you have got used to the trauma.
Imagine you spend 6 days indoors as the army patrols your doors. Imagine your baby crying from hunger and you have run out of baby food. Imagine that your young people like me have gone underground to avoid being detained and tortured.
Imagine that doctors cannot issue death certificates for the “dead.” Imagine firing at funerals and the bodies being polluted.
Imagine a democracy where you cannot say the word “Liberty.” Imagine a democracy that is in fact an occupation, colonialism. Imagine your father was taken away and never returned. Think of children dying every day.
Imagine you spend your spare time with stories of martyrs, rape and slaughter. Imagine your football pitch being surrounded by military camps. Imagine being slapped in the streets for not carrying your “identity card.”
Imagine that the definition of peace is “Only 10 people died, these things happen.”
Imagine you live here for one day.
I have lived here for 20 years. I live in Kashmir.
This is the latest letter from Kashmir, where Muslim blood flows.
Do not forget Kashmir. Do not remain silent in the face of what the oppressed Muslims in Kashmir are undergoing. Silence means collaboration with oppression.
But where is Kashmir? And what is the reason for this oppression?
The Indian subcontinent was under British rule until the end of the Second World War. After the British left, Indian Muslims founded Pakistan. Many Muslims living in India them moved to Pakistan. Yet although the Kashmiri region known as “Jammu and Kashmir” on the borders of India, Pakistan and China was 67% Muslim, it remained part of India due to various plots and intrigues on the part of the Indian rulers of the time. From that time some 4 million Muslims, according to figures for 2001, have lived under the persecution and oppression of the Indian government.
The Kashmiri Muslims wanted to escape that oppression and attain independence, but these demands resulted in three terrible massacres by Indian forces in 1947, 1965 and 1971. Tens of thousands of Kashmiri Muslims were martyred in these massacres, and more than 4,000 Muslims women were raped and tortured.
In the 1990s, the Indian administration stepped up its violent measures. Thousands of Muslims were detained for no reason and martyred under torture. Homes were looted, schools providing Islamic instruction and newspapers were closed down. The despotic administration went even further and open dam gates, flooding Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan, resulting in the loss of thousands of lives and terrible physical damage in the region. To date, thousands of Muslims are known to have been martyred in Kashmir, thousands of people have been mistreated in Indian prisons and thousands more have simply disappeared. The main reason for this persecution of the people of Kashmir, the acts of violence, the groundless arrests, the torture and the economic embargos is, without doubt, that the people of Kashmir are Muslims. Cruel policies are being used to try to stop Muslims becoming united and strong.
To look at what is going on from another perspective.
Kashmir is one of the world’s most important regions in terms of gold, emerald and ruby deposits. And since this region under Indian occupation stands on high mountains, it is easy to keep the whole area under control. Because of this strategic importance and underground wealth Kashmir is of interest to several countries. A great intrigue has been going on in Kashmir for many years, involving a number of countries.
We can say that for half a century, Kashmiri Muslims have been at war, not only with India, or radical Hindu organizations, but also anti-Islamic lobbies. The savagery these forces apply against Kashmiri Muslims is on a giant scale. However, as throughout history, through today’s various means of propaganda, what is going on in Kashmir and the region is being reflected very differently. Kashmiris who resist Indian oppression and strive to live in peace in their own lands are described as radicals, while India is depicted as a country striving against radical groups. Pakistan is alleged to be supporting radical groups, and that were it not for the incitement and encouragement given by Pakistan, the problems between Kashmir and India could be resolved very quickly. Pakistan is portrayed as the true cause of the problems, and people say that it would held the resolution of the problems if these countries came under powerful pressure from the West. This is the policy line regarding Kashmir of a number of countries.
Pakistan being forced away from the Kashmiri cause through threats of sanctions, being included on the list of terrorist countries or plentiful loans from Western countries will mean the immediate fall of an isolated Kashmir. All that the people of Kashmir, exposed to Indian oppression for half a century, want is to be able to live by their own religion, not to be persecuted simply for being Muslims and town land where they can raise their children in peace and safety.
Turkey has a major responsibility regarding the Kashmiri question. Turkey must develop and implement a rational policy on Kashmir in order to oppose the oppression and persecution and to support its co-religionists, the Muslims of Kashmir. In Indian policy that disregards Kashmir and ignores the oppression going on there, will place Turkey under a spiritual scourge and also clash with its historic identity. In order for Turkey to be truly influential across a wide stretch of land from “the Adriatic to China,” it needs to adopt a line that will win the love of the wronged people in that region.