Human Rights in the Indian Kashmir as an Element of the India–Pakistan Conflict in 1989–2015
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Uniwersytet SWPS
Publication date: 2015-12-31
Stosunki Międzynarodowe – International Relations 2015;51(4):219-236
Kashmir remains one of the focal points in relations between India and Pakistan. The problem of human rights violations in Indian-administered Kashmir gained importance when widespread anti-Indian insurgency began in the Kashmir Valley in 1989. Since then it has been one of the focal points of the protracted Kashmir conflict between India and Pakistan. The Kashmiri insurgents received military support from the militants infiltrating the ‘line of control’ from the Pakistan-administered Kashmir, with the approval of the ISI, Pakistan’s intelligence, and its army. Pakistan has always denied these allegations. Nevertheless, the insurgence exacerbated the situation along the ‘line of control’ and directly affected India’s decision to tighten the rules in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). Such policy still determines the everyday life of the people in J&K. There are several acts that pave the way for impunity of armed forces, among them Jammu and Kashmir Pubic Safety Act (PSA) and Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). Taking into consideration the fact, that according to the PSA maintenance of public order means ‘promoting, propagating, or attempting to create, feelings of enmity or hatred or disharmony’ it is easy to conclude that anyone who is inconvenient for the government or for the armed forces, may be incarcerated without real charge or trial. This problem has been a subject of thorough research by both local and international non-governmental organizations. As a result many reports have been published, for example Everyone Lives in Fear: Patterns of Impunity in Jammu and Kashmir by Human Rights Watch, and others. The above mentioned legislative acts and the restrictions imposed by security forces in Kashmir remain important point of reference in anti-India rhetoric of political and military establishment of Pakistan and serve as a useful tool for building a negative image of India as a country where massive violations of human rights are being perpetrated against Muslims in J&K. At the same time the problem of human rights in Azad Kashmir or Gilgit Baltistan is being purposely neglected by Pakistani authorities. This fact does not, however, take the responsibility from Indian government to address the human rights problems in Indian Administered Kashmir.
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