’Yasin Malik Convicted to Gag voice of Freedom Movement’’

Written by: Ms. Amna Razzaq, Research Fellow,  PRCCSF

For decades, Kashmiri people are struggling for their just right to self-determination from subjugation. Generation after generation led by valiant leadership in Illegally Indian Occupied Kashmir (IIOJK) had waged an undeterred struggle to free themselves from the clutches of slavery rendering uncounted sacrifices in terms of rapes, torture, pellet guns firing and extra-judicial killings.

Other than Kashmiri locals, renowned Kashmiri leaders also rendered sacrifices for their cause suffering fake cases, detentions and torture showing unflinching courage and determination. Fifty-six-year-old Yasin Malik stands tall among leadership in occupied Kashmir and rose to prominence in 1989 when he had begun a freedom struggle along with his young colleagues. He was apprehended with imprisonment and sent to jail while his other aides were killed in clashes with Indian Occupying forces. While in jail, Malik had undergone a transition in his political insight and in this connection, he launched a massive public mobilization campaign known as Safar-e-Azadi (Journey to Freedom) involving the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

In his efforts to engage the Indian and Pakistani leadership as well as the Kashmiri Diaspora and the international community for a political and peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute, he emerged as a leader and champion of dialogue. His words turned out to be right when the Kashmir Valley went through a six-months long strike after the killing of Burhan Wani in 2016. Malik, along with Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Syed Ali Gilani, refused to meet India’s all-party parliamentary delegation in Srinagar and termed it a futile exercise. It virtually sealed Yasin’s fate and New Delhi decided to give him an exemplary punishment.

The ruling BJP regime, led by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, adopted a militaristic approach to deal with the Kashmir conflict and people associated with the Kashmir Freedom Movement. The research works of various Human Rights (HR) bodies across the globe have exposed the paramilitary forces in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) were using torture as an Instrument of Control (IoC), to quash the Kashmiri struggle for independence by killing thousands of Kashmiris.

Major changes were made in articles 370 and 35A of the Indian constitution to make basic changes in the status of IIOJK. When Yasin Malik and other Kashmiri leadership resorted to protesting these illegal acts of the Modi government, National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in the Indian capital New Delhi sentenced Yasin Malik to life imprisonment in a fake terror funding case.

Similar to India’s fear of late veteran Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Gilani’s burial, who was a martyr and symbol of independence for Kashmir, as it did not allow his funeral to be held, Delhi is afraid of Yasin Malik. Ahead of Malik’s sentencing, India had deployed an additional 15000 of its occupational forces in Kashmir and put many parts of the region under yet another communication blockade, which shows the quantum of sentencing had been pre-decided.

Tabinda Wani, a Kashmiri university scholar opined that Malik’s life imprisonment has now further reduced the space for negotiation on the Kashmir dispute. “Malik laid down their arms to embrace the path of non-violence and finally landed in jail for life. It leaves little hope for experimenting with dialogue in resolving disputed issues,” said Wani.

Another Kashmiri political analyst Reyaz Ahmad argued that “Malik will always be relevant to the political scene in Kashmir with his life imprisonment only enhancing his stature as a symbol of Kashmiris’ desire for freedom. His incarceration will be a perpetual source of grievance for Kashmiris and a fuel to the sentiment for freedom.”

People all over the world are fighting for their political rights but the state of Jammu & Kashmir is the only exception where the political voices are being crushed by the judicial onslaught, registering sedition cases against them through their so-called biased investigating agencies which are not spearing even family members of the resistance leaders.

Even the brutalities have their own limits, beasts too get exhausted but Indian atrocities, their unjust behaviour and the iron fist have no end. By crushing the legitimate movement through its military might, Indian authorities have tried their best to muzzle Kashmir’s freedom voice but utterly failed to do so. In the deceitful narrative of hyper-nationalism, to pave the way to grab power, Delhi rulers have flooded its prisoners with Kashmiris. They sell their aggressive posture, through their paid media houses to befool their vote bank.

Several pro-freedom people are arrested in the name of “Terror Funding”, and are languished in Tihar jail without any legal aid including Mohammad Yaseen Malik, Shabir Ahmad Shah, Dr. G. M. Bhat, Altaf Ahmad Shah, Ayaz Akbar, Peer Saifullah, Raja Mehraj-ud-din Kalwal, Nayeem Ahmad Khan, Farooq Ahmad Dar, Shahid-ul-Islam, Syed Shahid Yousuf, Syed Shakeel Ahmad and businessman Zahoor Ahmad Watali. Even the females have no exemption from Indian oppression; Syeda Asia Indrabi, Fehmeeda Sofi and Nahida Nasreen’s apprehension is a case in point.

The Indian state has historically treated Kashmiri lives as expendable. Yasin’s life is in grave danger. Indian courts have in particular treated Kashmiris who resist the Indian state with the cruellest forms of punishment. Maqbool Bhat was hanged without the due process of law. Afzal Guru was sentenced to death in a trial that was aimed to satisfy the collective conscience of India. This blood-thirsty “conscience” is now attempting to take the life of yet another son of Kashmir. However, as the saga of brutalities goes on, the Indian government must be aware that the detention of one Kashmiri leader would not serve its purpose as many more would rise for the cause and continue to struggle till the achievement of their goal.

TN Media News