Kashmir - The Muslims of Kashmir are Waiting for Help
Like many other Muslim peoples on the continent of Asia, the people of Kashmir spent the second half of the twentieth century in a state of war and conflict. The main reason why there has been no peace or stability in Kashmir for some 50 years is the oppression of the occupying Indian administration.
Kashmir is an economically important area of the world, with its gold, emerald and ruby mines. Since this region under Indian occupation lies high up in the mountains, it is a strategic locale that can be used to dominate the whole surrounding area. That is why Kashmir, with its strategic importance and underground wealth, has attracted the attention of many nations throughout history. However, the most important reason why countries in the region are so interested in Kashmir is its being a Muslim country.
It seems that neither India, known with its prejudiced attitude against Islam, nor Russia and China have any intention of allowing Kashmir to achieve its objective of becoming an independent Islamic state, or else to unite with Muslim Pakistan. The fact that the Kashmiri people are Muslim is the fundamental reason for the economic embargo, acts of violence, unjustified detentions and torture that they are subjected to. In this way, the powers in question aim to prevent Muslims from gaining power, both economically and politically. In the same way, they also want embargoes and international pressure to prevent the Muslim Pakistan government from supporting the people of Kashmir.
Maneuvering Over Kashmir
The Indian sub-continent remained under British hegemony until the end of World War II. When the British departed, Indian Muslims wished to have their own state and so established Pakistan. There was an exchange of populations between ia and Pakistan. Many Muslims living in India migrated to Pakistan. Jammu/Kashmir, however, with its overwhelmingly majority Muslim population, remained under Indian control, by means of that country's intrigues and support from the British. Kashmir has been living under Indian oppression ever since.
The Kashmiri Muslims wished to resist the oppressive Indian rule and to gain their independence. Indian forces carried out three major massacres in the country, in 1947, 1965 and 1971. Tens of thousands of Kashmiri Muslims were killed. More than 4,000 women were tortured and raped. Schools providing religious education were shut down in order to prevent any Islamic awareness.18 The killing and assimilation movement took on its most ruthless form after 1990. People were detained for no reason and tortured to death. Homes were looted, defenseless people subjected to all kinds of persecution, and newspapers and schools shut down. Nor was the Indian government content with restricting itself to armed violence. Dams supposedly needed for agricultural purposes were also employed to oppress Muslims. They were filled up to the brim and then suddenly opened when the monsoon rains came. The lower-lying areas, Kashmir and Pakistan, were thus flooded. Thousands of people lost their lives as a result, and the affected areas suffered great damage.
In October, 1993, there was a major attack on the Hazratbal Mosque in the Kashmiri capital, Srinagar. The Indian authorities surrounded the mosque, which they said was being supposedly used as a military base of operations by Muslims, for about a month. More than 100 people were killed during that time. A further 300 innocent people were detained. Electricity and water supplies to the city were cut off.
In addition to the persecution by the Indian government in Kashmir, there is also a serious refugee problem. Below you can read the impressions of Sefer Turan, a television reporter for Turkish channel Kanal 7, of the refugee camps in question. These alone are enough to stir a person's conscience:
The Ambor refugee camp was set up in 1990 for Kashmiris fleeing Jammu Kashmir. Living standards are far below the norm. People are crammed into tiny mud houses. In the one-room house we entered, there was a single bed. When I asked how many people lived there, I was told, "Nine." The camp consists of 214 families, or 1,110 individuals. It is enough to enter one of the mud huts they live in to see how low their standard of living really is. The huts generally consist of two rooms. There are a few unusable pots and pans. Also one or two beds, if they can properly be called that. A mother sits in the corner with a baby on her lap. A pan boils over an earth fire, where a few branches that someone has managed to scrounge up are burning. There's absolutely nothing to eat anywhere! I was too embarrassed to look under the lids off any of the pans. In none of the tents was there anything to eat or to sleep on! A very old piece of cloth was spread out in the middle of the floor in one of the tents. Maybe that was used as a bed. When I asked how many people lived in that tent, I was told 11. Outside, a single pot was boiling … 19
The above example is just one of the refugee dramas experienced all over the world. The living conditions of the millions of refugees in Palestine, the sufferings of the nearly one million Muslim refugees during the Kosovo War, and the hundreds of thousands of Chechen refugees are even worse.
In all these situations there lies wisdom that all people of conscience need to grasp. There is wisdom in all things that happen in the world, as they are intended to be a test. The lesson that believers must learn from the experiences we have been considering is the clear importance of explaining the existence of Allah and the rewarding morality of the Qur'an to the whole world. What they need to do in the face of that truth is to fulfill their duty of waging a war of ideas against all tendencies that deny Allah, and to lead men from doing wrong and command them to do what is right. In this way, people with strong consciences, who fear Allah will emerge, and all cruelty will disappear. Those who oppress others will pay the price for their deeds, both in this world and the next. Allah reveals this truth in the following verses:
Those who oppose Allah and His Messenger will be subdued and overcome as those before them were also subdued and overcome. We have sent down Clear Signs. The disbelievers will have a humiliating punishment. On the Day Allah raises up all of them together, He will inform them of what they did. Allah has recorded it while they have forgotten it. Allah is a Witness of all things. (Surat al-Mujadala: 5-6)
The basis of this struggle is a contest of ideas to be waged against all kinds of cruelty, conflict, and the atheist philosophies that provide the foundation for disorder. In this struggle, the basis of all peace, harmony and love, namely people's consciences, will be stirred into action and innocent people delivered from suffering. Allah has revealed the glad tidings of the outcome of this struggle:
Rather We hurl the truth against falsehood and it cuts right through it and it vanishes clean away! Woe without end for you for what you portray! (Surat al-Anbiya': 18)
Cruelty Ignored by the World
The fact that India could carry out such a heinous policy of oppression in Kashmir for over 50 years is the result of overt and covert support it has received from some circles in the West. Muslims in Kashmir were abandoned to the oppressive regime of the Hindus as a result of U.N. decisions, which were mostly not even put into practice. The population of Kashmir is overwhelmingly Muslim. Its fight for freedom and the rightful support lent by Pakistan were undermined by the unjust policies of some Western circles.
While some circles in Europe try to ignore the question of Kashmir as much as possible, a certain part of the American media report the issue to the world community subjectively. Close examination show that some U.S. dailies seldom touch on the savagery in Kashmir. On the rare occasions that they do, the situation is portrayed as one of "putting down an internal rebellion in a part of India." For example, on Jan. 22, 1990, the New York Times carried an opinion piece accusing Pakistan of supporting so-called "separatist" Muslim groups in Kashmir which damaged stability in the country and that this had caused an outrage in Pakistan. 20 It is possible to see subjective comments of this kind throughout the Western media.
Indian pressure in the region and moves towards assimilation have grown worse in recent years. There exist "fanatical Hindu groups" that the government says it is unable to control, although everyone knows that the conflict between them is a sham. These organizations aim at eliminating the Kashmiri Muslims altogether, as in the Babur Shah Mosque massacre.
How can we account for this situation? Why do some circles insist on leaving the people of Kashmir to face Indian oppression and also support terrorism from that country? The answer to that question is the intense activities of the anti-Islamic lobbies. These may sometimes be extremely influential over the administrative mechanisms of the West, which casts a shadow over the West's pro-democratic and pro-human rights stance.
In conclusion, the Muslims of Kashmir have not only had to defend themselves against India, or rather radical Hindu organizations, but have also had to wage an ideological war against these lobbies that support such groups behind the scenes.
Anti-Islamic lobbies appear behind what is happening on the propaganda level in particular. The violence faced by Kashmiri Muslims is truly terrible. Just as has happened throughout history, however, the people of Kashmir are portrayed by propaganda in a very different light. The cruelty and torture inflicted on innocent people is covered up, so the world remains silent in the face of what is going on. People behave as if bitter reports from human rights organizations don't even exist. The people of Kashmir, who oppose Indian oppression and are fighting to live in peace in their own land, are portrayed to the world as "radical groups."
Whereas the only desire of the Kashmiri people, who have been subjected to Indian control for over half a century, is to be able to live by their religion, not to be oppressed simply because they are Muslims, and to own a land where they can raise their children in peace and safety.
The fact that the Kashmiri Muslims are unable to enjoy that most natural right and are subjected to a host of tortures underlines once again how urgent and vital is the need for Islamic morality to be strengthened against atheism and for people of conscience to become aware of what is going on.
Clearly, people of good conscience cannot simply shut their eyes and ears to all this. Putting this enormous injustice in the public spotlight and explaining that living in peace and justice is possible only through following the morality of the Qur'an is one of the most important responsibilities of our times. It is also a duty of all Muslims to tell believers of the good news of Allah's help and also to warn the wrongdoers of the fate that awaits them if they do not desist. In the verses below Allah describes the vastly different rewards that await both the wrongdoers and those who believe:
We will certainly help Our Messengers and those who believe both in the life of this world and on the Day the witnesses appear, the Day when the excuses of the wrongdoers will not help them. The curse will be on them and they will have the most evil Home. (Surah Gafir: 51-52)