Kashmiris facing state terrorism simply because they are Muslims, says leader of Pakistani-administered Kashmir
ISLAMABAD (Anadolu) – Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir is the “biggest hotspot” of Islamophobia in the world where New Delhi is punishing people just for being Muslims, the leader of the Pakistani-held side of the disputed territory said.
“The agenda of the BJP-RSS regime is driven by hatred, exclusionism and majoritarianism. It is because of the Indian government’s Hindutva policy that Kashmir is the biggest hotspot for Islamophobia in the world,” Sardar Masood Khan said on Twitter.
He was referring to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the fountainhead of India’s ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), which has been in power since 2014.
“People of Kashmir are being punished simply because they are Muslims. The region is also the biggest terrorist hotspot in the world as India forces are committing state terrorism against unarmed Kashmiris,” said Khan, who is president of Pakistani-administered Jammu and Kashmir, also known as Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
“We should have a strong conviction that the entire territory of Jammu and Kashmir belongs to Pakistan. India has no claim over the territory other than that of an occupier. We are not fighting for a distant land. These (Kashmiris) are our own people,” he concluded.
According to a report by Legal Forum for Kashmir, 474 people, including 232 suspected militants and 177 Indian troops, were killed in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir last year.
Some 65 civilians were killed “extrajudicially,” according to the report.
Referring to staged gunfights by Indian forces, it highlighted the “extrajudicial” murder of three laborers in the Shopian district last August over false claims of being militants.
According to Indian authorities, 225 militants were killed in the disputed Himalayan region in 2020, while 16 policemen and 44 Indian soldiers died in operations or militant attacks.
Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts but claimed by both in full. A small sliver of the region is also controlled by China.
Since they were partitioned in 1947, New Delhi and Islamabad have fought three wars – in 1948, 1965, and 1971 – two of them over Kashmir.
Some Kashmiri groups have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with Pakistan.
According to several human rights organizations, thousands have been killed and tortured in the conflict that flared up in 1989.