Where are human rights and civil liberty activists?

By K.N. Pandita

The conspiracy of abetting armed insurgency in Kashmir carried with it the vicious component of media blitzkrieg. Sections of media could be purchased, manipulated or intimidated. It was a global campaign and the ISI has special expertise in the exercise. Vulnerable sections of local media, hitherto running normally, adopted partisan attitude and spread canard to malign those involved in restoring normalcy in the disturbed state. Sections of local vernacular press pandered to the ideology of militant outfits and adopted biased stance in covering events or analyzing situations to utter disregard of professional ethics. Alongside this, large number of non-government organizations began mushrooming not only within the state and the country but in foreign countries as well where Kashmiri and Pakistani Diaspora worked in tandem to project India as the evil oppressor and violator of human rights in Kashmir.

Volatile groups of dissident Kashmiris from the valley, PoK, Pakistan and émigrés in western countries formed NGOs under one pseudonym or the other with the tacit purpose of conducting forceful anti-India campaign about presumptuous violations of human rights by the security forces in Kashmir.  Self-styled human rights activists boosted the morale of insurgents and blew events and chance aberrations out of proportion. They resorted to shooting resolutions of condemnation to UN Human Rights bodies like the Human Rights Council or Human Rights chapters in British Parliament or the US Congress. They organized briefings at the UN, the EU and in other parts of the world to project through print or electronic media and through video recordings out of context events to tell the audience that “innocent Kashmiris” were subjected to human rights atrocities.

These so-called human rights activists never said a word about the terrorists, where they got training in arms, who provided them with weapons and logistics, how they butchered innocent civilians and committed innumerable atrocities on local population in Kashmir. In comparison to their vociferous chanting of violation of human rights, they remained tongue tied about the crimes committed by the jihadis: they closed their eyes to the burning of thousands of schools, libraries and laboratories in the valley during the early days of armed insurgency: they advertently closed their eyes to the targeting of innocent members of the minority community ultimately hounding them out of their homes. All this has gone unnoticed with these rights activists.

We would like to know where these self-styled rights activist and champions of civil liberties are when in Libya the mercenaries and Pakistani regular guardsmen of despotic Gaddafi massacred nearly 200 protestors—- all his co-religionists—- by opening machine gun fire on the mourning crowds in Benghazi and leaving thousands wounded. He is the same Gaddafi who feigning as champion of Islam advised entire Europe to convert to Islam. Kashmiri separatists lionized him when he gloated over his tantrum of supporting “Kashmir freedom movement”. And now his son and heir to the despotic regime vows to use gunships to bombard the milling crowds. We would like to know why these rights activists are silent over the repression let loose by the rulers in Yemen on protesting mobs. We would like to ask the separatists of Kashmir who have now discovered a new Messiah in China just because China is India’s rival in Asia and out to give sleepless nights to the Indian administration, how they are reacting to the mass cry for democratization in China and the suppression of street mobs in Shanghai who were demonstrating for democratic rights and carrying forward the”Jasmine Revolution”. Why are these NGOs — once vociferous — now tongue-tied on large scale suppression and stifling of the voice of freedom? Has their spirit of human rights advocacy run out of steam? We would like to know what they have to say about the mass uprising in Bahrain being put down using brute force. Why don’t these rights activists react to the iron curtain policy of Saudi monarchy behind which the voice of the masses is muted. There is turmoil in entire Arab world just because the people there are fed up with autocrats, despots and tyrants all glued to power under the mask of religion. Their people want to breathe the air of freedom, democracy and civil rights. They are witness to the boon of freedom of press and platform enjoyed by the people of free world. Theirs is not an Islamic movement but a movement for social justice, political freedom and economic emancipation.  It is only Iran where the theocratic regime has stonewalled to all aspirations of the people for democracy and freedom of press, platform and movement. Why are these rights activists and advocates of civil liberties silent on the repression of Iranian clerical regime of their own people? Why don’t they denounce the demand of Iranian clerics to execute leaders of political dissent?

None of the current movements from Tunisia to Egypt and from Yemen to Bahrain is religion based; these are purely political and economic movements though apprehensions of radicals hijacking them cannot be ruled out. Since the self-styled NGO, the pretentious upholders of human rights and civil liberties, are tight lipped on these significant world events, it naturally follows that they have only one agenda and that is of encouraging  conservative and radical religious activism wherever they find it. Political uprising in the Arab world is spreading like contagion even to non-Muslim countries like China just because it is the voice of the people long suppressed by dictatorial and authoritative dispensation. Such is the consternation in Beijing power circles that it has blocked almost all network channels that help spread the message of struggle for freedom throughout the country. No fewer than twelve major cities of China have come under the umbrella of internet blockade. Why are our rights activists silent on these happening? They have withdrawn into their shell and have forfeited their moral right of pontificating about observance of human rights. The world has to learn from India how practically human rights can be protected including of those who are sworn enemies of peace, and even in situations most challenging like terrorism and religious extremism.

Comments are closed.