ALTHOUGH India claims itself to be the largest democracy in the world, but its track record on human rights violations of minorities, especially Sikhs and the people of Jammu and Kashmir is highly disappointing. India has failed all efforts of the United Nations Security Council UNSC) to implement its Resolutions passed in 1948, which had asked for holding a free and fair plebiscite to seek the opinion of the people of Jammu and Kashmir to ascertain whether they wanted to join Pakistan or India. This right of Kashmiris has been denied by India till today. India has even failed to give internal autonomy to the people of IHK, as was allowed to them in Article 370 of India’s Constitution. This negative policy of India has been a blatant violation of the human rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir for the last 66 years.
After having got frustrated due to denial of their right of self-determination and getting fed up with the successive farcical elections, which were held in IOK since 1950s, to install puppet state governments, the people of Jammu and Kashmir started their freedom struggle in 1989. And, that struggle for getting their right of self-determination is still continuing. Since 1989 India has deployed more than 700,000 security forces to crush the freedom struggle through the use of force. And, to use force to terrorise the people of Kashmir, Indian government has given wide powers to the security forces by introducing draconian laws, thus giving them the privilege that they cannot be tried for committing HR violations in Kashmir.
In the process Indian security forces have unleashed state terrorism to commit a number of HR violations, including mass killings, enforced disappearances, torture, rape and sexual abuse to political repression and suppression of freedom of speech. Since 1989, as a result of India’s state terrorism, there have been killing of more than 100,000 innocent Kashmiris, including 7,023 custodial killings, 1,22,771 arrests, 1,05,996 destruction of houses or buildings, 22,776 women widowed, 1,07,466 children orphaned and 10,086 women gang-raped/molested. Like the people of Kashmir, the Sikhs in Indian Punjab have suffered heavily out of indiscriminate use of state terrorism to suppress the Sikhs Khalistan movement for independence from India. In 1980s the Sikhs had started their armed struggle against Indian yoke. As a consequence, Indian Army’s major violation of Sikhs human rights was desecration of their most sacred shrine in Amritsar, the Golden Temple, by launching an attack with tanks in June 1984 to kill Sikh freedom fighters residing there.
The death toll in the attack was estimated as high as 2,000 Sikhs. Since the attack in 1984, as noted by the Amnesty International, Indian Government has committed rampant atrocities/human rights violations on the Sikhs to suppress their freedom struggle forever. For example, to interrogate the Sikh freedom fighters, Chilli powder is sprinkled in their eyes. Sikhs are hung upside down from the ceilings till they became unconscious. The body joints are battered. Electric shocks are administered to the sensitive parts, making most of the youth impotent. Sikh women, during interrogation, are hurt very badly.
Violence is inflicted on the parents in the presence of their sons and daughters and vice-versa. Adult girls are sexually assaulted, pregnancies are terminated of the expectant females. Sikhs are subjected to severe beatings and filthy abuse in the presence of their village folks. Dead bodies of Sikhs killed in fake encounters are not handed over to their parents to conceal marks of excessive violence. Indiscriminate atrocities are committed to the parents of the underground youth of the area where some militant action takes place.
However, the fact remains that even after the attack on the Golden Temple in 1984 and endless atrocities committed on the Sikhs in the later years, the independence movement of Sikhs has not been eliminated as stated. This is quite evident as the prominent Sikh leader, Dr Amarjeet Singh recently stated that India, with the massacre of 0.15 million Sikhs over the course of 32 years, has not been able to crush the Khalistan movement. The above state of atrocities by the Indian Government to the people of Kashmir and the Sikhs in the Indian Punjab indicate that India’s Government is the greatest violator of human rights in South Asia.
India: Major Human Rights violator in South Asia