ISLAMABAD, Jan 7 (Asia Free Press): Islamabad Institute of Conflict Resolution (IICR), in collaboration with Legal Forum for Kashmir (LFK), organised a webinar titled “Sopore Massacre 1993: The barbarity that still haunts” on Thursday, January 6, 2022, commemorating the anniversary of the Sopore Massacre.
The panellists included Ms Sabah Aslam, Founder and Executive Director, Islamabad Institute of Conflict Resolution (IICR); Dr Muhamad Sajjad Khan, Director Kashmir Policy and Research Institute; Professor Dr Shaheen Akhtar, Professor, National Defense University; Prof. Dr Muhammad Khan, Professor International Islamic University, Islamabad; and Dr Sheikh Waleed Rasool, Director Institute of Dialogue Development and Diplomatic Studies (IDDDS).
While speaking to the panel, Dr Sajjad laid out the context by elaborating the history of the massacre. He highlighted that the massacre was state-sanctioned, and Indian paramilitary troops did butchery. “It was the 9th battalion of Border Security Forces (BSF) who went berserk and fired indiscriminately on unarmed civilians,” he lamented.
He further added furth that the laws and legislation provide blatant impunity to the perpetrators. “The Indian judicial system is highly militarised, abolishing every rule of law to protect humanity,” said Dr Sajjad.
Furthermore, he also mentioned that the roads leading to justice are being deliberately blocked, and Indian Occupying Forces have been given a license to kill while the world watches in silence.
Dr Sheikh Waleed Rasool gave an emotional account of the massacre saying he was present in the same town during carnage done by Indian Occupying forces on January 6, 1993. “It is a haunting memory that still haunts Kashmir people,” Said Dr Rasool.
He added further that Indian miseries started much before Independence and are still being perpetrated by Indian occupying forces through draconian laws. Calling out the international community Dr Rasool said that the international community is biased when it comes to Kashmir and international humanitarian law stands nowhere in the case of Kashmir.
He recommended that all those involved be held accountable for war crimes by identifying them and taking them to international courts. “Moreover, it is the responsibility of the researchers and scholars to devise a strategy using data and building case studies,” he asserted.
Prof Dr Muhammad Khan, emphasised that Kashmiris fought for Pakistan and are still fighting. A complete cover is being provided to the Indian forces to engage in violence, said Dr Khan while adding that massive human rights violations are happening every day in Kashmir; from using rape as a weapon of war to the staged encounters, Kashmir is witnessing the horrors, yet the international community is turning a blind eye to it.
“The Kashmiris have the right to self-defence under the UN charter”, added Dr Khan. While giving recommendations, Dr Khan said that there is a need to have a systematic and organised collection of evidence and documentation of case studies that can be presented. “History and culture need to be preserved”, remarked Dr Khan.
He also highlighted that human rights activists are being muzzled by the Indian state, and the same should be brought in front of the world.
Prof. Dr Shaheen Akhtar overviewed Indian atrocities upon Kashmiris for decades and are still going on. She said every time Kashmiris voice for their fundamental rights; there comes systematic violence from Indian forces with absolute impunity from the Indian government.
Dr Akhtar further added that India is advancing in their extremist ideas and implementation of Hindutva ideology through exterminating Muslim identity.
If the world does not act at the right time, there would likely be more incidents of systematic and organised massacres said, Dr Shaheen. While highlighting the role of the government of Pakistan, Dr Akhtar urged that the government of Pakistan shall facilitate the Kashmiri victims to approach international forums like ICC so that perpetrators of war crimes could be brought to justice.