As part of public diplomacy, we visited China as a guest of the Chinese Embassy in Turkey. During our visit to China, the Indian government revoked the autonomous status accorded to Indian-administered Kashmir in its constitution.
Thus, the region's special status was abolished and included in India as a province. In one of our meetings at a Chinese think tank, foreign policy experts interestingly described Pakistan as China's true ally in the region. We know the existence of boundary disputes between China and India or Russia. Yet, the Kashmir issue comes to the forefront as one of the most complicated and grievous conflicts of the century.
The Kashmir issue is the uncompleted piece of the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947. As one of the many social conflicts that emerged from the period of British colonialism, the Kashmir issue has been at the center of the conflict between India and Pakistan, South Asia's two nuclear powers. At the international level, the Kashmir issue has been discussed as a problem of territorial integrity, rather than a question of self-determination.
From the partition of India in 1947 onward, successive Indian governments have always disregarded the Kashmiri people's craving to unite with Pakistan, which is largely Muslim. In the context of the international dynamics of the Cold War, the regional conflict between India and Pakistan almost turned into a struggle for existence.
Today, the Kashmir region is divided between China, India and Pakistan. To understand the political situation in Kashmir, we need to analyze these three regions of Kashmir separately. These regions pertain to five administrative units: Jammu, India-administrated Ladakh and the Kashmir Valley, Pakistan-administered Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan, China-administrated Aksai Chin and the Shaksgam Valley.
Today, the most troublesome region in terms of political and social violence is the Kashmir Valley in the region of Jammu and Kashmir. Although the Kashmir valley constitutes only 10% of the region's lands, it hosts half of its population and constitutes to be the main source of its income.
Human rights violations in Kashmir could be summarized as loss of lives, lack of the right to live and personal immunity and access to courts, illegal and arbitrary decisions on the custody of civilians, including children.
There are also the use of excessive force, including the use of pellet guns and shotguns, the use of torture, illegal abduction of people, lack of access to health and educational services, restrictions on the freedom of expression in traditional and social media, and repression against human rights activists and journalists.
In addition to this list, sexual harassment, repression of civil groups and violations of property rights are the other human rights issues in the region.
Today, the United Nations has remained a mere spectator in the face of India's human rights violations in Kashmir. The Kashmir issue should immediately be put on the agenda of the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and then brought to the U.N.
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