Hopefully Kashmir Won't Be a Forgotten Conflict

August 2, 2011

Abid Nabi was protesting against the killing of his younger brother Fida (17 yrs old). (Photo courtesy of Majid Pandit.)

Al-Jazeera English launched a special human rights spotlight on Jammu & Kashmir called “Kashmir: The Forgotten Conflict”.

It’s an apt description given the difficulty human rights organizations have faced in highlighting the abuses that have occurred in the past two decades. For example, we need 30,000 signatures on this petition to improve juvenile justice in the state!

Now, it’s not to say that Kashmir never gets in the news. The problem is that when it is in the news it’s always talked about in the context of the Pakistan-India conflict.

Unfortunately, as I was quoted as saying in an article earlier in the week, human rights is hardly ever mentioned because it’s always about some sort of “confidence-building measure” that usually involves sending Bollywood stars over to Pakistan on goodwill missions or it’s about a detailed analysis of the fashion sense of Pakistan’s new Foreign Minister. And, Pakistan’s role in the Kashmir conflict is atrocious given its proven record of sponsoring attacks against civilians in the Indian side of the Line of Control.

Thus both India and Pakistan have done nothing but create a nightmarish climate of human rights violations and impunity that can’t be addressed without acknowledging both countries’ complicity in this and both countries prioritization of human rights in any future dialogue.

So the news coverage of Kashmir really doesn’t get to the nub of the issues in the region which is why this focus from Al-Jazeera is so welcome. They are covering aspects of Kashmir that all of us need to know to understand why Kashmiris want justice.

They are not highlighting our juvenile justice petition, which means that you have to go and sign it. But definitely have a look at their coverage and let me know in the comments or over twitter what you think!

To get more news about Kashmir and South Asia human rights, follow me at http://www.twitter.com/acharya_dude