Birmingham: The anniversary of India’s barbaric imposition of the so-called lockdown (in reality the imprisonment and attempted dehumanisation of an entire nation) in Kashmir and its unilateral attempt to annex internationally disputed territory is significant for a number of reasons. Firstly it has shown the moral bankruptcy of the Indian state, which continues to deploy some 900,000 troops to deny basic needs, fundamental rights and freedom to an unarmed civilian population. The machismo of that posture stands in sharp contrast to the continuing humiliation of PM Modi’s failure to respond to China’s blunt military riposte in Ladakh to his August 2019 manoeuvres. Secondly, the paralysis of the international community is a telling sign that the world order is broken, allowing rampant, overt breaches of international law to be undertaken with impunity. Lastly, those who have a sense of history will understand that the fascist oppression by the Indian establishment will now, in the absence of international intervention, most likely be broken in an uncontrolled, dangerous and potentially catastrophic manner. And the Kashmiris will not be to blame when that happens.
The Sikhs have shown, time and time again over the past year, that they stand in solidarity with the Kashmiris and their inalienable right of self-determination and freedom. That not only reflects our values but also the experience of having suffered genocide by the Indian state since 1984. The Sikh nation is pursuing its own right of self-determination and freedom in neighbouring Indian-occupied Punjab, so it is natural that we stand shoulder to shoulder against a common aggressor. It may well be that things get worse before they get better. One very much hopes not, but ultimately there is no more powerful phenomena than the will to survive and to self-determine. So, freedom will arrive one day. Modi’s foolishness over the past year will only make that day come quicker.
Ranjit Singh Srai
Coordinator, Self-Determination Council,
The World Sikh Parliament