Kashmir, a miserable picture of humanity, always remained a gravitational point of South Asian politics in which the two contestants equipped with nuclear weapons have become arch-rival states. The leading state officials from both sides have adopted inflexible formal standings over the disputed land of Kashmir. The recent phase of South Asian politics under the global health emergency has failed to spare Kashmir from the brutal Indian occupation. The arrival of the novel corona virus in the nuclearized subcontinent has augmented the suffering of Kashmiri people. An unprecedented era of months-long curfew and its intensification under the horrendous period of the global pandemic has shown the draconian face of prime minister Modi and his vicious rule in the occupied areas of the disputed territory. No doubt, the proponents of peace and human rights from around the world are raising their voices for humanity globally while passing through a critical time in human history. However, the role of major human rights organizations has been diminished before the Modi administration. Modi’s persuasion of a political ideology inherited in Hindu nationalism and the adaptation of an anti-Muslim policy has resulted in Muslim bloodshed in Kashmir. The ferocious face of Modi’s foreign policy has increased Kashmiri suffering by adding another hideous chapter in Kashmir’s history under the global pandemic crisis.
Modi government, obsessed with anti-Muslim rule cemented in aggressive Hindutva ideology, has extended the victimization of the Kashmiri population through increasing the role of Indian security forces in Indian-held Kashmir. The imposition of curfew by suspending the movement of people along with the cutting down of communication networks in occupied territories has introduced various human rights violations. An overwhelming wave of human rights abuses increased Kashmiri people’s pain with the outbreak of the global pandemic. An indefinite period of lockdown has not only brought a policy of communication blackouts in the occupied areas, but it has further downgraded the life of a common man living under Indian occupational forces. The months-long military curfew has disturbed the general public’s life by imposing an undefined period of blackout of media and communication channels. In addition to limiting the right of free movement, the disturbance of communication networks through the disruption of mobile and broadband services further prolonged the suffering of Kashmiri people. In this way, the continuation of brutal policies in the New Delhi-occupied areas of Kashmir has further deepened the Kashmiris’ problems. In this way, the combination of corona and curfew has degraded the scope of a peaceful and stable Kashmiri society. The neglect of public health issues during the indefinite period of curfew has resulted in a severe health crisis, and the general public living under vicious Indian policies are compelled to survive in an indeterminate period of corona and curfew.
In short, the spread of the novel corona virus in South Asia has turned a new page in the history of the nuclearized subcontinent. New Delhi has preferred to continue a policy of violence and bloodshed in the occupied areas of Kashmir instead of taking various corona-controlling measures for the Muslim residents of Kashmir. The efforts to smash the voices of political freedom and social independence have led the Indian government under the leadership of Modi to not change its cruel doctrine for the Kashmiri people while passing through this critical time in human history. Thus, the global health crisis has provided another opportunity for the BJP government to fulfil its strategic objectives in the South Asian region. The persuasion of an expansionist policy against the territorially adjoining nations is the fundamental reason behind Indian Kashmir policy, which encouraged New Delhi to curb the voice of freedom from occupied areas of Kashmir. In other words, New Delhi is determined to carry the fierce role of its forces in Kashmir’s occupied areas while ignoring the fundamental values of human rights.
The coronavirus issue is demanding a united stance from both nuclear powers based on a bilaterally structured cooperative mechanism without carrying aggressive traditional approaches. A bilateral alliance structured in a joint response mechanism against the novel coronavirus can secure the whole region’s future. Instead of continuing its traditional position on the Kashmir issue, the Indian government needs to realize the sensitivity of the time and ensure respect for human rights in its occupied areas of Kashmir. When the world is fighting with Covid-19 under a broader framework of the corona-prevention campaign, the Indian government needs to normalize the situation by lifting the curfew from Kashmir’s occupied areas. Guaranteeing and safeguarding fundamental human rights is the only viable solution that can let the Kashmiri people access essential health services independently. In the absence of communication networks and internet services, Kashmiri people cannot address their health issues under the pandemic environment. Parallel to adopting various steps in the health sector, New Delhi under the Modi administration needs to increase medical facilities in the occupied areas of Kashmir instead of multiplying the presence of its forces. The adoption of a humanistic approach, cemented in respecting the fundamental human rights values, can allow the Modi government to take care of Kashmiris on humanitarian grounds. Furthermore, the Modi administration is required to invite the international community in its Kashmiri-administrated areas because an active involvement of global health officials in Kashmir will facilitate the local people. In this way, with the help of the international community and peaceful approach of New Delhi, the worldwide corona-combating and corona-preventing efforts will be able to overcome the health issues of Kashmiri people suffering under Covid-19.
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