Faridullah Farid

The Author is Media Scholar and Freelance journalist

"If seeking azadi (liberation) is a crime, then I am willing to accept this crime and its

consequences," Yasin Malik, the brave Kashmiri leader, said before an Indian court

judge while rejecting terrorism, illegal fund raising, criminal conspiracy and sedition

charges brought against him by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and stressing

that all these charges are concocted, fabricated and politically motivated.

Though Yasin Malik protested all charges against him by stating that he was a "freedom

fighter," his conviction by an Indian court in a one-sided case following a "sham trial" in

a clearly dubious and motivated case carrying a maximum sentence of death or life

imprisonment is in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and

the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

Yasin Malik's inhumane detention in the infamous Tihar jail, his sham trial in fabricated

crimes, erroneous conviction and malfeasance also represent attempts by the Indian

government to defile the legitimate fight of Kashmiris for their right to self-determination

as 'terrorism.' All of this demonstrated India's record of human rights violations and

usurpation of Kashmiris' fundamental rights.

The renewed zeal with which prosecutions against Kashmiri leaders are being pursued

exposes India's malicious plans to erode IIOJK's unique political and cultural identity

(Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir). The conviction of Yasin Malik, as well

as the "motivated cases" brought against other Kashmiri leaders, demonstrated the

wicked Indian drive to deprive Kashmiris of legitimate leadership.

In 1989, an armed revolt in IIOJK erupted, with combatants demanding independence

for Kashmir or a union with Pakistan. In 1994, the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front,

commanded by Yasin Malik, ended its military insurgency in the disputed region. In

2019, the Indian government arrested Yasin Malik and banned the JKLF, the same year

that New Delhi invalidated Articles 370 and 35A, depriving the IIOJK of its special status

and enforcing the valley's long-standing curfew. Despite his chronic illnesses and

deteriorating health, the Indian government imprisoned Yasin Malik in the infamous

'Tihar Jail' and subjected him to severe punishment.

India has used such techniques against Kashmiri leadership in the past, but the desire

for freedom has never been crushed because the valiant Kashmiris have always taken

pride in standing up for their intrinsic right to freedom and self-determination.

The Indian court's ruling against Yasin Malik has sparked massive outrage and protests

by Kashmiris around the world, which are expected to spread to all major capitals. The

Kashmiri diaspora in the United Kingdom opposed Yasin Malik's conviction, stating that

the struggle for liberation against Indian occupation is morally correct, lawful, and

authentic, as backed by international law and UN resolutions.

Fahim Kiyani, President of 'Tehreek-e-Kashmir UK,' while addressing a protest

demonstration in Birmingham to express solidarity with Yasin Malik and all political

prisoners said that "The court ruling against Yasin Malik is a vindication of our stand that

the Indian judiciary is part of India's immoral military regime that illegally occupies

Jammu and Kashmir. IIOJK was never a part of India and never will be, therefore these

trials are a slap in the face of India's judiciary, military, and civil apparatus, as well as its

civil society."

In this hour of need, when the Indian government and judiciary are adamant on

convicting and sentencing a true leader and genuine representative of the Kashmiri

people, Pakistan stood firm and not only condemned Yasin Malik's conviction in the

"strongest possible terms," but also issued a demarche to the Indian charge d'affaires

conveying Pakistan's grave concern over the framing of fabricated charges against

Malik and other Kashmiri leaders to suppress their voices.

Though India accuses Pakistan of equipping and training Kashmiri freedom fighters to

combat Indian forces, this claim is unfounded because Pakistan only offers Kashmiri

people with political, moral, and diplomatic support. After the internationalisation of the

Kashmir conflict, it is now common knowledge around the world that the struggle for

self-determination in IIOJK is indigenous and unaffected by the Indian government's

draconian strong-arm methods. The statements and determinations of Kashmiri leaders

urging the international community to intervene immediately in India to save the

international system, which is being flagrantly violated by India, show Kashmiris' firm

resolve that nothing and no power can change their minds, and they are determined to

stand up and push India out of their homeland (IIOJK).

If an Indian court judge announces Yasin Malik's punishment on May 25, it will be the

final nail in India's coffin. India must listen to the legitimate voices of Kashmiri leaders,

Pakistan, and international human rights organisations to stop victimising authentic

representatives of the Kashmiri people via inhumane detentions and fabricated charges.

It is high time for the world community to convince India to remove all false charges

against Yasin Malik, assure his safety and well-being, and give him with full legal

protection and the right to a fair trial. Furthermore, the international community must

press India to release all political prisoners held on spurious charges, end human rights

violations in IIOJK, lift the brutal military siege, and allow Kashmiris to exercise their

right to self-determination in accordance with their wishes and relevant UN resolutions.