Use of Chemical Weapons in Occupied Kashmir

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In ancient times Romans believed that wars are waged by weapons but not by poisons. But in the modern era, many world powers have discarded ethics and are using chemicals and biological weapons against their enemies. Near about seventy different chemicals are regarded as chemical weapon agents are being used by some states upon their adversaries. These are of different types like Nerve Agents, Mustard Agents, Hydrogen Cyanide, Psychotomimetic Agents, and Tear Gas etc.

Although all weapons cause injuries and deaths of their targets, but chemical weapons are notorious for being the cause of horrible deaths. Charred bodies of victims beyond recognition frightened everyone who looks at them. Some chemical weapons if inhaled burn windpipe and victims face slow horrible death due to lack of breathing, while other paralyzes internal and external muscles and the victim becomes unable to move and dies due to choking.

Due to these horrifying reasons development, production, stockpiling, and use of Chemical weapons is totally banned in international laws. Brussels Declaration in 1874 was the first step towards prohibiting chemical weapons. 1925 Geneva protocol puts a lot of emphasis on the prohibition of the use of chemical and bacteriological agents in war. United Nations General Assembly after a decade-long discussion agreed to the text of Chemical weapons convention (CWC) in 1992, which came into force in 1997. More than 165 states are its signatories.

Despite these steps taken to protect humanity from chemical weapons, these are being openly used against innocents. Use of Nerve agents against civilians in Syria by Bashar al Assad government and use of white phosphorus in Gaza by Israel can be quoted as a humanitarian crisis.

India, who claims of being world largest democracy, is also using notorious chemical weapons against Kashmiris struggling for their right of self-determination. This can be regarded as a Genocide, a tantamount to war crimes, and Indian act of terrorism to annihilate Muslim inhabitants in Kashmir.

Earlier in June 1999, International Herald Tribune, quoted narrative of Pakistan government that India is using chemical weapons in Kashmir. Ex Indian Army Chief Mr. Deepak Kapoor also confessed that Indian defense ministry is purchasing M777, a lightweight Howitzer, capable of throwing chemical shells.

India is using Israel made chemical substance to destroy houses and burn bodies of Kashmiri youth in alleged search operations. Kashmir media services reported recently in March that Indian forces again used inflammable chemical compound RD 2PNG in Balham area of Khonmoh on the outskirts of Srinagar.

In December 2016, a charred dead body of Kashmiri youth Majid Zarger was found in Anantnag district. The situation of the dead body was also a clear evidence that Indian army had used chemical weapons against Majid. Indian Security forces burnt the whole house through chemical weapons in order to kill a single alleged gunman.

On June 22, 2017, three charred bodies were also found in Kakpora of Pulwama and on July 3, 2017, same happened in Bahmnoo area of Pulwama. Indian forces burnt five houses in these two incidents. Dead bodies which were found in these houses were extremely burnt. Such kind of burning can only happen in case of chemical weapons. Usage of chemical weapons by India was also reported in October 2017 when Indian forces killed Nisar Ahmed, A Ph.D. Scholar, along with another Kashmiri youth Wasim Ahmed Shah.

India is using these deadly chemical weapons as incendiary and anti-personnel weapons. Although Kashmir is a densely militarized area; more than 8 lacs regular army has been deployed in Kashmir along with other paramilitary forces like CRPF and BSF. But Indian forces have adopted this filthy tactic in Kashmir. Whenever they find any report about the presence of alleged gunmen instead of fighting them they burn the whole jungle or houses without any confirmation by using notorious chemical weapons. Economic losses through these strategies inflict on local Kashmiris are beyond calculations

India is trying to use every inhumane tactic to sabotage Kashmiri freedom movement. Pellet guns and PAVA gas shells are being openly used in the valley against peaceful protestors demanding their freedom. Pallets guns do not kill but when targeted towards faces these result in the permanent blindness of victims. More than 500 Kashmiris have lost their eyes since June 2016. PAVA gas which is an organic compound of Pelargonic acid and Vanillyl Amide is also being openly used to disperse crowds. Capsicum gel based tear gas has very adverse effects on eyes and skin. According to Scoville scale, a measurement of the pungency of chilies, PAVA is above the peak and severely irritate and paralyzes humans.

Pakistan being an advocate for Kashmir`s freedom has raised this issue on the international forums. Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesperson, Nafees Zakaria, said that India is using deadly chemical weapons to kill Kashmiris and destroy their properties in Indian occupied Kashmir. On December 10, 2017, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) President Sardar Masood Khan also condemned Indian usage of Chemical weapons against innocent Kashmiris.

Kashmiri locals have also tried to divert the focus of international organizations on this issue. In 2017, a Kashmiri native, Sheikh Ahmad, wrote to UNHRC, Amnesty International, and OIC, to inform them about Indian inhumane atrocities on Kashmiris. Kashmir Counsel in Europe also organized a camp in Brussels to highlight Indian atrocities. But New Delhi has not allowed access of occupied territory to a number of international human rights organizations to look into this crucial humanitarian issue.

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