Khurram Parvez – the Symbol of Kashmiri Human Rights and Civil Society crusader in the India-administered J&K


 আমার দেশ Amar Desh
২১ জানুয়ারী ২০২৩ 21 January 2023

Mahmudur Rahman

Mahmudur Rahman

Mahmudur Rahman

Khurram Parvez of Jammu and Kashmir has been named as one of the three Award Laureates by Martin Ennals for the year 2023. The award is managed by the Geneva-based Martin Ennals Foundation and named after an eminent British human rights activist. The other recipients are Delphine Dijraibe, a human rights lawyer in Chad, and Feliciano Reyna, a prominent health rights activist in Venezuela. The prize jury said about Khurram, “Despite continued attacks on his right to freedom of expression by the Indian government, being jailed in 2016 and losing a leg to land mines, Parvez relentlessly spoke the truth and was an inspiration.”

Khurram Parvez, 45, is the founder of the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) and the Chair of the Asian Federation against Involuntary Disappearances, a platform of 13 human rights organizations from 10 Asian countries. I am proud that a couple of my fellow eminent Bangladeshi human rights activists were also involved in the process of selecting the awardees. Parvez was arrested on 22 November 2021 by Indian security forces under the draconian UAPA and several sections of IPC. In response to the concern raised by the office of the United Nations human rights chief about the arrest and persecution of an eminent human rights defender, Narendra Modi’s Hindutva-obsessed government in India arrogantly dismissed the UNHRC concern, lecturing the UN body to develop a better understanding of the negative impact of terrorism on human rights. Khurram Parvez is also a physically disabled person. His left leg was amputated in a landmine explosion while he was monitoring the 2004 general election. Since his latest arrest in 2021, his detention has been extended five times by the National Investigation Agency Special Court. There is no sign of the Indian government relenting to international condemnation. The mainstream media in India has mostly blacked out the news of Khurram’s award.

India and Pakistan are states born in disagreement about their borders, specifically about the future of Jammu and Kashmir, a princely state with an overwhelming Muslim majority under a Hindu ruler in 1947. Under the principles of Partition, irrespective of the wish of the Hindu ruler, the Muslim-majority state that was adjacent to Pakistan either should have been integrated with it or the people given the free choice of independence from both India and Pakistan. The festering wound in Jammu and Kashmir was created when the Hindu ruler signed an accession instrument with India in clear violation of the Partition agreement on 26 October 1947 at the instigation of Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the then British Governor General Lord Mountbatten, a personal friend of Nehru. Many scholars are of the opinion that had the British made different decisions as to apply and course of action at that time the Kashmir problem might never have arisen. The people of Kashmir revolted against the treachery of the Hindu ruler and the Indo-British axis, which prompted Pakistan to support the mass uprising by sending troops across the border. That was the beginning of the First Kashmir War.

When UN mediation finally achieved a ceasefire, the armistice called for a plebiscite to determine Kashmir’s future. Notwithstanding its promise of an UN-monitored plebiscite, India quietly took measures to assimilate the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir into the Indian Union as the UN and the global actors silently watched. The long-suffering Muslim population in India-administered Jammu and Kashmir never accepted the accession to India, and their resistance continues to the present looking upon India as a repressive occupying force. British along with the post-WWII superpowers, the USA and the Soviet Union would do the same mischief in the Middle East less than a year later when apartheid, the Zionist state was born on May 14, 1948, on occupied Palestinian land. Stories of the heroic struggle of the Muslim people against powerful and unjust adversaries do not raise passion and sympathy in the West like similar stories involving the Jews or the Christians or even the Hindus.

However, we should not blame the insensitivity of the West only for the present pitiable condition of the Muslim world. The Muslims need to do some serious soul-searching. Let’s take the example of the Martin Ennals Award of Khurram Parvez. Allah SWT has bestowed a section of the Muslim world with enormous wealth. The Arab world has the largest reserve of energy and huge deposits of precious metals. This should be no surprise because of the fact that the Prophet of Islam, Hazrat Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him) was himself a Quraish Arab. In the Holy Quran, he is referred to as “Rahmatallil Alameen”, meaning mercy to the world (Surah 21, verse 107). Allah SWT declares, “We have not sent you, (O Muhammad), except as a mercy to the worlds.” A Prophet who is a mercy to the whole of mankind must have brought mercy for the people of the place of his birth. The spectacular rise of Arab power during the lifetime of Hazrat Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him) and thereafter, proves beyond doubt the global impact of the chosen Messenger of Almighty Allah. This is past now.

Unfortunately, there is no mechanism in the present Muslim world to recognize the struggle of the people like Khurram Parvez. It is again the West, whom we like to blame for the decline of the Muslim civilization, today recognized the courage and contribution of Khurram. The super-rich Muslim nations are busy hugging notorious Muslim haters like Narendra Modi and Benjamin Netanyahu for worldly, geopolitical gains. Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country, is mostly aloof on the matters of the Ummah. Pakistan, the only nuclear-power Muslim country is suffering from the dire economic and political instability of its own making. Iran prefers to remain a Shia theological state and has a terrible human rights record. Turkiye, a strong voice in Ummah matters under President Erdogan, is also suffering from serious economic woes. Potential Muslim power in Africa, Egypt is currently ruled by a despotic and allegedly Zionist mole. There is no sign of light at the end of the Islamic tunnel in the 21st century. May Allah SWT shows the right path.

Editor, Amar Desh