UNITED NATIONS    -   CodePink, a women-led internationally active peace and social justice organisation, has called on the United Nations Security Council to take immediate action and work to end India’s blockade of Held Kashmir and help Kashmiris finally obtain self-determination after seven decades of occupation.

“Today, Indian Occupied Kashmir is the most heavily militarised region in the world, with over 700,000 Indian troops deployed in the region, threatening the safety and autonomy of the Kashmiri people,” CodePink, which is based in Washington, said in a letter addressed to the 15-member Council.

“This conflict is one of the most dangerous flashpoints in the world: we must do everything we can to avoid the risk of escalation between the nuclear-armed Indian and Pakistani forces”.

The letter said that Indian occupation forces have violated the human rights of Kashmiris, without being held accountable by India and the international community.

To date, it said, 70,000 people have been killed in the conflict, 8,000 have disappeared, and countless Kashmiri women have been raped by Indian forces.

CodePink’s letter said, “While under occupation, Kashmiris had some small protection: Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, which granted Kashmir political, economic, and judicial autonomy.

But on August 5th, Indian Prime Minister Modi’s ultranationalist government revoked Article 370, stripping Kashmir of its special status and taking away the little autonomy Kashmiris had.

Alongwith this also comes the dissolution of Article 35A, which allows Kashmiris to have resident rights and control over their own physical territory.

Now many Kashmiris fear that Hindu nationalists will set up settlements, similar to the illegal Israeli settlements in Palestine and expedite India’s settler-colonial project.

“Since the revocation of Article 370, India has cut off all lines of communication coming into and out of Kashmir, from cell service, to internet, to landlines.

Political leaders in Kashmir across the spectrum have been jailed, and the Kashmiri people have been subject to strict curfews by the Indian military.

This hides the actions of the Indian military from the international community and sets the stage for an escalation of violence against Kashmir, a dangerous opportunity for tensions between India and Pakistan to escalate to another war, this time with the added threat of nuclear arsenals.

“India is enacting a dangerous, nationalistic agenda to further colonizs a people that have been living under India’s occupation and whose communities have been terrorised and stripped of their human rights.

“The UN Security Council must take immediate action to protect Kashmir from this vicious attack, for the human dignity of the Kashmiri people and for the safety of the world population in a nuclearised world.”

The letter has been posted on the Organisation’s website and it is being signed by hundreds of people.

Meanwhile, Pakistani Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi met the United Nations General Assembly President Maria Fernanda Espinosa, on Monday and briefed her on the grave situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir, which is reeling under tight lockdown for the past 23 days.

Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi met the 193-member Assembly President at UN Headquarters in New York on her return from a foreign tour.

The meeting with Ms Espinosa was a part of the Pakistani envoy’s continuing efforts to brief top UN officials and diplomat since August 5 when India’s annexed occupied Kashmir.

Pakistan denounced the “illegal” Indian move, stating that it violates international law, and that the UN must intervene.

In a tweet, Maleeha Lodhi said that she briefed the UNGA President “in detail about the grave situation in Occupied Kashmir where the continuing curfew and lockdown is exacerbating the suffering of the Kashmiri people.”

Residents of Occupied Kashmir are facing acute shortage of life-saving medicines, essential commodities including baby food as they remain besieged in what has become the world’s biggest prison, she said.

All internet, communications services and TV channels are closed in the region, she added.

In her tweet, the Pakistani envoy also said that the UN should live up to its obligations on Kashmir.

The Kashmir dispute remains on the agenda of the UN Security Council, which has passed 11 resolutions that, among other elements, uphold the right of Kashmiri people to self-determination, she stated.

The UN has long maintained an institutional presence in the disputed State, with the areas under separate administration, divided by the Line of Control.

The UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) observes and reports on any ceasefire violations.