Pulwama attack is not an act of terrorism; Soldiers and militants are legitimate targets in Kashmir: Sikhs for Justice

The pro Khalistan group “Sikhs for Justice” (SFJ), which is spearheading the secessionist Referendum 2020 campaign, stated that under the international laws and UN Conventions, “Pulwama attack in NOT an act of terrorism but a lawful act of attacking legitimate military target in a designated area of conflict – Kashmir”, said a statement issued on Wednesday from its headquarters in New York.

On February 14, a convoy of India’s Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) was attacked in Pulwama-Kashmir killing 40 soldiers and wounding many others. Since 1990, invoking Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), India continues to declare the region of Kashmir under its control as “disturbed area” marred with armed conflict and militancy.

As per Geneva Convention of August 1949 and Additional Protocols I and II to the Convention which govern the conduct of parties to an armed conflict of domestic or international nature, all military personnel, equipment, bases, and buildings used as fortifications, whether designed as such or used by the military ad hoc, are legitimate targets.

Challenging India’s narrative that attack on CRPF in Pulwama is an act of terrorism, SFJ’s legal advisor attorney Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, “under international law, during an armed conflict an act is only regarded as crime or terrorism when it targets civilians or other categories protected in UN Conventions, such as places of worship, schools and hospitals, whereas armed personnel or either party to the conflict are regarded as “legitimate targets”.

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“It is an incontrovertible fact that Indian occupied Kashmir is a designated area of conflict and attack in Pulwama was carried out against soldiers of an armed force – CRPF which is deployed to carry out armed operation in Kashmir”, added attorney Pannun.