Following piece appeared in to-days National Post - a Canadian conservative daily.The authors are Tairah Firdous and Brett House.Comments welcomed. Did Afzal get fair trial?Is it fair to insinuate that the presence of our security forces is to clamp down on Kashmiris?No mention is made of Pakistani jihadi infiltration!The plight of Pandits?That was convieniently missed. Now read on: "India has once again imposed a state of siege on the disputed territory of Kashmir in order to stifle reaction to its clandestine execution of a Kashmiri nationalist. Last week, Internet links and cable TV were blocked, newspaper publication was stopped and a curfew was imposed. Indian security forces have killed at least three curfew violators and protesters, including a 14-year-old boy, and injured over 50. These numbers might seem relatively small in a region of seven million people, but Kashmiris know that India means business when it tightens security: Few tempt fate by venturing out, even to obtain food, fuel and medicine. In Indian-controlled Kashmir, curfews have become normal: The region has been under various forms of siege for most of the last 66 years. Meanwhile, Canadaâ€™s government has been largely silent on Kashmirâ€™s fate. Formally known as Jammu and Kashmir, the region has been divided between Hindu-dominated India and predominantly Muslim Pakistan since the India-Pakistan partition in 1947 that marked the end of British rule. Both countries lay claim to Kashmir and have fought three inconclusive wars over it. While a 1948 UN resolution called for a cease-fire and a plebiscite on Kashmirâ€™s status, the warring countries could never agree on preconditions for a vote, and a poll has never been held. Kashmirâ€™s status should be determined by Kashmiris. But India has never asked the Kashmiris under its control what they want. In 2010, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh indicated his willingness to grant Kashmir â€œautonomyâ€ under the Indian constitution, provided a consensus on the issue could be reached. Even though Singhâ€™s offer is really an attempt to avoid discussion of full independence, he nevertheless continues to stall on a vote. Pakistan canâ€™t claim much moral high ground on Kashmir either. For decades, both countries have subverted tentative agreements, broken their word and obfuscated their involvement in the region. While Kashmirâ€™s status remains disputed, the government in New Delhi â€œadministersâ€ part of the region. If that sounds benign, consider this: Indiaâ€™s security forces in Kashmir number over 700,000 â€” more than five times greater than the peak deployment of NATO troops in Afghanistan, and nearly four times the troops stationed in Iraq during the 2007 surge, although Kashmirâ€™s population is only a fifth of either countryâ€™s. The latest crackdown follows Indiaâ€™s secret hanging of Kashmiri Afzal Guru, who allegedly participated in an attack on the Indian Parliament in 2001. Novelist Arundhati Roy wrote a scathing critique of Guruâ€™s trial in 2006. Even pro-India parties in Kashmir contend that Guruâ€™s conviction relied on circumstantial evidence and procedural irregularities. Itâ€™s uncertain whether Guru was innocent or guilty, but India certainly violated basic notions of human rights in its treatment of him. The Indian government executed Guru in secret, without standard notifications or a last visit from his family. They were informed of his death days after by letter, and his body was buried in jail without final rites from his family. Members of the Kashmir Bar Association protested his handling, but the government refused to listen. The current tensions follow three decades of armed conflict and peaceful protests in reaction to 1987â€™s disputed state elections. Since then, India has used its Public Safety Act to detain Kashmiris without charges or trial. Indiaâ€™s grip on Kashmir is literally overkill: Some 70,000 Kashmiri civilians have died at the hands of Indiaâ€™s security forces since 1989. Their excesses go broadly unpunished. Indiaâ€™s Armed Forces Special Powers Act gives the forces extraordinary powers to arrest people without obtaining a warrant, and to shoot first and ask questions later, all under immunity from prosecution. All of which goes largely unnoticed in the West. One former senior Canadian statesman noted that, â€œIn Canada, there is no public pressure regarding human rights in India. When I go to China, people ask me about abuses there. But when I return from India, I donâ€™t face those questions.â€ In our obsession to expand trade with Asia, Canadians assuage their frustration with Chinaâ€™s human rights record by strengthening ties with India, the â€œworldâ€™s largest democracy.â€ But democracies donâ€™t habitually institute curfews; they donâ€™t put seven million people under lockdown to counter a small group of militants. Democracies let people vote on their future. Itâ€™s time that we held India to a higher standard." National Post Tairah Firdous is a Kashmiri journalist, a documentary filmmaker and a 2012-13 SauvÃ© Scholar. Brett House is a senior fellow at the Jeanne SauvÃ© Foundation in MontrÃ©al and a Chazen visiting scholar at Columbia Business School.