Muhammad Raza Malik
The saga of Kashmiris’ sufferings is spread over a period of almost seven decades. It started with the landing of Indian troops in Jammu and Kashmir on October 27 in 1947 and since then, Kashmiris on both sides of the Line of Control and across the globe observe the day as Black Day. Every year, the day is marked by complete shutdown in occupied Kashmir and rallies, seminars and demonstrations in the occupied territory, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and world capitals.
India, on this day, forcibly occupied Jammu and Kashmir against the will of the Kashmiri people and in total disregard to the Indian Independence Act and Partition Plan, which had stated that the Indian British Colony would be divided into two sovereign states, India – with Hindu-majority areas – and Pakistan – with the Muslim-majority areas of Western provinces and East Bengal.
The over 550 princely states of the sub-continent at that time were given the choice to either accede to Pakistan or India, considering their geographical situation and communal demography. India forcibly occupied Hyderabad and Junagarh states, which had Hindus in majority but their rulers were Muslims. These rulers had declared not to stay with India. Kashmir was a Muslim-majority state and had a natural tendency to accede to Pakistan, but its Hindu ruler ruined the future of Kashmiri people by announcing a provisional accession to India under a controversial accession document (Instrument of Accession). Many neutral observers like prominent British historian, Alistair Lamb, deny the existence of such document with the argument that had it been there, Indian government had made it officially public at any international forum. It is a historical fact that if the partition was done on the principles of Justice then India had no land route to enter into Jammu and Kashmir but the so-called Boundary Commission, headed by Cyril Radcliff, demarcated partition line, under a conspiracy in such a way that Gurdaspur, a Muslim majority area was handed over to India, providing it terrestrial access to Kashmir.
In order to punish the Kashmiris for their aspiration to join Pakistan and with the intention to change the demographic composition of the territory to turn the results in favour of India in any referendum in future, Indian troops, the forces of Dogra Maharaja, and Hindu extremists massacred over three hundred thousand Kashmiri Muslims within a period of two months in Jammu division. The massacre has been described by the historians as the worst example of genocide in Jammu and Kashmir.
Kashmir in World Body
The people of Kashmir resisted India’s illegal occupation right from the day one and launched an armed struggle against it, succeeding to free a vast area now known as Azad Jammu and Kashmir on the world map. Sensing a humiliating defeat to its forces, India approached the UN Security Council on January 1, 1948, seeking its help to settle the Kashmir dispute. The World Body through successive resolutions passed by its Security Council nullified Indian invasion and occupation of Kashmir. Through the resolutions passed on August 13, 1948, and January 5, 1949, the UN approved a ceasefire, demarcation of the ceasefire line, demilitarization of the State and a free and impartial plebiscite to be conducted under the supervision of the World Body. It is unfortunate that although the ceasefire and demarcation of the ceasefire line were implemented but demilitarization of the occupied territory and a free and impartial plebiscite under the UN supervision remained unimplemented till date.
Kashmiris’ determination coupled with international pressure persuaded the first Indian Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, and other leaders to promise before the world community to resolve the dispute and to give the people of Kashmir an opportunity to exercise their basic right of self-determination, but later they backtracked from their commitments. The continued callous attitude of India towards permanently settling the conflict over Kashmir had been a constant threat to the peace, security and stability of the entire South Asian region for the last more than six decades.
1989 agitation and Pak-India talks
The people of occupied Kashmir used every peaceful means to impress upon the international community and India to fulfill the promise of holding a plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir so that the Kashmiri people could be able to determine their future by themselves. However, India went on further strengthening its illegal occupation of the territory and the international community continued to remain indifferent about the UN resolutions on Kashmir. Consequently, the people of occupied Kashmir started a massive agitation, in 1989. It gathered velocity with the passage of time and forced New Delhi rulers to negotiate with Pakistan to hammer out a resolution of the conflict over Kashmir. The talks process between Pakistan and India started in 1999 when the then Indian Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, came to Pakistan and met the Pakistani leadership. Both the countries agreed to resolve the Kashmir dispute through peaceful means of talks. The talks process continued till the occurrence of Mumbai attacks on November 26, 2008. Immediately, after the incident, India accused Pakistan and its intelligence agencies of these attacks without any substantive evidence. However, an officer of Indian home ministry later revealed that India itself had orchestrated the Parliament and Mumbai attacks to strengthen its anti-terror laws. The dialogue process resumed in July 2009 and continued with hiccups and was once again suspended after Narendra Modi-led Indian government called off the Foreign Secretary-level negotiations scheduled in Islamabad on August 25 in 2014, on the pretext of meetings between Pakistan High Commissioner, Abdul Basit, and Kashmiri Hurriyet leaders in New Delhi, a few days before the scheduled talks. The deplorable aspect of the matter is that while Pakistan has been demonstrating considerable flexibility in the dialogue process, India’s intransigent approach has proved the biggest hurdle in the resolution of the Kashmir dispute. South Asia turned into a nuclear flashpoint after India conducted nuclear explosions on May 11, 1998, and started hurling threats to Pakistan. This left Pakistan with no option but to reciprocate by showing its nuclear capabilities on May 28,1998 to strike balance of power in the region. In this way, Kashmir has rightly been described as a nuclear flash point.
On the other hand, in 2008, the Kashmiris added a new dimension to their struggle against the Indian occupation. They started taking to streets in large numbers to express their anti-India sentiments and demand their right to self-determination in a peaceful manner. This mass uprising continued for three consecutive years. Sometimes the number of peaceful protesters thronging the streets of Srinagar exceeded one-million mark. But most of the time Indian forces responded to these peaceful demonstrators with military might. The occupation forces killed more than 200 peaceful protesters during this period. Unfortunately, instead of taking these massive demonstrations as a referendum against its illegal hold on Kashmir, New Delhi once again resorted to dilly-dallying tactics like sending interlocutors and different delegations to Kashmir to buy time and pacify tempers in the occupied territory
The New Kashmir uprising
Indian occupied Kashmir is once again on the boil following the extrajudicial murder of a young liberation leader, Burhan Muzaffar Wani on July 8, this year. Thousands of people are hitting the streets in every nook and corner of the occupied territory on daily basis, demanding their right to self-determination. Indian police and troops have killed over a hundred civilians and injured over thirteen thousand others by firing pellets, bullets and teargas shells on demonstrators. Over two hundred youth have lost their eyesight in one or both the eyes due to the pellet injuries. Hundreds of people including Hurriyet leaders have been put behind the bars. This new reign of terror has made the life of the people of occupied Kashmir a hell. The whole territory is under curfew and strict restrictions on the movement of people for the last 80 days. However, all these brutal tactics have failed to subdue the resolve of the Kashmiri people and they are determined to take their ongoing movement to its logical conclusion at any cost.
The participation of thousands of people in demonstrations, while defying curfew, is a clear referendum of the Kashmiris against the Indian occupation of Jammu and Kashmir. On the one hand, the current uprising depicts Kashmiris’ love, passion and commitment for the freedom movement, while on the other, it has rooted out the false narrative of India and its media equating the Kashmiris’ struggle with terrorism. At the same time, the protests have made it amply clear to India and the world that the Kashmiris’ ongoing freedom movement is indigenous and one and every Kashmiri is affiliated with it.
Several members of the civil society and political fraternity in India have asked Indian government to read writing on the wall and accept Kashmiris’ demand of right to self determination. From almost all world capitals, statements have been issued by the respective governments to resolve the Kashmir dispute, once and for all.
Indian brutalities in IOK
It is a reality that New Delhi has exhausted all its resources during the past sixty-nine years but has miserably failed to suppress the freedom sentiment of the Kashmiri people. During the last 27 years, Indian troops have killed over ninety-three thousand Kashmiris, widowed more than twenty-five thousand women, orphaned more than one hundred thousand children and molested or gang-raped around ten thousand Kashmiri women. The whereabouts of thousands of innocent Kashmiris, disappeared in the custody of troops, are yet to be made known while hundreds of unnamed graves have been discovered in the occupied territory, which are believed to be of disappeared Kashmiris. Even the European Union Parliament unanimously passed a resolution in its session in Strasbourg on July 10, 2008, asking India to conduct an independent and impartial investigation to ascertain the identity of the people buried in these graves. However, India is yet to fulfill this demand.
Pakistan’s support to Kashmir cause
History stands witness to the fact that Pakistani leadership and people have always supported the Kashmiris’ just liberation struggle . The incumbent government is projecting the sufferings of the Kashmiri people and the gross human rights violations by Indian troops in occupied Kashmir forcefully at all international forums. Prime Minister, Mohammad Nawaz Sharif, in his recent address to the UN General Assembly and meetings with the world leaders highlighted the Indian atrocities on the people of occupied Kashmir and stressed the need to resolve the Kashmir dispute in line with the relevant UN resolutions. The Army Chief, General Raheel Sharif, just like the father of the nation, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, has time and again termed Jammu and Kashmir as the jugular vein of Pakistan. Islamabad has always been advocating peaceful settlement of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the will of Kashmiri people. But unfortunately, Modi-led government instead of respecting the aspirations of the Kashmiris is continuing with India’s traditional aggressive policies on Jammu and Kashmir.
India’s blame game
Indian extremist leaders and biased media have once again brought the two countries to a brink of war after they blamed Pakistan for the recent so-called attack on an Army headquarters in Uri without any investigation. India has always resorted to this blame game to divert international community’s attention from the real issue of Kashmir.
This is the background of the observance of October 27 as Black Day by the Kashmiris all across the globe. Observance of the day is aimed at reminding the international community of its obligations towards resolving the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the wishes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and the relevant UN resolutions. At the same time, it is intended to send a loud and clear message to New Delhi that the Kashmiris reject its illegal occupation of their homeland and that they will continue their struggle till they achieve their inalienable right to self-determination promised to them by India and the International community.
(The writer is a Senior News Editor at Kashmir Media Service and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)Follow @kmsnewz