Indian Independence Day: Observance of Black Day in Kashmir and Pakistan
By Sajjad Shaukat
In the past, every year when India used to celebrate Independence Day on August 15, Kashmiris on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) and the world over observed it as the Black Day to convey the message to the international community that India continues to usurp their inalienable right to self-determination.
But, this time, along with the Kashmiri brethren, Pakistan also decided to observer Indian Independence Day as the Black Day in protest against Indian extremist Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government which ended special status of the Jummu and Kashmir on August 5, this year by abolishing articles 35A and 370 of the Constitution in a malevolent attempt to turn Muslim majority into minority in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK).
The upper house of India’s parliament also passed a bill proposing the state of Jammu and Kashmir which includes the Kashmir Valley and the Ladakh area—be split into two federal territories. Jammu and Kashmir will have a state legislature, and Ladakh will be ruled directly by New Delhi.
Notably, in Pakistan, preparations have started in this respect. Indian Independence Day would be marked by complete shutdown, closed businesses; rallies and processions to register a strong protest against Indian illegal action to change the special status of the Jammu and Kashmir.
Despite, India’s excessive deployment of troops in the Kashmir region, expulsion of Hindu pilgrims, tourists, closure of educational institutions, arrest of the Kashmiri leaders and imposition of curfew, Kashmiris have accelerated the war of liberation, being waged for their right of self-determination, which was also recgonised by the United Nations.
In fact, India is going to increase brutal tactics through a major military operation to suppress the Kashmiris’ struggle. Indian forces have already intensified state terrorism, as every day innocent Kashmiris are being martyred. In the recent past, Indian forces again used cluster bombs on the Kashmiris. Many Kashmiris have become permanently blind and paralyzed due to pellet guns shots, including chemical weapons used by the ruthless Indian forces.
Pakistan would observer Indian Independence Day as the Black Day also in protest against Indian state terrorism which has been intensified on the innocent Kashmiris.
Turkey and Malaysia also denounced Indian illegal moves regarding Kashmir. And China also stated that it opposed India’s decision to revoke the special status of Kashmir, elaborating that it undermined China’s territorial sovereignty. The Chinese foreign minister agreed that occupied Kashmir was and remained a disputed matter and that it should be resolved in accordance with the UN’s resolutions.
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who arrived in Beijing on August 10, this year to hold consultations with their leadership stated that China would support Pakistan in the United Nations Security Council over the occupied Kashmir issue, after India abrogated special status of the occupied Kashmir.
United Nations Secretary-General Guterres called on New Delhi on August 8, 2019 “to refrain from taking steps that could affect the status of Jammu and Kashmir.” Guterres recalled the 1972 Simla agreement between India and Pakistan “which states that the final status of Jammu and Kashmir is to be settled by peaceful means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations”.
In this respect, protests and rallies are being held across Pakistan, Bangladesh, India and other Muslim countries, including Western countries against Indian illegal act.
As a matter of fact, it is an attack not only on Kashmir, but an attack on the UN, an attack on international law, norms and precedents, democracy, rule of law, and inalienable right of the Kashmiris to self determination.
However, every year, Indian Independence Day is marked by complete shutdown, as deserted streets, closed businesses and security patrolling the streets could be seen in the Indian Controlled Kashmir. Noting intensity in the war of liberation and hoisting of Pakistani flags by the Kashmiri protesters in the aftermath of martyrdom of Burhan Wani, and at present, this time too, Indian occupation authorities imposes stringent restrictions in Srinagar and other towns by deploying heavy contingents of police and troops to prevent people from holding anti-India demonstrations. But, indigenous freedom movement by Kashmiri people have accelerated since the Indian forces martyred Kashmiri leader Burhan Wani.
It is notable that during the partition of the Sub-continent in 1947, the people of the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) which comprised Muslim majority decided to join Pakistan according to the British-led formula. But, Dogra Raja, Sir Hari Singh, a Hindu who was ruling over the J&K, in connivance with the Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Governor General Lord Mountbatten joined India.
The Radcliffe Boundary Award gave the Gurdaspur District—a majority Muslim area to India to provide a land route to the Indian armed forces to move into Kashmir. There was a rebellion in the state forces, which revolted against the Maharaja and were joined by Pathan tribesmen. Lord Mountbatten ordered armed forces to land in Srinagar.
Indian forces invaded Srinagar on 27 October 1947 and forcibly occupied Jammu and Kashmir in utter violation of the partition plan and against the wishes of the Kashmiri people.
When Pakistan responded militarily against the Indian aggression, on December 31, 1947, India made an appeal to the UN Security Council to intervene and a ceasefire ultimately came into effect on January 01, 1949, following UN resolutions calling for a plebiscite in Kashmir.
On February 5, 1964, India backed out of its promise of holding plebiscite. Instead, in March 1965, the Indian Parliament passed a bill, declaring Kashmir a province of India-an integral part of the Indian union.
Kashmiris organized themselves against the injustices of India and launched a war of liberation which New Delhi tried to suppress through various forms of state terrorism. Passing through various phases, the struggle of Kashmiris which has become an interaction between the Indian state terrorism led by the Indian security forces and war of liberation by the Kashmiri freedom fighters, keeps on going unabated.
It is mentionable that since 1947, in order to maintain its illegal control, India has continued its repressive regime in the Occupied Kashmir through various machinations.
Nevertheless, various forms of state terrorism have been part of a deliberate campaign by the Indian army and paramilitary forces against Muslim Kashmiris, especially since 1989. It has been manifested in brutal tactics like crackdowns, curfews, illegal detentions, massacre, targeted killings, sieges, burning the houses, torture, disappearances, rape, breaking the legs, molestation of Muslim women and killing of persons through fake encounter.
Besides Human Rights Watch, in its various reports, Amnesty International has also pointed out grave human rights violations in the Indian controlled Kashmir, indicating, “The Muslim majority population in the Kashmir Valley suffers from the repressive tactics of the security forces. Under the Jammu and Kashmir Disturbed Areas Act, and the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act and Public Safety Act, security forces personnel have extraordinary powers to shoot suspected persons.”
In its report on July 2, 2015, the Amnesty International has highlighted extrajudicial killings of the innocent persons at the hands of Indian security forces in the Indian Held Kashmir. The report points out, “Tens of thousands of security forces are deployed in Indian-administered Kashmir…the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) allows troops to shoot to kill suspected militants or arrest them without a warrant…not a single member of the armed forces has been tried in a civilian court for violating human rights in Kashmir…this lack of accountability has in turn facilitated other serious abuses…India has martyred one 100,000 people. More than 8,000 disappeared (while) in the custody of army and state police.”
In this context, European Union passed a resolution on May 11, 2011 about human rights abuses committed by Indian forces in the Indian held Kashmir.
Particularly, in 2008, a rights group reported unnamed graves in various regions of the Indian occupied Kashmir. In this connection, in August, 2011, Indian Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) officially acknowledged in its report that innocent civilians killed in the two-decade conflict have been buried in unmarked graves. Notably, foreign sources and human rights organizations including Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) have disclosed that unnamed graves include thousands of persons, killed by the Indian forces in the fake encounters including those who were tortured to death by Indian secret agency RAW.
It seems that non-condemnation of these Indian massive human rights violations and non-interference for the settlement of this issue by the so-called civilized international community; especially major countries of the West have further encouraged New Delhi to continue its state terrorism on the armless Kashmiri masses. Ignorance of the issue by the US-led Western countries involves the risk of nuclear war between Pakistan and India.
Indian authorities are not willing to talk with Kashmiri people on political grounds. New Delhi reached to a conclusion that only bullet is the right way of dealing with Kashmiris, demanding their right of self-determination. Surprisingly, Indian successive governments are trying to ignore the dynamics of the freedom movement of Kashmiris for the sake of their alien rule.
It is noteworthy that dialogue between India and Pakistan took place on a number of occasions, but produced no outcome, prolonging the agony of the subjugated people of the occupied Kashmir due to Indian intransigence.
Nonetheless, this time, along with the Kashmiri brethren, Pakistan would also observer Indian Independence Day as the Black Day in protest against the abrogation of articles 35A and 370 of the Constitution by the Indian government, which grants special status to the Jummu and Kashmir.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations