Indian Republic Day as Kashmiris Black Day
Pakistan and India achieved independence from British rule on 14 and 15 August 1947 respectively, as a result of independence struggle extended over decades. The two respective national leaders, Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Mahatma Gandhi played decisive role for their nations’ victory.The constitution of India came into force on 26 January 1950, replacing the Government of India Act (1935) as India’s ‘Magna Carta’. Earlier, the constitution was adopted by the India Constituent Assembly on 26 November 1949, introducing a democratic form of government. The day 26 January, was selected for this purpose because it was this day in 1930 when the Declaration of Indian Independence (Purna Swaraj) was proclaimed by the Indian National Congress. It is one of three national holidays in India, the other two being Independence Day and Gandhi Jayanti.
Since 1950, India has been hosting head of state or government of another country as the state guest of honour for Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi. This year, French President Francois Hollande is expected to arrive in Chandigarh on January 24 before attending the Republic Day’s parade in New Delhi. He will be the chief guest at this year’s Republic Day parade. According to an Indian official Vijay Dev, President Hollande’s will land in Chandigarh International Airport directly from France.
Everywhere, Kashmiris on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) and across the world observe the Indian Republic Day as a black day due to the fact that their ‘Right of Self Determination’ could not be fulfilled as per the UNSC resolutions. It is aimed at conveying to the international community that India’s claim of being a democratic republic is totally misleading after it denied the people of occupied Kashmir their inalienable right to self determination. The call for the observance of the black day is being given by the veteran Hurriyet leader Syed Ali Gilani, All Parties Hurriyet Conference (APHC), Chairman Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Muhammad Yasin Malik, senior Hurriyet leader Shabbir Ahmed Shah, High Court Bar Association and other pro liberation leaders and organizations. The day is being marked with a complete strike in Indian Held Kashmir (IHK) besides anti India demonstrations and rallies will be held in world capitals.
On the other side, a huge number of Indian forces in the occupied territory are preparing to ensure and force the people to participate in the State sponsored functions. Crackdowns are being planned to barricade the roads leading to the Bakhshi Stadium, the main venue of official function in Srinagar. As usual prominent Kashmiri leadership including Syed Ali Gilani, Muhammad Yasin Malik, Mir Waiz Farooq, Shabir Shah and Ahmed Dar Farida Bahenji etc will be arrested or put under house arrest to deny them the right of denouncing the event and holding demonstrations as they believe that India lacked the justification to celebrate the day in occupied Kashmir. They have urged that India had illegally occupied the territory and requested the international community specially US President Barack Obama to use its influence in settling the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the Kashmiris aspirations. Kashmiris from across the globe are planning to stage demonstrations on 26 January 2016. In Kashmir valley and on both sides of LoC, supporters of political and religious parties will take to the streets, display banners and placards “We want freedom,” “Long live Kashmir” and “Long live Pakistan”. At the same time they raise anti-India and pro-freedom slogans.
Last year, while addressing the participants of the rally, Kashmiri leader Asghar Rasool has said, “How unfortunate is that India is celebrating its Republic Day while in Indian administered Kashmir people are demanding their rights. The spirit of the United Nations resolutions are being crushed and killed under the draconian law like Armed Forces Special Powers Act and other black laws.” Protest rallies were also held in other districts of Azad Kashmir. In Mirpur, Kotli and Rawalakot hundreds of government employees staged the protest demonstrations against the continued Indian brutalities. They appealed to US President Barack Obama to put pressure on India for the permanent settlement of Jammu and Kashmir dispute aimed at bringing peace to the region. Meanwhile, in a statement issued in Srinagar the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front Chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik said that Indian state terrorism in the occupied territory could not suppress the ongoing liberation movement, adding that the liberation struggle would be taken to its logical conclusion.
The Indian Republic Day is being attended regularly by leaders of leading countries i.e US, UK, Canada and this year France. It is moral responsibility of these leaders to urge the Indian leadership to resolve the Kashmir dispute according to the aspirations of Kashmiri people. This will enable the region usher in a new era of development and prosperity.
The writer is a free lance journalist based in London