Kashmir: Another Black Day, India Continues Lockdown
27th of October is celebrated every year as the Black Day by the Pakistanis and the Kashmiris all over the world as a protest against Indian illegal occupation of Kashmir on October 27, 1947. Every year, the Black Day is marked by complete shutdown, as deserted streets, closed businesses and security patrolling the streets could be seen in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK).
But, this time to show solidarity with the Kashmiri brethren, Pakistan has especially decided to observer 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 IOK. In Pakistan, preparations have started to celebrate the Black Day.
More than 75 days have been passed. But, India has continued military clampdown and strict communications blackout in the Indian Held Kashmir by continuing curfew in wake of shortage of foods and even medicines for the patients.
Despite, India’s excessive deployment of troops in the Kashmir region and arrest of the Kashmiri leaders, Kashmiris have accelerated the war of liberation, being waged for their right of self-determination, which was also recgonised by the United Nations.
In order to suppress the Kashmiris’ struggle through brutal tactics, Indian forces have 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.
Besides, Indian extremist rulers are also escalating tensions with Pakistan to divert attention from the dire situation of the IOK, and have accelerated shelling inside Pakistani side of Kashmir.
However, 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 October 27, 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 notable 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.
Although human rights groups, leaders of various countries, including United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and international media are condemning India’s perennial lockdown in the Indian Held Kashmir, demanding New Delhi to lift the restrictions on the Kashmiris and curfew in that region, yet there is no practical move of against Indian extremist rulers in this regard.
It is mentionable that Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan was on seven-day visit to the New York City in connection with the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly opened on September 24, 2019. In his interaction with the US lawmakers, scholars, human rights activists and the media, and meetings with the US President Donald Trump and world’s other leaders, he briefed them on the repercussions of the Indian annexation of the disputed Kashmir valley. And during his speech at the UNGA, Imran reiterated the drastic implications of the lockdown in Kashmir and particularly danger of nuclear war between Pakistan and India, as Indian Prime Minister Modi can initiate a conventional war with Pakistan, which can culminate into atomic conflict between the two neighbouring countries.
It is due to lack of inaction and non-interference by the so-called civilized international community; especially the US-led major Western countries that New Delhi continues lockdown and state terrorism on the armless Kashmiri masses. It seems that 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, while extremist PM Modi has broken all previous records by taking the extremist moves in the IOK.
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 especially observer the Black Day in protest against the abrogation of articles 35A and 370 of the Constitution by the Indian government and to convey the message to the international community that India continues to usurp Kashmiris’ inalienable right to self-determination, and lockdown in the Indian Controlled Kashmir continues unabated.
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