Refocus on Afzal Guru and the Kashmir Movement
By Sajjad Shaukat
Muhammad Afzal Guru was hero of the Kashmir movement, whom India secretly hanged and buried inside the Tihar jail complex on February 9, 2013. It triggered protests in Kashmir and widespread condemnations from various political and human rights organisations. Afzal Guru was convicted in 2001 Parliament attack case and awarded death sentence. Afzal had always denied plotting the attack at Indian parliament, which left 14 dead, including five militants.
Since his execution, every year, the 9th of February is being celebrated as the martyrdom anniversary of Muhammad Afzal.
In the past four years, during his martyrdom anniversary, a complete shutdown was observed in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) and protest demonstrations were held to demand the return of mortal remains of Afzal Guru.
In their statements and meetings, all the leaders of the freedom movement of Kashmir paid glowing tributes to the martyr Muhammad Afzal Guru who sacrificed his live for the Kashmir cause.
In fact, the very tragedy of Kashmiris had started after 1947 when they were denied their genuine right of self-determination. They organized themselves against the injustices of India and launched a war of liberation which New Delhi tried to crush through various forms of brutalities.
Since 1947, in order to maintain its illegal control, India has continued its repressive regime in the Indian-Held Kashmir through various machinations.
However, 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.
While, Indian forces have employed various draconian laws like the Jammu and Kashmir Disturbed Areas Act, and the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act and Public Safety Act in killing the Kashmiri people, and for the arbitrarily arrest of any individual for an indefinite period.
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.”
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 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 2008, a rights group reported unmarked graves in 55 villages across the northern regions of the Indian-held Kashmir. Then researchers and other groups reported finding thousands of mass graves without markers. In this respect, in August, 2011, Indian Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission officially acknowledged in its report that innocent civilians killed in the two-decade conflict have been buried in unmarked graves. Now, more unmarked graves have been found.
Notably, foreign sources and human rights organisations have revealed that unnamed graves include those innocent persons, killed by the Indian military and paramilitary troops in the fake encounters including those who were tortured to death by the Indian secret agency RAW.
Last year, reports disclosed that Indian security forces have also used chemical weapons against the Kashmiri civilians in violation of international law and Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
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.
But, New Delhi is still showing its intransigence in order to resolve Kashmir dispute with Pakistan by neglecting the fact that Kashmir remains a nuclear flashpoint between both the neighbouring countries.
In this context, Egbert Jahn in his book, “Kashmir: Flashpoint for a Nuclear War or Even a Third World War?” has pointed out, “The Kashmir conflict is embedded in the wider conflict over the incomplete creation of nations and states on the Indian subcontinent…Until now, there have been three wars between India and Pakistan over the Jammu and Kashmir…and could unexpectedly again lead to a regional and under certain circumstances…even a major nuclear war or a Third World War.”
Meanwhile, like the previous year, Pakistan’s recent effort at the annual session of the United Nations, highlighting the Indian atrocities, Kashmir dispute and demanding its solution has infused a new spirit among the Kashmiri people.
It is noteworthy that by manipulating the false flag terror attacks at a military base in Uri and Baramulla, the BJP-led Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also intensified war-hysteria against Pakistan. After deployment of heavy arms and weapons at the Line of Control (LoC), Indian forces have increased troops and continue shelling in Pakistani side of Azad Kashmir. And Pakistani troops are giving matching response to Indian unprovoked firing across the LoC and are well-prepared for Indian another surgical strikes, as threatened by Indian new army Chief Army Chief Gen. Dalbir Singh Suhaag. New Delhi’s main aim is to deflect the attention of the international community from the new phase of Kashmiri Intifada, while pressure has been mounting on the Modi government both domestically and internationally to resolve the issue of Kashmir with Pakistan.
In response, Pakistan’s Army Chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa on January 5, 2016 rejected claims by his Indian counterpart Gen. Bipin Rawat about “so-called surgical strikes” and their possible recurrence.
According to ISPR, Army Chief Gen. Qamar Bajwa made it clear that “Pakistan Armed Forces were fully geared to respond to any aggression by India.”
It is of particular attention on July 19, 2013, the Indian ex-investigating officer Satish Verma disclosed that terror-attacks in Mumbai in November 26, 2008 and assault on Indian Parliament in January 12, 2001 were carried out by the Indian government to strengthen anti-terrorism laws.
Nonetheless, Indian successive governments are trying to ignore the dynamics of the freedom movement of the Kashmiris for the sake of their alien rule.
Undoubtedly, the martyrdom of Muhammad Afzal Guru infused a new spirit into the Kashmir movement which is alive today.