Revisiting Jammu Martyrs Day
By Sajjad Shaukat
This time Jammu Martyrs Day has come at time when the people of Kashmir have accelerated their legitimate struggle, as since August 5, 2019, New Delhi unilaterally annexed the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK), revoking articles 35A and 370 of the Constitution which gave a special status to that region. Almost three months have been passed. Indian forces have continued lockdown and curfew in the IOK. In order to hide human rights violations, communication services have been cut off from the world and foreign delegations and journalists are not allowed to enter the Indian Controlled Kashmir.
Besides, Indian extremist rulers are also escalating tensions with Pakistan to divert attention from the drastic situation of the Indian Held Kashmir, and have continued shelling inside Pakistani side of Kashmir by violating the ceasefire agreement in relation to the Line of Control (LoC).
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.
Human rights groups, leaders of various countries, including United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and international media have condemned India’s perennial lockdown in the Indian Held Kashmir, demanding New Delhi to lift the restrictions on the Kashmiris and curfew in that region. In the recent past, US law-makers raised the issue of military clampdown in the IOK and expressed the similar feelings.
Particularly, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is visited to New Delhi, raised the Kashmir issue during her talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 1, 2019 and said: the “situation for the people in Kashmir is unsustainable and not good…the the lockdown of the region cannot be supported for long”.
However, like other “black days”, Jammu Martyrs Day which is another gloomy day in the history of Kashmir, is celebrated on November 06, by Kashmiris and the Pakistanis on both sides of the LoC and by those, living abroad to remember the great sacrifices of 2.50 lakh inmates of Jammu, including men, women, children and elderly Muslims who were mercilessly slaughtered by the armed Hindu gangsters, the Indian occupying and the Dogra military troops near Jammu Sialkot working boundary under a nefarious pre-planned conspiracy, while they were proceeding for migrating to their beloved homeland Pakistan. This tragedy occurred on this very day in 1947.
During the first week of November in 1947‚ hundreds of thousands of Kashmiris were killed by the forces of Maharaja Hari Singh‚ Indian army and Hindu extremists in different parts of Jammu region, while they were migrating to Pakistan. But, their brutalities were not confined to it. As part of pre-planned scheme, on November 5, 1947, announcements were made everywhere in Jammu, asking Muslims to assemble in police lines where from they would be sent to Pakistan. On Nov 6, Jammu Muslims, including men women and children were seemingly dispatched towards Pakistan in trucks. But before they could reach destination, Indian army, forces of Maharaja and Hindu extremists at Samba Reasi and other places martyred them in gruesome manner.
The huge deaths had stunned the world. In this regard, the ‘Time” magazine, in its November 47 publication also pointed out the figure of 2, 50,000 deaths of Jammu people. But, these sacrifices did not go waste, as they have kept the Kashmir issue alive.
Nevertheless, 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.
It is notable that since 1947, in order to maintain its illegal control, India has continued its repressive regime in the IOK through various machinations.
In this connection, 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.
Especially, 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.
Surprisingly, Indian successive governments are trying to ignore the dynamics of the freedom movement of Kashmiris for the sake of their alien rule. New Delhi also neglects the fact that Kashmir remains a nuclear flashpoint between Pakistan and India.
Nonetheless, November 6 is commemorated by the Kashmiris and Pakistanis as the Jammu Martyrs Day to remember the supreme sacrifices of lives, laid down by 2,50,000 people of Jammu, who were ruthlessly massacred by the Hindu extremists, Indian forces and the Dogra military troops on November 6, 1947.
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