Afzal Guru: The Hero of Kashmir Movement
The 9th of February 9 is being celebrated as the martyrdom anniversary of Muhammad Afzal Guru 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, which left 14 dead, including five militants.
Last year, during his martyrdom anniversary, a complete shutdown was observed in the Indian occupied Kashmir and protest demonstrations were held to demand the return of mortal remains of Afzal Guru.
Call for the strike had been given by pro-freedom leaders and organizations to mark the anniversary of Muhammad Afzal. Indian authorities had arrested Kashmiri leaders, Yasin Malik, Shoukat Bakhshi, Muhammad Yousuf Naqash and Mukhtar Ahmad Waza along with several other Hurriyet activists and lodged them in different police stations and jails. The authorities also placed Hurriyet leaders, Shabbir Ahmad Shah, Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai, Nayeem Ahmad Khan and Ayaz Akbar under house arrest.
All Parties Hurriyat Conference (G) Chairman Syed Ali Geelani, in a statement had denounced the arrests and vowed that the Kashmiris were struggling for their basic right and would succeed in their mission at the end of the day.
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.
Even, the Sikh organization, Dal Khalsa President H S Dhami, while paying tributes to Muhammad Afzal Guru on the eve of his second martyrdom anniversary, in a statement in Amritsar criticized India for failing to hand over his mortal remains to his wife.
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.
It is notable that since 1947, in order to maintain its illegal control, India has continued its repressive regime in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) 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.
According to a report on human rights violations in the Indian Occupied Kashmir, since 1989, there have been deaths of 1,00000 innocent Kashmiris, 7,023 custodial killings, 1,22,771 arrests, 1,05,996 destruction of houses or buildings, 22,776 women widowed, 1,07,466 children orphaned and 10,086 women gang-raped/molested. Indian brutal securities forces have continue these atrocities.
As a matter of fact, 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 this respect, European Union has passed a resolution about human rights abuses committed by Indian forces in the Indian held Kashmir.
It is of particular attention that 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.
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.
And, as part of anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan approach, leader of the BJP and Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi who is giving impetus to Hindu chauvinism not only accelerated unprovoked firing at the Line of Control in Kashmir including Working Boundary in Sialkot, but also suspended the Secretary level talks with Islamabad. Now, he has been raising baseless issue like Pathonkot terror attack, (which was orchestrated by India), Mumbai mayhem and terrorism as pre-conditions to advance the Pak-Indian dialogue. But, he ignored the fact that 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.
It is noteworthy that Modi regime hurriedly decided to forcibly annex disputed territory of the State of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), uncovering its intentions to wrap up the article 370 of the Indian constitution which ensures a special status to J&K. Therefore, United Nations Military Observer Group India and Pakistan in New Delhi was asked to vacate official accommodation. In fact, BJP government‘s long term strategy is to affect demographic changes in the Indian occupied Kashmir by composition of the region—predominately with Hindu population.
During one year of People’s Democratic Party (PDP)-BJP alliance government in the Indian Occupied Kashmir, BJP in aid of RSS has furthered its agenda of complete integration of Kashmir into India. Though legal experts of India and IOK High Court have clarified the permanent status of Article 370 of Indian Constitution, BJP’s agenda of trifurcations is still on table. In this regard, BJP is in hot pursuit of Mission 44+in IOK Assembly elections 2020. However, short of that, BJP and RSS are busy in changing religious identity of the State. For example, special concessions were given to expand the horizon of Amarnath Yatra to project that Hindus have greater stakes in IOK than Muslims.
Special efforts are being made for demographic engineering in the State. For instance, West Pakistan Refugees have been recruited in the Indian Armed Forces from IOK quota. Allocation of lands for separate cities for repatriating Hindu Pundits and allocation of INR 2 million for rehabilitation of each Pundit family in the Valley are aimed at creating Hindu constituencies in a thorough Muslim region of Valley through delimitations.
On the other hand, the sectors of health, education, local infrastructure, social support and rural development are being controlled by BJP MLAs (Members of the Legislative Assembly). Major projects of the State are being announced and are implemented in Hindu dominant-BJP constituencies to give a message that only BJP’s voters are entitled to a standard living. Through these tactics, BJP is longing for Mission 44+ in next IOK Assembly elections.
Kashmiri Hurriyat leadership has been suppressed by the PDP-BJP government by not allowing them to organize rallies for demanding freedom and expressing love for Pakistan. Their leaders were detained in Police Stations or kept under house arrests during all important events. Detention of Masarat Alam, even after acceptance of bail by IOK High Court, exhibits coercive mechanics of Indian forces/police in the State.
Indian malicious intent is evident from the blame game against Pakistan for every internal security issue, merely to avoid serious dialogue on bilateral issues as well as the humanitarian crisis in Kashmir. Pakistan is committed to the just and democratic solution of the Kashmir issue, which is plebiscite, however, India has never been serious in resolution of the dispute, neither through bilateral dialogue nor involving third party mediation nor by abiding by the UN Resolutions.
In the wake of changing regional and global dynamics, resolution of the issue has become a top most priority, but unsensitized international community is perhaps waiting for emergence of a regional crises out of Kashmir dispute. As global players do not find any interest in resolution of the dispute, it has become a humanitarian issue in the region.
Nevertheless, 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.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s serious and sincere effort at the annual session of the United Nations in December 2015—the speech of Pakistan’s prime minister and his meeting with the American president, highlighting the Kashmir dispute and demanding its solution has infused a new spirit among the Kashmiri people.
Nonetheless, the martyrdom of Muhammad Afzal Guru infused a new spirit into the movement of Jammu Kashmir. His martyrdom anniversary provides an opportunity to ponder over the fact that various countries of the world got independence by sacrificing their precious lives. On this vary day, the best way to pay homage to the hero of Kashmir movement, Muhammad Afzal Guru is that all the Kashmiris must renew their pledge to take the war of liberation to its logical end.