Indian Independence Day: Black Day for Kashmiris
By Sajjad Shaukat
Preparations have started by Kashmiris living either side of the Line of Control (LoC) and rest of the world to observe Indian Independence Day as the Black Day.
Every year when India celebrates Independence Day on August 15, Kashmiris on both sides of the LoC and the world over observe it as the Black Day to convey the message to the international community that India continues to usurp their inalienable right to self- determination.
At present, this very day has come at a time, when the Indian-Occupied Kashmir is bracing continued sieges and prolonged curfews, while Indian security forces have martyred more than 600 innocent persons and wounded around 30,000 individuals, who have been protesting since July 8, 2016 against the martyrdom of the young Kashmir leader Burhan Wani by the Indian security forces. Many Kashmiris became permanently blind and paralyzed due to pellet guns shots, including chemical weapons used by the ruthless Indian forces. Around 15,000 people were arrested or detained.
However, every year, Indian Independence Day is marked by complete shutdown, as deserted streets, closed businesses and security patrolling the streets could be seen in the Indian-Held Kashmir. Noting intensity in the war of liberation and hoisting of Pakistani flags by the Kashmiri protesters in the aftermath of martyrdom of Burhan Wani, this time too, Indian occupation authorities imposes stringent restrictions in Srinagar and other towns by deploying heavy contingents of police and troops to prevent people from holding anti-India demonstrations.
But, indigenous freedom movement by Kashmiri people against the Indian occupying forces have accelerated since the Indian forces martyred Kashmiri leader Burhan Wani.
It is notable that 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 27 October 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 freedom fighters keeps on going unabated.
It is mentionable 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.
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.
In 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.
In the recent past, Amnesty International and various reports of human rights groups have pointed out gross human rights violations committed by the Indian security forces in the Indian Occupied 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 context, 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. In the recent past, more unmarked graves have been discovered.
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.
Nonetheless, August 15 which is the Independence Day for India, is Black Day for the Kashmiris and their brethren in Pakistan, including those living all over the world, as they re-affirm their commitment to continue their struggle against Indian illicit occupation, and till the attainment of the liberation.
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