Kashmir: Historical Perspective of the Black Day
By Sajjad Shaukat
27th of October is celebrated every year on both sides of the Line of Control and all over the world by the people of Jammu and Kashmir as the Black Day, because, in gross violation to law and ‘Partition Plan of the Indian Sub-continent’, India forcibly landed its military in princely State of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) on 27 October 1947.
On July 19, 1947, majority of people of Jammu and Kashmir passed a peaceful resolution, and decided to join Pakistan in accordance with the British-led formula of partition. 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 design to forcibly wrest Kashmir began to unfold on August 16, 1947, with the announcement of the Radcliffe Boundary Award. It 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. Lord Mountbatten ordered armed forces to land in Srinagar.
In this greatest human tragedy, Cyril Radcliff, head of the Boundary Commission was also part of the conspiracy. Therefore, in blatant violation of the Partition Plan, and against the popular will of Kashmiri Muslims, India announced the accession of Jammu and Kashmir under a controversial Instrument of Accession, though it was a Muslim majority state, having a natural tendency to accede to Pakistan owing to its geography, peoples’ aspirations, culture and religion.
Right from the day, the people of Kashmir did not accept India’s illegal occupation and started an armed struggle with the total support of public in 1947. The armed men from tribal areas of Pakistan entered into Jammu and Kashmir to support peoples’ movement. Under the pretext, India started a war against Pakistan.
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 1, 1949 between the two countries.
It is mentionable that the Security Council adopted resolution 47 (1948) of 21 April 1948 which promised a plebiscite under UN auspices to enable the people of Jammu and Kashmir to determine whether they wish to join Pakistan or India. 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.
No doubt, the UN Security Council through its successive resolutions impliedly nullified Indian occupation of Kashmir, declaring it as a disputed territory. It approved a ceasefire, demarcation of the ceasefire line, demilitarization of the state and a free and impartial plebiscite to be conducted under the supervision of the World Body. Although the ceasefire and demarcation of the ceasefire line were implemented, but demilitarization of the occupied territory, and a free and impartial plebiscite under the UN supervision remain unimplemented till date, while the Kashmir dispute keeps on lingering.
As a result of the demarcation, about 139,000 square kilometers area of Jammu and Kashmir remained with India, while 83,807 square kilometers constituted the territory of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Indian rulers announced till 1957 that they would provide the Kashmiris the right to decide their future. The promise still remains unfulfilled, and the struggle for Kashmiris’ inalienable right to self- determination continues.
After the failure of all peaceful means to settle the Kashmir dispute, the Kashmiris started a massive uprising in 1989 to end the Indian status quo, and secure their genuine right of self-determination. This public movement gathered momentum with the passage of time, and forced India to come to the table of negotiations with Pakistan in 2004. The dialogue process between the two countries continues till date, but without yielding substantive results with regard to the solution of Kashmir dispute. The reason is India’s non-seriousness and its intransigence on the issue. Since initiation of the peace process, New Delhi has been missing no opportunity to halt it on one pretext or the other.
The perennial Indian state terrorism, particularly since 1989 when Kashmiris stepped up their liberation struggle has made the life of Kashmiri people miserable. However, various sorts 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.
Indian occupation forces have been enjoying unbridled powers under the protection of draconian laws like Armed Forces Special Powers Act and Disturbed Areas Act in the India-held Kashmir, and have broken all records of human rights violations. During the last 24 years only, the trigger-happy forces have martyred 93,935 thousand Kashmiris, widowed nearly 23,000 thousand women, orphaned 107,461 children and molested or gang raped more than 10,000 thousand Kashmiri women. Thousands of innocent youth have been subjected to disappearance in custody, and their whereabouts remain untraced. Besides these cruelties, the occupation authorities have usurped all kinds of freedom, and frequently impose restrictions on the people and pro-liberation leadership to suppress the sentiment of dissent in the territory. India is also hell bent upon changing the demographic composition of the region to convert Muslims into a minority.
It is due to these reasons that Kashmiris observe 27 October as the Black Day. The observance is aimed at drawing the world attention towards the miseries of Kashmiri people, and to appeal the international community to take cognizance of the urgency of resolving the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the Kashmiris’ aspirations. It is also meant to sending a loud and clear message to India that Kashmiris reject its illegal occupation of their homeland, and they are determined to continue their struggle till getting rid of Indian subjugation.