By Sajjad Shaukat, PAK VT
Every year, when India celebrates Independence Day on August 15, Kashmiris living on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) and Pakistanis, including those of rest of the world observe it as the Black Day to convey the message to the international community that New Delhi continues to usurp their inalienable right of self-determination.
On this very day in 1947, the historical resolution was adopted by the All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference in Abi Guzar, Srinagar with 59 prominent leaders in attendance. The resolution was unanimously adopted, indicating that existing religious, geographical, cultural, and economic ties and the aspirations of millions of Kashmiri Muslims warrant accession of the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) to Pakistan.
During the partition of the Sub-continent, the people of the J&K which comprised a 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 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 for the Indian armed forces to move into Kashmir. There was a rebellion in the state forces against the Maharaja which were joined by Pathan tribesmen. Lord Mountbatten ordered armed forces to land in Srinagar.
However, 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.
The Security Council’s resolution 47 of April 21, 1948, 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 a plebiscite. Instead, in March 1965, the Indian Parliament declared Kashmir an integral part of the Indian union.
In fact, the very tragedy of Kashmiris 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 suppress through various forms of state terrorism.
Since 1989, various forms of state terrorism have been part of a deliberate campaign by the Indian army and paramilitary forces against Muslim Kashmiris. It has been manifested in brutal tactics like crackdowns, curfews, illegal detentions, massacres, targeted killings, sieges, burning houses, torture, disappearances, rape, breaking the legs, and molestation of Muslim women, and killing of persons through fake encounters.
After the Indian fanatic Prime Minister Narendra Modi-the leader of the extremist ruling party BJP came to power in 2014, he took various drastic steps such as abrogation of the special status of the disputed territory of the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), revocation of articles 35A and 370 of the Constitution—bifurcation of the IIOJK into two territories to be ruled directly by New Delhi, continued lockdown there, deployment of more than 900,000 military troops who have martyred thousands of the innocent Kashmiris through brutal tactics, amendment of the law, allowing Indian citizens to buy land in the IIOJK and issuance of domicile certificates to more than 800000 non-Kashmiris.
And Indian forces have been also availing various draconian laws such as Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), the Public Safety Act (PSA), etc. in martyring the Kashmiri people, and for arbitrarily arrest of any individual for an indefinite period.
Indian forces had also accelerated shelling inside the Pakistani side of Kashmir by violating the ceasefire agreement across the LoC and compelled Pakistan Army to give a matching reply. In February 2021, the Director Generals of Military Operations of Pakistan and India had agreed to strictly observe the 2003 ceasefire agreement at the LoC and other sectors, including Working Boundary from midnight of February 24 and 25.
At present, Indian atrocities in the IIOJK have come into the limelight of the international community. In this connection, various world leaders, particularly those of the Western countries, their lawmakers, media, and human rights groups such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, etc. and UNO have repeatedly condemned Indian illegal measures and human rights violations.
In this respect, UN human rights experts on August 4, 2020, called on India and the international community to take urgent action to address the “alarming” human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir—to investigate all cases of human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture, and arbitrary detentions.”
Amnesty International said in 2020 that it is “stopping its work in India because the government has frozen its bank accounts for highlighting rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir…the government had sought to punish it for that”.
Amnesty International has also stated that it is “deeply concerned about the disregard for the lives of people in Jammu and Kashmir…The right to life is laid down in major international human rights treaties, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which India has ratified…the language publicly used by state officials in Jammu and Kashmir betrays and strengthens disregard for the most fundamental of all rights”.
In the recent past, the UN Security Council in its meetings has thrice reiterated that the Kashmir issue requires to be settled according to the related Security Council resolutions.
But, without bothering about the fact that Kashmir remains a nuclear flashpoint, the Modi-led regime’s extremist moves have completely ended any sort of dialogue with Islamabad to settle the Kashmir issue.
It seems that New Delhi reached to the conclusion that only bullet is the right way of dealing with the Kashmiris.
Nevertheless, like the past years, Indian Independence Day will be commemorated as the Black Day by the Kashmiris, Pakistanis and in rest of the world to encourage and re-affirm the Kashmiris’ commitment to continue their struggle for their legitimate right of self-determination as recognized by the related resolutions of the UNO and till the attainment of the liberation against Indian illicit occupation.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is the author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations and can be reached at [email protected]