- By Sajjad Shaukat
Every year, the martyrdom anniversary of Muhammad Afzal Gur is being celebrated on the 9th of February to pay homage to him, as India secretly hanged him and buried inside the Tihar jail complex on February 9, 2013. His martyrdom resulted into 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.
In the past three years, 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 Occupied Kashmir 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.
While, 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 mentionable 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.
Meanwhile, like the previous year, Pakistan’s recent serious and sincere effort at the annual session of the United Nations—the speech of Pakistan’s prime minister, highlighting the Indian atrocities, Kashmir dispute and demanding its solution has infused a new spirit among the Kashmiri people.
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.
Nevertheless, this time, the very day has come at time when the people of Kashmir have accelerated their legitimate struggle in the aftermath of the martyrdom of the young Kashmir leader Burhan Wani by the Indian security forces in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) in wake of continued sieges and prolonged curfews. Since July 8, 2016, Indian forces have martyred more than 150 innocent persons who have been protesting against the martyrdom of Burhan Wani and for liberation of their land.
By manipulating the false flag terror attacks at a military base in Uri and Baramulla, the BJP-led Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also intensified war-hysteria against Pakistan. After deployment of heavy arms and weapons at the Line of Control (LoC), Indian forces have increased troops and continue shelling in Pakistani side of Azad Kashmir. And Pakistani troops are giving matching response to Indian unprovoked firing across the LoC and are well-prepared for Indian another surgical strikes, as threatened by Indian new army Chief Army Chief Gen. Dalbir Singh Suhaag. New Delhi’s main aim is to deflect the attention of the international community from the new phase of Kashmiri Intifada, while pressure has been mounting on the Modi government both domestically and internationally to resolve the issue of Kashmir with Pakistan.
In response, Pakistan’s Army Chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa on January 5, 2016 rejected claims by his Indian counterpart Gen. Bipin Rawat about “so-called surgical strikes” and their possible recurrence.
According to ISPR, Army Chief Gen. Qamar Bajwa made it clear that “Pakistan Armed Forces were fully geared to respond to any aggression by India.”
It is of particular attention that likes the teror asaults at Pathonkot air base, in Mumbai and at Indian parliament were orchestrated by the Indian security agencies to obtain several sinister designs against Islamabad such as suspention of the process of Pak-Indian dialogue, shift of blame game to Pakistan’s primary intelligence agency ISI etc. While, 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.
Nonetheless, 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.
Undoubtedly, the martyrdom of Muhammad Afzal Guru infused a new spirit into the Kashmir movement keeps is alive today. 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.