Revisited Kashmir on the Black Day
By Sajjad Shaukat
Although 27th of October is celebrated every year as the “Black Day” by the Pakistanis and the Kashmiris all over the world as a protest against Indian illegal occupation of Kashmir on October 27, 1947, yet the issue is still alive due to continued struggle of the Kashmiri people.
During the partition of the Sub-continent, 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 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 and were joined by Pathan tribesmen. Lord Mountbatten ordered armed forces to land in Srinagar.
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 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.
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.
However, various forms of state terrorism have been part of a deliberate campaign by the Indian army against Muslim Kashmiris, especially since 1989. It has been manifested in brutal tactics such as 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 encounters.
A recent report on human rights violations by Indian Army and its paramilitary forces in Indian Occupied Kashmir disclosed that since 1989, there have been deaths of 93,274 innocent Kashmiris, 6,969 custodial killings, 117,345 arrests and 105,861 destructions of houses. Indian brutal security forces have orphaned over 107, 351 children, widowed 22,728 women and gang raped 9,920 women.
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. Under the Jammu and Kashmir Disturbed Areas Act, and the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act and Public Safety Act, security forces personnel have extraordinary powers to shoot suspected persons.”
Particularly, in the last few years, rights groups discovered nearly 3,000 unnamed graves in the various districts of Kashmir. In this respect, in August, 2011, Indian Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) officially acknowledged in its report that innocent civilians killed in the two-decade conflict have been buried in unmarked graves. The report indicated 2,156 unidentified bodies which were found in mass graves in various regions of the Indian-held Kashmir. Notably, foreign sources and human rights organisations have disclosed that unnamed graves include those innocent persons, killed by the Indian military and para-military troops in the fake encounters including those who were tortured to death by the Indian secret agency RAW.
In its recent report, China’s leading News Agency Xinhua has unearthed more gruesome details about the unmarked graves in Poonch of the Indian occupied Kashmir. The report revealed the statement of Sofi Aziz Joo, caretaker of a graveyard as saying, “Police and Army used to bring those bodies and direct me to bury them. The bodies were usually bullet-ridden, mutilated, faces disfigured and sometimes without limbs and heads.
In the recent past, by showing a sense of great optimism for peace of the region, Pakistan agreed with Indian old demand to strengthen the Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) in order to resolve the outstanding issues, especially main dispute of Kashmir. But, as part of delaying tactics regarding the solution of the Kashmir issue, Indian rulers availed various crises so as to suspend the process of Pak-India talks. For example, in 2002, under the pretension of terrorist attack on the Indian parliament, New Delhi postponed the process of dialogue. Again, in 2008, India suspended the ‘composite dialogue’ under the pretext of Mumbai terror attacks which were in fact, arranged by its secret agency RAW in connivance with Indian home-grown terrorists.
Besides, by acting upon a preplanned scheme, Indian soldiers crossed over the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir on January 6, 2013 and attacked a Pakistani check post, killing one Pakistani soldier and injuring many troops. In order to justify its open aggression, India concocted a fabricated story of accusing Pakistan Army of killing its five soldiers on August 6, 2013. In this context, Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, Defence Minister AK Antony and the opposition fundamentalist party BJP including Indian media blamed Pakistan Army for killing its five soldiers, while Indian deliberate violations of the LoC continues unabated.
Notably, on September 29, 2013, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held a meeting on the sidelines of the annual UN summit. Their dialogue ended with optimistic note, but in his speech in the General Assembly on September 28, Prime Minister Singh had allegedly said, “It is equally important that the terrorist machinery that draws its sustenance from Pakistan be shut down.” Showing New Delhi’s contradictory approach, he also said that Jammu and Kashmir was an integral part of India, and in this context there could never be a compromise.” Under the pretext, New Delhi again suspended the Pak-India peace process. So, India is not serious in resolving this dispute, as it is determined to keep its hold on Kashmir.
In fact, inactive approach of the so-called US-led civilized international community to this dispute has further encouraged New Delhi to continue its brutalities on the Kashmiri masses. In this connection, renowned Indian conductor Zubin Mehta conducted a concert the “EHSAAS-e-Kashmir” (Feelings for Kashmir) on September 7, 2013 in the Indian-occupied Kashmir.
Nearly 2,000 guests attended the concert, hosted by the German embassy in the Shalimar Gardens in Srinagar. It was a ham-handed attempt to give a glossy sheen to the ongoing military occupation of Kashmir.
On the other side, Srinagar and other parts of the Kashmir Valley were completely shut down in response to a day-long strike called by Kashmiri leader Syed Ali Shah Gilani. And freedom fighters protested, saying the concert was an effort to legitimize Indian rule in the disputed region. In this respect, a demarche has been issued to German Ambassador in Pakistan and Pakistan Embassy in Germany.
Nevertheless, it is a good sign that on February 7, 2013, the representatives from Pakistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Niger—the Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) including Kashmiri leaders met on the sidelines of the 12th Islamic Summit Conference in Cairo. OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu reaffirmed the OIC’s support for the people of Kashmir, struggling for their right to self-determination, as enshrined in UN Security Council resolutions. He announced a joint team of the OIC which would visit J&K to assess the needs of Kashmiris and find effective measures to help them. No doubt, interest of the OIC and especially Saudi Arabia is essential for the solution of Kashmir issue.
Nonetheless, Kashmiris, living both sides of the LoC observe “Black Day” on October 27 to protest against the Indian illegal occupation of Jammu and Kashmir. On this very day, Pakistanis and Kashmiris across the globe express solidarity with the freedom fighters of Kashmir, demanding their legitimate right of self-determination from India which continues various forms of state terrorism in order to suppress their popular movement.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Affairs. Email: email@example.com