Muhammad Raza Malik
THE people of Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir intensified their struggle for securing the right to self-determination in 1989. The mass uprising gave sleepless nights to the Indian rulers who responded with brutal force to crush the popular movement. In a bid to intimidating the Kashmiri masses, India appointed Jagmohan Malhotra, who was notorious for his anti-Muslim bias and activities in India, as the Governor of IIOJK on 19 January 1990, dismissing the government of Farooq Abdullah. Immediately after assuming charge, Jagmohan ordered the Indian troops to deal with the freedom-seeking Kashmiris ruthlessly. The troops unleashed a reign of terror across IIOJK and on the night of 20 January, they molested several women in Srinagar during house-to-house searches. As the people came to know about the molestation of the women on the next morning, they took to the streets in the city in thousands to protest against this brutality. The troops massacred over 50 people and injured hundreds others by opening indiscriminate fire on these protesters in Gaw Kadal area. The carnage caused resentment in Pakistan and ensuing 05 Feb was declared as the Kashmir Solidarity Day across the country. Since then, every year, the day is being observed to show unity with the oppressed people of IIOJK at the state level.
It is a historical fact that India illegally occupied the territory of Jammu and Kashmir by landing its troops in Srinagar on 27 October 1947 in total violation of the Partition Plan of the Indian Subcontinent and against the wishes of the Kashmiri people. Under the Partition Plan, Indian British Colony was to be divided into two sovereign states. Hindu majority areas were to form India and Muslim-majority areas of western provinces and East Bengal were to constitute Pakistan. As per the understanding behind the Partition Plan, the then princely states were given the choice to accede either to Pakistan or India on the basis of their geography and demography. With overwhelming 87% Muslim population, Jammu and Kashmir was a natural part of Pakistan as both shared strong bonds in respect of religion, geography and culture. This Indian invasion led to the creation of the Kashmir dispute.
The people of Jammu and Kashmir strongly resisted India’s illegal occupation of their homeland and launched a movement to liberate it from the Indian yoke. Their resilience forced India to seek the help of the world community to get rid of the tough situation. It approached the UN Security Council on 01 January 1948 and the World Body in its successive resolutions nullified the Indian invasion and called for holding of an impartial plebiscite under its supervision to allow the Kashmiri people decide their fate by themselves. Unfortunately, these UN resolutions and the pledges made by the Indian leaders remain unfulfilled even after the passage of several decades. India, which claims to be the largest democracy of the world, is using every brutal tactic to suppress the Kashmiris’ just struggle for securing freedom from its occupation. Indian troops have been perpetrating the worst human rights violations in IIOJK since 1947 to intimidate the Kashmiris into submission. However, despite killing 95,741 innocent Kashmiris and subjecting over 8,000 to custodial disappearance and molesting 11,234 women during the last 32 years, they have failed to subdue the freedom sentiment of the Kashmiris who are committed to take their liberation movement to its logical conclusion.
The Indian State terrorism in IIOJK has witnessed an unprecedented surge since 05 August 2019 when Narendra Modi-led fascist Indian government revoked the special status of the territory and put it under strict military siege. The occupational troops have stepped up cordon and search operation across IIOJK and killing the innocent Kashmiris on a daily basis. Post 05 August move, the Modi regime has taken several illegal and unconstitutional measures including the introduction of new domicile laws to pave way for the Indian Hindus to get settled in IIOJK thus changing the Muslim majority into a minority. These actions are part of nefarious designs of the Modi government to affect the results in India’s favour if the plebiscite takes place in Jammu and Kashmir at any point of time in future. By showing solidarity with the people of IIOJK, the government and people of Pakistan give a clear message, loud and clear, to the Kashmiris that they are not alone in their fight for the noble cause of freedom. The observance of the Kashmir Solidarity Day also conveys a clear message to India that it would have to recognise the Kashmiris’ right to self-determination as guaranteed by the UN resolutions. It also sends a message to the World Body to fulfil its commitments of holding a plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir for a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute. In view of Modi regime’s illegal actions to change the demography and disputed status of IIOJK, the resolution of the dispute has become more imperative for ensuring regional as well as global peace.
—The author is a senior journalist based in Islamabad.