EVERY year when India celebrates Independence Day on August 15, Kashmiris on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) and the world over observe it as the Black Day to convey the message to the international community that India continues to usurp their inalienable right to self- determination. At present, this very day has come at a time, when the Indian-Occupied Kashmir is bracing continued sieges and prolonged curfews, while Indian security forces have martyred more than 600 innocent persons who have been protesting since July 8, 2016 against the martyrdom of the young Kashmir leader Burhan Wani by the Indian security forces. However, every year, Indian Independence Day is marked by complete shutdown, as deserted streets, closed businesses and security patrolling the streets could be seen in the Indian-Held Kashmir. Noting intensity in the war of liberation and hoisting of Pakistani flags by the Kashmiri protesters, this time too, Indian occupation authorities will impose stringent restrictions in Srinagar and other towns by deploying heavy contingents of police and troops to prevent people from holding anti-India demonstrations. 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.
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 and State-sponsored terrorism. 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.
In fact, 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 the recent past, Amnesty International and various reports of human rights groups have pointed out gross human rights violations committed by the Indian security forces in the Indian Occupied Kashmir. While, European Union has passed a resolution about human rights abuses committed by Indian forces in the Indian held Kashmir. It is of particular attention that in 2008, a rights group reported unmarked graves in various regions of the Indian-Held Kashmir. Then researchers and other groups reported finding thousands of mass graves without markers. In this context, 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. In the recent past, more unmarked graves have been discovered.
Notably, foreign sources and human rights organizations 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. Now, some leaders the Western countries and their media have also taken notice of India’s gross human rights violations in Kashmir. Indian authorities are not willing to talk with Kashmiri people on political grounds. New Delhi reached a conclusion that only bullet is the right way of dealing with Kashmiris, who are 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. New Delhi also neglects the fact that Kashmir remains a nuclear flashpoint between Pakistan and India. Although Indian Constitution declares India to be a secular and democratic state, yet its subsequent regimes have broken all the records by continuing undemocratic injustices in relation to the Kashmiris. Nevertheless, by exposing the myth of Indian claim of the largest democracy and double standard of the US-led Western countries over the Indian injustices, Kashmiris, living on both sides of the LoC observe “Black Day” on August 15 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 struggle of Kashmiris, demanding their legitimate right of self-determination from India, which continues various forms of state terrorism in order to suppress their popular movement. The observance of the Indian Independence Day as the Black Day keeps the issue of Kashmir alive.
—The writer is freelance columnist based in Lahore.