Kashmir Independence Day

Dr Muhammad Khan

OCTOBER 24, 1947 was a historical day for the people of Jammu and Kashmir. On this day, Kashmiri masses formally established their self-rule on the areas, which they liberated from the DograRulers. This day is celebrated as Independence Day in Azad Jammu and Kashmir. This year (2016), the Government of AJK has decided to celebrate it with a renewed will and vigour. The Government of AJK desires to achieve five objectives from this celebration. First, the people of Kashmir, especially the youth should remember their forefathers whose sacrifices gave them this piece of land to spend their lives freely. Secondly, people and leadership of Kashmir should know that, this day would remind them that, this piece of land would now act as the base camp for the freedom of their brethren in Indian occupied Kashmir, as it was supposed to be.
Thirdly, the day is being celebrated to tell the people of Indian occupied Kashmir that, we have not forgotten your sacrifices and would do everything to get you free from the oppressive and repressive Indian occupation. Fourthly, the people and the Government of Pakistan firmly stand behind the struggling people of Kashmir with political, moral and diplomatic support. Fifthly, a clear message for the international community that, the Kashmir dispute is still unresolved and Kashmiri of IOK are under unlawful Indian occupation in violation of UN resolutions and international humanitarian laws, thus need their serious attention. Besides, this day “symbolizes hope, sacrifice” and consistent efforts for the attainment of right of self-determination of Kashmiris. The day also reminds the Kashmiris and Pakistanis their responsibilities for the political, moral and diplomatic support of the people of IOK without pause or any compulsion.
In the recent history of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, there are Sevenmemorable days/ dates/ years. The first dark day in the history was, 16th March 1846, Kashmir Sale Deed, commonly known in as “Treaty of Amritsar” signed between Gulab Singh, the Dogra Maharaja and British East India Company. On this unfortunate day, the state along with its subjects was sold-out to Dogra Maharaja for just 75 lac (Nanak Shahi). Earlier, Sikhs, Mughals and Afghans annexed the state of Jammu and Kashmir for centuries. About Kashmir Sale Deed, Dr AllamaIqbal says, ‘Each hill, each Garden, field, Each farmer too they sold, A nation for a price, That makes my blood ice-cold’.Thereafter, Kashmiri masses remained under the cruel Dogra rule until 1947. Whereas, the other Princely states got their destinations as part of newly state (s); India and Pakistan, the ill-fated people of the Kashmir are still waiting for their inalienable and UN mandated right of self-determination, even after almost seven decades.
The second milestone date is July 13, 1931, known in the history as the “Kashmir Martyrs Day”. Apart from killing of 21 Kashmiri youth by Dogra Forces, outside Srinagar Central Jail, this was the first formal overt demonstration by the Kashmiri masses. The event was followed by establishment of All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference, a political party, indeed, the first political representations of Kashmiris, having its basis in the Reading Room Party of 1919. From here onwards, the people of Jammu and Kashmir started their political struggle against the repressive and tyrant Dogra Rule. The Third significant day was July 19, 1947. On July 19, 1947, the people of Jammu and Kashmir unanimously adopted a resolution, for the accession of state with Pakistan. Each year, the people of Jammu and Kashmir celebrate July 19th, as the day of “Kashmir Accession to Pakistan”.
Then prominent Kashmir leaders;KhawajaGhulam-ud-Din Wani and Abdul Rahim Wani moved the resolution in the emergency session of the All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference held in Srinagar. The State of Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan had historical relationship, which dates back to centuries. This relationship have rooted in the joint history of these two areas over the years and later turned into a relationship of interdependency. Religion, common culture, same races on both sides, migrations and inter-marriages further strengthened this bond between the people of two sides. Besides, these linkages, geography of the Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan are another compelling factor, which essentially unite these areas.
The Fourth historical day was 24 October 1947, once the people of Kashmir formally established their government with the name of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Government. Significance of this historical day is given in above paragraphs. The Fifth milestone in the history of Kashmir was the 27th October 1947, being celebrated as Dark Day by Kashmiris. On this day, Indian Army landed the Srinagar Airport, a day of a formal Indian occupation of Kashmir, Kashmiris still facing the consequences. The Instrument of Accession and other formalities thereafter are all fake, as proved by scholars, historians, UN resolutions and even commitments of former Indian rulers. The 1947-49 Kashmir War, the 1965 War, 1971 War and even Kargil Conflict 1999 could not do much as far as the settlement of Kashmir dispute is concerned. Besides, the Tashkant Agreement-1966 and Simla Agreement-1972 could not pave way for the resolution of Kashmir dispute.
The Sixth milestone in the modern history of Kashmir was the years 1990. A renewed Kashmiri’s struggle for their right of self-determination.As a result of that, India deployed over 700,000 security forces in various parts of IOK. As per estimates, over 1,13000 Kashmiris have been killed, 10000 women folk were raped, besides tortures, unlawful arrests and detentions. In 2003, the people of IOK, gave up their armed struggle and started a peaceful political struggle. India however continued its brutalities and human rights violations in IOK. 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014, indigenous Kashmiri uprisings met Indian repression again.
The 7th milestone day is the martyrdom of Young Kashmiri Freedom Fighter, BurhanWani on July 8, 2016. The day has given a new impetus to the freedom struggle of the Kashmiris. There is a continuous curfew in the Kashmir Valley, ever since that day and Indian forces have killed over 120 youth so far. Over 10,000 people have been wounded and causing blindness and paralysis to over 1000 people with pellet guns. This year’s Kashmir Independence day 24 October, should be celebrated with a firm determination by Kashmiris and Pakistanis as they are unanimous to highlight the Kashmiri struggle and massive human rights violations in IOK at global level. There is a need that, Indian strategies of doing away with the Kashmiri identity, making demographic changes and including it in the Indian Union must be contested and all efforts be made to give Kashmiris their inalienable of self-determination.
— The writer is International Relations analyst based in Islamabad.

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