SINCE 1990, the 05 February is observed by the Kashmiris on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) and worldwide, including their Pakistani brethren as the Kashmir Solidarity Day to pay homage to Kashmiri martyrs and to show solidarity with the freedom fighters who are demanding their legitimate right of self-determination, as recognized by the UN resolutions. The day is marked by public processions, seminars and protests which are carried out against the Indian oppression in the disputed territory of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).Indian Parliament revoked Articles 35-A and 370 of the Constitution on 05 August 2019, which gave a special status to the IIOJK. The act split the IIOJK into two territories to be ruled directly by New Delhi. Thus, implementing the Hindutva ideology, the leader of the extremist ruling party BJP-the fanatic Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government unilaterally annexed the IIOJK to turn Muslim majority into minority. New Delhi also amended a law, allowing Indian citizens to buy land in the IIOJK. And issued domicile certificates to more than 500000 non-Kashmiris.
Now, more than 18 months have been passed. But, Indian strict military lockdown in the IIOJK continues. In order to conceal India’s state terrorism, Kashmir has been cut off from rest of the world. Despite the deployment of more than 900,000 military troops in the IIOJK, who have martyred thousands of the innocent Kashmiris through brutal tactics-fake encounters—closure of mosques, shortage of foods, medicines for the patients and coronavirus-affected persons, the use of pellet guns and phosphorus bombs, Kashmiris’ struggle continues. In fact, 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. But, Dogra Raja, Sir Hari Singh, a Hindu who was ruling over the J&K in collusion with the Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Governor General Lord Mountbatten joined India. The Radcliffe Boundary Award gave the Gurdaspur District — a majority Muslim area to India to provide a land route to the Indian forces to move into the J&K.
Indian forces invaded Srinagar on 27 October 1947 and forcibly occupied the J&K in utter violation of the partition plan. When Pakistan responded militarily, on 31 December 1947, India made an appeal to the UN Security Council to intervene and a ceasefire ultimately came into effect on 01 January 1949, following UN resolutions calling for a plebiscite in Kashmir. The Security Council adopted resolution of April 21, 1948, which promised a plebiscite under UN auspices to enable the people of to determine whether they wish to join Pakistan or India. On 05 February 1964, India backed out of its commitment of holding plebiscite. Instead, Indian Parliament declared Kashmir-an integral part of the Indian union. Since 1989, Kashmiris have already been enduring various forms of state terrorism; no Indian soldier has ever been taken to task. Hence, since the military clampdown started, Indian armed forces have accelerated the employment of cruel tactics. Almost, 100,000 Kashmiris have died in the past 30 years. In this regard, UN human rights experts on 04 August 2020 called on India and the international community to take urgent action to address the “alarming” human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir—“to investigate all cases of human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture and arbitrary detentions.”
Amnesty International said last year that it is “stopping its work in India because the government has frozen its bank accounts for highlighting rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir…the government had sought to punish it for that”. In the recent past, the UNSC in its meetings has thrice reiterated that the Kashmir issue requires to be settled in accordance with the related Security Council resolutions. Recently, several British parliamentarians strongly agreed with Pakistan’s positions on the Modi government’s brutal treatment of the residents of the Indian occupied territory and gross human rights violations. The European Parliament has repeatedly indicated that the people of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir had been subject to intolerable suppression of their freedom and fundamental rights. Notably, in a latest statement, the UN Charter, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged the resolution of Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN resolutions warned that any military confrontation between two nuclear powers-Pakistan and India would be a disaster for both countries and the whole world. He added: “his good offices are always available for mediation.”
And Indian prejudiced rulers are escalating tensions with Pakistan to divert attention from the drastic situation of the IIOJK and Indian internal issues. Therefore, Indian forces have also accelerated shelling inside Pakistani side of Kashmir. In a recent statement, ISPR said that Indian troops deployed along Line of Control in Charikot sector specifically targeted a United Nations vehicle carrying two officers of the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan. India is also planning false flag operation-Pulwama-II against Pakistan, as Islamabad has repeatedly pointed out. In the recent revelations, the EU DisinfoLab disclosed the leaked WhatsApp chats between an anchorperson of Indian Channel Republic TV Arnab Goswami and Partho Dasgupta, the former CEO of the Broadcast Audience Research Council, exposing the sinister designs hatched by Modi’s government to blame Pakistan for the false Pulwama attack, followed by a botched air strike on Balakot in 2019. Goswami was aware of the Indian government’s plans well in advance. However, 5th of February is being celebrated as the Kashmir Solidarity Day to pay homage to Kashmiri martyrs and to display solidarity with the freedom fighters who continue their legitimate struggle, demanding their legitimate right of self-determination.
—The writer is freelance columnist based in Lahore.