IN 18th century a French philosopher Jacques Rousseau, said “Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains”. Metaphorically, it seems to have direct reference to the people of Indian Occupied Kashmir, especially Muslims. The residents of Kashmir are the most unfortunate people, whose generations after generations have remained chained in the hands of successive apathetic despots. In 1947, when the people of Subcontinent wereenjoying the fruits of freedom, to live their lives as they aspired, the people of Kashmir wereunlucky to miss the boat.
Enduring the tyranny of Ranjit Singh’s rule and the inhuman reign ofMaharaja Gulab Singh for decades, the people of Kashmir fervently decided to join geographically and spiritually contiguous Pakistan, at the time of partition. Though initially the Maharaja decided, against the wishes of his subjects, to remain independent, but when the public pressure mounted he requested Indian government for the help to restore the order. India taking this request as an excuse descended her forces in Kashmir on 27 October 1947,using her air force.
Since then the mournful day of October 27, 1947 is remembered as a“ Black Day” in the history of Kashmir, as from that day onwards the lives of Kashmirisbecame really hell.
Over three hundred thousand Kashmiri Muslims were ruthless lymassacred within a period of just two months by Indian troops, Dogra forces and Hindufanatics in the Jammu division; the massacre has continued even till to date.As per the Partition Plan, around 565 princely states were given the choice to accedeeither to Pakistan or India, based on their geography and demography. Indian leadership, abetted by Lord Mountbatten, coerced the rulers of princely states to join India; likewise, Mount batten discouraged these rulers to declare independence.
However, in exercise of their rights the rulers of Junagarh, Manavadar and Mangrol decided to join Pakistan, and Hyderabad Deccan decided to remain independent, but India forcibly occupied all these states on the plea that these had majority Hindu population. Kashmir had predominantly Muslim population, with 87% Muslims, all desirous to join Pakistan. Instead of acceding to Pakistan, Maharaja signed a “standstill” agreement with Pakistan to ensure that the services such as trade, travel and communication remain uninterrupted.
This infuriated Muslims ofKashmir who were determined to Join Pakistan to get rid of the Hindu Maharaja. Thedemonstrations in favor of Kashmir joining Pakistan erupted in various parts of Kashmir. The Maharaja’s forces opened fire on the protesters, burnt whole villages and massacredinnocent people. Tens of thousands of Muslims from Poonch migrated to Pakistan for thesafety of their families.
These Muslims, mostly ex-servicemen from British Army, returned back and along with other Kashmiris and Lashkars from Pakistan rose against Maharaja, forcing him to flee from Srinagar and formed their own government on 24th October 1947. On27th of October 1947 the Government of India alleged that the ruler had acceded to India, based on a fraudulent instrument of accession, and sent her forces into the State and occupied a large part of Jammu and Kashmir.
Pakistan immediately challenged thisfraudulent accession, saying that the Maharaja had no right to sign an agreement with India when the standstill agreement with Pakistan was still in force and that, he acted underduress. After Indian Invasion in Kashmir the first war over Kashmir broke out between India and Pakistan.
Feeling the heat of Kashmir war, India took the Kashmir Issue to UN Security Council on 1st January 1948, and a ceasefire took between both the countries. On 21st April1948, the UN Security Council passed a resolution (Resolution 47) on the issue of Kashmir which stated that, “The final disposition of the State of Jammu and Kashmir will be made inaccordance with the will of the people expressed through free and impartial plebiscite conducted under the auspices of the United Nations”.
Not withstanding, the fraudulent accession, Indian leadership also promised to consult Kashmiris people before deciding about their fate. Lord Mountbatten, then Governor-Generalof India, accepted the fraudulent accession with the remark that, it was his Government’s wish that as soon as law and order was restored in Kashmir the State’s accession would besettled by a plebiscite. Nehru also insisted at the Cabinet meeting on 26 October, that theaccession must have the people’s backing. Recently Mr Karan Singh, the son of erstwhileMaharaja and a Senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member, said that his fatheracceded for three subjects only ie Defense, Communications and Foreign Affairs and, unlikeother states, did not merge Kashmir with India.
Interestingly, after illegally occupying Junagarh state on 9 Nov 1947, India held a sham referendum to give it a legal cover, but she forgot the pledges made by her forefathers and opposed the same referendum/ plebiscite for Kashmiri people, despite clear UN resolutions. Now India has the audacity to shamelessly call Kashmir as her “Atoot Ang” (integral part).
The Kashmiris have been subjected to worse kind of oppression by Indian forces since27 October 1947 and denied their rights to live. The martyrdom of Burhan Wani followed bybrutal treatment by Indian security forces has made the lives of Kashmiris further miserable,their pain is equally felt by their brethren living this side of the Line of Control.
Nelson Mandela said, “When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choicebut to become an outlaw”.
After Wani’s martyrdom, Kashmiris have reached a point where they are no more prepared to accept Indian hegemony and are ready to pay any price for the freedom. Pakistan and India have fought four wars over Kashmir, and it remains a flash point between two nuclear rivals, threatening the peace of the region and the world.
The region can’t achieve peace till the time the agony of Kashmiris is mitigated and their fate is decided as per their aspiration, under UN resolution 47.
If UN Security Council can condemn 154 rapecases in Democratic Republic of Congo, then why not so, on the rape of over 10,000 women in Indian Occupied Kashmir by Indian Security Forces. If the right to live, as per their wishes, can be granted to the people of Southern Sudan and East Timor, then why not to Kashmiris who are suffering since 1947.
The unresolved issue of Kashmir for over 7 decades, result Inginto the killing of over one million innocent Kashmiris and rape of thousands of girls, is aquestion mark on the efficacy, impartiality and the resolve of UN.
The Black Day, Martyrs Day, Mqbool But, Afzal Guru and Wani’s Martyr days etc get ingrained in the memory of young valiant Kashmiris and reinforce their resolve to struggle for the freedom from India at any cost.
The land of Kashmir is very fertile, with every drop of blood a new freedom fighter isgrown on the soil of Kashmir. The hearts of Pakistanis beat with their Kashmiri brethren; theywould never leave them alone and are ready to pay any price for their due right of self-determination.
The longest unresolved UN Resolution No.47 is a stigma on the conscious ofthe world. The UN and all its civilized members need to ensure that its resolution No. 47 is implemented in true letter and spirit and the people of Kashmir are also treated at par with the people of Southern Sudan and East Timor.