EVERY year, January 26 is celebrated by India as the Republic Day. But, the Day is being observed by the Kashmiris on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) and all over the world, including their Pakistani brethren as the Black Day in protest against Indian illegal occupation of Kashmir. This time, the very day has come at a time when the people of Kashmir have accelerated their legitimate struggle in the aftermath of the martyrdom of the young Kashmir leader Burhan Wani by the Indian security forces in the Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK). Since July 8, 2016, Indian forces have martyred more than 300 innocent people who have been protesting against the martyrdom of Burhan Wani and for liberation of their land.
By manipulating the false flag terror attacks at a military base in Uri and Baramulla, the BJP-led Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also intensified war-hysteria against Pakistan. Indian forces have continued shelling at the LoC-Pakistani side of Azad Kashmir. And Pakistani troops are giving matching response to Indian unprovoked firing and are well-prepared for an atomic war, as threatened by Indian Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat on January 14, this year. However, New Delhi’s main aim is to deflect the attention of the international community from the new phase of Kashmiri Intifada, while pressure has been mounting on the Modi government both domestically and internationally to resolve the issue of Kashmir with Pakistan.
Anyhow, on January 26, 1930, the Indian National Congress proclaimed the Declaration of Independence. Hence, this very day was selected as the Republic Day. 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. During the partition of the Subcontinent, the people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) which comprised Muslim majority decided to join Pakistan according to the British-led formula. But, Dogra Raja, Sir Hari Singh, a Hindu who was ruling over the State of Jammu and Kashmir, in connivance with the Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Governor General Lord Mountbatten joined India.
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. There was a rebellion in the state forces, which revolted against the Maharaja and were joined by Pathan tribesmen. Lord Mountbatten ordered armed forces to land in Srinagar. When Pakistan responded militarily against the Indian aggression, on December 31, 1947, India made an appeal to the UN Security Council to intervene and a ceasefire ultimately came into effect on January 01, 1949, following UN resolutions calling for a plebiscite in Kashmir to enable the people of Jammu and Kashmir to determine whether they wish to join Pakistan or India. On February 5, 1964, India backed out of its promise of holding plebiscite. Instead, in March 1965, the Indian Parliament passed a bill, declaring Kashmir a province of India — an integral part of the Indian Union.
The very tragedy of Kashmiris had started after 1947 when they were denied their genuine right of self-determination. They organized themselves against the injustices of India and launched a war of liberation which New Delhi tried to crush through various forms of brutality. Nevertheless, 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, curfew, illegal detention, massacre, targeted killing, siege, burning the houses, torture, disappearance, rape, and molestation of Muslim women and killing of people through fake encounter.
Indian forces have employed various draconian laws like the Jammu and Kashmir Disturbed Areas Act, 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. It is of particular attention that in 2008, a rights group reported unmarked graves in 55 villages across the northern regions of the Indian occupied Kashmir. Then researchers and other groups reported finding thousands of mass graves without markers. Notably, foreign sources and human rights organisations 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.
Latest reports disclosed that Indian security forces have also used chemical weapons against the Kashmiri civilians in violation of international law and Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 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. Therefore, India is still showing its intransigence to settle the Kashmir issue with Pakistan by neglecting the fact that Kashmir remains a nuclear flashpoint between to the neighbouring countries. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s serious and sincere efforts by highlighting the Indian atrocities internationally have infused a new spirit among the Kashmiri people. Nonetheless, besides exposing the myth of Indian Republic Day, the observance of the Black Day keeps the issue of Kashmir alive.
—The writer is freelance columnist based in Lahore.