Republic Day: Black Day

Sajjad Shaukat

ON the one side, every year January 26, is celebrated by India as the Republic Day, on the other side, is observed by the Kahmiris on both side of the Line of Control (LoC) and all over the world, including their Pakistani brothers 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) amidst continued sieges and prolonged curfews. Since July 8, 2016, Indian forces have martyred more than 150 innocent people who had 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. After deployment of heavy arms and weapons at the Line of Control (LoC), Indian forces have increased troops and continue shelling in Pakistani side of Kashmir. And Pakistani troops are giving matching response to Indian unprovoked firing across the LoC and are well-prepared for Indian surgical strikes, as threatened by new Indian Army Chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhaag. 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.
However, in response to the Indian threat, Pakistan’s Army Chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa on January 5, 2016 rejected claims by his Indian counterpart Gen. Bipin Rawat about “so-called surgical strikes” and their possible recurrence. According to ISPR, Army Chief Gen. Qamar Bajwa made it clear that “Pakistan Armed Forces were fully geared to respond to any aggression by India.” As regards the historical background, on January 26, 1930, the Indian National Congress proclaimed the declaration of Independence. 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 J&K, 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.
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, various leaders and rulers of 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 January 26 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 Black Day keeps the issue of Kashmir alive.
— The writer is freelance communist based in Lahore.
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