Revisiting Jammu Martyrs Day

1890

Sajjad Shaukat

THIS time Jammu Martyrs Day has come at a time when the people of Kashmir have accelerated their legitimate struggle, as since 5 August 2019, New Delhi unilaterally annexed the India-Occupied Kashmir (IoK), revoking Articles 35-A and 370 of the Constitution which gave a special status to that region. Indian forces have continued lockdown in the IOK. Besides, Indian forces have continued shelling inside Pakistani side of Kashmir by violating the ceasefire agreement in relation to the Line of Control (LoC). Notably, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan was on seven-day visit to the New York City in connection with the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly opened on September 24, 2019. In his interaction with the US lawmakers, scholars, human rights activists and the media, and meetings with the US President Donald Trump and world’s other leaders, and during his speech at the UNGA, he reiterated the drastic implications of the lockdown in Kashmir and particularly danger of nuclear war between Pakistan and India. Human rights groups, leaders of various countries, including United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and international media have condemned India’s perennial lockdown in the India-occupied Kashmir, demanding New Delhi to lift the restrictions on the Kashmiris.
However, like other “Black Days”, Jammu Martyrs Day which is another gloomy day in the history of Kashmir, is celebrated on 06 November, by Kashmiris and the Pakistanis on both sides of the LoC and by those living abroad to remember the great sacrifices of 2.50 lakh inmates of Jammu, including men, women, children and elderly Muslims who were mercilessly slaughtered by the armed Hindu gangsters, the Indian occupying and the Dogra military troops near Jammu-Sialkot working boundary under a nefarious pre-planned conspiracy, while they were proceeding for migrating to their beloved homeland Pakistan. This tragedy occurred on this very day in 1947. During the first week of November 1947‚ hundreds of thousands of Kashmiris were killed by the forces of Maharaja Hari Singh‚ Indian army and Hindu extremists in different parts of Jammu region, while they were migrating to Pakistan. But, their brutalities were not confined to it. As part of pre-planned scheme, on 5 November 1947, announcements were made everywhere in Jammu, asking Muslims to assemble in police lines where from they would be sent to Pakistan. On Nov 6, Jammu Muslims, including men women and children were seemingly dispatched towards Pakistan in trucks. But before they could reach destination, Indian army, forces of Maharaja and Hindu extremists at Samba Reasi and other places martyred them in a gruesome manner.
The huge deaths had stunned the world. In this regard, the ‘Time” magazine, in its November 47 publication also pointed out the figure of 2, 50,000 deaths of Jammu people. But, these sacrifices did not go waste, as they have kept the Kashmir issue alive. Nevertheless, during the partition of the subcontinent in 1947, the people of the State of Jammu & 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 J&K, in connivance 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 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. Indian forces invaded Srinagar on 27 October 1947 and forcibly occupied Jammu and Kashmir in utter violation of the Partition Plan and against the wishes of the Kashmiri people. When Pakistan responded militarily against the Indian aggression, 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.
On 5 February 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. Since 1947, in order to maintain its illegal control, India has continued its repressive regime in the IoK through various machinations. In this connection, 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.
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. Under the Jammu and Kashmir Disturbed Areas Act, and the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act and Public Safety Act, security forces personnel have extraordinary powers to shoot suspected persons.” In its report on 2 July 2015, the Amnesty International has highlighted extrajudicial killings of the innocent persons at the hands of Indian security forces in the India-occupied Kashmir. Consequently, November 6 is commemorated by the Kashmiris and Pakistanis as the Jammu Martyrs Day to remember the supreme sacrifices of lives, laid down by 2,50,000 people of Jammu.
—The writer is freelance columnist based in Lahore.