WHEREAS in every nook and corner of Pakistan, 70th Independence Day was marked with full enthusiasm and commitment to make it more prosperous and dignified around the globe, the Kashmiris observed Indian Independence day as a Black Day. Kashmiris on both sides of the Line of Control and across the world marked India’s Independence Day as Black Day to convey the message to international community that India has seized their undeniable right to self-determination by the indent of force. The day was observed by a complete strike on the call of Kashmiri leadership and protest rallies and different functions were held in the territory and in the world capitals to highlight different dimensions of the Kashmir dispute and Indian atrocities on innocent Kashmiris.
Going a little back in history will help the audience to understand the Kashmir quagmire. During the partition of the Sub-continent, the people of Muslim majority State of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) decided to join Pakistan according to the British-led formula. But, Dogra Raja, Sir Hari Singh, then Hindu ruler of J&K, in connivance with the Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Governor General Lord Mountbatten joined India. The real design to forcibly gain Kashmir began to unfold on August 16, 1947, with the announcement of the Red Cliff 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. This led to a rebellion by State forces, which stood against the Maharaja and were joined by Pathan tribesmen. 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. 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 bloody tragedy of poor Kashmiris had started after 1947 when they were denied their legitimate and UN approved right of self-determination. As a natural outcome of Indian injustice, people of IOK organized themselves and launched a war of liberation which India tried to crush through coercion and brutalities. In 1988 Indian positioned a very large number of Armed Forces to suppress Kashmir struggle on gun point. India itself attained freedom from British rule on August 15, 1947 and became an independent country but only after 72 days of this freedom, this country snatched the freedom rights of the Kashmiri people and forcibly occupied this region by landing its troops on October 27 and since then this occupation continues.
While celebrating 70th Independence Day Indian PM Modi said that “bullets and abuses” cannot bring peace in Kashmir. Later in his speech, Modi accused Kashmiri separatists of “scheming”. Mentioning in his speech that Muslim-majority Kashmir is at the centre of a decades-old territorial dispute between India and Pakistan, Modi was of view that “hugs” could solve the problems of the territory, which often sees clashes between protesters and Indian security forces. Modi’s such remarks have always appeared fake as the worst human rights violations are supported by one of biggest claimers of democratic and secular India. Modi while criticising people for using religion to incite violence forgot that in his own India religious prejudice is on peak. In India where cow is considered as scared by Hindus and vigilantes who portray themselves as protectors of cows have been frequently attacking people suspected of smuggling the animal since BJP came to power in 2014.
The slaughter of cows is banned in several Indian states and nearly a dozen people have been killed in the past two years in the name of the cow. Targets are often picked based on unsubstantiated rumours and Muslims have been attacked for even transporting cows for milk. Several watchdogs reports show India as an intolerant and unbearable country for religious minorities. No wonder animosity against Muslims is not new in India. They have never accepted Muslims as a separate sole power and the notable Muslim community in India has remained a prime target of Hindu antagonism. The puppet Chief Minister of J&K Mehbooba Mufti on India’s Independence Day said that she has all along believed that only dialogue and peaceful means can help in resolving issues because the vainness of violence has been established. While supporting false Indian stance she said the slogan given by PDP some 15 years ago is still relevant today which is, Bandook se na goli se/Baat banegi boli se (neither guns nor bullets, only dialogue can resolve the issue).
Just to recall last year Independence Day, Kashmiri youth was more charged because of the death of youth leader Burhan Wani, and still today their spirit and struggle for azadi is getting more intensified. Pakistan’s internal and foreign policy has always been towards the settlement of dispute according to UN resolutions. Unfortunately with BJP in power, apart from propaganda against Pakistan, it violates ceasefire along LOC. Indian malicious intent is evident from the blame game against Pakistan for every internal security issue, merely to avoid serious dialogue on bilateral issues as well as humanitarian crisis in Kashmir. Therefore, every year Kashmiris around the globe mark Aug 15 as Black Day to remind world of Indian oppression in IOK.
— The writer works for Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies, a think-tank based in Islamabad.