The saga of the sufferings of the people of occupied Kashmir started with the landing of Indian troops in Srinagar on October 27 in 1947. India occupied the territory of Jammu and Kashmir against the people’s aspirations and in total disregard to the Indian Independence Act and Partition Plan. The Kashmiris consider the 27th October as the darkest day in the history of Jammu and Kashmir and observe it as a Black Day.
As per the Partition Plan of 3rd June 1947, passed by the British Parliament on July 18, the same year, the British Government announced to divide its Indian Colony into two sovereign states - India (comprising Hindu-majority areas) and Pakistan (consisting of Muslim-majority areas of Western provinces and east Bengal). At the time of partition of the Indian subcontinent, although over 550 Princely States had become independent but they were given the choice to accede either of the two newly-formed countries. Jammu and Kashmir, with 87% Muslim population, had a natural tendency to accede to Pakistan. The aspiration of the Kashmiri people to be the part of the newly established Muslim state was already expressed by their representatives at a meeting of Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference at Aabi Guzar in Srinagar on July 19, 1947 when they passed a resolution announcing the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to Pakistan. Unfortunately, India violating all rules and norms set for the partition, invaded and illegally occupied Hyderabad, Junagarh and Kashmir. The Jammu and Kashmir’s autocratic ruler, Maharaja Hari Singh, in connivance with the leaders of Indian National Congress and British rulers destroyed the future of the people of the territory by announcing its accession with India under the so-called “Instrument of Accession” thus sowing the seeds of the Kashmir dispute.
A prominent British historian, Alistair Lamb, challenged India’s claims that it signed ‘Instrument of Accession’, which was drafted in Delhi and presented to Maharaja Hari Singh on October 26. In his book “The Birth of Tragedy”, Alistair Lamb citing successive events after the partition wrote that the Indian troops had invaded Kashmir prior to the signing of the “Instrument of Accession”. He claims that it was due to this reason that the Indian government never made the document public at any international forum. Noted Kashmiri researchers, Abdul Majid Zargar and Basharat Hussain Qazilbash, proved that the “Instrument of Accession” is fake and no such genuine document ever existed. Even Indian Archives Department has now declared that the document is lost. This has put question marks on the very existence of the document.
Unfortunately, the so-called Boundary Commission headed by British Barrister, Cyril Radcliff, was also involved in a criminal plan that led to the creation of the Kashmir dispute. India had no land route to enter into Jammu and Kashmir. However, the commission, which was given the task of demarcating the partition line, under a conspiracy split the Muslim majority area of Gurdaspur and handed it over to India, providing it terrestrial access to the territory.
Kashmir in the UN
The people of Kashmir offered stiff resistance to the Indian occupation and launched a mass struggle against it. Their resilience pushed India into a defensive position and sensing a humiliating defeat to its troops, it approached the UN Security Council on 1st January 1948 seeking its help to settle the dispute. The UNSC passed successive resolutions (accepted by both India and Pakistan) nullifying the Indian invasion and calling for settlement of the Kashmir dispute by giving Kashmiris people the right to self-determination through an impartial plebiscite to be conducted in Jammu and Kashmir under the UN’s supervision. However, Indian rulers later backed away from their commitments and described Jammu and Kashmir an integral part of India.
Kashmiris’ rebellion against Indian occupation
The people of occupied Kashmir felt disappointed following the failure of all the efforts aimed at resolving the Kashmir dispute through peaceful means for decades. In 1989, they intensified their struggle to secure their right to self-determination. This movement gave sleepless nights to the Indian rulers. They lost their control, in practical sense, and could not even hold sham elections for the so-called Legislative Assembly and the Indian Parliament. They responded this popular movement with the brute military might. Since January 1989 till September 2018, Indian troops have martyred 95,129 Kashmiris, widowed 22,882 women, orphaned 107, 723 children and molested or gang-raped 11,082 Kashmiri women - the rape of women being used as a weapon of war to intimidate the Kashmiris into submission. Over eight thousand innocent youth have been subjected to disappearance in custody and their whereabouts remain untraced. Many of those are feared to be buried in thousands of unmarked graves discovered in the territory after being killed by the Indian troops in fake encounters.
In 2008, the Kashmiris gave more impetus and a new dimension to their struggle to get rid of Indian bondage. For the next three consecutive years, they kept on hitting the streets in thousands with the demand of the right to self-determination. But most of the time, Indian forces’ personnel subjected these peaceful demonstrators to excessive use of brute force, killing more than 200 people during the period.
In the ongoing mass uprising triggered by the extrajudicial murder of popular youth leader, Burhan Muzaffar Wani, by the Indian troops on 8th July 2016, the people are taking to the streets in large numbers in every nook and corner of the occupied territory on daily basis, demanding an end to Indian rule in Jammu and Kashmir. The Indian police and troops are using every brutal tactic against the protesters. They have also intensified cordon and search operations across occupied Kashmir to suppress the uprising and intimidate the people into submission. Since the killing of Burhan Wani, 701 Kashmiris have been killed and 24,456 injured in the firing of pellets, bullets and teargas shells by the Indian forces’ personnel during demonstrations and military operations. More than 340 youth have lost their one or both eyes to the pellet injuries while over 1,020 are at the verge of losing their eyesight. Hundreds of people including Hurriyat leaders have been put behind the bars.
Indian state terrorism and other tactics
India has miserably failed to suppress the Kashmir freedom movement despite killing hundreds of thousands of Kashmiris during the past over seven decades. The incumbent Indian government led by Narendra Modi is hell-bent to completely merge Jammu and Kashmir in India and change the Muslim majority of occupied Kashmir into minority. It is using its judiciary to abrogate Article 370 and Article 35-A of the Indian Constitution to pave way for giving the citizenship rights of Jammu and Kashmir to the Indian citizens. Indian designs to change demography of Jammu and Kashmir are intended to influence in its favour the results of a referendum whenever it is held in the territory. As such, the move is against the very purpose of the relevant UN resolutions. India is also using its investigating agencies like National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) to implicate Hurriyat leaders, activists and pro-freedom people in false cases to force the Kashmiris to surrender their just cause. Unfortunately, the international community, particularly the UN, is turning a blind eye to India’s actions in Kashmir resulting in the continued sufferings of the Kashmiri people.
The Pakistani leadership has always represented the Kashmiris’ aspirations and never betrayed the faith reposed in it by the Kashmiri people. The Prime Minister, Imran Khan, since assuming his office in August this year and the Army Chief, Qamar Javed Bajwa, have time and again called for peaceful settlement of the Kashmir dispute for ensuring durable peace in South Asia. The fact remains that despite facing the worst Indian military aggression for supporting the Kashmiris during the past several decades, Pakistan never gave up its support to the Kashmir cause and continues to advocate resolution of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the Kashmiris’ aspirations.
The unparalleled sacrifices rendered by the people of occupied in their just struggle during the past over seven decades have finally shaken the conscience of the world community, which has started to raise its voice for their rights. Many encouraging developments on Kashmir have taken place during the past few years. The UK Parliament held a debate on the Kashmir situation on January 19, 2017 during which a motion supporting the Kashmiris’ right to self-determination and upholding the UN resolutions on Kashmir was passed. The European Parliament issued a document on July 18, 2018 that highlighted the history of the Kashmir dispute, the UN resolutions on the issue and the Kashmiris’ freedom struggle. The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Kashmir in the British Parliament initiated an inquiry into the Kashmir situation. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussain, released a report (first of its kind) on June 14, 2018 that highlighted the grave human rights violations perpetrated by the Indian troops in occupied Kashmir. New head of the UN Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, recently in September upheld the position taken by her predecessor, Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussain, on the human rights situation in Kashmir.
This is the background of the observance of October 27 as Black Day by the Kashmiris across the globe. The aim of the observance of the day is to remind the world of its obligations towards settling the Kashmir dispute as per the relevant UN resolutions and the wishes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. At the same time, it is intended to send a loud and clear message to New Delhi that the Kashmiris reject its illegal occupation of their homeland and they are determined to take their struggle for securing their inalienable right to self-determination to its logical conclusion, come what may.
In view of India’s nefarious designs to change the disputed status of Jammu and Kashmir and the demographic composition of the territory, the observance of October 27 as Black Day becomes more important for the Kashmiris to make it clear to India and the world community that they would never accept India’s hegemonic designs and would not rest till they achieved their cherished goal of freedom from the Indian yoke.