M Raza Malik
Background October 27 is the darkest day in the history of Jammu and Kashmir and the Kashmiris living on both sides of the Line of Control and across the world observe it as Black Day. This year, the day is being observed in the backdrop of India’s illegal and unconstitutional move of scraping special status of occupied Kashmir and annexing it on August 05, 2019. India put the occupied territory under military siege and imposed curfew, restrictions and communication blackout which was continuing even after several weeks when this write-up was written.
It was on October 27 in 1947, when India had sent its troops to Jammu and Kashmir and illegally occupied it in total violation of the Indian Independence Act and Partition Plan and against the aspirations of the Kashmiri 0people. According to the Partition Plan, the Indian British Colony was to be divided into two sovereign states – Pakistan and India.
The Hindu-majority areas were to constitute India while the Muslim-majority areas of Western provinces and east Bengal were to be included in Pakistan. At the end of British suzerainty over Indian sub-continent in 1947, more than 550 Princely States had become independent but with a choice to accede either to Pakistan or India. However, India illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir by military invasion. Being a Muslim-majority state, with 87% Muslim population, Jammu and Kashmir had a natural tendency to accede to Pakistan. However, the evil designs of the Hindu ruler of Kashmir and the leaders of Indian National Congress and Britain led to the creation of the Kashmir dispute, which continues to haunt the peace and stability of the entire South Asia even after the passage of more than seven decades.
India claims that it signed ‘Instrument of Accession’, which was drafted in Delhi and presented to the then ruler of Jammu and Kashmir, Maharaja Hari Singh, on October 26. However, a prominent British historian, Alistair Lamb, challenging the Indian invasion in Kashmir, in his book “The Birth of Tragedy” wrote that the successive events after the partition of the united India strongly suggested that Indian troops had invaded Kashmir prior to the signing of the Instrument of Accession. He argued that this has been the sole reason that the Indian government never made the so-called document public at any international forum. This was corroborated by noted Kashmiri researchers, Abdul Majid Zargar and Basharat Hussain Qazilbash. They have proved that the “Instrument of Accession” was fake and no such genuine document ever existed. Even Indian Archives Department has now declared that the document is lost and the announcement has put question marks on the very existence of the document.
Kashmir in the United Nations The Indian occupation faced stiff resistance from the people of Kashmir who launched a mass struggle against it. The Kashmiris’ resilience forced India to knock the doors of the UN Security Council on 1st January 1948, seeking help of the World Body to settle the dispute. Successive resolutions passed by the UNSC and accepted by both India and Pakistan nullified the Indian invasion and called for settlement of the Kashmir dispute by referring to the Kashmiri people to ascertain their aspirations 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 declared Jammu and Kashmir an integral part of India. Modi-led communal government moved a step further and illegally merged the territory into Indian union through the August 05 move.
Kashmiris’ revolt against Indian rule The failure of all the efforts aimed at resolving the Kashmir dispute through peaceful means since 1947 caused severe resentment and anger among the Kashmiris and they intensified their freedom struggle in 1989 to secure their right to self-determination. This movement pushed the Indian authorities to the wall, forcing them to sit around the negotiation table with Pakistan. However, the fact remains that India had always been averse to the negotiations to settle the dispute and present Indian leaders – like their predecessors – have not responded positively to Pakistan Prime Minister, Imran Khan’s repeated offers for dialogue.
Mass uprisings In 2008 the Kashmiris’ struggle to get rid of Indian bondage took a new turn. They started taking to the streets in large numbers and expressing their anti-India and pro-liberation sentiments in a peaceful manner. This mass uprising continued for three consecutive years. The extrajudicial murder of a young liberation leader, Burhan Muzaffar Wani, on July 08, 2016 by Indian troops triggered another mass uprising in occupied Kashmir. People in large numbers hit the streets in every nook and corner of the occupied territory on daily basis, demanding their right to self-determination. But most of the time during all these mass protests, Indian forces’ personnel used brute force on protesters, killing hundreds of Kashmiris and injuring thousands others.
Indian state terrorism New Delhi has exhausted all its resources during the past seven decades to intimidate the people of occupied Kashmir into submission but failed in its nefarious designs. Indian troops in the unabated state terrorism since January 1989 till 19th September 2019 martyred 95,444 innocent Kashmiris. Since the killing of Burhan Wani alone, Indian troops have killed 1,037 Kashmiris, tortured 27,739, arrested 12,010 and molested 933. During this period, at least 10,298 people have suffered pellet injuries and 147 of them have lost their eyesight in both eyes while 215 in one eye. However, all these brutalities have failed to suppress the Kashmiris’ resolve for freedom.
India’s 5th August onslaught Modi government has put the regional as well as global peace at stake by abrogating Article 370 of the Indian Constitution that granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir. The BJP government took the extreme step via a presidential order that superseded a 1954 proclamation, which had added Article 35-A to the constitution. The announcement regarding the repeal of the Article 370 was made by the Indian Home Minister, Amit Shah, in Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian Parliament. He also introduced a bill in the Parliament to bifurcate occupied Kashmir. The bill was passed later under which the territory will be divided into two Union Territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. After repealing the Article 370, India placed the occupied territory under strict lockdown. Millions of Kashmiris were confined to their homes while thousands were arrested. Continued curfew, restrictions and communication blackout led to humanitarian crisis in occupied Kashmir.
Pakistan’s support to Kashmir cause History stands testimony to the fact that Pakistani leadership and people have always supported the Kashmiris’ just liberation struggle. Prime Minister, Imran Khan, since assuming his office in August 2018 has time and again warned that the Kashmir dispute and India’s recent actions in occupied Kashmir could lead a nuclear war if the world does not work for the settlement of the lingering dispute. Army Chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, has declared at several occasions that Pakistan army and nation will go to any extent in support of the people of occupied Kashmir and would fulfill its commitment towards Kashmir till last bullet, soldier and breath. 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 Kashmiris and continues to advocate resolution of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with their will.
Encouraging developments The grave situation of occupied Kashmir following India’s August 05 move forced the UN Security Council to convene a special consultative session to discuss the matter. This was for the first time in fifty years that the World Body held an exclusive meeting on Kashmir. The holding of this session rejected India’s claim that Kashmir is its internal matter rather it testified the fact that Jammu and Kashmir is an internationally-recognised dispute concerning the right to self-determination of Kashmiris. World leaders and organisations including UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, US President Donald Trump, French President Amanuel Macron, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, European Union, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch expressed concerns over the grave human rights situation following India’s inhuman actions in the occupied territory. UN Chief Antonio Guterres and US President Donald Trump have offered mediation to settle the Kashmir dispute. Even Indian people like opposition leaders, Rahul Gandhi, P Chidambaram, Shashi Tharoor, Priyanka Gandhi, Sitaram Yechuri, D Raja, Sharad Yadav and Manoj Jha, journalists, Barkha Datt and Nirupama Subramanian, as well as Nobel laureate, Dr Amartya Sen, criticised the imposition of continued curfew, restrictions an communication blockade in occupied Kashmir.
Conclusion These are the reasons of the observance of October 27 as Black Day by the Kashmiris all across the globe. The observance is aimed at reminding the world of its obligations towards resolving the Kashmir dispute for the peace and stability in South Asia and the world at large. 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 that they will continue their struggle till they achieve their inalienable right to self-determination promised to them by India and the international community. After India’s action to change the disputed status and demographic composition of occupied Kashmir, the observance of October 27 as Black Day has become more important for the Kashmiris to send a loud and clear message to India and the world community that they would never accept India’s subjugation and would not rest till they achieved their cherished goal of freedom from it.
(The writer is a Senior News Editor at Kashmir Media Service and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)