- The Kashmiris will never give up
In the backdrop of the revocation of Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution which ended the special status of the state, the Black Day this year was observed in Indian-Occupied Kashmir, Pakistan and wherever the Kashmiri diaspora lives across the world, with a renewed zeal and determination. It was encouraging to note that preceding the observance of Black Day, a growing number of countries disapproved the Indian action in IOK and urged India to restore normalcy by ending the communication blackout and releasing the political detainees following the diplomatic offensive launched by Pakistan to sensitize the world about the gravity of the emerging situation and the plight of the people of IOK, more so by Prime Minister Imran Khan in his address to the UN General Assembly.
The Black Day has been observed every year since 27 October 1947 in protest against the military occupation of Kashmir by India in a brazen and blatant breach of the Indian Independence Act and the Partition Plan. The people of Kashmir revolted against the Indian move. With the aim of changing the demographic realities, the Indian troops, the forces of the Maharaja and Hindu extremists resorted to reckless massacre of Kashmiri Muslims who were 87 percent of the population of Jammu and Kashmir. The ensuing situation led to war between India and Pakistan. Since then, notwithstanding UN resolutions regarding settling the question of accession of Kashmir through plebiscite and promises made by Nehru and Lord Mountbatten to make a reference to the people, India continues to occupy Kashmir and deny the right of self-determination to the people of the state.
India must realize and acknowledge the ground realities and fulfill its commitments given to the UN and the people of Kashmir as enunciated in the UN Resolutions. The UN as a peacemaking body also has to show sensitivity to the continued plight of the people of Kashmir and have its own resolutions implemented
According to the Indian Independence Act, the rulers of princely states were given the choice of freely acceding to either India or Pakistan, or remaining independent. They were, however, advised to keep the geographical proximity and demographic realities in view while deciding the accession. In the case of Kashmir, both these elements were negated. The revolt of Kashmiris against their ruler’s pretensions to join India and the resultant war between India and Pakistan, is a strong testimony to the fact that the people of Kashmir wanted to join Pakistan.
In regard to the UN resolution on Kashmir, it is relevant to point out that in the wake of the war that broke out between the two countries after the landing of Indian forces in Kashmir, it was India which took the matter to the United Nations, which facilitated an immediate ceasefire. The UN, during the course of its deliberations on the subject, passed 23 resolutions, including two UNICEP resolutions of 13 August 1948 and 5 January 1949 calling for a plebiscite in Kashmir under the auspices of United Nations. It is quite evident that the Independence Act, Partition Plan and the UN resolutions vividly recognized the right of the right of the people of Kashmir to decide their future through their free will.
It is also pertinent to mention that the UN through its resolutions 91 and 122 also repudiated the Indian stance that the issue of accession of Kashmir had been resolved by the constituent assembly of IOK. These resolutions reiterated that the question of accession could not be resolved by any means other than enunciated in the UN resolutions on the subject. This proves beyond any doubt that the Indian claims of Kashmir being an integral part of India represent a travesty of the facts and lack any legal basis. This claim has also been effectively negated by the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir in a landmark judgment on the attempts by the Modi government to have Article 370 of the Indian Constitution repealed which gives special status to Kashmir. The judgment said “Article 370 of the Indian Constitution is a permanent provision and cannot be abrogated, repealed or even amended. Jammu and Kashmir retained limited sovereignty and did not merge with the dominion of India after partition in 1947”. The Indian Supreme court also gave a similar verdict on the subject.
The Indian intransigence about fulfilling its obligations in conformity with the UN resolutions and its insistence on Kashmir being an integral part of India, led to two more wars with Pakistan and eventually to the launching of an armed struggle by the people of Kashmir in 1989 to win their freedom. Since then India has been using its military might ruthlessly to suppress the freedom struggle. According to reports compiled by human rights organizations within India and those working on global level like Amnesty International, the Indian troops have brutally killed more than 100,000 people and raped 11,060 women since then.
The Indians have also been using ruthless force since the unfurling of the current uprising in the backdrop of killing of Burhan Wani in July 2016, which continues unabated. Reportedly the Indian security forces have killed 755 Kashmiris, raped 903 women, maimed and injured thousands of them through the use of pellet guns and destroyed 3002 structures and buildings. During the month of September alone, the Indian security forces martyred 42 Kashmiris. It is pertinent to point out that even the UNHRC in its report has pointed out blatant violation of human rights in IHK by the Indian forces.
Regrettably the international community and the UN do not seem inclined to force India to resolve the Kashmir issue in consonance with UN resolutions. The Indian government is also trying its best to portray the situation in Kashmir as acts of terrorism sponsored and backed by Pakistan in a bid to raise a smokescreen over what its security forces are doing in the Valley and also to isolate Pakistan globally.
The Kashmir dispute undoubtedly poses a grave threat to peace and security in the region besides having a debilitating effect on the prospects of changing the dismal economic situation of the people of both India and Pakistan as well as other countries of the region. The continuation of hostilities between the two will harm both of them. History is a witness to the fact that no people can be kept under subjugation against their will for long. The people of Kashmir come what may, are not going to accept Indian occupation as is evident from their continued struggle. Similarly, Pakistan, being a party to the dispute, cannot remain oblivious to what is happening in the Valley. It has the right to extend moral, political and diplomatic support to the liberation movement launched by the people of IOK till such time as India agrees to act in line with the UN resolutions. India must realize and acknowledge the ground realities and fulfill its commitments given to the UN and the people of Kashmir as enunciated in the UN Resolutions. The UN as a peacemaking body also has to show sensitivity to the continued plight of the people of Kashmir and have its own resolutions implemented.