Sunday, 27 October 2013

27th October – Kashmir’s “Black Day”

National Flag of Kashmir

On Sunday, October 27th 2013, a demonstration was held in London, outside the Indian Embassy to draw attention to the plight of the ancient nation of Kashmir, the control of whom has been variously fought over since the ham-fisted partition of India during 1947. Undoubtedly, demonstrations of a similar nature will be variously held today, in 2014 too. This column will explore deeper into the Kashmir Question and it is hoped, in due time to hold interviews with eye-witnesses of the atrocities which have occurred during the ensuing decades. Regular readers will know that this column strives to give a voice to under-represented people, but nevertheless retains a neutral stance politically. The Kashmiri situation is in fact, not dissimilar to that of The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus or, indeed that of Palestine, in many ways.

Kashmir has been in a state of self-defensive war since the independence of Pakistan and India; it is one of the world’s oldest disputed territories, only comparable with Palestine. The freedom struggle has resulted in 70,000 deaths by some estimates. 27th October, 1947, is a date firmly etched in the minds of the Kashmiris. It is observed as a Black Day on both the sides of the ‘Line of Control’ to show resentment against the occupation and the resolve to attain independence from India.

It was on this day, that the Indian armed forces invaded and illegally occupied a large part of Jammu and Kashmir. They violated the ‘Partition Plan of the Indian Subcontinent’ and forcibly landed in the princely state. The position of the Kashmiris’ is that India owes them the the right of self-determination, but to date, this goal is far from being achieved.

Kashmir has been a source of friction between India and Pakistan ever since these nations came into being: The apparent Indian greed to keep regional resources in their hand being arguably the main reason. It is one of the world’s oldest unresolved disputes since the creation of the United Nations.

A UN commission called for the withdrawal of Indian and Pakistani armies in August 1948 and brokered a ceasefire in 1949. It was decided to hold a referendum to decide the future of Kashmir. It was further decided that the question of the accession of the State of Jammu and Kashmir to India or Pakistan should be decided through the democratic method of a free, impartial democratic process, the main point being whether the citizens of Jammu Kashmir wish to remain independent, or secede either to India or Pakistan.These UN resolutions have been completely disregarded by India who continues to regard Kashmir as a colony, rather than a disputed sovereign territory.

The Kashmiris’ have never been afforded the right of self-determination. Furthermore, Kashmiri freedom fighters have been abducted, tortured and subsequently murdered by the Indian security forces; the worst human rights abuses have been carried out which allegedly have included severe beatings, electrocution and sexual humiliation against hundreds of detainees.

Kashmiri citizens are dealt with differently from the rest of India’s population under the provisions of the Jammu & Kashmir Public Safety Act, under which they can be jailed for up to two years if individuals are considered likely to commit ‘subversive’ acts. An estimated 20,000 are currently detained according to the independent Human Rights Watch.

According to information published recently, the Kashmiri lawyer Imroz has discovered some 3,844 unmarked mass graves whilst searching for people listed as ‘missing’;  he has still to carry out searches in 16 more districts. Appalling figures have surfaced, putting the murder toll at 6000, out which only 80% have been identified. It will be alleged, according to sources, that prima facie evidence exists which could cite the Indian army as being guilty of crimes against humanity in an ongoing war that has never been properly reported by international media. The UN sent a report via the Human Rights Council, warning India of its obligations under human rights treaties and laws, shortly after the discovery of these graves.

The extending and raising of the Mangla dam is another issue which this column will be covering, for in commission this project which is partly to enable Pakistan to derive Hydro Electric Power from the region, has wiped out whole Kashmiri communities not to mention the final resting place of loved ones. Much more is to follow on this issue in the coming weeks.

Caveat Emptor

The views expressed above are drawn from Kashmiri Nationals sources and my own opinions are neither reflected nor opined throughout. I have not been paid for this or any other article within my extensive archive of written work.

Chris Green

Besparmak Media Services

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