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Second longest lockdown and darkest day

Islamabad

August 9, 2020

Kashmiris including men, women, youth and children are undergoing the second longest lockdown, complete curfew, which will be as many days as 365 days old on August 5, 2020 and they are observing it as the second darkest day in their history on this day.

The curfew was in an unprecedented manner imposed on more than 8 million population of the Indian occupied territory after the Indian Government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi scrapped special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution and making it integral part of the country.

This is the second longest lockdown, end of which is not known to anyone, after the first one was imposed when Kashmiri freedom fighter, Burhan Muzafar Wani, was killed in a shootout with Indian security forces on July 8, 2016. This had sparked off massive protests across the occupied territory resulting in deaths of more than 96 Kashmiris and injuries to over 15000 Kashmiris. The curfew was lifted after 53 days on August 31, 2016.

And Kashmiris in the occupied valley, on both sides of the Lie of Control, in Pakistan and the world over are observing August 5, 2020 as the second darkest day of their history. The first one being observed every year on October 27 is to continue marking their protest and agitation against illegal and forcible occupation of their territory by India on this day in 1947 after its last Dogra ruler Maharaja Hari Singh, one of as many as 565 princely states, had an Instrument of Accession signed in Delhi had opted to join India in accordance with the provisions of the of the Sub-Continent Partition Plan against the wishes and aspirations of the valley residents. Following this rather ugliest development, India had airlifted its security forces into the so occupied territory.

The occupying Indian security forces are there and their strength has been risen to more than 11 lakhs from 7 lakhs and the Kashmiris are also carrying on indigenous unarmed freedom struggle in a determined manner offering more and more sacrifices.

The Indian security forces are continuing their atrocities, brutalities, bloodshed and violence on the Kashmiris even when pandemic of Corona Virus is causing large number of deaths of India as the Indian Government is persisting with the lockdown shutting its occupied territory to the whole world with no means of communication or access to the territory even to the media people.

Following Kashmiris continues agitation and protests against Indian security forces and demanding their right of self-determination to decide their future themselves, India’s Governor General Lord Mountbaten and Prime Minister Pandit Jawahir Lal Nehru took the matter to the United Nations Security Council under Chapter 6 of the UN Charter relating to peaceful settlement of disputes.

The UN Security Council resolutions, which India had initially accepted but afterwards continues persistently denying their implementation, provide for holding a fair and impartial plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir under UN auspices to enable the Kashmiri people to exercise their right of self- determination and join either Pakistan or India.

The UN also deployed the UN Military Observers Group (UNNMOGIP) to monitor the ceasefire line between the Azad Kashmir and the Indian held Kashmir. These resolutions constitute an agreed legal basis for settlement of the dispute. India has, however, thwarted all attempts by the UN to organize a plebiscite in the disputed territory. Eventually, India openly realised from its commitments and declared that Jammu and Kashmir was an integral part of India.

The Indian armed intervention in the Jammu and Kashmir territory was illegal and had taken place against the wishes of the Kashmiri people. Despite the decision of the UN Security Council for the holding of the plebiscite to allow the people of Jammu and Kashmir to determine their own future, India’s own pledges to that effect, and reiteration of their commitment on number of occasions, India continues its brutal suppression in the occupied territory.

India is keeping its eyes and ears shut and refusing to acknowledge that the people of Indian held Kashmir have become totally alienated and there is complete rejection of forcible Indian occupation.

Instead of accepting the existing reality, India has been blaming Pakistan for allegedly promoting the Kashmiri uprising against Indian occupation. But the fact, which has been duly recognized by various international agencies and human rights organizations, is that the freedom struggle completely indigenous and enjoys full support of the entire population of the occupied territory. The Indian allegations against Pakistan are nothing more than a ploy to continue misleading international community and to create a smokescreen behind which it (India) can continue repression in occupied territory.

After more than four decades of a peaceful struggle against Indian repression, manipulation and exploitation, the Kashmiris got convinced that India would never honour its commitments, and inspired by similar movements in other parts of the world, rose against the Indian occupation towards later part of 1989. Their struggle was, and remains, peaceful.

Pakistan on its part has not only been extending unstinted political, diplomatic and moral support to the Kashmiris in their struggle for securing freedom from Indian shackles but also encouraging and exhorting the international community to play an active role and facilitate the peaceful settlement of the disputes between India and Pakistan besides calling for a peaceful negotiated settlement of the decades old Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions.

As for the casualties and other losses accruing to Kashmiri men, women, youth at the hands of occupying Indian security forces are concerned before and ongoing longest lockdown, it is very difficult to get the latest figures because all means of communication continue to remain suspended and there is no link between Indian occupied Kashmir and the world at large. But it remains bitter fact, sans exact figures, that Indian security forces given wildest powers continue to commit but it remains bitter fact, sans exact figures, that Indian security forces given wildest powers continue to commit all sorts of crimes against humanity and in flagrant violations of human rights such as killing of innocent Kashmiris, large scale arrests, destruction of houses, use of pellet guns on youth, gang raping and what not. The figures quite regretfully run into hundreds and thousands in each case.

And the International Community is condemning these anti-Kashmiris hostile activities of the Indian security forces but doing nothing more than that to pressure India to implement US Security Council resolutions to solve the longest unresolved dispute on UN agenda.

Kashmiris all over the world earnestly believe that their observance of the darkest days on August 5 and October 27 besides other protests and rallies in occupied territory and elsewhere will sooner or later awake the sleeping conscious of the international community and they will be getting their birth right of self-determination in accordance to UN Security Council resolutions and they will be free to either stay with India or join Pakistan. They are hopeful that this will happen but are unable to say surely as to when this is going to happen.

The writer is Lahore-based Freelance Journalist, Columnist and retired Deputy (News), Radio Pakistan, Islamabad and can be reached at [email protected]