By Sajjad Shaukat
Every year, January 5 is celebrated in remembrance of the pledges of the UNO; as on this very day in 1949, UNCIP (United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan) resolution was adopted in which Kashmiris right of self-determination was granted through a free and impartial plebiscite, while still living under Indian occupation.
During the partition of the Sub-continent, the people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) which comprised Muslim majority decided to join Pakistan according to the British-led formula. But Sir Hari Singh, a Hindu Dogra Raja who was ruling the J&K at that time, in connivance with the Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Governor General Lord Mountbatten joined India.
The design to forcibly wrest Kashmir began to unfold on August 16, 1947, with the announcement of the Radcliffe Boundary Award. It gave the Gurdaspur District—a majority Muslim area to India to provide a land route to the Indian armed forces to move into Kashmir. There was a rebellion in the state forces, which revolted against the Maharaja and were joined by Pathan tribesmen. Lord Mountbatten ordered armed forces to land in Srinagar.
However, Indian forces invaded Srinagar on 27 October 1947 and forcibly occupied Jammu and Kashmir in utter violation of the partition plan and against the wishes of the Kashmiri people.
When Pakistan responded militarily against the Indian aggression, on December 31, 1947, India made an appeal to the UN Security Council to intervene and a ceasefire ultimately came into effect on January 01, 1949, followed by UN resolutions calling for a plebiscite in Kashmir.
It is of note that the Security Council adopted resolution 47 (1948) of 21 April 1948 which promised a plebiscite under UN auspices to enable the people of Jammu and Kashmir to determine whether they wish to join Pakistan or India. On February 5, 1964, India backed out of its promise of holding plebiscite. Instead, in March 1965, the Indian Parliament passed a bill, declaring Kashmir a province of India-an integral part of the Indian union.
The very tragedy of Kashmiris had started after 1947 when they were denied of their genuine right of self-determination. They organized themselves against the injustices of India and launched a struggle for liberation which New Delhi tried to suppress through various forms of state terrorism.
Passing through various phases, Pakistan supported the struggle of Kashmiris while India, in order to maintain its illegal control, continued with its repressive regime through various means. India forcibly occupied Kashmir in gross violation of the “Partition Plan of the Indian Subcontinent”, through the so-called-Instrument of Accession of October 27, 1947 due to which New Delhi justifies its hold on the Kashmir.
Nevertheless, various forms of state terrorism have become part of a deliberate campaign by the Indian army and paramilitary forces against Muslim Kashmiris, especially since 1989. It has been manifested in brutal tactics like crackdowns, curfews, illegal detentions, massacre, targeted killings, sieges, burning the houses, torture, disappearances, rapes / molestation of Muslim women, breaking the legs and killing of persons through fake encounters. The latest trend which is very horrific is that Indian forces are using Chemical Weapons to kill innocent Kashmiris.
According to a report on human rights violations in the Indian Occupied Kashmir, since 1989, there have been deaths of 1,00,000 innocent Kashmiris, 7,023 custodial killings, 1,22,771 arrests, 1,05,996 destruction of houses or buildings, 22,776 women widowed, 1,07,466 children orphaned and 10,086 women gang-raped/molested.
Indian forces have employed various draconian laws including the Jammu and Kashmir Disturbed Areas Act, Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act and Public Safety Act in killing the Kashmiri people, and for arbitrary arrest of any individual for an indefinite period.
The Amnesty International has highlighted extrajudicial killings of the innocent Kashmiris at the hands of Indian security forces in the Indian Held Kashmir. The report points out, “Tens of thousands of security forces are deployed in Indian-administered Kashmir…the Armed Forces Special Powers Act allows troops to shoot to kill suspected militants or arrest them without a warrant…not a single member of the armed forces has been tried in a civilian court for violating human rights in Kashmir…this lack of accountability has in turn facilitated other serious abuses…India has martyred over 100,000 people. More than 8,000 disappeared (while) in the custody of army and state police.”
In this respect, European Union has passed a resolution about human rights abuses committed by Indian forces in the Indian held Kashmir.
It is of particular attention that in 2008, a rights group reported unmarked graves in 55 villages across the northern regions of the Indian-held Kashmir. Then researchers and other groups reported finding thousands of mass graves without markers. In August 2011, Indian Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission officially acknowledged in its report that innocent civilians, killed in the two-decade conflict, have been buried in unmarked graves.
Notably, foreign sources and human rights organizations have revealed that unnamed graves include those innocent persons, killed by the Indian military and paramilitary troops in the fake encounters and those who were tortured to death by the Indian secret agency RAW, while recent information suggests that some more unmarked graves have been discovered.
Evidently, 68 years have passed. Now, it is an open secret that unabated Indian state terrorism was directed to subdue the freedom sentiment of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. In 2016 and 2017, thousands of people took to the streets in Srinagar and other towns of Jammu and Kashmir with the demand of their right to self-determination. Instead of respecting the sentiments of these people, Indian troops and police personnel responded with bullets, teargas shells and batons.
Pakistan’s recent serious and sincere efforts in the United Nations for pointing out the brutal tactics of the Indian security forces in the Indian-held Kashmir and emphasizing upon the international community for settlement of this old issue are noteworthy.