To understand the reasons behind the observance of the Black Day on October 27 by the Kashmiris, one has to understand the historical background of the Kashmir dispute. It is a fact that the dispute is closely linked to the Indian Independence Act and Partition Plan of 1947, which had stated that the Indian British Colony would be divided into two sovereign states, India - with Hindu-majority areas - and Pakistan - with the Muslim-majority areas of Western provinces and East Bengal.
According to the Partition Plan, the then princely states were given the choice to accede either to Pakistan or India on the basis of their geography and demography, but New Delhi illegally occupied three States of Hyderabad, Junagarh and Jammu and Kashmir. Hyderabad and Junagarh were Hindu-majority States but their rulers were Muslims. Being a Muslim-majority state, with 87% Muslim population, Kashmir had a natural tendency to accede to Pakistan. But, unfortunately, the then Hindu ruler of Jammu and Kashmir, Maharaja Hari Singh, destroyed the future of Kashmiri people by announcing its accession to India under a controversial document, Instrument of Accession. Even the neutral observers deny the existence of such a document. 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 believed that the signed instrument of accession did not exist at all as Maharaja was reluctant to sign it. He argued that due to this reason the Indian government never made the so-called document public either officially or at any international forum.
In a bid to punish the Kashmiris for their aspiration to join Pakistan and with the intention to change the demographic composition of the territory to turn the results in favour of India in any referendum in future, Indian troops, the forces of Dogra Maharaja, and Hindu extremists massacred over three hundred thousand Kashmiri Muslims within a period of two months in Jammu division.
It is a historical fact that if the partition had been done on the principles of justice then India had no land route to enter into Jammu and Kashmir. But the so-called Boundary Commission headed by British Barrister, Cyril Radcliff, that demarcated partition line, under a conspiracy split Gurdaspur, a Muslim majority area, and handed it over to India, providing it terrestrial access to the territory.
Right from the day one, the people of Kashmir rejected India’s illegal occupation and started an armed struggle with total public support in 1947. They were able to free a vast area now known as Azad Jammu and Kashmir on the world map. On seeing its forces at the verge of a humiliating defeat, India approached the UN Security Council on January 1, 1948, seeking its help to settle the Kashmir dispute. Successive resolutions passed by the Security Council nullified Indian invasion and occupation of Kashmir. Through the resolutions passed on August 13, 1948, and January 5, 1949, the UN approved a ceasefire, demarcation of the ceasefire line, demilitarization of the State and a free and impartial plebiscite to be conducted under the supervision of the World Body. Although one part of these resolutions (ceasefire and demarcation of ceasefire line) was implemented, however, demilitarization of Jammu and Kashmir and holding of a plebiscite still remain unimplemented.
The first Indian Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, promised before the international community and later in the Parliament of India and at Srinagar’s historic Lal Chowk to resolve the Kashmir dispute and give the Kashmiris an opportunity to decide their fate by themselves. However, those commitments are yet to be fulfilled, despite the passage of over six decades.
After the failure of all peaceful means to settle the Kashmir dispute, the Kashmiris started a massive uprising in 1989 to end the status quo and secure their right to self-determination. This public movement gathered momentum with the passage of time and forced India to come to the table of negotiations with Pakistan in 2004. The dialogue process between the two countries continued till the occurrence of Mumbai attacks on November 26, 2008. After the incident India wasted no time in putting the responsibility of these attacks on Pakistan and its intelligence agencies without any substantive evidence. An officer of Indian home ministry later revealed that India itself had orchestrated the Parliament and Mumbai attacks to strengthen its anti-terror laws. The dialogue process resumed in July 2009 and continued with hiccups and was once again suspended after Narendra Modi-led Indian government called off the Foreign Secretary-level talks scheduled in Islamabad on August 25, last year, on the pretext of meetings between Pakistan High Commissioner, Abdul Basit, and Kashmiri Hurriyet leaders in New Delhi, a few days before the scheduled talks.
The prospects of resumption of the dialogue received a major blow this year as the proposed talks between the Pakistan Prime Minister’s Advisor on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz, and his Indian counterpart, Ajit Doval, in New Delhi in August met the same fate after New Delhi’s objection on the meeting between Hurriyet leaders and Sartaj Aziz and refusal to include the Kashmir dispute in the agenda. The most lamentable side of the picture is that while Pakistan demonstrated considerable flexibility in the dialogue process, India’s intransigent approach continues to remain the biggest hurdle in the resolution of the Kashmir dispute. The peace, security and stability of entire South Asia is at stake because after the acquiring of nuclear capabilities by Islamabad and New Delhi in May 1998, Kashmir has become a flashpoint.
The Kashmiris’ struggle to get rid of Indian bondage took a new turn in 2008. 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 - at times the number of peaceful protesters thronging the streets of Srinagar exceeding one-million mark. But most of the time these peaceful demonstrators were dealt with excessive use of force by Indian troops and police personnel. The occupation forces killed over 125 peaceful protesters within a period of just few months in 2010 alone for challenging Indian rule on their motherland and demanding freedom from the alien occupation. Unfortunately, instead of taking these massive demonstrations as a referendum against its illegal hold on Kashmir, New Delhi once again resorted to dilly-dallying tactics like interlocution and sending different delegations to Kashmir to buy time and pacify tempers in the occupied territory.
India has exhausted all its resources during the past sixty-eight years but has miserably failed to intimidate the people of Jammu and Kashmir into submission. During the last 26 years only, Indian troops have martyred over ninety-three thousand Kashmiris, widowed more than twenty-two thousand women, orphaned not less than one hundred thousand children and molested or gang-raped around ten thousand Kashmiri women. Thousands of innocent youth have been subjected to disappearance in custody and their whereabouts remain untraced. The shocking discovery of thousands of unmarked graves in the territory puts serious question mark over the safety of the disappeared youth. Even the European Union Parliament unanimously passed a resolution in its session in Strasbourg on July 10, 2008, asking India to conduct an independent and impartial investigation to ascertain the identity of the people buried in these graves. This demand is yet to be fulfilled.
History stands testimony to the fact that Pakistani leadership and people have always supported the Kashmiris’ just liberation struggle and the incumbent Prime Minister, Mohammad Nawaz Sharif, and the Army Chief, General Raheel Sharif, just like the father of the nation, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, have termed Jammu and Kashmir as the jugular vein of Pakistan. Islamabad has always been advocating peaceful settlement of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the Kashmiris’ aspirations. Mohammad Nawaz Sharif and General Raheel Sharif have made it clear time and again that Pakistan would continue to support the Kashmir cause till the Kashmir dispute was resolved to the satisfaction of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. But unfortunately, Modi-led government’s aggressive policies in occupied Kashmir showed its non-seriousness towards resolution of the dispute.
This is the context of the observance of October 27 as Black Day by the Kashmiris all across the globe. The observance is aimed at sending a loud and clear message to the international community to take stock of the miseries and plight of the Kashmiri people and come forward in a big way to ensure a solution of the lingering dispute in accordance with their wishes. It is also intended to send a loud and clear message to New Delhi that the Kashmiris reject its illegal occupation of their homeland and that they would continue their struggle till they achieved their inalienable right to self-determination promised to them by India and the world through several UN resolutions.