Kashmir’s Self-Determination Struggle: A Chronicle of Resilience’


October 27th is a somber date etched into the history of Jammu and Kashmir, observed as Black Day by the Kashmiri people, both within the region and across the globe. It commemorates a dark chapter when India took control of the state in 1947. The writing delves into the multifaceted aspects of this black day, tracing its origins, examining the protracted struggle for self-determination, and highlighting the ongoing challenges faced by the Kashmiri people.

The story begins with the partition of British India, which led to the creation of two independent states, Pakistan and India. This pivotal moment also gave rise to the Kashmir dispute. Jammu and Kashmir, with its Muslim-majority population, was expected to accede to Pakistan. India claims that the Hindu ruler, Maharaja Hari Singh, aligned with India on October 27, 1947, despite the population being predominately Muslim. This decision led to a tumultuous series of events, resulting in a disputed status that persists to this day.

India asserts that the Maharaja signed the “Instrument of Accession” on October 26, legitimizing its claim over Kashmir. However, historians like Alistair Lamb and Kashmiri researchers Abdul Majid Zargar and Basharat Hussain Qazilbash have raised questions about the authenticity of this document. In fact, the Indian Archives Department has declared the document lost, casting doubt on its existence.

The Kashmiris, unwilling to accept this forced accession, launched a mass struggle against Indian occupation. In response, India approached the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on 1st January 1948. The UNSC passed resolutions calling for a plebiscite to allow the Kashmiri people to determine their own future under UN supervision. India initially agreed but later backtracked, asserting that Jammu and Kashmir was an integral part of India.

The failure of peaceful negotiations pushed the Kashmiri people to intensify their struggle for self-determination in 1989. This movement witnessed various forms of resistance, from mass protests to armed resistance. Tragically, Indian forces responded with brutal force, leading to countless casualties among the Kashmiri population.

The Kashmiri populace has suffered immensely under Indian state terrorism. Indian troops have been responsible for the deaths, torture, arrests, and injuries of thousands of Kashmiris. The use of pellet guns, and excessive force has left many blinded, injured and brutally dead. Disappearances has also regularly taken place, and to this day the whereabouts of many Kashmiris remains unknown.

October 27th remains a poignant reminder of the Kashmiri people’s ongoing struggle for self-determination. The observance of Black Day serves as a resounding message to India and the global community that the Kashmiris reject illegal occupation and will persist until their cherished goal of freedom is achieved. The plight of Kashmir calls for a just and peaceful resolution, respecting the principles of democracy and self-determination, as envisioned by the United Nations. It is imperative that the international community comes together to work towards bringing peace and stability to the region by addressing the longstanding Kashmir dispute, which has prevailed for elongated 76 years and give Kashmiris their due and well-deserved rights. “There were people dying everywhere getting massacred in every town and village, there were people being picked up and thrown into dark jails in unknown parts, there were dungeons in the city where hundreds of young men were kept in heavy chains and from where many never emerged alive, there were thousands who had disappeared leaving behind women with photographs and perennial waiting, there were multitudes of dead bodies on the roads, in hospital beds, in fresh martyrs’ graveyards and scattered casually on the snow of mindless borders.” – Mirza Waheed: born and brought up in Kashmir.

(An international bestseller, a finalist for the Guardian First Book Award, Shakti Bhat Prize, and longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize.)

The situation escalated further when the Modi regime abrogated Article 370 of the Indian Constitution on August 5th, 2019, stripping Jammu and Kashmir of its special status. This move led to strict curfews, restrictions, and a communication blackout, plunging the region into a humanitarian crisis.

Throughout these challenging decades, Pakistan has consistently supported the Kashmiri people’s just struggle for self-determination. Prime Ministers and Army Chiefs throughout have reiterated their commitment to stand by the Kashmiris until their inalienable right to self-determination is realized.

Recent international developments have brought the Kashmir issue back into the spotlight. The UN Security Council convened a special session on Kashmir for the first time in fifty years, reaffirming that it is an internationally recognized dispute. Leaders and organizations worldwide, including the UN Secretary-General, have expressed concerns over human rights violations in Kashmir.

In addition to the complex political landscape, Indian-administered Jammu & Kashmir has faced challenges related to the preservation of its cultural and religious diversity. This issue encompasses acts of religious aggression and the preservation of historical Muslim sites.

—Ayesha Rafiq is perusing Bachelors of Peace and Conflict Studies from NDU and currently she is intern at Kashmir Institute of International Relations.

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