October 27, 1947 is etched in the mind of every Kashmiri as on this black day, reportedly, Maharaja Hari Singh, the Hindu ruler of Kashmir’s letter of accession was accepted by Lord Mountbatten, the Governor General of India.
Both the instrument of accession and the dubious manner it was accepted are controversial and make India’s continued occupation of Kashmir illegal.
Historically, Kashmir was an important center for Hinduism and Buddhism but during the 13th Century, Muslims established their rule, commencing with Shah Mir, followed by the Mughals and later the Afghan Durrani Empire.
In 1819, the Sikhs under Ranjit Singh annexed Kashmir. In 1846, after the Sikh defeat in the First Anglo-Sikh War, and upon the purchase of the region from the British for a sum of 7.5 Million Rupees under the Treaty of Amritsar, the Dogra Raja of Jammu, Gulab Singh, became the new ruler of Kashmir.
Muslim majority of Kashmir, which had suffered under the Sikh rule, fared no better under the Dogra raj, who treated the Muslim majority population of Kashmir as serfs. The departure of the British from the subcontinent and the creation of Bharat and Pakistan as independent states held a promise for the Kashmiris, who hoped to be annexed to Pakistan.
According to the Independence Act of 1947, the rulers of the princely states of India were to exercise the option of acceding to either Pakistan or India.
Members of the Indian political party, the Congress and more notably Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, who hailed from Kashmir, conspired with the last British Viceroy of India, Lord Mountbatten to coerce Sir Cyril Radcliffe, the head of the Boundary Commission, tasked to demarcate the boundary between India and Pakistan to reallocate Gurdaspur to India.
The Punjab city of Gurdaspur was initially to be part of Pakistan. Its reallocation to India provided Nehru ground access to Kashmir. While the Muslim majority of Kashmir waited for the plebiscite to decide their accession to Pakistan, Indian forces illegally entered Kashmir and forced its Dogra ruler Maharaja Hari Singh to accede to India.
Volunteers from Pakistan including participants from Pakistan Army tried to liberate Kashmir and managed to free one third of the territory when Nehru approached the UN Security Council to promulgate a ceasefire.
The UNSC obliged but also approved resolutions on August 13, 1948, and January 5, 1949, declaring Kashmir as disputed territory, directing a free and impartial plebiscite to be conducted under the supervision of the world body, enabling the Kashmiris to exercise the option of accession to India or Pakistan.
India, which had initially accepted the UN Resolutions, later reneged and continues to occupy portions of Kashmir under its administration.
The agony of the Kashmiris in Illegally Indian-Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) is a prolonged saga of brutality and violence.
Disappointed by world bodies to enforce the UN Resolutions, in 1989, Kashmiris decided to take matters in their own hands and rose in open rebellion. Indian armed forces used naked aggression to quell the just uprising, resultantly, nearly 100,000 Kashmiris have been martyred, their women raped, property destroyed and their youth incarcerated in Indian prisons without being charged.
The installation of Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister of India in June 2014 turned the milieu in IIOK even bleaker.
In his election campaign, Modi had promised to repeal Article 370 of the Indian Constitution granting ‘special status’ to Kashmir and annex it permanently into India.
Modi also resolved to change the demography of IIOJK by settling Hindus there so that Muslims cease to be a majority. More ominously, the Indian narrative has changed. The freedom movement of the Kashmiris has been labeled as “terrorism” and Pakistan is being blamed as sponsor of the “terrorism”.
To support its fallacious argument, Modi has instituted false flag operations in which Indian Armed forces’ installations are targeted through fake terror attacks but the culpability of the heinous attacks is being pinned on Kashmiris and Pakistan.
To make matters worse, on July 8, 2016, popular Kashmiri youth leader Burhan Wani was brutally assassinated.
To protest his elimination, thousands of Kashmiri youth came out in the streets but they were targeted with pellet guns. The incessant protest rallies continue but to-date over 1000 Kashmiri youth have been martyred since Burhan Wani’s assassination and over 3,600 Kashmiris have been blinded by the pellet guns. In order to camouflage its own atrocities, Modi is using a multi-pronged stratagem.
On the eve of the Indian general elections in 2019, in order to gain a second term and also acquire a larger majority in the Lok Sabha (Indian Parliament), Modi staged another false flag operation on February 14, 2019, in the Pulwama district of IIOK, resulting in the death of 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel.
Blaming Pakistan for the attack, Indian Air Force (IAF) conducted a night surgical strike on Balakot, well within Pakistan’s sovereign territory in the wee hours of 26 February, which failed miserably. The bombs dropped by IAF only managed to create a few craters and destroy some pine trees, which was confirmed by the foreign and local media teams who were provided access to the strike site by Pakistan.
The next morning Pakistan responded by a daring day-time raid in which two IAF fighter aircraft were destroyed and the pilot of one was captured alive, while the debris of the other landed in IIOJK and its pilot did not survive.
Undeterred by the resounding retaliation by Pakistan, Modi built a plethora of lies, claiming to have killed 350 ‘Jihadists’ in a (fictitious) camp in Balakot and even stating that a PAF F-16 aircraft was destroyed by India.
Indian masses swallowed the fake claims and Modi was re-elected in the May 2019 elections with a resounding majority, which emboldened him to revoke Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution and illegally amalgamated Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh into Indian Territory on 5 August 2019.
Since then, IIOJK has been in a state of lockdown. The security blockade and communications blackout had been imposed throughout. Thousands of civilians, mostly young men, have been detained in the crackdown, while hundreds of protesting youth were gunned down.
Pakistan has been supporting the Kashmiris wholeheartedly, but its internal strife, political turmoil, weak economy and teetering under fresh waves of terrorist attacks, it is no longer in a position to provide more than moral support to IIOK.
Contrarily, India’s rise may have been based on a false premise but its international stature has become a reality. It recently hosted the G-20 summit and managed to organise a handful of events even in IIOJK to dupe the international community.
Despite boycotts by China and a handful of other like-minded friends, the majority of the world leaders not only lauded Modi but hailed him as a great leader. India’s strength is its strong foreign policy, the lucrative market it offers to international trading houses and its technically-sound manpower.
Coupled with the Indian art of propaganda and fake news factories which continue to churn out lies to malign Pakistan and the just struggle of the Kashmiris, Pakistan is severely handicapped. However, in order to help the Kashmiris and ourselves, we need political and economic stability.
A weak and divided nation invites aggression and lacks the capability of supporting the just and legal freedom movement of the down-trodden residents of Kashmir.
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