Every year, the martyrdom of Muhammad Afzal Guru is being celebrated on the 9th of February to pay homage to him, as India secretly hanged him and buried inside the Tihar jail complex on February 9, 2013. His martyrdom resulted in protests in Kashmir and widespread condemnations from various political and human rights organisations. Afzal Guru was convicted in the 2001 Parliament attack case and awarded death sentence. Afzal had always denied plotting the attack, which left 14 dead, including five militants.
In the past six years, during his martyrdom anniversary, a complete shutdown was observed in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) and protest demonstrations were held to demand the return of mortal remains of Afzal Guru.
Every year, call for the strike is being given by pro-freedom leaders and organizations to mark the anniversary of Muhammad Afzal. In their statements and meetings, all the leaders pay glowing tributes to the martyred Muhammad Afzal Guru who sacrificed his life for the Kashmir cause.
This time, this very day is coming at a time when six months have been passed. But, Indian forces have continued lockdown and curfew in the IOK. More restrictions have been imposed in the wake of shortage of foods and even medicines for the patients. In order to hide human rights violations, communication services have been cut off from the world and foreign journalists are not allowed to enter that region.
Indian forces have broken all previous records of gross human rights abuses since August 5, 2019 when Indian extremist Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government abrogated the special status of the Jammu and Kashmir by abolishing articles 35A and 370 of the Constitution to turn Muslim majority into a minority in the Indian Controlled Kashmir. While, Indian fanatic rulers are also escalating tensions with Pakistan to divert attention from the drastic situation of the Indian Held Kashmir, and have continued shelling inside Pakistani side of Kashmir by violating the ceasefire agreement in relation to the Line of Control (LoC).
The very tragedy of the Kashmiris had started after 1947 when they were denied their genuine right of self-determination which was recognized by the UN resolutions. On February 5, 1964, India backed out of its promise of holding a plebiscite in accordance with the UN Security Council’s resolution. Instead, in March 1965, the Indian Parliament passed a bill, declaring Kashmir a province of India-an an integral part of the Indian union.
Nevertheless, various forms of state terrorism have been 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, rape, breaking the legs, molestation of Muslim women and killing of persons through fake encounter.
In fact, Indian forces have employed various draconian laws like the Jammu and Kashmir Disturbed Areas Act, and the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act and Public Safety Act in killing the Kashmiri people, and for the arbitrarily arrest of any individual for an indefinite period.
In its report on July 2, 2015, Amnesty International has highlighted the extrajudicial killings of the innocent persons at the hands of Indian security forces in the Indian Held Kashmir.
Notably, in the World Report 2020, Human Rights Watch said on January 14, this year, “The Bharatiya Janata Party-led Indian government’s actions over the past year  have caused enormous suffering and rights violations…its unilateral revocation of Kashmir’s special constitutional status and the use of draconian laws to silence criticism…The Indian government has tried to shut down Kashmir, hiding the full extent of the harm caused there,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch.”
Particularly, in his address at the UN General Assembly, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan on September 27, 2019 elaborated various dimensions of the plight of the Kashmiris, Kashmir lockdown, putting eight million people under curfew, Modi’s anti-Pakistan narrative and danger of nuclear war between India and Pakistan.
In his third meeting with the US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of World Economic Forum in Davos on January 21, 2020, Prime Minister Imran Khan has once again expressed his desire for mediation by the US on the Kashmir issue.
It is owing to the efforts of Islamabad that rights groups, leaders of the foreign countries, the UN and external media have been continually pointing out the plight of the Kashmiris, especially in the aftermath of the military clampdown in the IOK. The parliaments of some Western countries have also passed resolutions in this regard. EU parliament has also prepared a draft of the resolution which is likely to be passed in March, this year.
Meanwhile, a news fake drama New Delhi will arrange to implicate Pakistan in order to divert the attention from its internal problems and of the international community from the perennial military clampdown in the IOK. This preplanned drama has been exposed even by Indian media on January 12, this year. But, despite it, Indian fundamental rulers can implement their scheme of another false flag operation like Pulwama, as Pakistan’s civil and military leaders have repeatedly warned the international community about it.
Undoubtedly, since February 9, 2013, Indian forces have martyred more than 1500 innocent persons who have been protesting against the martyrdom of Muhammad Afzal Guru, while the Muhammad Afzal Guru’s martyrdom has accelerated Kashmir’s struggle.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations