19th of July is celebrated every year on both sides of the Line of Control and all over the world by the people of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), as on this very day in 1947, majority of people of the Indian-held Kashmir passed a peaceful resolution, and decided Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan. The historical resolution not only reflected the aspirations of majority of Kashmiris, but became a milestone in their struggle of independence.
The people of Kashmir took this decision of joining Pakistan to protect their political religious, social, cultural and economic rights, as they were well aware of their fate under Hindus who had deep seated animosity for Muslims in Jammu & Kashmir.
During the partition of the Sub-continent, like other princely states, the people of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, which comprised an overwhelming Muslim majority decided to join Pakistan according to the British-led formula. But, Dogra Raja, Sir Hari Singh, a Hindu who was ruling over the J&K in connivance with the Indian Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Lord Mountbatten, the then Governor General of India joined India.
The design to forcibly wrest Kashmir began to unfold on August 16, 1947, with the announcement of the Radcliffe Boundary Award. When the Award was announced, it did a great injustice by awarding the Gurdaspur District—a majority Muslim area to India so as 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 who voluntarily joined the rebels. Lord Mountbatten decided to immediately send senior army and air force commanders to land in Srinagar.
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, following UN resolutions calling for a plebiscite in Kashmir.
It is mentionable 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 their genuine right of sefl-determination. They organised themselves against the injustices of India and launched a war of liberation which New Delhi tried to suppress through various forms of brutalities.
However, instead of granting the people, their genuine right of sefl-determination and holding plebiscite in the controlled territories of Kashmir in accordance with the UN resolutions, various forms of state terrorism have become part of a deliberate campaign by the Indian army and paramilitary forces against the innocent Muslim Kashmiris, especially since 1989. It has been manifested in brutal tactics such as 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.
According to a report on human rights violations in the Indian Occupied Kashmir, from January 1989 to December 2012, there have been deaths of 93,274 innocent Kashmiris, 6,969 custodial killings, 117,345 arrests and 105,861 destructions of houses. Indian brutal security forces have orphaned over 107, 351 children, widowed 22,728 women and gang raped 9,920 women. From January 1, 2013 to June 15, 2013, these atrocities, extrajudicial killings further increased, as the report disclosed.
Besides Human Rights Watch, in its various reports, Amnesty International has also pointed out grave human rights violations in the Indian controlled Kashmir, indicating, “The Muslim majority population in the Kashmir Valley suffers from the repressive tactics of the security forces. Under the Jammu and Kashmir Disturbed Areas Act, and the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act and Public Safety Act, security forces personnel have extraordinary powers to shoot suspected persons.”
In this connection, European Union passed a resolution on May 11, 2011 about human rights abuses committed by Indian forces in the Indian held Kashmir.
It is notable that in 2008, a rights group reported unmarked graves in 55 villages across the northern regions of Baramulla, Bandipore and Handwara. Then researchers and other groups reported finding thousands of single and mass graves without markers. In this regard, in the last few years, rights groups discovered nearly 3,000 unnamed graves in the various districts of Kashmir.
It is worth-mentioning that in August, 2011, Indian Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) officially acknowledged in its report that innocent civilians killed in the two-decade conflict have been buried in unmarked graves. The report indicated 2,156 unidentified bodies which were found in mass graves in various regions of the Indian-held Kashmir. Notably, foreign sources and human rights organisations have revealed that unnamed graves include those innocent persons, killed by the Indian military and paramilitary troops in the fake encounters including those who were tortured to death by the Indian secret agency RAW.
Notably, in its recent report China’s leading News Agency Xinhua has unearthed more gruesome details on world-stunning unmarked graves in Poonch of the Indian occupied Kashmir. The report revealed the statement of Sofi Aziz Joo, caretaker of a graveyard as saying, “Police and Army used to bring those bodies and direct me to bury them. The bodies were usually bullet-ridden, mutilated, faces disfigured and sometimes without limbs and heads.”
While, Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) and rights groups have pointed out that more than 10,000 people have disappeared, accusing government forces of staging fake gun battles to cover up killings. They also revealed that suspected persons had been arrested and were murdered through arbitrary executions, and then buried in unmarked graves.
In fact, non-condemnation of these Indian massive human rights violations and non-interference for the seettlement of this issue by the so-called civilised international community, especially the US have further encouraged New Delhi to keep on going with its state terrorism on the armless Kashmiri masses.
Indian authorities are not willing to talk with Kashmiri people on political grounds. New Delhi has reached to a conclusion that only bullet is the right way of dealing with Kashmiris, demanding their right of self-determination. Surprisingly, Indian successive governments are trying to ignore the dynamics of the freedom movement of Kashmiris for the sake of their alien rule.
However, celebration of “Day of Accession to Pakistan” by the Kashmiris reaffirms that these subjugated will continue to fight against Indian illegal occupation. In this context, this historical day has great significance for Kashmiris, which gives them inspiration to take their war of liberation to its logical end.
The decision of July 19, 1947 also established the fact that the people of Kashmir have spiritual, social, political and cultural links with Pakistan and they see a promising future in accession to Pakistan.
The day also shows firm resolve of the people of Indian-controlled Kashmir that they totally reject Indian rule and will never accept Indian hegemony. Despite having lost over more than one hundred thousand lives during their freedom movement, the people of Kashmir are still determined to continue their struggle. Nonetheless, on this special day, Kashmiris all over the world including every Pakistani show solidarity with the freedom fighters of the Indian-held Kashmir.
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