Every year, February 5 is being celebrated as the “Kashmir Day” by Pakistanis and Kashmiris all over the world to show solidarity with the freedom fighters, demanding their legitimate right of self-determination from India. In wake of the ongoing uprising (Intifada), the day reminds the continued sacrifices of Kashmiri people against Indian state terrorism.
In fact, the misfortune of Kashmiris who comprises 94 percent in Jummu and Kashmir, started in 1846 when their territory was sold by the British colonialists to a Hindu, Gulab Singh who continued his brutal policies—memories of which remain alive today. During the Dogra rule (1846-1947), Kashmiri Muslims were leading so miserable life that it was difficult to differentiate them from beasts. Slave labour, capital punishment for cow slaughter, and living under constant terror was order of the day.
On April 19, 1931, the ban of Eid Khutba ignited widespread demonstrations in the Jummu city. For the first time, people openly opposed the oppression. On July 13, 1931, thousands of people thronged the Central Jail Srinagar. As the time for obligatory prayer approached, a young Kashmiri stood for Azan. The Dogra soldiers opened fire at him. In this way, 22 Kashmiris embraced martyrdom in their efforts to complete the Azan.
On partition of India in 1947, the ruler of Jammu and Kashmir, Hari Singh, in connivance with Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Governor-General Lord Mountbatten, had decided to join India, quite contrary to the wishes of the majority of Kashmiris.
When a contention arose between India and Pakistan on the dispute of Kashmir in1948, India took the issue to the United Nations Security Council and offered to hold a plebiscite in the held Kashmir under UN supervision. On February 5, 1964, India backed out of its promise. Instead, in March 1965, The Indian Parliament passed a bill, declaring Kashmir a province of India.
However, passing through various phases, during and after the partition, the struggle of Kashmiris which has become an interaction between the Indian state terrorism led by the Indian security forces and war of liberation by the freedom fighters keeps on going unabated.
As regards the latest phase of Indian state terrorism, like the past, intermittent curfews, crackdowns and massacre by the Indian forces have continued against the non-violent mass uprising of Kashmiris. Thus more than 1000 innocent people have been killed.
It is notable that global terrorism that has gained significance after the 9/11 is marked by confusion about its definition and application. In such a situation, even war of liberation in the occupied Kashmir is being equated with terrorism and it becomes much difficult for the general masses to detect the real terrorists. India which immediately jumped on the American bandwagon of war on terror by neglecting the legitimate rights of Kashmiris, has continuously been trying to convince the US-led international community through a propaganda campaign that the Kashmiri freedom fighters or Mujahideen are terrorists, while accusing that Pakistan is sponsoring this cross-border terrorism.
It is mentionable that those who sympathize with the cause of Palestinians, Afghans and Iraqis regard the people of Kashmir as fighting a war of national liberation. They equate the military actions and targeted killing of the innocent people by the Indian occupying forces with terrorism. On the other side, reactive ambush tactics of the freedom fighters in these territories are called by the colonial authorities as terrorism.
In 2003, the US ex-president Bush had trampled all international laws for the invasion of Iraq. Without mandate of the UN and by setting aside, larger anti-war protests all over the world, attack on Iraq by the US-led coalition was an attack on humanity, fundamental rights, and sovereignty of an independent state. Nevertheless, American occupation has been described by the majority of the Muslims as an act of terrorism. Even Kofi Annan, the former General Secretary of the UN had said in a BBC interview on September 16, 2004 that the invasion and occupation of Iraq was illegal.
No doubt, misconception of the war of independence in Kashmir by equating the same with terrorism has become the main target of New Delhi and some other western countries. Zionism and Hinduism are still active forces that mould the political policies of Hindus and Jews. It is regrettable that all these ethno-religious ideologies are tolerable to the western powers, but they denounce present freedom movement of the Kashmiris with terrorism.
At present, Indian military troops are using all inhuman tactics of ethnic cleansing to disturb the majority population of the Kashmiris, which had been practised by the Serb forces on Bosnian and Kosovar Muslims in the past and recently by Israel on the Palestinians.
When Indian military troops destroy a village and conduct extrajudicial killings in the occupied territories of Kashmir, west remains silent, for it is an internal affair of Indians, but when freedom fighters seek retaliation, it becomes a case of terrorism. Recently, discovery of nearly 1000 graves of the unmarked Muslims in the 18 villages of Indian controlled Kashmir surprised the international community, displaying new evidence regarding Indian state terrorism.
In the past, ‘composite dialogue’ between India and Pakistan took place on a number of occasions, but produced no outcome, prolonging the agony of the subjugated people of the occupied Kashmir due to Indian intransigence.
Notably, the US President Barrack Obama had recognised an inter-relationship between war against terrorism in Afghanistan and issue of Kashmir. He had repeatedly said that the United States should help in resolving the Kashmir dispute to deal with the problem of militancy in the region. Quite contrarily, he backed out from his earlier statement and in the recent past, during his visit to India, he remained silent over the solution of Kashmir.
The then British Foreign Secretary David Miliband who visited New Delhi and Islamabad in the post-Mumbai terror attacks, had also pointed out that complete de-escalation of situation between Pakistan and India was fully linked to resolution of Kashmir issue, saying that India should cooperate with Pakistan in this respect. British government also rejected New Delhi’s protest on his statement.
The fact of the matter is that when Kashmiri people lost faith in the international community, which persisted in ignoring their liberation and when it became obvious that the Indian occupying forces would not vacate the controlled areas through political means, the peoples had no choice but to resort to armed struggle which was actually intensified in 1989.
The case of the Kashmiri’s struggle is stronger than any of the freedom movement of the past and present as their right of self-determination through a plebiscite was already recognized by the UN resolutions. In this respect, it is of special consideration that the UN resolution 1541 on the ‘Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples’ adopted by the General Assembly in 1960 accepts the legitimacy of the right of self-determination and opposes repressive measures of all kinds against the freedom fighters.
World history proves that a few persons were never able to launch a successful freedom movement. And it always represents the aspirations of majority of people who struggle for independence. While judging in this context, the Kashmiris enjoy the support of all the intellectuals, religious scholars and common men who are determined to fight against the imperialist occupation of Indians.
Past experience gives ample evidence that wars of liberation in connection with various nations were their reaction against misrule and subjugation perpetrated by alien powers. In the 20th century, a majority of the Third World countries got independence after an armed struggle against the colonial powers. Even independence of the United States, unification of Germany and Italy became possible after an armed struggle. So, question arises that “were the peoples of these countries terrorists at that time?
If any impartial observer studies the historical background of the issue of Kashmir and continued struggle for liberation, he will definitely conclude that in reality, Indians are intruders and hence real terrorists who tend to conceal their own terrorist measures such as firing at innocent people, burning the houses, illegal detentions etc., which have become every day occurrence.
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