The struggle for the right of self determination continues for the people of IIOJK as they commemorate the Republic Day of India as a “Black Day”. The heinous atrocities committed by the fascist Modi government fail to deter the Kashmiris’ resolve for freedom.
“India has no right to celebrate Republic Day as it has occupied Jammu and Kashmir with its military might.”
–Syed Ali Shah Geelani.
Indian Republic Day, celebrated annually on January 26, marks the day when the Constitution of India came into effect in 1950. However, for Kashmiris, this day is observed as a “Black Day” due to the ongoing conflict and human rights abuses in the region.
The roots of the conflict in Kashmir can be traced back to the partition of the subcontinent in 1947, when the region was split between India and Pakistan. Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) has seen heavy military presence, brutality, and use of force on civilians, along with curfews, while human rights organizations have reported widespread abuse and violations by the Indian security forces.1
The Indian government has been criticized for its handling of the situation and human rights abuses in IIOJK, with Amnesty International and other human rights groups calling for an end to the abuses and for the government to respect the rights of the Kashmiri people.
Meanwhile, in post-2014 India, when religious extremists like the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and ultra-nationalist leaders like Narendra Modi took office, the Hindutva ideologues, under their expansionist beliefs of Akhand Bharat (greater India), intensified their brutalities and violence against the people of IIOJK. In the recent years, the Indian government has taken steps to further tighten its control over the region, including revoking the semi-autonomous status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir in 2019, and implementing strict communication blackouts and curfews.2 These actions have been met with widespread condemnation from the international community and human rights organizations in the international arena.
The Indian government has been criticized for its handling of the situation and human rights abuses in IIOJK, with Amnesty International and other human rights groups calling for an end to the abuses and for the government to respect the rights of the Kashmiri people. Recently, Pasban-e-Hurriyat Chairman, Ahmed Ghazali said that the so-called Indian Republic Day on January 26 will be marked as a day of darkness across Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) in order to expose India’s war crimes to the world. Furthermore, he urged the residents of AJK and Kashmiris living abroad to commemorate January 26 as a Black Day and organize processions to reveal India’s true face.
Under the name of a faux democracy, India massacred innocent women and children in Kashmir and breached all of their constitutional, humanitarian, political, societal, and religious rights. In the state of Jammu and Kashmir, Mr. Ghazali claimed that Indian authorities are killing innocent youngsters in false military coperations under the guise of pseudo-democracy while many are being jailed in Indian prisons. According to Ghazali, as minorities are being massacred on the grounds of religion while being watched over by the government and the security forces, India is the deadliest adversary of human rights. He urged the people of AJK, particularly those living in the capital to commemorate January 26 as a Black Day.3
Kashmiris of IIOJK feel that their voices are not heard or represented in the Indian government and the celebration of Indian Republic Day serves as a reminder of their lack of autonomy. Protests and strikes are often organized on January 26 with some calling for a complete boycott of the holiday.
The Brahaminical and fascist Indian state that celebrates its Republicanism is a bloodthirsty monster that has thrived by trampling the Kashmiris’ right to self determination and right to exist. India, from its very beginning, has pursued fascism, coercive annexation of land and bodies and trampled the Kashmiris’ resistance for their existence.
Every symbol and institution of India has its foundations deeply rooted in military masochist history. Its Republicanism and Republic Day is no exception. The Republic Day of India is thus a mere celebration of colossus of savagery, barbarism, sanguinary and ruthless slaughter of freedom and resistance. Additionally, Kashmiris also called for the boycott of any association with theatrics of January 26 and will commemorate the day as a Black Day.
Under the name of a faux democracy, India massacred innocent women and children in Kashmir and breached all of their constitutional, humanitarian, political, societal, and religious rights.
Whereas, in a statement from New Delhi's notorious Tihar Jail, Masarrat Aalam Butt stated that India has no right to pretend to be a democracy because it is committing war crimes against humanity on the occupied land. He urged United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres to rally the international community in support of resolving the Kashmir problem as soon as possible. Furthermore, in a statement issued in Srinagar, another All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) leader, Molvi Bashir Irfani stated that the phrase "democracy" is a mask on India's face, behind which it hides its brutal imperialist aspect in order to fool the world.
Meanwhile, under the guise of so-called security measures, Indian forces have increased restrictions, harassment, and intimidation in Srinagar and other areas of the region. The troops' checkpoints have proliferated across all major cities and villages, subjecting commuters and pedestrians to rigorous frisking and inspection. All cars entering Srinagar are being closely monitored. Posters with messages such as "Kashmiris observe Indian Republic Day as a Black Day" and "Indian Republic Day is a Black Day for Kashmiris" were replaced by "Azadi kai matwalay" on walls, polls, and prominent locations around the Kashmir Valley.
Pakistan has reaffirmed its solidarity with the people of IIOJK on Black Day and will continue to support their struggle for self determination and freedom from Indian occupation. The country has taken a strong stance on the issue and has been vocal in its criticism of India's actions in the region, and will continue to raise the issue at international forums and provide diplomatic support to the people of IIOJK.
Pakistan has been a vocal critic of India's actions in IIOJK, and has called for the international community to take action to protect the rights of the Kashmiri people. The country has also raised the issue at the United Nations and other international forums.
Islamabad and its leadership with continuous and unshakable efforts has remained a sole advocator for the people of IIOJK against India’s extremist and violent war crimes. Pakistan has always urged the international community to hold India accountable for its war crimes and extrajudicial killings and massive human right abuses in IIOJK. On different occasions, Pakistan has presented to the United Nations and the international community evidences of crimes against humanity being perpetrated through different means, such as suspension of fundamental freedom, rape and the use of draconian laws, such as Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.
The international community must play its due role in enabling the people of Kashmir to exercise their inalienable right to self determination as pledged to them under the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions, without any delay to avoid any further escalation and tension between the two nuclear armed states.
In a nutshell, Indian Republic Day is a day of celebration for many Indians, but for the people of IIOJK, it serves as a painful reminder of the ongoing occupation and human rights abuses by the fascist regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the region.
The writer is a graduate of International Relations from National Defence University and regularly writes for electronic media.
E-mail: [email protected]
1. National Assembly of Pakistan. “National Assembly of Pakistan.” Accessed January 20, 2023. https://na.gov.pk/en/content.php?id=89.
2. Desk, British investigators expose India’s war crimes in IIOJK News. “British Investigators Expose India’s War Crimes in IIOJK. The Express Tribune, August 25, 2022. https://tribune.com.pk/story/2373053/british-investigators-expose-indias-war-crimes-in-iiojk.
3. Desk, Republic Day of India will be observed as a black day: Ghazali News. “Republic Day of India Will Be Observed as a Black Day: Ghazali - Pakistan Observer, January 19, 2023. https://pakobserver.net/republic-day-of-india-will-be-observed-as-a-black-day-ghazali/.
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