Youm-e-Shuhada on July 13 every year honours the 22 Muslims who laid down their lives for the sake of freedom from the tyrannical rule of the Hindu Maharaja—becoming the harbingers of the Kashmiri resistance. Since 1931, in the face of insurmountable persecution at the hands of the Indian government, countless generations of Kashmiris have fought for their rights. As their sacrifices are being brought to light, it has been made clear that the targeted violence against Muslims needs to be stopped.

Unfortunately, as we pay tribute to martyrs, the BJP government refuses to acknowledge the anguish that surrounds their territory; from repealing Article 370 which robs Kashmir of its special status in August to even revoking the official July 13 holiday from Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) in December last year. Over a hundred Indian operations have led to the death of 299 Kashmiris since January alone. As each of these heinous acts gains national and global attention, a momentum builds which systematically exposes the plight of the Kashmiris under Indian rule.

The world must wake up to the fact that the life of the average individual living in Kashmir is a battle where protection is not guaranteed, movement is restricted due to severe lockdowns, censorship prevails through speech surveillance as well as internet shutdowns, and infrastructure is destroyed without a cause. It would be unjust to let their efforts for self-determination and freedom die in vain which is why it is important, now more than ever, to rally behind every Kashmiri who is subjugated by Indian forces.

What started out as a revolt against interference within religious practices 89 years ago has evolved into a full-fledged movement against illegal occupation by the Indian state. It is paramount that we provide support from all fronts so that the dispute can culminate in the near future.