On Saturday, India celebrated its 70th Republic Day, honouring the date on which the Constitution of India came into effect on 26 January 1950 replacing the Government of India Act. Yet the day does not bring fond memories for everyone in India, as some Indian populations do not view the day as one commemorating freedom for them.

Instead of celebrating with parades and festivities adorned in the brightest of colours, the residents of Indian Occupied Kashmir spent their day wearing black, as they mourned the deaths of two Kashmiri youths, killed in the Khonmoh area of Srinagar who were killed by Indian security forces. The killings lead to violent clashes between Kashmiri residents and the Indian Police, which had to use force to disperse demonstrators who had come out on the streets to protest.

The killings and the subsequent protest, on the day of India’s Republic Day, are perhaps an apt reflection of the resentment felt by Indian Occupied Kashmir. This is amplified by the fact that even before the killings of two youths yesterday, Indian Occupied Kashmir had already refused to observe Republic Day. The Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), led by Syed Ali Gillani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik, had announced in a statement that Kashmir would observe Republic Day as “Black Day” instead, saying that India had no justification to celebrate Republic Day in Indian Controlled Kashmir as it had illegally occupied the territory.

No matter how far India denies Kashmiri refusal to consider itself part of India, the fact that a State of a country decides to boycott a day celebrating its constitution should be an indication that there is wide resentment amongst the Kashmiri people against Indian occupation. This boycott, and the killings that took place on Republic Day, should act as a wake-up call to the Indian State of the worsening relations it holds with its only Muslim majority State.