October 27, 1947 is remembered as the day when India forcibly took over the land of Kashmir. Kashmir is a long-standing dispute between Pakistan and India, which originated when the people of Jammu and Kashmir were denied the right of self-determination in 1947. When India and Pakistan became independent on August 1947, it was generally assumed that Kashmir, as an adjoining state with a predominantly Muslim population, would accede to Pakistan. Its ruler, the Maharaja, however, on October 27, 1947, acceded to India through an improper and illegal instrument of accession and on the same day, India winched its forces to Srinagar and occupied the valley. It is for this reason that Kashmiris and supporters of Kashmir commemorate this day every year as a Black Day. It is the darkest day in the history of Kashmir as Kashmiris were sold to India regardless of the Indian Independence Act and the Partition Plan.

History reveals that conferring to the Partition Plan, the princely states were given the choice to accede either to Pakistan or India on the basis of their geography and demography, but New Delhi illegally occupied three States of Hyderabad, Junagarh and Jammu and Kashmir. Hyderabad and Junagarh were Hindu-majority States but their rulers were Muslims. Being a Muslim-majority state, with 87% Muslim population, Kashmir had a natural tendency to accede to Pakistan. But, tactlessly, the Hindu ruler of Jammu and Kashmir, Maharaja Hari Singh, destroyed the future of Kashmiri people by announcing its accession to India under a controversial document titled the Instrument of Accession. Even neutral spectators contradict the existence of such a document. In a bid to punish the Kashmiris for their desire to join Pakistan and with the intent to change the demographic structure and turn the results in favour of India in any plebiscite in the future, Indian troops, the Dogra forces and Hindu fanatics massacred over three hundred thousand Kashmiri Muslims within a period of two months in the Jammu division. It is a historical fact that if the partition had been done on the principles of justice, then India had no land route to enter into Jammu and Kashmir. But the so-called Boundary Commission headed by Radcliffe, which demarcated the partition line, secretly gave Gurdaspur, a Muslim majority area to India thus providing it land access to the desired area.

The people of Kashmir rejected illegal Indian occupation since day one. India however, took the matter to the UN Security Council on January 1, 1948, to settle the Kashmir dispute. Consecutive resolutions passed by the Security Council invalidated the Indian invasion in Occupied Kashmir. Through the resolutions passed on August 13, 1948, and January 5, 1949, the UN approved a ceasefire, demarcation of the ceasefire line, demilitarisation of the State and a free and impartial plebiscite to be conducted under the supervision of the world body. However, the demilitarisation of IOK and the demand for a plebiscite still remains unfulfilled. Today, the geopolitical positioning of Kashmir has made it a nuclear flashpoint in South Asia. In 1954, Josef Korbel, father of Madeleine Albright (former US Secretary of State), in his book “Danger in Kashmir” said, “For today, as in past seven years, the two great nations of subcontinent, India and Pakistan, continue to dissipate their wealth, their strength and their energy on a near fratricidal struggle in which the hitherto almost unknown State of Kashmir has become the physical battleground”.

Today after many decades and India’s exhaustion on Kashmir in every aspect, it is unable to break the will of Kashmiris to adjoin Pakistan. Since the death of Burhan Wani, a young Kashmiri leader, a new wave of uprising in Kashmir has emerged. Since July 8, 2016, IOK is under curfew by the Indian army and the killings to suppress Kashmiris and their struggle is on the rise. Unfortunately, despite driving the attention of the world community and reminding India time and again of its barbarism in Kashmir, India only vowed to take tougher action against Kashmir’s protestors. The ruthless killings have led to spontaneous protests across the state against the continued brutalities of the Indian armed forces which has impunity under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). Instead of reaching out to the people of Jammu and Kashmir and opening communications channels, India has enforced a complete lockdown on the millions of inhabitants of the valley since July 8. Indian authorities have severely crippled all communications; jamming mobile and internet services, and seized offices of local newspapers and detained staff members. Many hospitals and ambulances have reportedly been damaged by security personnel and it still continues today whenever the Indian army gets a chance to suppress protestors. The humanitarian crisis unfolding in Kashmir currently is not a one-off. It has been an integral part of how India continues to rule over Kashmir. Such events have repeatedly occurred throughout the past three decades, with India continuing to look away from the writing on the wall. The current protests, and those in the three bloody summers of 2008-10, only reflect the resilience of the Kashmiri people and their demand for the right to self-determination, which is not only guaranteed by UNSC resolutions, but was also promised by the Indian Parliament in 1948.

The massive suppression by India is clearly designed to silence the people of Jammu and Kashmir through sheer brutality bordering on genocide and ethnic cleansing. Presently, every Kashmiri, particularly the youth, is adamant for their Kashmir to be part of Pakistan despite huge losses. Pakistan has always and will continue to support the Kashmir freedom movement and every year October 27 is marked as Black day to give the world a loud and clear message that Kashmiris will continue to struggle for their right of self-determination despite Indian draconian laws and ruthlessness. The words of Abraham Lincoln, are certainly a reminder for India, “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves; and under the rule of a just God, cannot long retain it.”