October 27 is the darkest day in the history of Kashmir. Kashmiris on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC), in Pakistan and around the world as well as all the human rights organisations here, there and everywhere observe October 27 every year like this year as the blackest day of their history.

It was on this day, back in 1947, India had airlifted its forces and occupied the valley of Jammu and Kashmir after Hindu Maharaja Hari Singh, through an illegal instrument, had announced accession to India. One can sell land but not the people living on that land. But the Hindu Maharaja had sold the people of the valley of Jammu and Kashmir and the international community remained a silent witness to this wholesale selling of the Kashmiris then, and continues to look the other way even now.

Kashmiris are observing the darkest day in their history this year in very changed circumstances. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on August 5, 2019 changed the special status of the valley through unilateral illegal act, sent an additional 180000 Indian troops raising the occupying forces strength to more than 9 lakhs and put the whole valley under indefinite curfew, which remains in force till the time of writing of this article.

Following this unilateral and illegal development by India’s fascist regime, Kashmiris have also started observing August 5 alongside October 27 as the darkest day of their history full of freedom struggle, sacrifices and brutalities and atrocities of Indian security forces.

But the Kashmiris continue to be as determined and committed and continue to offer sacrifices by way of violations in curfew restrictions.

Prime Minister Imran Khan during his two addresses to UN General Assembly last year and this year also had emphatically reiterated Pakistan’s principled stand to continue supporting the just struggle of Kashmiris and warned the international community by terming Kashmir a nuclear flashpoint between the two neighbouring countries.

The Kashmir issue had echoed in the United Nations through the Prime Minister’s speech after about 55 years last year, has been discussed by the UN Security Council thrice in one year and is now being discussed at all international forums. The international community by and large is also condemning gross human rights violations in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) but not exerting any more pressure than condemnation due to their own interests which take precedence over Indian security forces brutalities, atrocities and killings of the Kashmiris almost every day. But despite condemnation, the Indian government remains unmoved, is keeping the whole valley population under complete lockdown for more than 14 months and the valley continues to be a big jail where great human tragedy is quickly brewing.

Pakistan and its army have been reiterating their unstinted support to the Kashmiris in their just struggle by frequently observing solidarity with Kashmiris. Even the Independence Day celebrations were marked by solidarity with the Kashmiris and flags of Pakistan and Kashmir were unfurled all over the country.

The Pakistan government has all along been supporting Kashmiris just struggle for securing their birth right of self-determination and extending all possible political, diplomatic and moral support and apprising the international community about gross human rights violations being committed in occupied Kashmir by Indian security forces brutally and ruthlessly.

The Kashmiris observe every year October 27 as the blackest day to reiterate their commitment to keep on fighting against occupying Indian security forces despite their increased strength rejecting India’s occupation and also the August 5 act of ending Kashmir’s special status and merging it with the Indian Union and more importantly making efforts to awaken the United Nations Organisation (UNO) and its member countries and human rights bodies all over the world demanding implementation of the UN Security Council Resolutions and exerting their effective pressure on India to grant the Kashmiris their fundamental birth right of self-determination which itself had committed and was also pledged by its Prime Minister Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru.

Kashmiris’ indigenous, unarmed struggle for freedom from Indian occupation rejecting and terming it illegal and against their aspirations, as well as their great sacrifices of men, women and children are surely and certainly more than enough to tell the international community that India can continue killing the Kashmiris through its brutal and oppressive measures, but it cannot suppress their sentiments for freedom for which their struggle is continuing unabatedly against all heavy odds till their cherished objective of freedom is achieved; no matter how much more they suffer and how many more sacrifices they have to make.

It is a bitter and quite regrettable reality that the Kashmir dispute remains as unresolved on the UN agenda for such a long time. At the same time the continued silence of the international community at large, and not putting pressure on India except periodical condemnation of ongoing brutalities and human rights violations in the occupied valley, is also very much deplorable.

It is also a matter of great shame and regret that the international community topped by so-called world human rights champion USA all are criminally silent over India’s continued occupation and killings of more and more Kashmiris whose only crime is that they do not accept India’s illegal occupation which is against their aspirations and they want freedom by exercising the right of self-determination in accordance with the resolutions of the UN Security Council adopted more than seven decades ago.

Kashmir is an unfinished agenda of the sub-continent partition. In all fairness, Kashmiris are struggling and sacrificing to secure their birthright of self-determination and complete this agenda. Pakistan and Kashmir have strong eternal bonds of geography, culture and religion.

Over the years, the Indian government has been forcibly migrating Hindus into IIOJK to turn the predominantly majority Muslim population into a minority. But even after resorting to such tactics, India is not letting the Kashmiris their right of self-determination which is internationally recognised.

There is no denying the fact that resolution of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with Kashmiris aspirations is the key to stable peace, prosperity and progress in South Asia. The continued denial of right of self-determination and even not holding bilateral talks for resolving the lingering burning issue peacefully continues to persistently expose the so-called democratic face of India.

By observing yet another black day on October 27, 2020, after one on August 5, Kashmiris hope to highlight their just and indigenous struggle for freedom from Indian subjugation, wake up the sleeping conscious of the international community and human rights organisations throughout the world and sensitise the lingering unresolved Kashmir dispute on the UN agenda for implementation of its Security Council resolutions at the earliest possible opportunity. Kashmiris’ long struggle is soon going to meet with success and ‘Kashmir Baney Ga Pakistan’, Inshallah.

Muhammad Zahid Rifat

The writer is a Lahore-based freelance journalist, columnist and deputy controller (news), Radio Pakistan, Islamabad and can be reached at zahidriffat@gmail.com.