30 October 2015

Kashmir annexation remembered

The Blog

Kashmiris observed "Black Day" recently, on October 27. Black Day remembers when Indian troops began their military occupation of Jammu and Kashmir on October 27 1947, in order to suppress the national aspirations of the people in the area.

When the Subcontinent was partitioned, Jammu & Kashmir was predominantly a Muslim majority area with a 78.9% Muslim population. Because it was a Muslim majority state and contiguous to Pakistan, Kashmir was expected to accede to Pakistan or possibly gain its own independence. However, British colonial authorities did not respect the rights of the Kashmiri people. Rather than partitioning the Subcontinent more carefully, they promptly abandoned it to ethnic and religious conflict.

Since India illegally annexed parts of it in 1947, the area of Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed successive revolts, violent crackdowns and extrajudicial killings by Indian forces against peaceful demonstrators, and large-scale attempts at ethnic cleansing by the Indian regime. India repeatedly excuses such atrocities by claiming to target terrorists. Many Muslims have been displaced from their homes by the Indian policy of using violence to alter the facts on the ground in the area, so they can portray their claim to Kashmir as legitimate.

India has failed to comply with UN Security Council resolutions on Kashmir. The area was intended to be demilitarized and subject to a popular referendum to determine its status under international law, but India has still failed to observe these steps to resolve the conflict and refuses to withdraw its forces.

It is worth noting that India suppresses the self-determination of numerous other communities within its proclaimed borders, where there are still active rebellions by religious and cultural communities who do not accept the Indian regime's legitimacy. It is possible that the central government refuses to accept Kashmiri self-determination on the grounds that it might then have to offer similar independence to other territories seeking independence.

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