October 27 is observed every year as Black Day by Kashmiris because it was on this day in 1947 that India occupied Jammu and Kashmir against the people’s aspirations and in total disregard for the Indian Independence Act and Partition Plan. For Kashmiris, October 27 is the darkest day in their long history of unremitting struggle for freedom from Indian yoke.
The Partition Plan of June 3, 1947, envisaged two sovereign states – India (comprising Hindu-majority areas) and Pakistan (consisting of Muslim-majority areas). Under the plan, more than 500 Princely States were given the choice to accede either of the two newly-formed countries, India and Pakistan. The state of Jammu and Kashmir, with 87pc Muslim population, had a natural right to accede to Pakistan. The will and aspiration of the Kashmiri people to be the part of the newly established Muslim state of Pakistan was expressed by their representatives of the Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference at a meeting in Srinagar on July 19, 1947, where they passed a resolution announcing the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to Pakistan.
But India, in violation of the partition plan, invaded Jammu and Kashmir and its Hindu ruler connived by announcing its accession to India under the so-called “Instrument of Accession”. There are historical records to show that the so-called Instrument of Accession was a fake document with no validity in international law. In extinguishing the freedom of Kashmiri people, the Radcliffe Boundary Commission also played a dirty role and provided a land route to India through the Muslim majority area of Gurdaspur.
When the people of Kashmir rose in rebellion against the Indian army, New Delhi approached the UN Security Council on January 1, 1948, seeking its help to settle the dispute. The UNSC passed successive resolutions (accepted by both India and Pakistan) nullifying the Indian invasion and calling for the settlement of the Kashmir dispute by giving Kashmiri people the right to self-determination through an impartial plebiscite to be conducted under the UN’s supervision. But India, true to its salt, violated the UNSC resolutions and declared Jammu and Kashmir an integral part of it.
From 1947 onwards the oppressed people of Kashmir have been waging a valiant struggle against the India occupation and have offered tremendous sacrifices to assert their right to self-determination. India has tried to suppress the popular movement using brute military force. According to reports by independent observers, during the last 30 years, the Indian troops have martyred 95,129 Kashmiris, widowed 22,882 women, orphaned 107, 723 children and molested or gang-raped 11,082 Kashmiri women. Over 8,000 Kashmiri youth have disappeared in police custody and killed in fake encounters.
The extrajudicial murder of popular youth leader, Burhan Muzaffar Wani, by the Indian troops on July 8, 2016, put a new life in the ongoing struggle for Kashmir freedom. To crush the movement, the Indian troops used brutal force against the protesters. Since the killing of Burhan Wani, over 1,000 Kashmiris have been killed and 24,456 injured. Thousands of Kashmiri youths have lost their eyes due to pellet injuries.
Last year, the Butcher of Gujarat, Narendra Modi, the BJP prime minister, went a step further and illegally annexed the Kashmir valley by abrogating Article 370 and Article 35-A of the Indian Constitution. He is also trying to change the demography of Kashmir by allowing Indian citizens to buy land in Kashmir and settle there.
Generally, the international community has taken little notice of the unspeakable atrocities being committed by the Indian troops in Kashmir, but lately some voices of reason have been heard in the corridors of power around the world. The UK Parliament held a debate on the Kashmir situation on January 19, 2017, during which a motion supporting the Kashmiris’ right to self-determination and upholding the UN resolutions on Kashmir was passed. Similarly, the European Parliament issued a document on July 18, 2018, highlighting the Kashmir dispute, the UN resolutions on the issue and the Kashmiris’ freedom struggle. Some time back, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Kashmir in the British Parliament initiated an inquiry into the Kashmir situation. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussain, released an important report on June 14, 2018, drawing the world’s attention to the grave human rights violations by the Indian troops in occupied Kashmir.
October 27 is observed as Black Day by the Kashmiris to remind the world of its obligations towards settling the Kashmir dispute as per the relevant UN resolutions and the wishes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The day also sends a message to New Delhi that the Kashmiris reject its illegal occupation of their homeland and they are determined to carry on their fight till the final victory.