By Muhammad Ashraf Wani
ISLAMABAD, Jul 26 (APP):Not less than the October 27, 1947 when India forcibly occupied the state of Jammu and Kashmir by airlifting its forces to Srinagar, the August 5, 2019 turned out to be yet another darkest or blackest day in the history of Kashmir when India blatantly and shamelessly violated all moral, constitutional and political norms and deprived the state of its statehood by revoking its special status. This all was done in sheer violation of not only India’s own constitution but contravention of all bilateral agreements and international obligations keeping in view the internationally recognized disputed nature of Kashmir. There could be many dimensions of the illegal measures taken by India on August 5, however, this article would shed light on two important aspects i.e. (i) post-5th August state of disputed territory; and (ii) on ground impact of these measures.
On August 5, 2019 India abrogated Article 370 of its constitution which according to India’s own claims was the basis of the state’s so-called accession to India. This article exempts the state from the Indian constitution and permits it to make its own laws in all matters except finance, defence, foreign affairs and communications in addition to have its separate constitution and a separate flag and denied property rights in the region to the outsiders.
Likewise, the article 35A, introduced in 1954 through a presidential order to continue the old provisions of the territory regulations under Article 370 permits the local legislatures in occupied Kashmir to define permanent residents of the region and forbids outsiders from permanently settling, buying land, holding local government jobs or winning education scholarships in the region.
In principle, the revocation of these articles, have virtually made India an occupier, which earlier was justifying its occupation to the so-called instrument of accession document. Now when even that so-called agreement has been revoked, the self-styled legal connections linking Kashmir to India do not exist. However, keeping in action around one million of its forces, India is managing the affairs in the state through direct control from the center.
It is noteworthy that the August 5 measures were not accepted by a single individual or political party, even the political parties working under the patronage of India raised their voice against these. For instance, Mehbooba Mufti, a former puppet chief minister of Kashmir who was in coalition with the BJP, termed the measures as theft on people of Kashmir and tweeted “The Fifth of August is the blackest day of Indian democracy when its Parliament, like thieves, snatched away everything from the people of Jammu and Kashmir,”
However, since India is forcibly occupying the territory, so it had intensified its forces in the occupied region to further its occupation. The measures of revocation of these articles was followed by new domicile rules and procedures introduced in the occupied Kashmir, thereby facilitating outsiders to attain domicile of the state. All these moves are focusing on only one big agenda i.e. to bring about demographic change in the disputed region, which currently is dominated by Muslims. The incumbent Indian government led by fascist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and supported by various Hindu extremist and fascist organization including Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP); Shiv Sena etc. has clear agenda of HInduvta or establishing hegemony of Hindus. Now thousands of outsiders are being accommodated in Kashmir and majority among them belonging to these Hindu extremist organization to terrorize Kashmiris in the same way they have done in New Delhi last year by their acts of mob lynching, destruction of Muslim properties etc. so the agenda is clear and that is ‘saffronization’ of Kashmir on Isreali model of Palestine.
Looking from the other dimension i.e. how these measures affected Kashmiris. From positive side, these immoral and illegal measures have widely opened eyes of all the stooges and political parties working under Indian patronage and removed their doubts about ‘democratic India’. These measures proved counter-productive for India as these further strengthened Kashmiris’ will for their struggle against Indian occupation. Secondly, India, which earlier was befooling the world on claims of ‘largest democracy’, was exposed before the world and its moves of August 5, were taken as forcible operations without consulting the concerned people. The Kashmir issues once again attracted the attention of the whole world and remained in limelight at the big forums like United Nations, European Union Parliament, US Congress, Britain parliament etc.
However, the post-August situation brought more troubles to people of Kashmir as the state has virtually been transformed into a prison, with deployment of additional forces, imposition of lockdown and strict curfew coupled with completed communication lockdown, which now is going to complete one full year. Amid this lockdown, day-to-day crackdowns, killings and other gross human rights violations by occupation forces have become routine matter. Around 100,000 Kashmiris have so far been martyred while thousands are languishing in jails. Kashmiris have been facing worst kind of human rights violations by occupation forces for more than seven decades, however the lockdown imposed on August 5 has affected them more.
Economy of the state suffered severe blows, industry has come to standstill and there has been rapid unemployment as thousands lost their jobs, closure of schools and universities have affected education, healthcare restricted with curfews and roadblocks, giving birth to yet another tragedy, no viral connectivity and the press has lost what little independence they had. Kashmir has virtually been transformed into a living hell where nothing is allowed and perhaps not even breathing. The situation aggravated with the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), which provided another excuse to the occupation forces to further intensify the lockdown of already locked down Kashmir.
However there is always a silver lining, no matter how long the dark night, it has an end and since Kashmiris are determined to fight for their freedom, come what may, hence they would achieve their goal. In terms of Percy Bysshe Shelley ‘if winter comes, can spring be far behind?,