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Kashmir and India's Republic Day

In a press release, SOS Children’s Village Canada quoting Gulf News and Human Rights Watch World Report 2012 mentions the discovery of 2,730 bodies in 38 unmarked graves and most of these bodies beyond recognition are believed to be the disappeared thousands consumed in Indian torture chambers. Government of India, initially, remained tight lipped but later came out to suggest an impartial investigation which is yet to come forth.

Due to severe weather conditions and snowfall, the connectivity of Kashmir with India in spite of spending millions on defence, maintenance of roads and bridges, was restored after a week which in turn made life difficult for local population braving sub-zero temperatures to live without electricity, water and supply of essential commodities. As before October 1947, Kashmir was self-sufficient at least in day to day necessities of life and all other requirements were met through importation from the natural and round the year road, rail and sea link that connects Kashmir with the part administered by Pakistan. It has never been difficult for traveller’s journey to and fro Kashmir and Europe using the natural road link without any hindrance. The natural road link blocked, the only exit point that connects Kashmir to outside world through Punjab in India made Kashmir totally dependent on Indian supplies.

The stoppage of supplies at times is used as another weapon to break the will of the Kashmiri populace. The weapon was put to test in August, 2008 to starve the people to force them into submission but the plan failed miserably as Kashmiris fought back by showing contentment, forbearance, patient endurance and resilience to boldly face the exposed sinister design.

The truck drivers in the picture carrying essential supplies from India to Kashmir were stopped, their vehicles set on fire and poor drivers sustained burn injuries and were lucky that they survived to return home. Installed Chief Minister Omar Abdullah termed the action as “economic blockade that proved Kashmiris to be slaves”.

The incident reminded people of a similar but ghastly story that took place exactly sixty five years back. It so happened, when in 1947 Maharaja Hari Singh fled Kashmir and was followed by a group of Hindus who came down to Srinagar from different areas and hired Muslim TONGAWALAS (drivers) to carry them to Jammu along with their possessions. Tongawalas obliged and carried them to Jammu and upon reaching their destination; these Tongawalas were butchered one by one for the services rendered.

Kashmiri students, under compulsion, travel to India and beyond, in their quest to seek knowledge and the only entry and exit point through corridors of India leaves for them no alternative but to face the bottlenecks created by biased and communal red tape “security measures” resulting in frustration, humiliation, and a feeling of servitude and enslavement.

In the recent past a Kashmiri student was shot at in the Indian state Madhya Pradesh for reasons unknown; now reported by Indian media as out of danger. Indian Zee News reported (Jan 27, 2012) that Kashmiri students in India are going through mental stress. A few million Kashmiri families have fled their home from persecution hoping to find safer living conditions but as reported have to experience an environment of trauma, fearful situation as these hapless people are surrounded by Hindu fundamentalist forces to browbeat and make their life impossible to live. These thousands living in India, under compulsion having no available substitute are used by India to convince the world community as a humanitarian problem projecting these people as victims of “terrorism” in Kashmir.

On approaching India’s Republic Day celebrations (Jan 26, 2012) Indian ZEE news reported that life in Kashmir is relaxed and slowly coming to normal but security has been tightened. Indian army and Para-military forces deployed to make sure nothing untoward happens to thwart the proceedings of the “celebrations”. The exercise of these “celebrations” is a continuous process and the drama has been enacted on regular basis since October 26, 1947 and every Indian knows that this all is being done under the barrel of gun. The ‘Indian Republic Day’, international community knows very well, is observed by Kashmiris as a BLACK DAY and that is why the whole population stays indoors to convey a non-violent message that Kashmir is not interested and voice their protest considering this to be a referendum asking for their legitimate right of self-determination. Kashmir observed a complete shut down; and as reported whole of Kashmir looked like a ghost or haunted place ‘protected’ by one million strong Indian army and one wonders ‘protecting’ who and ‘protection’ from whom?


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