Notwithstanding the fact that India was unable to sell to the international community its move to end the special status of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJ&K) through repealing Article 370 of the Indian constitution and terming it as its internal affair, it is now trying to make the world believe that normalcy is quickly returning to the valley and the people of Kashmir are satisfied with the development initiatives taken by the Indian government. But the reality on the ground is quite contrary to Indian claims. IIOJ&K remains restive as ever since the launching of the freedom struggle by the people of Kashmir in 1989. Though the freedom struggle had its lows and highs, the fact remains that the people of IIOJ&K have never accepted Indian suzerainty over the occupied territory. The killing of more than ninety-six thousand Kashmiris by the Indian security forces since 1989, including 580 after August 2019 till date, has not dampened their yearning and commitment to win their freedom through exercising their right to self-determination promised to them by the UN and the global community. The people of IIOJ&K manifested their resolve in this regard by greeting the first ever visit of Narendra Modi to IIOJ&K after August 2019 last Sunday by observing a complete shutter down strike at the call of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference. This was preceded by the killing of six Kashmiri youth by the Indian security forces and coincided with an attack on a security van by the freedom fighters that killed one police officer. The day was also observed as a black day in the valley. Modi came to IIOJ&K to inaugurate new roads and hydropower projects and while addressing the gathering, claimed that his government has put the valley on the path to prosperity and the youth of the region would not have to face the difficulties and travails that their parents and grandparents had to deal with. However, in the backdrop of what transpired on the eve of his visit, his claims of normalcy and development seem nothing but a farce. The people of IIOJ&K want freedom from Indian occupation. Though the UN and the global community are displaying criminal indifference to the plight of the people of IIOJ&K, they have not subscribed to the Indian propaganda of Kashmir being its integral part and have repeatedly reiterated that the solution to the Kashmir dispute could only come by adhering to the principles of the UN charter and the relevant UN resolutions in this regard. The Modi government had also made an attempt earlier to prove that the people of the valley had endorsed the August 2019 actions of the Indian government by holding district development council elections in a staggered eight-phase process from November 28 through December 19, 2020. But the BJP did not fare well in those elections. Out of 280 seats, 112 were won by People’s Alliance of Gupkar Declaration, an amalgam of seven political parties. The BJP clinched 74 seats in the Hindu majority area of Jammu while independents were successful on 49 seats. The victory of the opposition parties was heralded as a rebuff to the Indian government and a wake-up call for it. Those elections were dominated by an ideological battle rather than local issues and the results were a resounding rejection of all that New Delhi had purportedly done in IIOJ&K. It is evident that India, in spite of having more than one million security personnel in the valley, has failed to subdue the flame of liberty and the unyielding resolve of the Kashmiris to throw off the Indian yoke. Its game-plan to create an impression of normalcy in the valley has failed. The inevitability of the success of the freedom movement is written on the wall and India can only prolong the process at its own cost. It is an irrefutable reality that regional peace, security, and economic prosperity are hostage to the Indian intransigence to implement the UN resolutions on Kashmir dispute and her hegemonic designs. Indian leaders fail to realise that their strategic outlook was not only a debilitating factor. It is about time that the UN and the international community realised the gravity of the situation and played their role in having the dispute resolved in conformity with UN resolutions. There is no other way to ensure peace in the region. The powers which are encouraging their strategic partner India to persist with her policies for the sake of their strategic and commercial interests in the region must also realise that a confrontation between India and Pakistan on Kashmir would also hurt their interests in the long run.
(Courtesy The Nation, Pakistan)