Tens of thousands of families in Kashmir have lost their loved ones to enforced disappearances at the behest of the Indian armed forces. But the state refuses to acknowledge the problem and take action.
Kashmir has witnessed killings, enforced disappearances, torture cases, rapes, and other brutalities by the Indian armed forces over the decades. Kashmir bleeds and the world silently observes. But before it was engulfed in flames of violence and abuse, Kashmir was a beautiful place. It used to be a tourists’ paradise. Wedged between Pakistan, India, China, and Afghanistan, "Greater Kashmir" sits in the middle of a web of disputed borders.
The "Kashmir problem" dates back to 1947 when the partition of India and Pakistan happened. Maharaja Hari Singh, the ruler of Kashmir, delayed the decision as to which nation Kashmir would join, hoping to achieve independence for his land.
He finally agreed to Indian governance on October 27, 1947, hoping to gain Indian military assistance. The Kashmiris have never accepted India’s dominion as they always challenged this Instrument of Accession, India considers all decisions as final.
In the past many years, India and Pakistan have fought three wars – two of these were fought over the control of Kashmir. The problem of Kashmir’s governance is perhaps the oldest issue on the United Nations docket or longer than any other. A U.N. military observer’s office monitored activities at the "line of control." A referendum was supposed to follow, allowing the Kashmiris to decide their future. To date, there has been no referendum.
Since 1989, Kashmiri protest movements were created to voice Kashmir's disputes and grievances with the Indian government in the Indian-controlled Kashmir Valley, with some Kashmiri separatists in armed conflict with the Indian government based on the demand for self-determination.
The 2010s were marked by further unrest erupting within the Kashmir Valley. The 2010 Kashmir unrest began after an alleged fake encounter between local youth and security forces.
Thousands of youths pelted security forces with rocks, burned government offices, and attacked railway stations and official vehicles in steadily intensifying violence. The Indian government blamed separatists and Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistan-based militant group, for stoking the 2010 protests. The 2016 Kashmir unrest erupted after the killing of a Hizbul Mujahideen militant, Burhan Wani, by Indian security forces. Further unrest in the region erupted after the 2019 Pulwama attack.
According to many reports, Indian forces have committed many human rights abuses and acts of terror against the Kashmiri civilian population, including extrajudicial killing, rape, torture, and enforced disappearances.
Today on 5th February Kashmir Day is observed by people throughout Pakistan and Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK). It is an internationally recognized day observed by people, predominantly Kashmiris, worldwide. The day is marked by public processions, special prayers in mosques for the liberation of Kashmir, and protests that are carried out against the Indian oppression of Kashmir.
This Day is also of particular political importance to major political and religious parties in both Pakistan and AJK. Processions, rallies, conferences, and seminars are organized by many political and religious parties where politicians, heads of religious organizations, opinion leaders, and influential public figures address the masses and speak to support the Kashmiri freedom movement. These leaders and spokespeople also advocate a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue. Long marches and rallies sponsored by political organizations, religious parties, and other organizations are held, in which people chant slogans to support the Kashmiri freedom struggle and to express solidarity with the Kashmiri people.
Another common spectacle is the formation of a human chain on all major routes leading to AJK from Pakistan. People stand in rows with their hands clasped forming a human chain on all major crossings into AJK from Pakistan. This symbolizes unity and solidarity to reassure Kashmiris that they are not alone in their struggle for freedom.