Every year on January 26th, India commemorates Republic Day. It marks the day the Indian constitution went into effect. It is worth noting that in IIOJK, Indian authorities have tightened restrictions across the territory in the name of “high security,” particularly in the Jammu region, ahead of Indian Republic Day celebrations. The Indian army, Border Security Force, and Village Defense Guards have been deployed in all district areas along the Line of Control, and night patrolling is underway in Jammu, Rajouri, Poonch, Kathua, Samba, and Kishtwar.
Every year, this day is commemorated with pomp and splendour, with a large military parade in New Delhi as the highlight of the occasion. Kashmiris mark this day as Black Day every year since India’s illegal occupation, tyranny, and oppression of Jammu & Kashmir continues unabated. Following Narendra Modi’s illegal action on August 5, 2019, of repealing Articles 370 and 35A of its own Constitution, rescinding the autonomy granted to Illegally Indian Occupied Kashmir (IIOK), and annexing Kashmir and Ladakh into Union Territories, Kashmiris have declared August 5 to be a truly black day. Jammu and Kashmir has been in lockdown since August 5, 2019, to prevent the residents of IIOK from protesting. Its citizens are imprisoned in their houses, with no internet or communications access, limited movement, and orders to shoot on sight if any protest demonstrations are organised. To make matters worse, India jinxed itself by introducing the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) before the end of 2019. The NRC required Indian people to register themselves, but Muslims in Assam and elsewhere were banned from doing so, leaving them unregistered, deprived of basic rights, and, if necessary, compelled to leave India or jailed in concentration camps.
PDP President Mehbooba Mufti has stated that Jammu is the worst victim of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s political gimmick. Mehbooba Mufti, speaking at a party conference in Jammu, said Jammu, previously considered the economic heart of IIOJK, is the worst victim of the BJP’s political gimmick, adding the saffron party is sacrificing the interests of people in the area to benefit huge corporate houses in India. She accused the BJP of engaging in “divisive and deceptive” tactics. Modi’s government is undermining Kashmiri Muslims’ cultural identity, the unemployment rate is worrying, and development growth has stalled.
India is planning a housing colony for army soldiers in IIOJK as part of its ongoing oppressive measures. In contravention of international law, India has built a housing colony for serving and retired army personnel in the heart of Jammu, IIOJK. According to new domicile regulations imposed by the Modi regime, the residents would be awarded the IIOJK’s domicile; political experts have labelled the scheme yet another attempt to disenfranchise Kashmiris. Prior to the repeal of Articles 370 and 35A of the Constitution, only Jammu and Kashmir state subjects were permitted to purchase land and apply for government employment in IIOJK. According to the UN mandate, the entire effort aiming at changing the existing demographic makeup of the occupied territory is illegitimate and illegal. Surprisingly, India is vying for a permanent position on the UN Security Council while breaching UN Resolutions on Kashmir for the past seven decades. Human Rights Watch recently submitted a submission to the Australian Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence, and Trade, questioning various human rights violations committed by countries around the world, including India, and suggesting ways and means for Australia to play its role in putting an end to these violations. The Human Rights Watch statement, which highlights abuses and crimes against minorities, particularly Muslims, is indicting evidence against the Modi-led BJP and has been reiterated on a respectable platform.
According to reports, the Indian government, led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has increased its crackdown on civil society organisations and the media. Authorities charge human rights advocates, journalists, peaceful protestors, and other opponents with bogus crimes, including terrorism. They have closed down human rights organisations by citing foreign funding regulations or baseless charges of financial issues. The government has enacted laws and policies that target religious minorities, particularly Muslims.
Human Rights Watch questions Indian state-sponsored violence and calls on Australia to adopt a proactive stand to uphold human rights, pressurise, and coerce with available means to stop the BJP from offending.
However, the Australian government has sometimes overlooked or downplayed human rights violations committed in India, ostensibly due to trade/business interests that contradict the western cardinal principles of freedom of religion, freedom of expression, freedom to dissent, and freedom to live a noble life. However, it is critical that countries that promote the concept of democracy take note and take action against Indian human rights breaches.
Note: This article appeared in Kashmir Watch, dated 21 January 2023.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are of the author and do not necessarily represent Institute’s policy.