• Live
    • Audio Only
  • google plus
  • facebook
  • twitter
News > World

Kashmiris Mark ‘Black Day’ Protesting 70 Years of Indian Military Occupation

  • A demonstrator returns a teargas canister fired by Indian police during a protest in Srinagar, Oct. 27, 2017.

    A demonstrator returns a teargas canister fired by Indian police during a protest in Srinagar, Oct. 27, 2017. | Photo: Reuters

Published 27 October 2017

Since October 1947, nearly 70,000 Kashmiris – mostly civilians – have been killed by Indian security forces in the 70-year conflict.

People living in the Indian-occupied region of Kashmir marked “Black Day” on Friday with an all-out strike in protest against 70 years of military rule by India.

Occupied Kashmir Observes ‘Black Day’ on India's Independence Day

Shops, schools, markets and public transport facilities all shuttered their doors across the region, as they have been doing every year since India took control of Kashmir on Oct. 27, 1947.

"You go to any home and they tell you a story how their brother, son, and husband was killed and how they continue to face the atrocities of the army," grocer Javed Ahmad, who closed his store for the day, told Al Jazeera. "We continue to live the repercussions of the day that gave birth to this conflict."

Masked demonstrators throw stones at Indian police during a protest after Friday prayers in Srinagar. | Photo: Reuters

Kashmiri women flee with their babies during the clash between demonstrators and Indian police. | Photo: Reuters

The protests were called by the Joint Resistance Leadership, comprised of separatist leaders Syed Ali Gilani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik, in conjunction with other pro-freedom organizations.

Seventy years ago, when armed tribesmen from Pakistan's North West Frontier Province (now called Khyber-Pakhthunkhwa) invaded the disputed territory, Kashmir's then-ruler, Maharaja Hari Singhwhen, requested the assistance of India’s armed forces in return for acceding to the country.

The accession was to be ratified through a referendum, but the vote never took place. Since then, the region has been locked in a struggle spanning seven decades. 

Both rebels and ordinary Kashmiris continue to battle the roughly 500,000 Indian soldiers deployed in rhe region, with some demanding independence while others seek to merge the territory with Pakistan. Nearly 70,000 people – most of them civilians – have so far been killed by members of the Indian security forces in the 70-year conflict.

On First Day of Ramadan, India Slaps Curfew on Kashmir, Cracks Down on Protesters

In anticipation of Thursday’s protests, authorities imposed a curfew in major areas of the region. Locals were prevented from attending Friday prayers at Srinagar's grand mosque.

Protests in Kashmir have increased in frequency during the past year in response to ongoing Indian violence. Throwing stones at members of the Indian armed forces has become a de facto weapon in the unrest.

The rebels’ ranks have also grown since July 2016, prompted by the killing of popular rebel leader Burhan Wani, the commander of Hizbul Mujahedeen, in an Indian security crackdown that killed more than 100 civilians.

Post with no comments.