Residents in the Indian-occupied and controlled region of Kashmir have marked India’s Independence Day as “black day,” protesting in the heavily militarized area and boycotting celebrations of the day.
A complete strike in the occupied territory was also held following a call for resistance by separatist leaders Syed Ali Gilani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik.
“India itself attained freedom from British rule on August 15, 1947 and became an independent country but only after 72 days of this freedom, this country snatched the freedom rights of the Kashmiri people and forcibly occupied this region by landing its troops on October 27 and since then this occupation continues,” the group said, reported Samaa.
“Our demand for Right to Self Determination is purely a democratic demand and India has also promised to fulfill that demand on national as well as international levels but this country backtracked from its promises and is now busy in suppressing the genuine and just voices of the Kashmiri nation,” they added.
Rallies were held throughout the territory to highlight Indian security atrocities in the region, Kashmir Media Service reported.
In anticipation of the protests, Indian security forces imposed curfews, checkpoints and other restrictions on Kashmiri citizens.
“The curfew-like restrictions, bans, blockades and curbs are the standard response by India and its stooges to peaceful protests,” Gilani, Farooq and Malik remarked.
The region has seen a 28-year armed struggle against Indian occupation forces, who maintain their control over the territory that is considered the most densely militarized region of the world.
We observe 15Aug indian independence day as Black day & condemn Indian imperialism 4 continuously refusing Kashmiris #BlackDayInKashmir 1/4— Ch Awais Hamayoun (@awais_hamayoun) August 14, 2017
Protests in Kashmir have swelled in the last year against ongoing Indian state crackdowns, with many protesters employing stone-throwing to stand up to Indian government forces, similar to how Palestinians stand up to the Israeli occupation.
Sanjay Kak, author of “Until My Freedom Has Come: The New Intifada in Kashmir,” has thus deemed civilian resistance against military occupation and rule in the region as an “intifada,” the Arabic term meaning uprising — another term used to describe Palestinian resistance against Israeli occupation.
The decades-long uprising has seen rebels and ordinary Kashmiris fight against the roughly 500,000 Indian soldiers deployed in the region, with some demanding independence and others a merger of the entire territory with Pakistan.
The rebels’ ranks have grown since last July in the wake of the killing of a popular rebel leader, Burhan Wani, the commander of Hizbul Mujahedeen, in an Indian security crackdown that left at least 100 civilians dead.