Saturday Aug 15 2020

Kashmiris observe India’s independence day as Black Day with protest, rallies

An Indian paramilitary trooper stands guard in Srinagar. Photo: AFP

Kashmiris on both sides of Line of Control (LoC) and around the world are observing India’s independence day as a Black Day to protest New Delhi’s illegal occupation of the valley.

The purpose behind the observance of a black day is to express complete dissociation with India for its illegal occupation of the valley for the last 73 years besides turning it into the world’s largest prison since August last year, when New Delhi revoked the region’s special status.

Hurriyat leaders Syed Aijaz Rehmani and Abdul Hameed Lone in a statement said India had been illegally occupying the valley for the last 73 years.

“India has turned Kashmir into a prison, immobilizing more than more eight million people,” Lone said in a statement.

He added that after New Delhi revoked the special status of the region on August 5, the Muslim majority area of the valley had been under a complete lockdown.

“Kashmiris are laying their life down for our right to self-determination,” he said, adding that India attempt to change status and demographic of occupied Kashmir was against UNSC resolutions.

“Anti-India rallies followed by protest demonstrations in all small and major cities and towns on both sides of the LoC will be the hallmark of the day”, an Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) government spokesman told APP on Friday.

He added that the participants of the protest rallies will wear black bands around their arms as a sign of their protest against India while black flags will be hoisted atop private and public buildings by the protesting Kashmiris.

In AJK, anti-India rallies will be staged and processions will be held in all small and major cities including Muzaffarabad and all other nine district headquarters of Mirpur, Kotli, Bagh, Bhimbher, Palandri, Rawalakot, Haveli, Jhelum Valley and Neelam valley.

The participants of the rallies will march in major city streets carrying black banners and placards to express their anger over India turning occupied Kashmir into the world’s largest prison and the continuing brutalities and human rights abuses in the occupied state since August 5 last year.

Chairman of UK-based Kashmiri rights outfit Global Pakistan Kashmir Supreme Council (GPKSC), Raja Sikander Khan told media in London on Friday that his organisation had secured formal permission from the concerned British authorities in London to hold the scheduled black day protest in front of the Indian High Commission on August 15.

“It would be a great opportunity for us to send our message to all diplomats, the world over, who are likely to be arriving at the Indian High Commission London as guests to attend India’s independence day state ceremony,” Khan said.

Khan reiterated that the Kashmiris demand the immediate withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), which empowers low-ranking Indian army personnel to shoot at sight and kill anyone in the illegally occupied state.

He underlined that so far thousands of innocent people had been martyred under the AFSPA and so far not a single person had been convicted of killing these innocent Kashmiri people.