(Editorial) Symbolism plays an important role in any liberation movement in the world. At the public level, it depicts the true feelings of an oppressed nation against the occupying state.
The people of Jammu and Kashmir never accepted India’s illegal occupation on their homeland and they have been carrying on their indigenous struggle to get rid of it since 1947. They have been expressing their resentment against it in different ways – sometimes by staging demonstrations and observing strikes, sometimes by not allowing hoisting of Indian flag and sometimes by not paying any respect to India’s national anthem when it is played.
Recently, hundreds of students of the Kashmir University staged forceful demonstrations against the puppet authorities’ permission to an Indian filmmaker to shoot in the campus some scenes of his upcoming Hindi film. Raising anti-India and pro-freedom slogans, the students dismantled the set that comprised bunkers, barricades and several Indian Army personnel, indicating that something related to Kashmiri mujahideen was being shot. They also did not allow hoisting of Indian flag.
This was not the first incident that sent a strong message to New Delhi and the international community about the underlying hatred of the Kashmiri people against Indian rule. On June 18 this year, the students and the faculty members of Law Department of the University did not stand when India’s national anthem was played on the arrival of Chief Justice of India, Altamas Kabir, in the varsity. Just a few days later on June 29, media persons had followed the suite during a seminar in the same institution. This had happened despite the fact that the university authorities had not allowed, at that time, the students to participate in the seminar fearing that they might disrespect the Indian anthem.
Such incidents are nothing new in the occupied territory. On several occasions in the past, the Kashmiri students had desisted from standing up when Indian anthem was sung. The Kashmiris never missed to give vent to their anti-India sentiment whenever they got an opportunity. Shouting of slogans in favour of freedom and against India during demonstrations is quite common in occupied Kashmir. The people hoist Pakistani flags on special occasions in Pakistan and even in the rallies led by Hurriyet leaders including the APHC Chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Syed Ali Gilani and Muhammad Yasin Malik. They burst crackers and distribute sweets whenever Pakistan beat India in a cricket match. Observance of Indian Republic Day on January 26 and the Indian Independence Day on August 15, as Black Days, every year, also demonstrates that the Kashmiris reject Indian rule.
It is a fact that continued Indian state terrorism in the occupied territory has failed to intimidate the Kashmiris into submission. The Kashmiri people have time and again made it clear that they would not accept anything short of their inalienable right to self-determination for which they have been offering unparalleled sacrifices.
It is high time for India to accept the ground realities and resolve the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the Kashmiris’ aspirations.
First published in print edition (Kashmir Insight) Islamabad Dec, 2013.