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Indian soldier in Kashmir.

With a heavy military presence, Kashmir is often described as one of the world’s most militarized zones.

In the annals of modern history, October 27, 1947, remains a day of contention in Kashmir, as it marked India’s controversial military entry into the region. This followed the partition of India and Pakistan, during which Jammu and Kashmir—a princely state with a then-undecided future—witnessed an influx of Indian troops. India maintained that its presence was legitimized by Maharaja Hari Singh of Jammu and Kashmir, who purportedly signed the Instrument of Accession on October 26, 1947. Critics argue that this agreement was signed under pressure, sidelining the majority Muslim population’s desire to align with Pakistan.

This move by India, critics say, contravened the Indian Independence Act and the UN Charter, both of which championed the Kashmiris’ right to self-determination. Consequently, Jammu and Kashmir saw the rise of a spirited independence movement that continues to resonate today. Many accounts detail the displacement and unfortunate deaths of thousands of Kashmiri Muslims at the hands of the Indian military. Despite three UN Security Council resolutions advocating a referendum in Jammu and Kashmir, India remains steadfast in its stance against such a plebiscite. In remembrance and protest, many in the region and their allies mark October 27 as a somber day, echoing their calls for an end to what they view as an unjust occupation.

The territorial dispute between Pakistan and India escalated into a full-blown conflict, largely because of Kashmir. India sought the UN Security Council’s intervention, leading to resolutions that advocated peace and a decisive referendum. Yet, for over seven decades, Kashmir’s quest for autonomy has been met with continued resistance and suppression from India. Every year, on October 27, Kashmiris unite with their allies worldwide to rally against what they see as India’s oppressive occupation, fervently advocating for their liberty and tranquility.

India’s alleged non-compliance with UN Security Council resolutions on Kashmir has been a sticking point. The international community has raised concerns over reports of India’s harsh tactics in the region, which some describe as war crimes, torture, and grave human rights infringements. The tension reached a fever pitch in 1989 when Kashmiris, exhausted by perceived unlawful Indian rule, began a grassroots movement for freedom. This led to further unrest, resulting in casualties and injuries in the tens of thousands.

Notably, in 2019, India unilaterally abrogated Articles 370 and 35-A of its constitution, revoking Kashmir’s special status. The ripple effects of this move, coupled with the ensuing military lockdown, communication blackouts, media restrictions, and curfews, have provoked international outcry. Pakistan, in particular, has been vocal in its condemnation of India’s actions and has ardently championed a peaceful resolution in line with the UN Security Council resolutions and the Kashmiri populace’s aspirations.

With a heavy military presence, Kashmir is often described as one of the world’s most militarized zones. The region’s inhabitants have faced immense challenges, resulting from the enduring Kashmir dispute that transcends mere political disagreements. India’s role in Kashmir is viewed by many as a stark breach of international norms and human rights, stripping locals of fundamental freedoms. Despite facing adversities, Kashmiris have displayed commendable resilience in their pursuit of freedom and self-determination. The global community, many argue, bears a duty to bolster the Kashmiri cause and scrutinize India for its reported transgressions in the region. Echoing Nelson Mandela’s sentiments regarding the Palestinians, the plight of the Kashmiris remains a poignant reminder of the world’s unfinished business in upholding liberty and justice for all.

Abdul Mussawer Safi is an author at various platforms such as Modern Diplomacy, Kashmir Watch, and Eurasia Review. He is pursuing a Bachelor's degree in International Relations from National Defense University. He has a profound interest in world politics, especially in the regional dynamics of South Asia. His academic strengths are critical and SWOT analysis.