Seventy years ago on Friday 27 October, the Indian army landed in the Himalayan valley of Kashmir, now the most militarised zone in the world with India maintaining 500,000 strong armed personnel in the region.
Every year the people in this divided region mark 27 October as a “black day” to protest the decades-old “Indian military occupation”.
The referendum to decide the fate of Kashmir as promised and agreed upon both India and Pakistan was never held even after 70 years making Kashmir an unsolved legacy of partition.
India and Pakistan each administer part of Kashmir, but both claim the Himalayan territory in its entirety. Rebel groups have been fighting since 1989 for the Indian-administered portion to become independent or merge with Pakistan.
Nearly 70,000 people have been killed in the uprising and the ensuing Indian military crackdown.
Muhammad Ashraf Wani, a professor of history, said 27 October 1947, changed the history, geography, and culture of Kashmir as the borders were sealed that connected the region to Central Asia, which was an important trade partner.
“The Kashmir conflict continues to be same as it was 70 years ago. There is no change in it, there have been atrocities on the people,” Wani said, adding the conflict has disconnected Kashmir with its past.
“We suffered heavily since that day, and we continue to suffer. The partition had enduring effects on us. All those who love humanity should come forward to solve this dispute because this is the longest pending dispute in the world.”
Khalid Bashir, a Kashmiri author of Kashmir: Exposing the Myth behind the Narrative, said even after wars and other violence a solution has yet to be found in Kashmir.
“The conflict gave rise to armed struggle, deaths and destruction, but still there has been no seriousness in solving the issue. The conflict has resulted in orphans, injured, and bloodshed continues.
Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who supports Kashmir joining with Pakistan, said in a statement India “forcibly” seized Kashmir in 1947.
“Seventy-one years back on this day India without any constitutional and moral justification forcibly took control of Jammu and Kashmir, and since then, Indian forces are mercilessly killing innocent and unarmed Kashmiris, vandalising their properties and indulging in other inhuman acts,” said Geelani.
The leader, who has called for protests against the “illegal occupation”, accused Indian security forces of “unleashing atrocities and cruelties upon Kashmiri nation to suppress the peaceful voices”.
Expecting large-scale protests, authorities imposed curfew in most parts of Kashmir on Friday. Locals were prevented from attending Friday prayers at Srinagar’s grand mosque at Hazratbal.