Australia wide rallies were held on Sunday 27 October in major cities in support of Kashmiris held under lockdown for the last three months by the Indian military.
The rallies were in support for the right to self-determination of the people of Kashmir as per UN Resolutions and to ensure the implementation of International Human Rights in Jammu & Kashmir state.
Every year the 27 October is observed as Kashmir Black Day all around the world. It was on this unfortunate day in 1947 that the Indian army forcibly occupied Jammu & Kashmir against the wishes of its people.
The current Modi Hindu nationalist government’s abruptly annexed the state of the Jammu & Kashmir on 5 August 2019 by abrogation of Article 370 of Indian Constitution, which gave the state a special autonomous status.
Since then Kashmiris in the valley have been largely confined to their homes with communication lines cut off, rights of movement and speech denied and reports of detentions, beatings and torture against civilians including children as young as 13.
The Indian government has denied entry to all journalists, politicians and human rights organisations to enter Kashmir valley but in order to whitewash their crimes, the Modi government has invited and allowed a delegation of 27 politicians, overwhelmingly far-right MPs from France and UK to visit Kashmir amid security clampdown.
The Sydney rally was held on Sunday 27 October to mark the Kashmir Black Day and create awareness of the ongoing human rights abuse of the people of Kashmir.
Australians of diverse background, faith and cultures including Kashmiris heard a number of speakers denouncing the oppression by the military and calling for the self-determination of the indigenous people of the larger Kashmir region.
This event was organised by the Stand with Kashmir in collaboration with the Australian Forum for Kashmir with people from different communities including Muslims and people of other faiths.
Mr Rab Nawaz, Mrs Aysha Yasir and Mr Anjum Rafiqui performed the duties as masters of ceremony and started the program with the recitation of Quran by Dr Wali Bokhari.
Former Senator Lee Rhiannon talked about the idealogical roots of the current PM of India, Narendra Modi with the Hindu supremacist organisation RSS and its stance against minorities in India especially Muslims.
Bosnian Imam Jasmin Bekric comparing the atrocities that have been committed against Bosnians and Kashmiris warned of another genocide in the making in Kashmir.
A petition to Prime Minister Scott Morrison was signed to take up the issue of Kashmir during his upcoming visit to India. PM Morrison should ask the Indian Government to:
1. Stop human rights abuses in Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir,
2. Restore communication and freedom of movement by ceasing house arrests, detention of innocent people and dismantling the communication blockade, and
3. Uphold the promise made by Prime Minister Nehru in 1947 that the people of Kashmir would have a plebiscite (referendum) on the status of Kashmir in future.
Photos by Zia Ahmad