People in the Indian-administered Kashmir have observed the anniversary of India’s Republic Day as black day, holding a strike to protest rights violations in the disputed Himalayan region.
On Monday, people deserted streets and closed businesses in Kashmir’s main city of Srinagar, situated about 648 kilometers (403 miles) north of the Indian capital, New Delhi, in a complete shutdown called by pro-independence political fronts, namely the All Parties Hurriyat Conference and the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front.
Locals said the main goal of the move is to raise international awareness, and convey to the global community that India is not a democratic country as it has deprived Kashmiri people of their inalienable right to self-determination.
Yasin Malik, the chairman of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, accused the New Delhi government of not only denying the people of Kashmir the right to decide their political future, but also subjugating local residents by means of excessive force.
He told Press TV that Kashmiri people are rightful to decide their own future, but in return, the Indian government uses military force to kill them.
Political analysts and pundits argue that the United States and other world countries should view the issue of Kashmir from a humanitarian perspective, and play an active role in the resolution of one of the world’s long-standing crises.
Hameeda Nayeem, a lecturer at the University of Kashmir, told Press TV, “We cannot by any stretch of imagination link the freedom struggle with any kind of terrorism whatsoever in the world. But, Americans under the pressure from 9/11 tried to redefine everything in terms of terrorism.”
“It is the moral, political and international responsibility of Barack Obama to press India that they cannot leave Kashmir unresolved,” Nayeem added, referring to the president of the United States.
Obama was in New Delhi on Monday, January 26, to attend India’s Republic Day parade.
India and its neighbor Pakistan have been engaged in a serious dispute over Kashmir since their independence from British colonial rule in 1947. The arch-rivals lay claim to the whole region but each of them only controls a section of it.
The two countries agreed to a ceasefire along the Line of Control in 2003, and a year later launched talks aimed at brokering a regional peace.
The process was, however, suspended after over 160 people lost their lives in the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, which New Delhi blamed on Pakistan-based militants.