Hundreds gathered at historic Times Square to commemorate Kashmir Martyr’s Day

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New York: In recognition of all those who have laid down their lives so that the people of Kashmir may live with their heads held high, a peaceful protest took place at historic Times Square, New York to commemorate that 90th anniversary of the ‘Martyrs Day’. Hundreds of people attended the protest which was organized by Washington-based World Kashmir Awareness Forum (WKAF).

Dr. Ghulam Nabi Mir, President WKAF said on July 13, Kashmiris around the world are honoring the martyrs of the first massacre of Kashmiri Muslims in Srinagar in a political uprising that took place in 1931. Indian invasion and occupation of Jammu and Kashmir in 1947 has led to over 100, 000 deaths of innocent Kashmiris and massive human rights violations and long jail sentences.

“Kashmiris are demanding to exercise their right to self-determination as mandated by the UN Security Council. We ask the people of the world to stand up and speak up for the freedom of Kashmir. Our appeal to Biden Administration is to seriously engage India, Pakistan and legitimate representatives of Kashmir in a results-oriented peaceful resolution of this most serious conflict of the world,” Dr. Mir added.

Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, Secretary General, WKAF, commenting on the tragic day, stated ‘It was on July 13, 1931, that the foreign occupying Dogra troops shot dead 22 Kashmiris, in cold blood, in front of Srinagar Central Jail.’ Since that ominous day, Kashmiris have organized peaceful protests,  seminars and conferences throughout the world.  July 13th is forever scarred in the collective minds of the people of Kashmir as the day when the freedom movement was greeted with bullets.” Now, ‘Martyrs Day’ memorializes all those innocent victims, who have been forcibly silenced since 1989 by the Indian military and paramilitary forces.

Dr. Fai added that the desire for self-determination is the one very big “element” India should be concerned about, yet continues to pretend to the world that it does not exist.  However long India refuses to acknowledge it, the decades-old movement in Kashmir will not simply die out.

Dr. Imtiaz Khan, Professor at George Washington University Medical Center said that today we have gathered to commemorate the martyrdom of 21 innocent Kashmiris. The atrocities on the peace loving people of that region are continuing unabated. Thousands of women have been gang raped, not to talk of mass graves and children who been blinded by pellet gun wounds. 

Dr. Khan added that the only solution to all major problems in the region lies in the peaceful resolution of Kashmir. And that bilateral talks between the two nations have never taken off and direct involvement of USA is needed if they are serious to achieve tangible results.

Dr. Amerjit Singh, President, Khalistan Affair Center said, Modi Regime in line with Nazi Germany is persecuting minorities in India. Indian State has declared an ‘All Out War’ against Punjab, Jammu  & Kashmir and Nagaland states where Sikhs, Muslims & Christians are in Majority. We all should ‘hang together’ rather than being hanged separately. Right of Self- Determination is ‘The Only Solution’ for our survival. Freedom of Khalistan and Kashmir is imperative & inevitable.

Ariful Haq Arif, one of the senior most journalists of Pakistan and who originally hails from Kashmir said that it was a colonial power -  Great Britain who created the problem of Kashmir. He believed that it could be the sole super power – the United States – which has the leverage to impress upon India to give the people of Kashmir the right to self-determination.

Sardar Haleem Khan, leader of JKLF said that the mantle of the freedom struggle of Kashmir has been successfully passed on to the younger generation and they are resolute and determined to take it to its logical conclusion. The people of Kashmir have made it clear that the final solution of the Kashmir disputes demands that Kashmiri leadership must be the part of negotiations with India and Pakistan. He appealed to the world leaders to persuade India to release Mohammad Yasin Malik who is the symbol of independence in Jammu & Kashmir.

Saleem Qadri, representative of Masarat Alam said that Kashmiris are determined to press on with the resistance movement to Indian occupation and settler-colonialism until a total and complete freedom is achieved. He demanded the unconditional release of all political prisoners including Masarat Alam.

Sardar Sajid Sawar said Kashmir issue need to be resolved as soon as possible for the sake of international peace and security. As the citizens of the digital world, we demand from all peace loving countries to come forward and support our Cause.

Amna Habib  said Kashmiris want peace but peace with dignity and honor. No country whatsoever has the right to decide the fate of Kashmir, saying that it were the people of Kashmir who were granted the right to determine the political future.

Khalid Awan, President of Peoples Party USA urged Biden administration to place Kashmir on its radar screen as India and Pakistan are nuclear-armed. He said that Kashmir has a special place in the manifesto of the Pakistan Peoples Party and the issue cannot be ignored by the people of Pakistan.

Sardar Taj Khan, and Sardar Zarif Khan, main organizers of the event said that the suffering and misery of the Kashmiri people continues each day a peaceful resolution is deferred. They appreciated the contribution of the Pakistani American community who always stood by the side of Kashmir’s demand for a plebiscite.

Sardar Shoaib Irshad said, while India, initially, explicitly accepted the Security Council resolutions mandating a free and impartial plebiscite in Kashmir under the auspices of the United Nations, it soon reneged on its own obligation realizing that the people of Kashmir would vote against India in an unfettered plebiscite.

Sardar Niaz Khan said the people of Kashmir have suffered long and needlessly because of this brutal conflict. The people of Kashmir deserve peace. Peace in the region of South Asia would remain elusive until the Kashmir dispute is resolved.

Sardar Zubair Khan  emphasized that the brutalities of Indian government cannot and should not go unnoticed. It is the responsibility of the Kashmiri diaspora to be the voice of voiceless people in the corridors of powers all over the world.

Muhammad Hussain, Co-Chairman of the All Pakistani American Coalition (APAC)  expressed his unconditional moral, political and diplomatic support to the people of Kashmir for a just and peaceful solution to the long-standing dispute.

Ms. Rubina said that the killings of innocent civilians in Indian occupied Kashmir must shake the conscience of all peace-loving people. She condemned the efforts to muzzle the press and called for restoring the right to  assemble and freedom of expression in Indian occupied Kashmir

Ms. Abida Baji, social worker said that it was their duty to support the people of Kashmir who are struggling for their right to self-determination. Our objective is to draw the attention of the world powers to the situation in Kashmir and to exert pressure on the government of India and to resolve dispute over Kashmir  and help stop human right violations in Indian occupied Kashmir.

Raja Razzak said  despite claiming to be the largest democracy, India’s policy towards Kashmir has been uniformly colonial, brutal, deceitful and undemocratic.

Hurriya Waqar, high school student said that we stand shoulder to shoulder with our Kashmiri brethren. She said  that a just and lasting settlement of the dispute is possible only through negotiations of all parties concerned, i.e., the genuine leadership of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, Governments of India and Pakistan under direct supervision of the United Nations."

Sardar Farooq said that Kashmir is one of the oldest issues pending on the agenda of the UN Security Council which demands immediate implementation.

Advocate, Sardar Imtiaz Khan Garalavi, the emcee of the event hoped that the United States and the international community will realize that what is at stake in the dispute is not only the survival of the people of Kashmir but also the peace and stability in the region of South Asia. He appealed to the international community to use its diplomatic, moral and  economic  leverage with  India to fulfill its commitment of the right of self-determination to the people of Jammu and Kashmir according to the United Nations Security Council  Resolutions of 1948 and 1949.

Others who spoke included: Azad Shah, Umar Hayat, Yasir Maqsood, Waseem Maqsood, Sardar Mushtaq, Sardar Habib-ur-Rehman, Daud Maqsood, Zafar Haqani, Mahmood Akber, Irfan Mir, Umer Hayat, Azad Gilani, Mohammad Azim, Yasir Maqsood, Nasim Maqsood, Abdullah khan, Sultan khan, Habib, Shabaz Sayed, Bagim Star, Farooq Blooch, Auringzab, Ishtaq Raja.

(Dr. Fai can be reached at: 1-202-607-6435  or   gnfai2003@yahoo.com)

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