On August 5, 2019, the Government of India, in one of the most illegal and fascist actions taken by a government in recent history, revoked the special status and autonomy that was granted by its own constitution to Jammu and Kashmir. When it committed this action, it also imposed several totalitarian restrictions, including cutting off communication lines in the Kashmir Valley, taking several leading Kashmiri politicians into custody and effectively forcing the Kashmiri people into silence and isolation from the world.

Three years later, the people of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) are still under this oppressive isolation. In 2020, Pakistan decided it will observe “Youm-e-Istehsal” on this day to show solidarity. Unfortunately, we find ourselves in the tragic reality of having to observe yet another Youm-e-Istehsal this year too, as the fascist abrogation of all international laws committed by India continues to its third year.

This year, on Youm-e-Istehsal, it is important to express solidarity with the Kashmiri people and also acknowledge and admire the relentless courage and commitment the IIOJK residents living in the occupation have shown. In these past three years, the Indian state’s assault on human rights and democracy has only increased—the Indian government has tried its best to break down the Kashmiri cause, by attempting to subject the area to demographic engineering by illegally granting non-Kashmiris Hindus access to Kashmiri domicile in the hope to ethnically cleanse the Muslim population. The Indian government has recently also proposed a delimitation exercise to demarcate the constituencies in such a manner that the Hindu vote in the state assembly would exceed or at least equal the Muslim vote. However, despite such malicious tactics, IIOJK is far from being a cohesive integral part of the Indian union, and the resistance is stronger than ever.

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