Self-determination

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IMAGINE yourself as a Kashmiri born in Srinagar on Jan 5, 1949. You are 73 years old, and have completed nearly every phase of your life. You took decisions on what to study, where to work, how to contribute, and preparing to retire. A full circle of life. But at every stage, you were reminded that you were not free, that you were under Indian occupation, a kind of colonial rule. That’s the story of every man and woman who lives in the Valley of Kashmir or the Jammu region. You feel helpless and angry.

For all Kashmiris, Jan 5 every year is a reminder that the promise given to them on Jan 5, 1949, remains unfulfilled. That day, the United Nations Commission on India and Pakistan adopted a resolution calling for a free and fair plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir. Ever since, like a ritual, the Kashmiris mark self-determination day, hoping that the world would listen. But year after year, the frustration has mounted. It is understandably getting hard for the Kashmiris to keep faith in international justice, or even stay optimistic. And yet, the Kashmiri struggle goes on. The torch of freedom remains aloft.

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