NEW YORK, Jul 13 (APP): Kashmiris and Pakistanis, who were joined by Sikhs, Monday staged a protest demonstration in New York’s Times Square denouncing Indian atrocities in Kashmir and calling on the United Nations to to honour its pledge to grant the Kashmiris their right of self-determination.
Raising vociferous anti-India slogans and waving placards, a large number of people turned up in the iconic square to show solidarity with the struggling Kashmiri people on a working day to mark the 90th anniversary of Kashmir Martyrs’ Day.
The Day marks the killing of 22 Kashmiris outside the Srinagar Central Jail by the troops of Dogra Maharaja on July 13, 1931, during a revolt.
The protestors in the crowded iconic square carried placards reading: “UN: Implement Resolutions on Kashmir”, “Indian Forces: Out of Kashmir”, “No Justice, No Peace” and “Kashmiri lives matter too.”
The demonstration was organized by the Washington-based World Kashmir Awareness Forum (WKAF).
Speaking at the rally, Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, WKAF’s Secretary-General, said that July 13th is forever engraved in the collective minds of the people of Kashmir as the day when the freedom movement was countered by bullets. Now, he said the “Martyrs Day” memorializes all those innocent victims, who were silenced since 1989 by the Indian military and paramilitary forces.
Dr. Fai called on the international community to stand up and speak up for the freedom of Kashmir through the exercise of their right to self-determination. He also urged the Biden Administration to seriously engage India, Pakistan and legitimate representatives of Kashmir in a results-oriented peaceful solution of the decades-old conflict.
Dr. Imtiaz Khan, Professor at the George Washington University Medical Center, said that the atrocities against the peace- loving Kashmiri people were continuing unabated, with thousands of women having been gang-raped, not to talk of the mass graves and children who been blinded by pellet guns.
The only solution to all major problems in the region lies in the peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute. He called for direct US involvement for settling the dispute as bilateral talks between India and Pakistan have never succeeded.
Dr. Amerjit Singh, President of the Khalistan Affair Center said that the Modi Regime was persecuting minorities in India. The Indian State, he said, had declared an “all out war” against Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir and Nagaland states where Sikhs, Muslims & Christians are in Majority.
The right of self- determination, Dr. Singh said, was the “only solution” as was imperative the freedom of Khalistan and Kashmir.
Ariful Haq Arif, a Pakistani journalist who hails from Kashmir, said that it was a colonial power – Great Britain — which created the problem of Kashmir. He said he believes the United States has the leverage to impress upon India to allow the people of Kashmir their UN-pledged 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, he said, 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. Khan 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 freedom is achieved. He demanded the unconditional release of all political prisoners, including Masarat Alam.
Sardar Sajid Sawar, a Kashmiri activist, said the 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, a woman activist, said Kashmiris want peace, but peace with dignity and honour. No country has the right to decide the fate of Kashmir, saying that it were the Kashmiri people who were granted the right to determine their future.
Khalid Awan, President of People’s Party, USA, urged the Biden administration to place Kashmir on its radar as India and Pakistan are nuclear-armed. Kashmir, he said, has a special place in PPP’s manifesto.
Sardar Taj Khan, and Sardar Zarif Khan, the event’s main organizers, 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 which has always stood on the side of Kashmir’s demand for a plebiscite.
Among others who spoke were: Sardar Shoaib Irshad, Sardar Niaz Khan, Sardar Zubair Khan, Muhammad Hussain, Ms. Rubina, Ms. Abida Baji, Raja Razzak, Hurriya Waqar, Sardar Farooq, Advocate, Sardar Imtiaz Khan Garalavi, 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.