August 5th, 2021

By Hassan Raza and Hamid Riaz


Two years ago today the Narendra Modi led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in India unilaterally moved to abolish Article 370 of the Indian constitution effectively stripping India’s only Muslim majority province of its special status it had enjoyed since the state’s secession to the Union of India 70 years ago. 

The abrogation of Article 370 was accompanied by an internet black-out in the restive region (which remains somwehat unrestored) along with the arrests of several key Kashmiri political figures. Two years later today a majority of mainstream leaders have been released by the Indian state, recently attending a failed All Parties’ Conference hosted by Modi. 

But Kashmiri leaders who have openly defend the Kashmiri population’s right to self-determination and/or accession to Pakistan are still being kept behind bars. 

This Youm-e-Istehsal-e-Kashmir (Black Day) introduces some of the key figures of Kashmir’s struggle for independence. 

Sayed Ali Gillani 

The 90-year old Jamat-i-Islami member helped found the All Parties Hurriyat Conference. Joining the JeI in 1952, Gillani rose to the rank of General Secretary in 1964. He has spent more than 10 years behind bars for his equivocal stance on Kashmiri independence and was awarded the Nishan-e-Pakistan in absentia last year. Gillani was placed under house arrest after Article 370 was abrogated 2 years ago. 

Asiya Andrabi 

Andrabi is the founder of the Dukhtaran-i-Millat, a women-oriented Islamist separatist party. First arrested in 2010 for inciting violence against the Indian state and again in 2015 for raising a Pakistani flag, Andrabi has called for violent resistance against the Indian state. In 2018 Andrabi was shifted from the Srinagar Jail to Delhi’s Tihar jail where she is currently serving a sentence along with other members of her party. 

Yasin Malik 

Yasin Malik’s JKLF has been at the forefront of separatist activities in Jammu & Kashmir. Involved in militant activities at first, JKLF gave up violence in 1994 choosing for independence through peaceful means. But it was still banned under Modi’s govt in 2019. Malik is in Delhi’s Tihar Jail and is facing trial in a 30 year old kidnapping case of the then Union home minister’s daughter and the gunning down of 4 IAF personnel in Srinagar.


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