By Ibrahim Vawda
February 5th marks Solidarity Day with Kashmiris.
The situation in Kashmir has nothing to do with passivity or docility in the Kashmiri character. That myth has long been shattered.
Kashmiris hardly showed themselves as resigned to Indian occupation. Kashmir never felt itself to be part of India before 1947 and feels even less so after its aggressive capture and occupation by the Indian troops.
The end of this seizure is inevitable. The only question is whether it is accomplished by armed struggle, resulting in a spiral of violence and counter-violence, or through negotiations. The choice always lies with the occupying power, India.
By all customary moral and legal yardsticks, 22 million Kashmiris have an inalienable right to self-determination.
At the end of British jurisprudence in 1947, Kashmir became neither part of Pakistan nor India. Kashmir seized to be a Princely State and became independent of the British Raj.
On the 15th August 1947 Kashmir was brutally occupied by India and remains so to this day. Kashmir remains the most densely militarised occupation in the world, with one soldier for every 8 civilians.
Law and morality are overwhelmingly on the side of Kashmiri self-determination. Why has that quest been frustrated for 70 years? The answer is self-evident: the military might of India. India is militarily too powerful. It is also a nuclear power. Hence its bully boy attitude.
On his latest visit to India, President Cyril Ramaphosa has strengthened ties with Narendra Modi. The Media Review Network urges our President to use this new found rapprochement to convince the Indian Prime Minister that self-determination for Kashmir would strengthen India’s moral stature, economic security and international standing. A strong case should be made by the world powers, led by South Africa, that its security and stature would be enriched rather than fall by accepting a free and fair plebiscite in Kashmir.
Ibrahim Vawda is a political commentator, analyst and researcher with the Media Review Network.