India’s Republic Day celebrations marked as Black Day

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Staff report

Islamabad

Kashmiris on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) and across the world on Sunday observed Indian Republic Day as Black Day in protest against India’s continued denial of Kashmiris’ right to self-determination.

Call for the observance of the Black Day had been given by the All Parties Hurriyat Conference Chairman, Syed Ali Gilani, and other Hurriyat leaders and organizations including Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq-led Hurriyat forum.

The day is marked with a complete strike in the occupied Kashmir and anti-India demonstrations and rallies in world capitals, Kashmir Media Service reported.

This year, the observance of the Black Day also aimed at registering protest against the continued lockdown of the occupied Kashmir imposed by India for the past almost six months since August 5, last year.

While the Kashmir Valley remains under strict military lockdown on 175th straight day, Indian troops and police personnel have been deployed in strength to keep a watch on the movement of people. The forces’ personnel have set up check points on every road and chowk where commuters and pedestrians are being frisked and vehicles are checked thoroughly.

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of Indians protested across the country on Sunday against a citizenship bill that many fear is discriminatory against the minority Muslim community.

The protests, which began last month, gathered fresh momentum as India celebrated Republic Day, in commemoration of the day the Indian constitution came into effect.

In the southern state of Kerala, organizers said more than a hundred thousand people formed a human chain. It was followed by public meetings at over 250 places across the state.

“It was not a mere human chain, but a human wall against the violation of the principles of the Constitution,” said Kerala’s Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, addressing a public meeting in the state capital of Thiruvananthapuram.

Another human chain spread over 11 km was also formed in Kolkata, organizers said. Input by Reuters