Let’s not forget Kashmir
Dr. Raja Muhammad Khan
The distinguished Indian writer and former ambassador and lawmaker, Mr Kuldip Nayar has reminded India that, despite heavy military deployment of Indian Army in the Occupied Kashmir, this South Asian giant could neither restore peace nor resolve the dispute to the satisfaction of the masses. According to this scholar, “Every now and then there is an incident in the Valley to register the people’s discontent.” Under the umbrella of Indian democracy and a wily diplomacy, it has created an impression to international community that, it has successfully countered the people’s demand of their right of self-determination in its illegally occupied portion of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Nevertheless, this impression is far from the factual position in the occupied Kashmir. Indeed, the situation in Kashmir has not improved, rather, Indian occupation forces are committing massive human rights violation there with renewed vigour.
In fact, the issue of Jammu and Kashmir has its own dynamics. Unfortunately, despite knowing the facts, successive Indian governments have tried to impose their will over the Kashmiri masses and made use of the force to control the people. This is surprising that, why cannot India reconcile with the reality that, Kashmir is not its integral part and it has forcibly occupied it in October 1947. There were neither the moral grounds for this occupation nor the legal grounds of keeping Kashmir under its occupation ever since 1947. Then there are dozens of UN resolutions on the issue, giving clear verdict to the people of the state to have their future as per the wishes of its subjects.
Two most important arguments reject the Indian contention of its control over the Kashmir. First, has India been able to persuade and convince the people of the occupied state to accept Indian rule and its constitution in last over sixty-five years? Certainly not. In 2008, once there was a mass uprising of the Kashmiris against the India, it was a group of the scholars like Kuldip Nayar who suggested to the Indian Government to seriously reconcile over its inflexible stance and give Kashmiris their rights.
Secondly, India is still forcibly running the state affairs under Article 370 of Indian Constitution. Indeed, this article accords a special status to the Jammu and Kashmir state, compared to its integral states. According to this article, some provisions and parts of the Indian constitutions are not applicable to the State of Kashmir, until a concurrence is sought from the Indian Occupied Kashmir Government. Should not India find a disagreement in its acts and constitutions while claiming that, Kashmir is integral part of India. Therefore, neither Kashmir is integral part of India nor it has an acceptance among the Kashmiri masses.
This is high time that India should recognize this reality and take practical steps to resolve the issue as per the wishes of the people Kashmir. The instrument of accession, which India claims a legal document is controversial, hence a fake document. The famous British historian and writer, Alastair Lamb questions its signing by the Maharaja before 27 October 1947, when Indian forces entered the state.
Moreover, had there been an Instrument of Accession why it was not published by the Indian Government in the White Paper of 1948, which could have been a strong documentary evidence in favour of India. Besides, according to Article 7 of Indian Independence Act, after 15th day of August 1947, Maharja Hari Singh ceased to be the ruler of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, as this title to the State was granted to him by the British Government under the treaty of Amritsar signed between Gulab Singh and British East India Company on 16 March 1846 and lapsed on 15 Aug 1947.
Practically and legally, on 15th August 1947, the Sate of Jammu and Kashmir become to all intents and purposes an independent state. Once Maharaja Harisingh was not considering the people’s demand of the accession of the state with Pakistan, the people of the state rose against him and forced him to flee from Srinagar. They liberated a portion of the state we call today as the Azad Kashmir, before India could take the case to United Nations Organization. Kashmiris are still waiting for the implementation of the UN resolutions and awakening of the conscious of international community.
In the contemporary globalized world, there is an enhanced interdependency among the states. Pakistan and India are geographically contiguous neighbours, thus has to co-exist anyhow, as neighbours cannot be changed. Indian strategists have to understand that, Pakistan is a reality, thus they have to reconcile their traditional mindset. Pakistan wants a peaceful and stable region, where all South Asians can have equal opportunities to garner the fruit of globalization. How can there be a peace in the region, once people of the region are kept deprived of their basic right of self-determination with massive human rights violations.
In the context of Kashmir, the month of October is historical and painful for the people of the occupied state. It was on the morning of October 27, 1947 that Indian state forces landed on the Srinagar airport and had to face the resistance of Kashmiri masses. Fearing a defeat, India took the case to UNO, which enforced ceasefire, until an amicable solution is found of the issue. Nonetheless, despite passage of sixty-five years, India and Indian forces are still facing the same resistance and hate of Kashmiri masses as oppressor in the occupied parts of Kashmir.
From 1990 to-date, the Indian occupation forces have martyred over 100,000 Kashmiris. There is no letup in the resistance to Indian occupation and it is likely to continue until there is a visionary and realistic leader in India, who can give Kashmiris their right of self-determination. At the same time, Kashmiris want that their brethren in Pakistan should not forget their sacrifices thus, should continue their moral, political and diplomatic support in all international forums.