Blackest day for Kashmiris
ON October 27, 1947, India landed its troops in princely state of Jammu and Kashmir and occupying it in blatant violation of the Partition Plan and also against the popular will of Kashmiri Muslims. Jawaharlal Nehru and Lord Mountbatten were the masterminds of this greatest human tragedy, whereas Hari Singh then Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir and Cyril Radcliff, head of the Boundary Commission were accomplices. India had announced the accession of Jammu and Kashmir under a controversial Instrument of Accession. The fact remains that Jammu and Kashmir is a Muslim majority state, and fulfilled all the conditions in the partition plan for the princely states to join Pakistan keeping in view peoples’ aspirations, culture and religion. The partition plan of 3rd June 1947 envisaged that over 565 princely states would join India or Pakistan keeping in view the aspirations of their people and geographical contiguity.
On 19th July 1947, Muslim Conference the representative body of Muslims of Kashmir had organized a convention and passed a resolution for merging with Pakistan. The resolution stated: “This convention of Muslim Conference has reached the conclusion that geographical conditions, 80 per cent Muslim population, important rivers of Punjab passing through the state, language, cultural, ethnic and economic relations and contiguity of the state with Pakistan make it imperative to merge with Pakistan”. Yet, India disregarded the aspirations of the people of Kashmir and invaded the valley. Right from the day one, the people of Kashmir did not accept India’s illegal occupation and started armed struggle with the public support in 1947. And it was India that approached the UN Security Council on 1st January 1948 to help address the matter. The UN Security Council through its successive resolutions nullified Indian occupation of Kashmir declaring it as a disputed territory.
It approved a ceasefire, demarcation of the ceasefire line, demilitarization of the state and a free and impartial plebiscite to be conducted under the supervision of the UN. Although the ceasefire and demarcation of the ceasefire line were implemented but demilitarization of the occupied territory and a free and impartial plebiscite under the UN supervision remain unimplemented till date and kept the Kashmir dispute lingering on. As a result of the demarcation, about 139,000 square kilometers area of Jammu and Kashmir remained with India while 83,807 square kilometers constituted the territory of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. But the occupation forces enjoying unbridled powers under the protection of draconian laws like Armed Forces Special Powers Act and Disturbed Areas Act in the occupied territory have broken all records of human rights violations. During the last 30 years, the trigger-happy forces have martyred 93,935 thousand Kashmiris.
Thousands of innocent youth have been subjected to disappearance in custody and their whereabouts remain untraced. Besides these cruelties, the occupation authorities have usurped all kinds of freedom and frequently impose restrictions on the people and pro-liberation leadership to suppress the sentiment of dissent in the territory. India is hell bent upon changing the demographic composition of the territory and turn Muslim majority into a minority. Kashmiri Muslims have suffered death and destruction unparalleled in the history, first during Dogra Raj, and later faced murder, rape and killings at the hands of Indian armed forces. Frustrated by the apathy of the international community and non-implementation of United Nations Security Council resolutions, Kashmiri youth took up the arms in 1989. However, after 9/11, political landscape of the world changed dramatically, adversely impacting the freedom struggles of the people the world over who were dubbed as terrorists.
Nevertheless, writers, intellectuals and peace loving people condemned India’s repression on people of Kashmir and also for treating them as second class citizens. A few right-thinking Indians like writer, intellectual and human rights activist Arundhati Roy also highlighted the atrocities perpetrated on Kashmiris. Kashmir is burning for the last 70 years but international community shows indifference towards sufferings of Kashmiris. Even those countries that had in the past supported Pakistan’s genuine stance now suggest that India and Pakistan should resolve the Kashmir dispute through bilateral negotiations. India takes the plea that according to Tashkant Declaration and Simla Accord both countries are obliged to resolve the issue through bilateral negotiations. On 5th January 1949, UNSC through its resolution gave the right to the Kashmiris to join either Pakistan or India in a plebiscite to be held under the aegis of the United Nations.
While referring to UN resolutions on June 26, 1952, the then prime minister Jawahar Lal Nehru had told Indian Parliament that if the Kashmiri people wished to join Pakistan they may do so. But in later years, India amended its constitution to make Kashmir its integral part, which was beginning of the grave human rights violations in Indian Held Kashmir. In case, India continues to baulk at resolving the Kashmir dispute, there can never be a durable peace in the region. The international community has to understand that Tashkent and Simla agreements were signed by Pakistan under duress. Secondly, Article 103 of Chapter XVI of the UN Charter clearly states: “In the event of a conflict between the obligations of the members of the United Nations under the present Charter and any other international agreement, their obligation under the present charter shall prevail”. However, big powers do not like to annoy India for commercial considerations.
—The writer is a senior journalist based in Lahore.