April 23, 2024

Historical perspective of Kashmir Dispute

Kashmir is a powder keg, a nuclear flashpoint in South Asia. This dispute has consumed more than 5 lakh lives only from 1947. Kashmir which is having 5000-year-old history was an independent country till it lost its sovereignty at the hands of Mughals on 1585 A.D.

Kashmir is a powder keg, a nuclear flashpoint in South Asia. This dispute has consumed more than 5 lakh lives only from 1947. Kashmir which is having 5000-year-old history was an independent country till it lost its sovereignty at the hands of Mughals on 1585 A.D. Thereafter Mughals came Afghans then Sikhs then Dogras and now worlds so-called largest democracy has occupied it through its military might.

About the year 1015, Mohammad Gazane took possession of valley for some time, it reverted again to Hindu kings who ruled it till 1294 A.D. After this Ranchen a Tibetan ruler, ruled it from 1325-1327. Afterwards, the Chakoons ruled it till Mughals invaded and captured it. Later the successor of Nadir Shah, Ahmad Shah Durrani added Kashmir into their empire from 1753-1819. In 1819 A.D forces of Ranjit Singh defeated Afghans and Kashmir became part of Sikh dominion. In 1820 Ranjit Singh granted principality of Jammu to Ghulab Singh, the areas of Baltistan and Ladakh originally part of Tibet were conquered by Ghulab Singh. Due to death of Ranjit singh trouble arouse between Sikh and British for possession of Punjab. Ghulab Singh gave favourable terms to British and betrayed his fellow Sikhs, British awarded him with the territory between Ravi and Indus. Through a treaty, on March 9, 1846, he got Jammu, Poonch, Ladakh and Baltistan and through infamous treat called Amritsar treaty on March 16, 1846, British sold Kashmir to Ghulab Singh. He ruled Kashmir through iron fist and imposed heavy taxes, he also imposed strict laws such as slaughtering of cow was capital offence till 1947 and if a Muslim converted to Hindu he retained all rights of his property but if vice versa he was liable to lose all interests in joint family and property under the state law. Kashmiri peoples struggle for the emancipation of their rights became full-fledged and organized rights movement after the massacre of 23 Kashmiris by the brutal Dogra Army. The real trouble began when on June 4, 1947, Lord Mountbatten brought a plan for the partition of India called Indian Partition act 1947. According to this act area comprising of Muslim majority will constitute a new country Pakistan and rest areas having non-Muslim majority will remain as India. But this act was applicable only for British India not for princely states which were near about 564 and were under the indirect control of the British. These 564 states were given choice either to choose to remain Independent or join any one of the two dominions in keeping two things under consideration first, majority of subjects whether Muslim or non-Muslim and second continuity of the borders of their state.

As for as Kashmir is concerned it was a princely state and was having 85% Muslims and its border has continuity more with Pakistan than with India so there were only two options before Maharaja of Kashmir either he should have declared Independence or announced to accession with Pakistan. But Maharaja under pressure from Congress hatched a well-knotted conspiracy, he removed R.C.Kak (then prime minister of Kashmir) and appointed Mehr Chand for this slot who was a Hindu from Punjab and also a nominee of Congress, bcoz the former one held meetings with the Pakistani leadership as well regarding the future of Kashmir and was known as man of integrity. Later Maharaja also removed Muslim servicemen from his police and army removing any iota of doubts what he was planning to do. Maharaja was facing a revolt in Poonch against imposing high taxes and this became a popular uprising against his ill-motivated plan and he almost lost writ on Kashmir. Later on, 4th October Khawaja Ghulam Nabi Gilkar formed first free Government of Kashmir and on 24th Sardar Ibrahim formed the government.

The laws relating to partition were never honoured sincerely. India used its force and captured Hyderabad and later invaded Junagarh on the pretext of being Hindu majority area and violated the same by invading Kashmir. The state of Kapurthala had Muslim majority but non-Muslim ruler which through the help of RSS succeeded in eliminating his Muslim subjects and the same was repeated in Alwar and Bharat Pur. These tactics were also used in Jammu province were 5 lakh Muslims were butchered and lakhs were forced to flee mostly during November 4th, 5th, and 6th to turn it into Muslim minority area. Thereafter this dispute went to UN which passed resolutions declaring it a disputed territory.

The beauty of Kashmir and its picturesque and breath taking serenity always lured many Mughals, Afghans and Sikh governors to think of declaring themselves as independent of their masters. Akbar’s subedar Mirza Yadgar, Raja Sulkhjiwan and Amar Khan two protégés of Ahmad shah Abdali, Sheikh Gh. Muhammad governor under the Sikhs toyed the idea of Independent Kashmir. Even Maharaja Hari Singh personally desired of Independent Kashmir. Chaudhary hamidullah Khan (then acting president of Muslim Conference) also urged Maharaja to declare Independence and assured him cooperation in this regard. In May 1953 Adali Stevenson met Sheikh Abdullah in Srinagar and on the same year on 13th July during martyr’s day speech he said “the Kashmir position was such that it should have the sympathy of both India and Pakistan- it is not necessary that our state should become an appendage of either India or Pakistan”.

After the failure of Operation Gibraltar and Indo-Pak war of 1965, many Kashmiri stalwarts like K.H.Khursheed and Shaheed Maqbool Bhat started to think of Independent option in practical terms. Due to which Maqbool Bhat became the victim of parochialism, sadism and apathy, was labelled as Indian and Pakistani agent by the henchmen of different agencies who were suffering from kleptomania, obscurantism and apathetic attitude. But these monopolistic vampires would be feeling poleaxed to see Maqbool Bhat becoming the heartthrob of oppressed people bcoz falsehood by its nature is bound to perish. Maqbool Bhat was a man with mission and vision, who dreamed about independent Kashmir and had to suffer throughout his life for espousing this noble cause. But he stood like a rock against injustice and indefatigable against the hurricane of suppression and through sheer determination and resilience rose to the iconic stature in the resistance movement.

Moreover, India and Pakistani leaders have time and again made commitments to Kashmiris regarding their Independence. On July 11, 1947, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah said “The second question that is engaging the attention of the Muslims of Kashmir is whether Kashmir is going to join the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan. I have already made it clear more than once that the Indian States are free to join either the Pakistan Constituent Assembly or the Hindustan Constituent Assembly or remain independent”. On July 9, 1951, Nehru Said “Kashmir has been wrongly looked like a price for India or Pakistan. People seem to forget that Kashmir is not a commodity for sale to be bartered. It has an individual existence and its people must be the final arbiters of their future”. On July 14, 1972, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Said “History has shown us that no right of self-determination can be achieved by proxy. If the people of Jammu Kashmir want their independence, if they want to be liberated .., if they want to be free people in fraternity and friendship and comradeship with Pakistan, they will have to give the lead and we will be with them…no matter what the consequences”. On Feb. 18, 1992, Nawaz Sharif said “I made it very clear that, of course, the right of self-determination means that let the Kashmiris decide as what they want. This right of self-determination if exercised by the Kashmiris, of course, they have every right to decide whether they want to join Pakistan, they want to be independent or they want to join India”.

APHC which is spearheading the political resistance movement here has clearly stated in one of his objectives that “To make peaceful struggle to secure for the people of the state of J&K the exercise of the right of self determination in accordance with the UN charter and the resolutions adopted by the UN security council. However the exercise of the right of self determination shall also include the right to Independence as explained in sub-clause (ii)”. It is natural that every person belonging to any group has to abide the rules of that group so no Hurriyat leader has liberty to reduce the right of self determination in to two options only if anyone does that he is violating the constitution of APHC. Right to Independence is basic ingredient of UN resolutions regarding self determination and this right can’t be limited. It is also debatable that if conditions are putted with any right whether that remains then right or not?

It is clear from the speech of PM Manmohan singh that borders can’t be changed but made irrelevant that India is using policy of gaining time to consolidate its hold over Kashmir. But she can’t hold Kashmir against its inhabitant’s wishes for ever. India by using repressive policy to sabotage mass movement can’t muzzle the legitimate voice of Kashmiris. The recent visit of Maj.Gen. Avi Mizrahi (chief of Israeli ground forces) to Kashmir to access the situation here to help Indian security forces in counter insurgency operations and the offer of US in April this year to help India in fighting against militants in JK if analysed properly has many security threats for India also as it will shift balance of power in South Asia therefore there is ever apprehension that level of violence will increase. America with its military bases across the world and its troop’s presence in Iraq and Afghanistan wants complete control of affairs in South Asia. In case of US and Israeli help to India, Kashmir will find more space and sympathy in Muslim world; this help will provoke Muslim warriors across world to fight in Kashmir for martyrdom. Kashmiri fighters with limited agenda of liberation of their motherland have restricted their fight with India within J&K but there is no guarantee that warriors with international agenda will do so, they may take their struggle in every nook and corner of India which is already facing trouble in more than 16 states, this may lead to disintegration of India. So this is high time for India to understand multiple dimensions of Kashmir dispute.

India is trying hard to equate our struggle with that of Al-Qaeda to garner support of west but our struggle is a national liberation movement poles apart from Al-Qaeda aimed to achieve complete independence and reunification of our forcibly divided parts of Kashmir. There are about 18 resolutions on Kashmir pending before Security Council in U.N to which both India and Pakistan are signatories and world witness to them. India and America who both were under English rule should understand that national movement’s takes natural course and end only after their logical conclusion. Let policy of ‘live and let live’ prevails. Justice as they say is supposedly blind. It will not be muted and we will not be silenced.


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