KASHMIR HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE

Ameer Tarin
Kashmir map
MAP OF STATE OF KASHMIR
”In order to understand Kashmir Issue, the link to a PDF file hereunder can be of great help. Her Majesty’s Government of British India had to make hasty exit from India due to unavoidable circumstances and left a legacy of unsettled issue of Kashmir State and Lord Mountbatten, the last Viceroy, in good faith trusted then leaders of India to do justice as he was made to believe that new India is a country worthy of trust. Please sift through these pages as this can help to understand the authors view point.

The highlighted historical events of Kashmir imbroglio given on
Ministry of External Affairs, INDIA (PDF) http://www.kashmir.com/ needs to be analyzed and or internalized to understand the suffering and pains inflicted on the people of Kashmir by occupying power. And for the people all over the world concerned about human or people’s rights to live peacefully, the author offers a link to a mirror page put on the internet by Ministry of External Affairs, India to give their version of justification to occupy. The decision to make a difference between right and wrong should be left to the visiting readers.”

Ever since October 14, 1947, when Indian 1 Sikh landed in Srinagar, capital city of Kashmir State, the subsequent events generated interest, curiosity and became a cause of concern all over the world. Various United Nations Resolutions passed favoring a plebiscite in Kashmir are in cold storage at the moment but now International community realizes that the matter cannot be brushed under the carpet anymore and the cry of Kashmiris living in pain and agony has to be considered. Basic facts pertaining to this issue are well established and a crafty concerted disinformation campaign that presents a distorted historical account and the intrigues led to the purported accession of the State of Kashmir to India. The paradise on earth, once tranquil and beautiful Kashmir is turned into hell by the people with expansionist designs. Pakistan says it extended moral and diplomatic support to Kashmir which it says is well documented and is accepted by all impartial observers, while comparing the situations in the areas held either by Pakistan or India are somewhat identical. The current violence and disturbances instigated and organized by parties involved are there for all to see providing these so called “democracies” allow international media, human rights groups to visit Kashmir unhindered to take stock of the situation. The current uprising in Kashmir is a continuance of an ongoing struggle that started soon after August 9, 1953 when Sheikh Abdullah was removed from office and his Government toppled, puppet regimes installed to establish the political hegemony in Kashmir and the exercise continues till date.

Pandit Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, committed to people of Kashmir and Sheikh Abdullah many times over that India came to offer help and not to occupy. Initially, he managed to mesmerize Sheikh Abdullah with his private heart to heart double talk mixed with secular ideals projecting him as secular and popular leader of Kashmir to gain support of Lord Mountbatten and his Government. And once Indian army got its grips firmly in place, Sheikh Abdullah became dispensable, fell a prey to Pandit Nehru’s machinations to label Sheikh with treason and sedition, the framed charges never proved. Sheikh Abdullah fulfilling Nehru’s agenda expected his dream of Independent Kashmir come true was arrested, imprisoned first for eleven years in Kud jail near Jammu and then externed to south Indian city of Kodaikanal and later shifted to Delhi’s Kotla lane. The strategy used by Nehru to tackle Abdullah personally and leave the job of handling Maharaja and his Prime Minister Ram Chand Kak to V.P.Menon who in a crafty manner used Lord Mountbatten to apply carrot and stick policy to extract the ‘accession document’ from helpless Maharaja. The minority Hindu ruler’s ‘accession document’ who had already fled Kashmir with all his possessions would not suffice to swallow Kashmir and Pandit Nehru associated himself with beguiled Sheikh Abdullah to make this purport accession look valid and legal.

Alastair Lamb, very interestingly, in his book ‘Incomplete Partition’ says ” Nehru argued most forcefully that the State of Jammu & Kashmir must join India, but not as an autocracy under Maharaja Hari Singh. Accession had somehow to bring about the empowering of the imprisoned Sheikh Abdullah and his (currently unelected) National Conference to direct the State’s destiny. Sheikh Abdullah, Nehru left Mountbatten in no doubt, was the only true spokesman for the Kashmiri people, and the secular National Conference (in contrast to the communal Muslim Conference) was the sole popular Kashmiri political organization worthy of consideration. All the evidence suggests that Mountbatten was convinced. It is interesting that Nehru’s memorandum contained a number of statements which were untrue, and which Nehru knew to be untrue: for example, he told the Viceroy that:

“The Maharaja is a Dogra Rajput and his army consists almost entirely of Dogra Rajputs. Kashmiris, whether Hindu or Muslim, are excluded from it. This was a common grievance among all Kashmiris.

KASHMIR ISSUE: http://www.Kashmir-issue.com/

The erstwhile ruler of the State of Kashmir, Maharaja Hari Singh was intimidated, coerced and forced by the troika notably V.P.Menon, Sardar Vallabhai Patel and Pandit Nehru to sign the ‘Instrument of Accession’ and this all was done with the blessings of Lord Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of British India, who was made to believe that the upcoming leader of Kashmiris Sheikh Abdullah and his National Conference wanted to join secular India and did not approve of Muslim Pakistan. That moment of time, Sheikh Abdullah’s National Conference did not have people’s mandate as no local general elections were held to determine the political strength of National Conference and or another formidable political party Muslim Conference. Indian Independence Act (1947) was not applicable to independent Kashmir State as the State was not ruled by British India and had its own Independent sovereign status, two houses of parliament (Praja and Rajya Sabha), its own national flag and a written constitution in place. However, a Resident appointed by British Indian Government stationed in Srinagar was to keep an eye on the running of administration by the despotic rule of Maharajas against whom complaints of misrule was a usual affair. Kashmir being a sovereign nation, the instrument of accession of over 500 Indian princely States, as claimed, did not apply to Kashmir and there, obviously, could have been no complications in any of the other cases except Junagarh and Hyderabad as these States were ruled by Muslim rulers who opted to join Pakistan (a principle never followed by India). Kashmiris caught unawares, due to intrigue masterminded by V.P.Menon aided and abetted by Dwarkanath Kachru under directions from Pandit Nehru and Vallabhai Patel, organized a resistance movement in desperation led by a Kashmiri Major Khurshid Anwar of erstwhile British Indian Army muddle through Pathan tribesmen and the resistance was able to stop the advance of Indian army at the present ‘ceasefire line’. Pakistan caught on a back foot, its regular army was a late entrant on the scene as the country was busy trying to put the new nation’s bits and pieces together. Khurshid Anwar’s attempt to use Pathan tribesmen to invade Kashmir proved counterproductive as the irregular armed tribesmen got a freehand to do whatever they liked what became a serious cause of concern. Maharaja Hari Singh panicked and in desperation tried to seek help from Indian dominion.

Maharaja Hari Singh writes to Lord Mountbatten on October 26, 1947

“….As Your Excellency is aware, the State of Jammu and Kashmir has not acceded to either the Dominion of India or Pakistan. Geographically my State is contiguous with both of them. Besides, my State has a common boundary with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and with China. In their external relations the Dominion of India and Pakistan cannot ignore this fact. I wanted to take time to decide to which Dominion I should accede or whether it is not in the best interests of both the Dominions and of my State to stand independent, of course with friendly and cordial relations with both. I accordingly approached the Dominions of India and Pakistan to enter into standstill agreement with my State. The Pakistan Government accepted this arrangement. The Dominion of India desired further discussion with representatives of my Government. With the conditions obtaining at present in my State and the great emergency of the situation as it exists, I have no option but to ask for help from the Indian Dominion.”

In reply Lord Mountbatten says, only the next day, on October 27, 1947:

“……It is my Government’s wish that, as soon as law and order have been restored in Kashmir and its soil cleared of the invader, the question of the State’s accession should be settled by a reference to the people.”
So the purport document of accession was conditional and people of Kashmir were never allowed to exercise their right of self determination.

UNITED NATIONS RESOLUTIONS

International peace and security was put at risk by India and Pakistan with three full scale wars to swallow whole Kashmir hook, line and sinker. On 27th May, 1950, diplomat Chief Justice of Australia Sir Owen Dixon was appointed by UNO to negotiate a solution for carving out an independent Kashmir. From 1942 to 1944, Dixon took leave from his judicial duties while he served as Australia’s Minister (Ambassador) to the United States, at the request of the then Prime Minister John Curtin. Dixon was invited to act as official mediator between the governments of India and Pakistan over the disputed territory of Kashmir. His role was to continue conciliation talks between the two nations in the lead up to a proposed plebiscite to be put to the residents of Kashmir and to do this, Kashmir had to be given into the charge of UNO which it seems did not go very well with lots of interested parties and the proposal was scuttled once again. His role as mediator ended in October 1950, although he had left India in September frustrated with what he saw as an inability of the respective governments to negotiate. In the year 1950, the powers of the world were inclined and had agreed in principle to give guaranteed financial support and Dixon plan provided the corridor and an opportunity for an acceptable solution, agreeing to create an independent sovereign nation of Kashmir.

In order to find a solution, due to tremendous international pressure, India had accepted the option of holding a plebiscite in Kashmir. The conditions laid down were not fulfilled by both sides and India particularly took a U turn when India’s first Prime Minister Pandit Nehru promised plebiscite in Kashmir on several occasions and in 1953 to negotiate a settlement on Kashmir engaged his Pakistani counterpart, Mohammed Ali Bogra in talks with no visible end used the opportunity to exploit his neighbor’s alliance with the U.S, formalized in November, 1953 when Islamabad joined SEATO in September 1954 and Baghdad Pact or CENTO in 1959. Pandit Nehru changed his mind using as pretext, the American military aid to Pakistan and announced that it (the aid received was meant for a threat from the Communist block and not India) had altered the context of the Kashmir problem. So in the beginning of 1954, sending his ‘great friend’ Sheikh Abdullah to prison, Maharaja Hari Singh banished, and Indian army firmly in control, Pandit Nehru conveniently declared: “We have reached the point of no return for the plebiscite (in Kashmir).”

PRECONDITIONS FOR PLEBISCITE

Any possibility of conducting plebiscite was scuttled by India perhaps because it was fully aware of what the result of such an exercise would be. As a result normal conditions under which a plebiscite could be held were never created. Pakistan also did not fulfill the condition of making arrangements to withdraw from the areas held by Pathan tribals. Also, Kashmir’s ‘changed circumstances (never spelt out what the circumstances were) were used as a pretext for not holding such a plebiscite ignoring UN Security Council’s resolutions one after another. One of the ‘changed circumstances’ apparently, was removal of Sheikh Abdullah on August 9, 1953 a darling and political trump card of Pandit Nehru. Had Pandit Nehru not succeeded roping in Sheikh Abdullah, the history of Kashmir would have been entirely different. People on the streets of Kashmir are asking as to why the original solution proposed by United Nations Security Council ratified by international community cannot be implemented today and the only impediment visible, they say, is deployment and presence of armies, turning Kashmir into a concentration camp.

There are still UN representatives stationed in Kashmir on both sides of the ‘ceasefire line’ to report back the skirmishes and exchange of fire between two armies which is again the main cause of concern for the international community.

India and Pakistan, it is believed, changed the population ratio of areas held by allowing non-Kashmiris to take residence which in all respects is illegal. An average Kashmiri asks a question that If India or Pakistan does something in flagrant violation of international law why should, the rightful owners, people of Kashmir be punished?

The UN Secretary General stated at a press conference in Islamabad in March 2001 that “the two parties discussing these issues and finding a peaceful way out, is the route I recommend”. The maintenance of status quo cannot be a practical and viable solution, so one would ask, what could the peaceful way be out. The fact remains that people of Kashmir have to be included in any process to find a solution and the deliberate attempt to ignore participation of Kashmiri people is creating problems which is worrisome for the whole international community. In this respect Howard Schaffer deputy director of the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University has just completed a book on the U.S. role in Kashmir and writes on Wednesday, September 3, 2008 in The Washington Times:

“Kashmir is again becoming very dangerous. Stabilizing Afghanistan, avoiding a potential nuclear face-off between Pakistan and India, and steadying the fragile democratic government in Pakistan are critical U.S. interests today, far more than in previous decades. They are all at risk if Kashmir sparks a new India-Pakistan crisis. The United States can ignore Kashmir only at its own peril.”

India indulges in hypes like ‘bilateral dialogue in accordance with Simla Accord’ and uses this as one of the tool to mislead international community. As and when pressure on India mounts to settle Kashmir issue, it looks for delaying tactics and pretexts to gain time and once the pressure eases the situation goes back to square one. The known official stand of United Kingdom for Kashmir imbroglio is that dialogue between India and Pakistan must keep in view the wishes of the Kashmiri people, and both nations among various world powers have always offered help to mediate but India is the one who has a problem with the idea and again to ward off pressure starts talking about a fresh dialogue with Pakistan.

India right from August 9, 1953 when Sheikh Abdullah’s Government was toppled, puppet regimes one after the other were installed to run the local Government because India claiming to be a ‘democratic’ country could not on the face of it put army in charge to run local administration and run the risk of international community raising eye-brows. And this would and did allow them to demonstrate to the world that Kashmir has democratically elected Government in place. But the international community never accepted this to be an alternative to the promised plebiscite of right of self determination. The elections held were always manipulated, fraudulent and never accepted as legitimate either by people of Kashmir or the International community. Pakistan in a similar fashion installed chosen regimes in Kashmir held by it to rule with comfort and no opposition to such an arrangement would be tolerated.

INDIA PAKISTAN DISCUSSIONS

Again to ward off new pressures, mostly due to uprising or armed resistance by people of Kashmir, the offer of dialogue with Pakistan is renewed and again delaying tactics with one pretext or the other are applied to ease the pressure and once a temporary calm prevails, “Kashmir being an integral part” song is replayed”. In order to maintain peace and harmony, India and Pakistan must sit across the table involving the legitimate representatives of Jammu and Kashmir to find an amicable solution acceptable to all the parties especially the main party that is the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

SIMLA ACCORD

How can India expect to achieve peace and friendly ties with Pakistan when it hesitates including the real party Kashmiris in negotiations? The only and real issue that can create a friendly and conducive atmosphere between two hostile nuclear nations, with a track record of wars and animosity, is to remove their armies from Kashmir’s soil and that could be a positive start. More than one hundred thousand men, women and children killed, thousands disappeared, thousands of women raped and molested, millions worth properties turned into a mound of rubble should be enough for the parties involved to open their eyes to the ground reality and allow a better future for the entire people of the sub-continent. ‘Simla Accord’, culmination of an agreement between a victor and vanquished, and a marriage by force, cannot form the basis for settling Jammu & Kashmir issue.

AGRA SUMMIT

Parvez Musharraf, the Pakistan President, paid a goodwill visit to India, tried his best to create an atmosphere for some sort of settlement of Kashmir issue. An optimism through Musharraf’s efforts raised high hopes and all quarters expected a solution in the near future. This was demonstrated by willing Musharraf in SAARC meet in Nepal and Musharraf skillfully scored a diplomatic point over A B Vajpayee, Indian Prime Minister, when the former walked up to latter’s seat and shook hands, an action the Indian Prime Minister did not expect.

TERRORISM RHETORIC

A number of International intelligence agencies are working in Kashmir to fulfill their individual political agenda and Indian RAW (Research And Analysis Wing)or ISI (Inter Services Intelligence) of Pakistan are notable. Counter insurgency groups organized by the state to defile uprising became necessary and these groups indulged in killing, looting and raping women on mass scale and the groups got protection and sophisticated arms to deal with freedom fighters of Kashmir. It is on record that Queen of England’s last visit to Calcutta, India accompanied by then Foreign Secretary Robin Cook turned into a fiasco when both were humiliated by an ordinary police man at the time when HM Queen was boarding the flight. At the same time the then Indian Prime Minister, I K Gujral on a State visit to Durban, South Africa issued a statement that “Britain was a third rate power” as the statement of Robin Cook that “Pakistan and India must solve Kashmir keeping in view the wishes of the people of Kashmir” did not go very well with Indians as Robin Cook’s statement touched India’s sensitive nerve.

9/11 provided a god sent opportunity for India to taint uprising in Kashmir as terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism. Kashmir being predominantly Muslim, people used their Islamic belief and faith to create unison and togetherness to protest Indian occupation of their land. Initially, India did reap a harvest but with the passage of time International community understood the game plan and the misconception created between terrorism and legitimate freedom struggle was removed, as the armed struggle is accepted as just and legal internationally.

KASHMIR NEITHER AN INTERNAL MATTER NOR AN INTEGRAL PART OF INDIA

Kashmir is neither an internal matter nor an integral part of India or Pakistan. India and Pakistan occupied it forcibly and illegally and someone has to be responsible for deaths of more than one hundred thousand men, women and children, burning and looting of property worth millions, forest denudation, wiping out entire wild life of Kashmir and lastly turning rest of the population into psychological wrecks. The language used to stress the stand “INTEGRAL PART” smacks of dictation, brow-beating, and ignoring international commitments and above all turning a blind eye to the demands of the owners of the State of Jammu & Kashmir.

TABLES WILL TURN

V P Menon, British Indian bureaucrat, who managed to be a darling of powers that be of British India and the leaders of independent India with whom he was bound by natural native and religious links, found it hard to comprehend the easy exit of British from India and he goes on to add: “It was in August 1947 that the British handed over power and left the country. The manner both of their coming and of their going was unique. They came to trade, but stayed to rule. They left of their own free will; there was no war, there was no treaty – an act with no parallel in history.”

The world-war second had put a huge financial burden on the British Government and it became difficult to continue the rule over the sub-continent. Prime Minister Attlee was in a desperate hurry to make a quick but smooth exit and he was convinced the job can be handled only by experienced Lord Mountbatten. Prime Minister Atlee wanted to leave India as quickly as possible and it were the circumstances like worsening economic situation of United Kingdom rather than anything else that gave India its freedom. Kashmir has a better case to plead and fight as it has already lost more than one hundred thousand people just in the last twenty years. The international community will have to take notice of two million Kashmiris on Srinagar roads, August 23, 2008, chanting slogans ”'”Baan Ki Moon, where are you?””’ and handing over tons of material, to United Nations Office at Gupkar road, Srinagar, Kashmir, reminding UNO of various UN resolutions on Kashmir and listing of human rights violations which is unprecedented in the annals of world history. The writing is on the wall that India and Pakistan need to take very seriously and then who would have thought ‘erstwhile mighty Soviet Union’ to break into pieces and that too fighting US led Mujahedeen of Afghanistan.

UK House of Commons
http://www.parliament.uk/commons/lib/research/rp2004/rp04-028.pdf

It is worth visiting ‘HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH’ site to learn about various reports about human right violations, extra-judicial killings, torture, disappearances, the destruction of property on a huge scale and the perpetrators are none other than the occupiers of the nation of these hapless people.

Kashmir Human Rights Watch
Please visit:
http://www.hrw.org/legacy/reports/1999/kashmir/abuses.htm

United Nations talk about the issue, please visit:
United Nations Observers Group in Kashmir
http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/missions/unmogip/

Alan Campbell-Johnson has worked out a solution:
The offered solution can form the basis: [
http://www.rediff.com/freedom/13allan2.htm

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