Kashmir struggle for independence and the final solution

Posted by:  Ameer Tarin  May 13,  2023

Kashmir has always been an independent country and on October 26, 1947 when Indian forces landed at Srinagar airport, State of Kashmir had its own flag, an army and a constitution in place. India, at that time, was still coming to grips with the taste of transfer of power. The constitution drafted by Dalit leader Baba Saheb B R Ambedkar was nowhere in sight as the final draft of Indian constitution was presented to President Rajendra Prasad on November 25, 1949, little over two years after Indian occupation of Kashmir.

Kashmir, before occupation, had its own armed battalions defending its borders. These well trained but small in number and ill-equipped battalions later merged with Indian army, under a deliberate plan, were consumed fighting Indian war on the frontline on the border with China in 1962. Kashmir police force, likewise, was coalesced into the force loyal to new Indian installed administration.

The fight for independence from British has been a long drawn struggle for India and the only damage suffered notably in the whole struggle was the Jallianwala Bagh tragedy. General Reginald Dyer lost his mind and killed innocent people in indiscriminate firing. The British-Indian Government maintained the stand that its Government had no role to play in this dastardly act. Kashmir, on the contrary, has witnessed scores of Jallianwala Bagh tragedies for the last seventy six years.

Late Kuldip Nayar, a diplomat, parliamentarian and a humanist, unlike quite a few in India, was considered a ‘sympathiser’ for Kashmir cause and the leaders of the decades long resistance movement. In the Gulf News publication of March 24, 2012 Nayar offered certain suggestions for solving the vexed problem of Kashmir.

Nayar elaborated that “Kashmir continues to be a problem. Every now and then there is an incident in Kashmir to register people’s discontent and government of India seems to have no solution and does not know how to settle the problem.” He further said that “New Delhi has tackled the international opinion effectively and there is hardly any adverse notice abroad. But this does not solve the problem and at best it remains suppressed.”

Nayar hinted at India and Pakistan to transfer all subjects except defence and foreign affairs to people of Kashmir allowing two Kashmirs to plan joint development having their own air-services, trade and cultural missions abroad. Nayar’s dreamlike solution a tedious, impractical and far from reality was rejected by the people of Kashmir. Any solution offered from any quarter must, to start with, be acceptable to the people of Kashmir and the accepted solution must be backed by international guarantees.

Sheikh Abdullah, as historically known, was offered a lollipop and given to understand that his friendship with India will earn him Kashmir getting full autonomy except Defence and Foreign Affairs those India will look after. After India got complete military foothold of State of Kashmir; swindled Abdullah accusing him of corruption, sabotage and treason. A conspiracy hatched by the trio, a Mahatma, an Iron man and a Statesman led to the occupation of State of Kashmir.

The world knows that Kashmir is a volcano, at times live and dormant at other times. It is noteworthy that Kashmir is not a religious problem but a political one and requires a political solution. India and Pakistan fought wars not because of Kashmir alone but due to the long history of animosity and hatred ingrained deep down in the hearts and minds as a result of the 1947 partition of the sub-continent.

But here is a tricky-bit and exposes Nayar to reveal his real intentions. After offering the suggestion of handing out a semi-autonomous position to both Kashmirs which could any time be reversed easily as he did not touch the main issue of withdrawal of armies stationed in the State of Kashmir. Nayar also suggested that “the case pending before UN Security Council must be withdrawn.”

There is hardly any area in Kashmir that does not have a graveyard with the martyrs buried and the people feel that the souls of their dead stare at them, day in and day out, with a reminder to fulfil the unfinished dream to free the nation from persecution, humiliation and the bondage.

Nayar’s solution is flawed as it ignores the owners of Kashmir, the people, who should be at the centre stage to accept or reject a solution. The normalisation of relation between Pakistan and India wholly depends on any solution acceptable to people of Kashmir. Cosmetic economic development will not change the ground reality to fulfil the aspiration of Kashmiris as the conflict has cost the inhabitants hugely in terms of men and material.

Huge sacrifices were made not for some economic benefits but for a right which the international community and UN Security Council Resolutions have guaranteed to the people of Kashmir. Indo-Pak direct or back-door diplomacy will be a futile exercise and sheer waste of time unless both, on purpose, are buying time to delay, to fulfil their different political objectives.

Kashmir can have a just solution, they say where there is a will there is a way. A wide range of people have come out with various options to solve Kashmir conundrum providing there is sincerity of purpose and will to amend the serious wrongs done in the past.

Kashmiris, generally, believe that a huge majority of people in India and Pakistan are peace loving, believing in upholding human right values and feel the pain of people subjugated. Kashmiri leadership tried very hard to reach out to common people from north to south of India to create awareness about the real problem of Kashmir.

The top leader of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front Yasin Malik was invited by pro-Tamil Eelam Organisation of Cuddalore, in Tamil Nadu in May 2013. Malik spoke at length about the Kashmir problem and exposed Indian democracy, secularism and human rights violations. BBC in its special bulletin reported that Kashmir separatist leader was arrested and jailed for life.

The entire political leadership is whisked away and nobody knows their whereabouts. Even after wiping out Kashmir’s two generations, the leftover youth in thousands were picked up from the homes and taken to unknown destinations of different cities in India. Thousands more dead have been discovered in unidentified graves as Indian army has been given a licence to kill with impunity.

The rapes of women under the pretext of ‘searches’ goes on unabated, any piece of value found during these searches is stolen and to accord the finishing touches the properties are razed to the ground and in many cases put alight to get rid of any trace left of life and property. India tried all forms of atrocities but utterly failed to break the will of the people of Kashmir who braved all persecution with forbearance.

India needs to understand that the time has come to show some decency and respect for humanity. A solution to this long standing problem is vitally important for India’s own and the regions survival. The people at the helm in India and Pakistan will have to come to senses and find a solution to this problem or else it will be curtains for everyone on the planet earth.

An Indo-Pak referendum conducted would be a starting point to form a basis to work on options available to facilitate the future political decision. People in India and Pakistan through a referendum conducted by their respective Election Commissions should be asked to vote with an option of a yes or no.

Should Kashmir be left alone as an independent country with guaranteed joint defence, for a specific time period by India and Pakistan?

Armies from both countries should withdraw as both nuclear powers token presence of army on borders should suffice. The myth of a threat argued and perceived from China can always be toned down to include China, being the third party, to form a power block in the region (other SAARC countries included) on the pattern of European Union.

China and India are already involved in 16 billion dollar trade which is on the rise and Pakistan in the past considered a most favoured nation status for India. A majority vote of Yes from both countries will most likely be the answer and will silence the miniscule minority of both sides being an impediment in normalising the relationship between the two nuclear powers.

A solution on these lines can be a launching pad that could culminate into a lasting peace and a friendly environment to satisfy all the four (India, Pakistan, China and Kashmir) parties concerned. The normalcy will return, scars will be healed and all displaced including Kashmiri Pandits will heave a sigh of relief. The sub-continent has a very bright future and pooling the resources coupled with united economic strength will give all a reason to live a better life and more importantly allow a say in the world affairs on international level.

Most importantly, as all know, the two people of the sub-continent have been emotionally charged up for the last seventy six years mainly to maintain a firm grip on the electorate to meet the political requirements. For India and Pakistan, for maintaining peace in the region and the world at large, an independent Kashmir will be a win-win situation and there will be no often predicted defeatist syndrome to live with.

Mr Modi’s Amit Shah and Company may induct another one million, armed to teeth, army to suppress and browbeat people of Kashmir. Nothing is going to change on the ground and the struggle, for independence, will continue non-stop. The State of Kashmir will stay where it has always stood and an independent Kashmir will guarantee a peaceful political environment to one and all. This is practical, possible and worth a try.