By Sajjad Amin Bangash
Kashmir, archaically spelt Cashmere, is the northwestern region of South Asia. Until the mid-19th century, the term Kashmir geographically denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range. Today, it denotes a larger area that includes the Indian-administered state of Jammu and Kashmir (which consists of Jammu, the Kashmir Valley, and Ladakh), the Pakistan-administered autonomous territories of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit–Baltistan, and the Chinese-administered regions of Aksai Chin and the Trans-Karakoram Tract.
Kashmir, officially referred to as Jammu and Kashmir, is an 86,000-square-mile region (about the size of Idaho) in northwest India and northeast Pakistan so breathtaking in physical beauty that Mugal or Moghul emperors in the 16th and 17th century considered it an earthly paradise. The region has been violently disputed by India and Pakistan since their 1947 partition, which created Pakistan as the Muslim counterpart to Hindu-majority India.
Swami Vivekananda in Kashmir in 1898.
In the first half of the 1st millennium, the Kashmir region became an important centre of Hinduism and later of Buddhism; later still, in the ninth century, Kashmir Shaivism arose.In 1349, Shah Mir became the first Muslim ruler of Kashmir, inaugurating the Salatin-i-Kashmir or Swati dynasty.
For the next five centuries, Muslim monarchs ruled Kashmir, including the Mughals, who ruled from 1526 until 1751, and the Afghan Durrani Empire, which ruled from 1747 until 1820.That year, the Sikhs, under Ranjit Singh, annexed Kashmir. In 1846, after the Sikh defeat in the First Anglo-Sikh War, and upon the purchase of the region from the British under the Treaty of Amritsar, the Raja of Jammu, Gulab Singh, became the new ruler of Kashmir. The rule of his descendants, under the paramountcy (or tutelage) of the British Crown, lasted until 1947, when the former princely state of British India became a disputed territory, now administered by three countries: India, Pakistan, and the People’s Republic of China.
History of Kashmir.
After centuries of Hindu and Buddhist rule, Muslim Moghul emperors took control of Kashmir in the 15th century, converted to population to Islam and incorporated it into the Moghul empire. Islamic Moghul rule should not be confused with modern forms of authoritarian Islamic regimes. The Moghul empire, characterized by the likes of Akbar the Great (1542-1605) embodied Enlightenment ideals of tolerance and pluralism a century before the rise of the European Enlightenment. (Moghuls left their mark on the subsequent Sufi-inspired form of Islam that dominated the subcontinent in India and Pakistan.
Afghan invaders followed the Moghuls in the 18th century, who were themselves driven out by Sikhs from Punjab. Britain invaded in the 19th century and sold the entire Kashmir Valley for half a million rupees (or three rupees per Kashmiri) to the brutal repressive ruler of Jammu, the Hindu Gulab Singh. It was under Singh that the Kashmir Valley became part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
OCCUPATION OF KASHMIR STATE:
The STATE OF KASHMIR on October 25, 1947 existed as an independent sovereign nation. India occupied it through manipulations and intrigues involving Maharaja Patiala initially and then slowly roping in Maharaja Hari Singh of Kashmir and Sheikh Abdullah, a popular leader of Kashmir. Both were hoodwinked with false promises and dream of secular India that proved to be a mirage. Hari Singh wanted Kashmir to remain independent. The growing Indian clandestine political activity sent alarm bells to the newly created independent nation of Pakistan.Very little could be done by Pakistan´s shocked Governor-General M A Jinnah whose army Chief General Douglas Gracy preferred to act on the orders received from Governor General of India Lord Mountbatten. An act in desperation by a Kashmiri Major Khurshid Anwar to stop India´s occupation plan lacked initial support from Pakistan army which, if provided, would have put Kashmir in Pakistan’s lap lock, stock and barrel.
Maharaja Hari Singh succeeded his uncle Maharaja Pratap Singh, and ascended the throne on October 14, 1925. He maneuvered to maintain his independence by playing India and Pakistan by signing stand still agreements with both the countries. Firmly in control after occupation, using Hari Singh to the hilt internationally, India terminated and dispensed with Hari Singh’s rule in 1951, externed him to Bombay for rest of his life to die their on April 26, 1961.
Thus India put all its eggs in one basket; exiled Maharaja to rot in Bombay and expended Abdullah in different jails of India to die a political death. The purport accession based by India on the loyalties extended by Maharaja and Abdullah smashed to smithereens exposed India’s blatant lies. India, due to frustration, is now toying with the idea of creating regionalism, communalism and division among people, hoping to complicate the issue further.
An historical speech made by Jawaharlal Nehru, an offer and a solemn pledge that India is coming in to help having no intention of staying back and will leave instead, after the invasion of tribal warriors from NWFP is dealt with. “man tu shudam, tu man shudi” did not seem to work for Sheikh as perhaps Nehru did not understand the language and chose to ignore it. Nehru’s cleverness paid huge dividends by associating himself with ‘secular’ upcoming leader of Kashmiris than with Maharaja Hari Singh whose days ,he thought were numbered and who had opposed Nehru right from the start, advocating an independent Kashmir.
The 1947 India-Pakistan Partition and Kashmir
India and Pakistan were partitioned in 1947. Kashmir was split as well, with two-thirds going to India and a third going to Pakistan, even though India’s share was predominantly Muslim, like Pakistan. Muslims rebelled. India repressed them. War broke out. It wasn’t settled until a 1949 cease-fire brokered by the United Nations and a resolution calling for a referendum, or plebiscite, allowing Kashmiris to decide their future for themselves. India has never implemented the resolution.
Instead, India has maintained what amounts to an occupying army in Kashmir, cultivating more resentment from the locals than fertile agricultural products. Modern India’s founders, Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi, both had Kashmiri roots, which partially explains India’s attachment to the region. To India, “Kashmir for the Kashmiris” means nothing. Indian leaders’ standard line is that Kashmir is “an integral part” of India.
In 1965, India and Pakistan fought their second of three major wars since 1947 over Kashmir. The United States was largely to blame for setting the stage for war.
The cease-fire three weeks later was not substantial beyond a demand that both sides put down their arms and a pledge to send international observers to Kashmir. Pakistan renewed its call for a referendum by Kashmir’s mostly Muslim population of 5 million to decide the region’s future, in accordance with a 1949 UN resolution. India continued to resist conducting such a plebiscite.
The 1965 war, in sum, settled nothing and merely put off future conflicts.
“People seem to forget that Kashmir is not a commodity for sale or to be bartered. It has an individual existence and its people must be the final arbiters of their future.” Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru July 6, 1951
When, after the transfer of power, the Maharaja of Kashmir refrained from accession to either Dominion, his progress towards a viable independence was closely watched (and possibly encouraged) by these same Sikh rulers.
When he began to experience increasing difficulty in resisting the Azad Kashmir movement among his subjects, the Maharaja of Patiala lent him units of his own State Army. The evidence is strong that these Patiala troops entered the State of Kashmir some days before the combined Azad Kashmiri-Pathan operation along the Jhelum Valley of 21-22 October 1947 which marks the formal beginning of the great Kashmir crises. [Alastair Lamb ‘Incomplete Partition’ p.91]
Over one million trigger happy armed men in uniform, who do not understand the language, culture, religion, ethos and behavior, pounce on local population with vengeance and a mindset to eliminate the populace to occupy this rich paradise belonging to the poor inhabitants. It is amazing to find the “GOOD PEOPLE” of the world turning a blind eye to these atrocities committed with impunity.
UN can see what happens in Syria but when it comes to Kashmir they look the other way and one wonders why?
Indian army on rampage, killing fields, genocide and the world wakes up.
PEOPLE ASK – BAAN KI MOON WHERE ARE YOU?
President elect Barrack Obama (October, 2008) calling Kashmir ´an interesting situation´ said he was ready to explore US’s role to devote serious diplomatic resources to get a special envoy in Indian sub-continent to figure out a plausible approach”. (Reported Daily Times)
The former US President, Bill Clinton could be chosen as a special envoy on Kashmir issue. He further stated that “Clinton had had an experience dealing with such problems. To substantiate his claim President Obama said that Clinton had played a role in ending the ´Kargil crises´ in Kashmir in 1999.
President Obama, as reported, remained optimistic about changing the regional dynamic, recognizing that Kashmir was ´obviously a potential tar pit´ for American diplomacy.
Kashmiris overwhelmingly felt encouraged by the optimism displayed by President Obama during his last phase of poll campaign, that if he won the election he would like to mediate between India and Pakistan to try to resolve the Kashmir issue.
“The longstanding US position on Kashmir is that the whole of the former princely state is disputed territory. The whole issue must be resolved through negotiations between India and Pakistan, taking into account the wishes of the Kashmiri people,”
[US Congressional Research Service (CRS)]
Trifurcation of the State:
Following decades old Dixon Plan, some believe, can provide a lasting peace and a final solution to the vexed problem of Kashmir. India managed to do a huge damage to the very fabric of communal harmony and succeeded in dividing people sowing the seeds of regionalism. Kashmir has a long history of toleration, togetherness and hospitality irrespective of cast, color or creed. Due to a different color, language, features and culture; India found it difficult to change the demographic character of the valley and that is the reason India finally, in frustration, resorted to use of brute force to subjugate the people by hook or by crook. In the last twenty two years more than one hundred thousand people have been killed mercilessly, hundreds of women raped, thousands disappeared perished in Indian torture chambers and millions worth of property razed out of vengeance.
“A grant of plebiscite to the people of Kashmir Valley is the obvious solution. If, as a third alternative Kashmir becomes an Independent Democratic and Secular State, its territorial integrity should be guaranteed by India, Pakistan and the UN. That would end the hostility between India and Pakistan and Kashmir will acquire Status of the Switzerland of Asia. A Humanist cannot wish for anything better”. (Justice Tarkunde, February 19, 1990)
Over one hundred thousand men, women and children killed in the last twenty two years. An independent Kashmir can be a bridge and instrumental between two hostile nuclear nations. Censorship imposed in “Indian democracy” conveniently and with suitability worsens the situations. Indian army makes sure to confine populace behind doors as millions on the roads create an embarrassing situation and international community is inclined to ask few questions.
Human rights abuses in Indian Administered Jammu and Kashmir
Claims of human rights abuses have been made against the Indian Armed Forces and armed insurgents operating in Jammu and Kashmir. Since 1989, over 50,000 (by some reports nearly 100,000) Kashmiris are claimed to have died during the conflict. Some human rights organisations have alleged that Indian Security forces have killed hundreds of Kashmiris through the indiscriminate use of force and torture, firing on demonstrations, custodial killings, encounters and detention. The government of India denied that torture was widespread and stated that some custodial crimes may have taken place but that “these are few and far between”. According to one human rights report in Kashmir there have been more than three hundred cases of “disappearances” since 1990.
State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has found 2,730 bodies buried into unmarked graves scattered all over Kashmir believed to contain the remains of victims of unlawful killings and enforced disappearances by Indian security forces. SHRC stated that about 574 of these bodies have already been identified as those of disappeared locals. SHRC also accused Indian army of forced labour.
According to cables leaked by the WikiLeaks website, US diplomats in 2005 were informed by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) about the use of torture and sexual humiliation against hundreds of Kashmiri detainees by the security forces. The cable said Indian security forces relied on torture for confessions and that the human right abuses are believed to be condoned by the Indian government. In 2012, the Jammu and Kashmir State government stripped its State Information Commission (SIC) department of most powers after the commission asked the government to disclose information about the unmarked graves. This state action was reportedly denounced by the former National Chief Information Commissioner. A state government inquiry into the 22 October 1993 Bijbehara killings, in which the Indian military fired on a procession and killed 40 people and injured 150, found out that the firing by the forces was ‘unprovoked’ and the claim of the military that it was in retaliation was ‘concocted and baseless’. However, the accused are still to be punished.
According to a report by Human Rights Watch
“Indian security forces have assaulted civilians during search operations, tortured and summarily executed detainees in custody and murdered civilians in reprisal attacks. Rape most often occurs during crackdowns, cordon-and-search operations during which men are held for identification in parks or schoolyard while security forces search their homes. In these situations, the security forces frequently engage in collective punishment against the civilian population, most frequently by beating or otherwise assaulting residents, and burning their homes. Rape is used as a means of targeting women whom the security forces accuse of being militant sympathizers; in raping them, the security forces are attempting to punish and humiliate the entire community.”
The allegation of mass rape incidents as well as forced disappearances are reflected in a Kashmiri short documentary film by an Independent Kashmiri film-maker, the Ocean of Tears produced by a non-governmental non-profit organisation called the Public Service Broadcasting Trust of India and approved by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (India). The film also depicts mass rape incidents in Kunan Poshpora and Shopian as facts and alleging that Indian Security Forces were responsible. A report from the Indian Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) claimed that the seven people killed in 2000 by the Indian military, were innocent civilians.The Indian Army has decided to try the accused in the General Court Martial.
Custodial killings: 7,023
Figures: January 1989 to June 30, 2014
It’s also been 24583 days since KASHMIR was occupied!Kashmir is faced with military occupation for the last sixty six years facing unprecedented human-right violations and atrocities.
And if you factor in other mechanisms of subjugation, for instance, turning people into willing or unwilling accomplices and collaborators, you have a well-oiled, thriving security or police state in which moral and legal insanity becomes the norm.
In the 1990, the Indian state put in place a system of brutalization to crush the armed revolt in Kashmir. As a prerequisite to that horrific state of affairs marked by thousands of nameless burials, littered corpses, street massacres and notorious torture chambers (Papa II in Kashmir was Abu Ghraib before Abu Ghraib became Abu Ghraib), a suspension of moral and legal order is necessary. That is how the case for dark emergency laws, reminiscent of the worst dictatorial regimes of the last century, becomes acceptable to the agency imposing it. Again, in the case of this state, these bulwarks of tyranny not only become acceptable but, as a general of the Indian army would have us believe, also tenets from a ‘holy book’.
Like the Arab-Israeli conflict, the conflict over cashmir remains unresolved. And like the Arab-Israeli conflict, it is the source, and perhaps the key, to peace in regions far greater than the territory in dispute.
Resolution of the Commission of January 5, 1949
The United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan, Having received from the Governments of India and Pakistan, in communications dated 23 December and 25 December 1948, respectively, their acceptance of the following principles which are supplementary to the Commission’s Resolution of 13 August 1948:
1. The question of the accession of the State of Jammu and Kashmir to India or Pakistan will be decided through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite;
2. A plebiscite will be held when it shall be found by the Commission that the cease-fire and truce arrangements set forth in Parts I and II of the Commission’s resolution of 13 August 1948 have been carried out and arrangements for the plebiscite have been completed;
3. (a) The Secretary-General of the United Nations will, in agreement with the Commission, nominate a Plebiscite Administrator who shall be a personality of high international standing and commanding general confidence. He will be formally appointed to office by the Government of Jammu and Kashmir.
b) The Plebiscite Administrator shall derive from the State of Jammu and Kashmir the powers he considers necessary for organizing and conducting the plebiscite and for ensuring the freedom and impartiality of the plebiscite.
(c) The Plebiscite Administrator shall have authority to appoint such staff of assistants and observes as he may require.
4. (a) After implementation of Parts I and II of the Commission’s resolution of 13 August 1948, and when the Commission is satisfied that peaceful conditions have been restored in the State, the Commission and the Plebiscite Administrator will determine, in consultation with the Government of India, the final disposal of Indian and State armed forces, such disposal to be with due regard to the security of the State and the freedom of the plebiscite.
(b) As regards the territory referred to in A.2 of Part II of the resolution of 13 August, final disposal of the armed forces in that territory will be determined by the Commission and the Plebiscite Administrator in consultation with the local authorities.
5. All civil and military authorities within the State and the principal political elements of the State will be required to co-operate with the Plebiscite Administrator in the preparation for the holding of the plebiscite.
6. (a) All citizens of the State who have left it on account of the disturbances will be invited and be free to return and to exercise all their rights as such citizens. For the purpose of facilitating repatriation there shall be appointed two Commissions, one composed of nominees of India and the other of nominees of Pakistan. The Commission shall operate under the direction of the Plebiscite Administrator. The Governments of India and Pakistan and all authorities within the State of Jammu and Kashmir will collaborate with the Plebiscite Administrator in putting this provision into effect.
(b) All person (other than citizens of the State) who on or since 15 August 1947 have entered it for other than lawful purpose, shall be required to leave the State.
7. All authorities within the State of Jammu and Kashmir will undertake to ensure, in collaboration with the Plebiscite Administrator, that:
(a) There is no threat, coercion or intimidation, bribery or other undue influence on the voters in the plebiscite;
(b) No restrictions are placed on legitimate political activity throughout the State. All subjects of the State, regardless of creed, caste or party, shall be safe and free in expressing their views and in voting on the question of the accession of the State to India or Pakistan. There shall be freedom of the press, speech and assembly and freedom of travel in the State, including freedom of lawful entry and exit;
(c) All political prisoners are released;
(d) Minorities in all parts of the State are accorded adequate protection; and
(e) There is no victimization.
8. The Plebiscite Administrator may refer to the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan problems on which he may require assistance, and the Commission may in its discretion call upon the Plebiscite Administrator to carry out on its behalf any of the responsibilities with which it has been entrusted;
9. At the conclusion of the plebiscite, the Plebiscite Administrator shall report the result thereof to the Commission and to the Government of Jammu and Kashmir. The Commission shall then certify to the Security Council whether the plebiscite has or has not been free and impartial;
10. Upon the signature of the truce agreement the details of the foregoing proposals will be elaborated in the consultations envisaged in Part III of the Commission’s resolution of 13 August 1948. The Plebiscite Administrator will be fully associated in these consultations;
Commends the Governments of India and Pakistan for their prompt action in ordering a cease-fire to take effect from one minute before midnight of 1 January 1949, pursuant to the agreement arrived at as provided for by the Commission’s Resolution of 13 August 1948; and
Resolves to return in the immediate future to the Sub-continent to discharge the responsibilities imposed upon it by the Resolution of 13 August 1948 and by the foregoing principles.
The people of Kashmir right of self determination and fighting for an independent state and their wishes are being tortured and suppressed. They are calling the international community for their ultimate rights to be given to them. People of Scotland, Kashmir, Palestine, Catalonia etc deserve our attention and immediate resolution as ” Independence is the ultimate right of every human.”