THE State of Kashmir, located between north-western India and north-eastern Pakistan, is a Muslim majority area of the Indian subcontinent. Before 1947, the region comprising Pakistan, India, and Kashmir was known as British India. It was a colony of the British Empire consisting of hundreds of small princely states controlled by local rulers known as maharajahs.
When the British left the region in 1947, it was up to the individual states to determine which of the two newly independent countries they wished to join. Those countries with Muslim majorities opted to become part of Pakistan, while those with Hindu majorities chose to become part of the new India.
Kashmir, a Muslim-majority area, decided to align with Pakistan, but it’s Hindu ruler, Raja Hari Singh had his inclination towards India. Kashmir, termed as the jugular vein of Pakistan by the founder of Pakistan Quaid-i-Azam, remains an inevitable to-be-resolved issue to normalize bilateral relations between India and Pakistan.
India’s approach towards Kashmir has become burdensome because it has become a testing ground for new ideas governing the state of affairs projected by the fascist Bhartia Janta Party (BJP). This unique symmetry is based on their philosophy of ‘Hindutva’ or ‘Hinduness’ – a rogue, extremist ideology seeking to establish the hegemony of Hindus and the Hindu way of life in the region. Kashmir has its ethos built on the Islamic faith of a unique strand of tolerance. It would be a great tragedy if this unique inheritance were submerged in BJP’s resolve to impose its violent vision of India.
The ongoing agitation in Indian-held Kashmir is rooted in the struggle of the people for the exercise of the right to self-determination. Peaceful processions chanting demands for freedom were fired upon by the Indian Army and police. Thousands of men, women, and children have been killed or wounded. Allegation of assistance to the Kashmiri people from the Pakistan side is unfounded. Objective reports in foreign media testify that the Kashmiri agitation is indigenous. Pakistan upholds the right of the people of Jammu and Kashmir to self-determination in accordance with the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council. These resolutions of 1948 and 1949 provide for the holding of a free and impartial plebiscite for the determination of the future of the state by the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The basic points of the UN resolutions are that:
The complaint relating to Kashmir was initiated by India in the Security Council;
The Council explicitly rejected India’s claim that Kashmir is legally Indian territory;
The resolutions established self-determination as the governing principle for the settlement of the Kashmir dispute. This is the world body’s commitment to the people of Kashmir;
The resolutions endorsed a binding agreement between India and Pakistan reached through the mediation of the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP), that a plebiscite would be held, under agreed and specified conditions.
The Security Council has rejected the Indian contention that the people of Kashmir have exercised their right to self-determination by participating in the “election” which India has from time to time organized in the Held Kashmir. The 0.2% turn out during the 1989 “elections” was the most recent clear repudiation of the Indian claim. Pakistan continues to adhere to the UNCIP laid down formulae for holding of the plebiscite.
Indian Government, to maintain public-popularity or perhaps to justify its massive military budget, has recently embarked on the trajectory of misadventures towards Pakistan. But all the feeble and fancy maneuvers have been appropriately and vehemently reciprocated earning the Indian Government huge embarrassment, domestically and the internationally-Abhinandan episode was the latest in line.
In August 2019, India revoked Articles 370 and 35-A from its constitution– which granted Jammu and Kashmir significant autonomy from the rest of the country along with numerically inflating its military presence in Kashmir.
A simple question from a saner mind would ask as to what is India attempting to achieve? Engage in a war with Pakistan? That, for sure, is not possible. Be more brutal to the Kashmiri Muslims? That is already a norm after years-long practice. Therefore in the ultimate analysis, India’s weak, muscular move is nothing more than a power show designed as a divert-strategy to reassert itself in the international arena.
[The writer is a Press Counsellor based