Friday, March 17, 2023

Indian Occupied Kashmir – An in-depth study to understand the Kashmir Conflict


Indian Occupied Kashmir | The historical background

Since 1947, Pakistan and India have been locked into the Kashmir conflict over territorial dispute. Under the Indian independence act, by the terms agreed between Pakistan and India; the rulers of the princely states were given the right to opt either Pakistan or India. Hari Singh, the Maharaja of Kashmir delayed his decision of accession in order to remain independent state, which led to internal revolt of Muslim majority populations. Ultimately an instrument of accession was signed, of putting Jammu and Kashmir under Indian control which permitted India to send forces to attack Pakistani forces and ignite war.

The war continued for one year until in 1948 and then India requested the involvement of United Nations (UN) Security Council. A resolution was passed to impose immediate ceasefire and withdrawal of Pakistan’s military forces. However, India continued to retain presence of its forces. The Disposition of Jammu and Kashmir was to be decided according to the will of people through a democratic method called ‘plebiscite’. The Plebiscite was never conducted, and both countries are still claiming their equitable claim over Kashmir.

Both Pakistan and India present opposing views with respect to Kashmir’s accession to India. Pakistan lays the claim that according to the two-nation theory, Kashmir should have remained part of Pakistan. Pakistan rejects the Maharaja’s decision of accession to Kashmir, believing it to be under duress. Whereas India claims that they have the legitimate control of Kashmir as signed by Maharaja Hari Singh under the instrument of accession. India laid out accusations that Pakistan was funding military groups to destabilize the region and waging a proxy war. In 1965 and 1971, both Pakistan and India have been confronted by heavy retaliation. A ceasefire was declared followed by diplomatic intervention by the Soviet Union and United States and issuance of Tashkent declaration.

In 1965, Pakistan launched a military operation into Kashmir. At that time India controls 55% land area of the region that includes Jammu, the Kashmir Valley, most of Ladakh and Siachen glacier. Pakistan got control over 30% of the land area including Azad Kashmir. It is feared that another conflict between the two countries over Kashmir could ignite a nuclear war. Pakistan’s policy since 1947 has been to seek Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan.

How Pakistan supports Kashmir!

Pakistan has been active diplomatically but has not yet responded militarily. Prime minister Imran Khan had strongly propounded Kashmir’s cause in his address of UN General Assembly on September 27, 2019.  It is certain that Arab and Islamic world are weak and divided. The Organization of Islamic Corporation (OIC) is silent on Kashmir issue whereas, Kuwait was supportive in the UNSC and Saudi Arabia has also issued a statement of concern. So far China has declared its support for Pakistan’s concerns. Pakistan needs to propagate the legitimacy of the struggle on the basis of international law and the numerous UN resolutions.

In August 2019, Indian Government imposed curfew in Jammu and Kashmir, stopped all services of all media channels, internet and telephones. Modi government amended the Indian constitution thus allowing Jammu and Kashmir the right to elect its own state assembly. This action by Modi government was met strictly by Pakistan. Pakistan downgraded its diplomatic relations and closed trade and transport services with India. UNSC was approached by Pakistan and China to discuss India’s actions in the state. UNSC was encouraged to pressurize India on amending the status of Jammu and Kashmir. As for the future course of action on this, the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir need to realize for carrying out their peaceful struggle with unity and determination. On the other hand, Pakistan should stay active to retaliate against any Indian move across Line of Control (LOC).

Pakistani troops cannot remain quiet for long as far as what is happening in Kashmir. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) promises strengthening ties between Pakistan and China. Kashmir and CPEC are going to dependent on each other while influencing peace and development. The success of this mega project depends on how India reacts to this event. The CPEC passes through Gilgit- Baltistan which India claims as part of their territory.

Also, Pakistan does not only support Kashmir at political level but at community level as well. Media also plays a significant role in this regard. The media of Pakistan create such content for the public which helps them feel more connected to the Kashmiri brothers and sisters. It sensitizes Pakistanis regarding their ties to Kashmir and the Kashmiri people. It also highlights the violence and bloodshed happening in Kashmiri to brief about the hardships being faced by the Kashmiri people, on humanitarian grounds.

The Pakistani nation also show their support to Kashmir by observing Kashmir Solidarity Day on February 5th every year. This day is marked as gazetted holiday. This day is completely dedicated to the people of Kashmir, their decision as well as their stance. To celebrate this day, newspapers publish relevant content, television channels broadcast programs that depict solidarity with Kashmir, rallies are held in various cities of all provinces of Pakistan, Pakistani and Kashmiri flags are hoisted everywhere as well as schools arrange various activities and competitions to support the people of Kashmir.

Killings of Kashmiri people

The never-ending conflict between the rival opponents, India and Pakistan and silence over this issue being practiced by the United Nations (UN) and other international bodies have, unfortunately, resulted in thousands of killings. Innocent Kashmiris have lost their lives and loves one in the battle they never opted.

According to a study, Kashmiri people have borne a number of human rights violations. From January 1989 to January 2021, during these 32 years, the total number of killings of Kashmiri people is 95,471 in which 7,163 refer to only the custodial killings. These killings resulted in 22,924 women to become widow. The police force deployed at Indian Occupied Kashmir arrested 161,407 natives of the area while 11,234 women have been gang-raped and molested so far. The violence in the valley destroyed 110,386 structures.

The death of Burhan Wani filled the hearts of Kashmiri freedom fighters with new passion and spirit. However, on the other hand, the violence by the Indian forces also increased blindly which resulted in 1311 killings out of which 95 were custodial. 29,157 individuals were tortured, 10, 280 individuals were injured by pellets which damaged the eyesight of 395 people. 25, 814 people were arrested while 4,366 structures were destroyed. The bloodshed made 114 women widow and 231 children orphan. 1,028 women had to undergo the trauma of being raped and molested.

Let alone in January 2021, a total of 3 Kashmiri people has been killed while all these killings were custodial killings. The killings have made 2 children orphan. A total of 16 residents of the area were tortured by the forces which suffered fatal injuries, 46 civilians have been arrested in just a period of one month, one woman was gang raped and two structures have been destroyed as result of violence in the area.

Stance of Kashmiri people based in Indian occupied Kashmir

According to a scholar Andrew Whitehead, a substantial percentage of Kashmiri people believe that since 1586 they are being ruled by Mughals, Afghans, Sikhs, Dogras and now, the Indian government. Whitehead says that the Kashmiri people express a sense of grief as they are being ruled since years while having no authority in changing their own fate. It depicts that the people of Kashmir are already tired with the bloodshed and restrictions that have become very much a part of their routine life now. The citizens of Indian Occupied Kashmir want independence. They want plebiscite, So that they can achieve freedom and work for the betterment of their own future rather than destroying it at the hands of external politics.  Kashmiris also believe that the state elections held under the supervision of Indian authorities were unfair. It is so because fair elections would have snatched the right of governance from Indian forces looking after the matters of Kashmir. To avoid this, Indian forces ensured unfair elections to make sure their victory. It is believed that the people of Kashmir are still not able to exercise their right to self-determination.

Secondly, high voter turnout during the state elections in Kashmir cannot be linked to acceptance of Indian forces by the Kashmiri people. It is so because the voting depends on a number of other factors including developmental works, effective management by local administration as well as economy.

Keeping in view the efforts of Hurriyat leaders, it is certain that they do not encourage the presence of Indian forces in Kashmir. They also do not participate in elections that are conducted under the framework of Indian constitution. Kashmiris fighting for freedom in the valley claim that India has sent troops consisting of 6,00,000 Indian soldiers which is certainly the highest ratio of troops to civilian density in the world. The scholars based in Kashmir argue that the troops deployed by the Indian government in Kashmir inflict violence and humiliate Kashmiri people in every possible way. They violate the basic human rights of the people, create terror in the area and kills innocent people as well.

The Indian forces deployed in Kashmir are also responsible for rapes which is now being used as a cultural weapon of war against the people of the valley.

These are just the key reasons which are responsible for a never-ending divide between the Indian forces and Kashmir. Therefore, the people of Kashmir demand a separate identity which can help them enjoy their right of self-determination. However, the third world countries cannot find right of self-determination solely on the basis of national interest and ties. In fact, religious bonding also plays a huge role. From that point of view, the people of Kashmir find themselves more connected to Pakistan as both are Muslim populated areas.

Pakistan feels the pain of Kashmir and has always supported it and stood by the side of Kashmiri people at every front.

Solidarity depicted by the people of Azad Jammu and Kashmir
Indian Occupied Kashmir
Image Source

The Kashmiris based in the Azad Jammu and Kashmir also extend their maximum moral support to their brothers and sisters in the Indian occupied Kashmir in any case. In fact, this year in 2021, Kashmiris on both side of the border have portrayed solidarity against the Indian forces in Indian occupied Kashmir as well as the brutalities of Indian troops in the conflicted valley.

Kashmiri public on both sides of the border observed January 26th i.e., Indian Republic Day as ‘Black day’. They made this move to draw attention of the international community and relevant international organizations towards the brutal activities of Indian forces in the Indian occupied Kashmir.

The political personalities of Muzaffarabad also held rallies to record their protest against the killings and violence against the Kashmiri people in Indian held Kashmir.

Discussion and Conclusion

India is making all the possible efforts to possess and sustain the control of Indian held Kashmir because of a number of reasons. Controlling Kashmir will give an opportunity to Indian government to have a quick access to the energy resources and markets of Central Asia. Making Kashmir a non-conflicted part of India will also help India to improve its global image by proving to the world about its ‘secular’ approach.

Another reason behind Kashmir being a favorite to India comprises of the water resources and tourism potential of the valley.

On the other hand, if the present Indian occupied Kashmir becomes a permanent part of Pakistan then Pakistan will also enjoy a number of benefits which include access to the water resources and tourism potential exhibited by Kashmir. It will also enhance the image of Pakistan among rest of the Muslim world.

However, it is also worth noticing that what does Kashmiri people want and what expectations they have from the world. Two-third of the Kashmiri population aspire to form an independent state. Certainly, having an independent state is a right of Kashmiri people.

Therefore, there is a need to make efforts at international level to help resolve the Kashmir conflict and help them making their independent state.

So, that Kashmiri’s can also enjoy their right of self-determination just like the other majority of population residing in the world.

Image Courtesy

Read About | Kashmir Conflict | Resolving Kashmir Conflict and role of International Community

Related Articles

Latest Articles