According to the Indian Independence Act, the rulers of princely states were given the choice to freely accede to either India or Pakistan, or to remain independent.Lord Mountbatten while speaking...
According to the Indian Independence Act, the rulers of princely states were given the choice to freely accede to either India or Pakistan, or to remain independent.
Lord Mountbatten while speaking to the Chamber of Princes on June 25, 1947 said “The Indian Independence Act releases the States from all their obligations to the Crown. The states will have complete freedom - technically and legally they become independent. They are free to join any of the dominion but while doing so must keep in mind the geographical proximity and the demographic features of the population"
India used the argument of geographical proximity and demographic realities to annex Junagadh and Hyderabad despite the fact that the rulers of those states wanted to join Pakistan. But in the case of Kashmir it reversed the argument. India landed its troops in Srinagar on October 27, 1947 on the basis of an instrument of accession the Indians claim was signed by the ruler of Kashmir. There was a revolt against the decision of the Maharaja and Lord Mountbatten while accepting the instrument of accession made it clear that the acceptance of accession was provisional and after the situation in Kashmir normalized, the question of accession would be settled through reference to the people.
The people of Kashmir resented the landing of Indian troops in Srinagar. That is why Kashmiris on both sides of the LOC and the Kashmiri diaspora throughout the world observe October 27 as a ‘Black Day’ every year.
The UN during the course of its deliberations on the subject has passed 23 resolutions, including two UNICEP resolutions calling for a plebiscite in Kashmir under the auspices of the UN, as was also promised by Lord Mountbatten. Nehru accepted the UN resolutions and in his correspondence with his Pakistani counterpart as well as in his statements in the Indian parliament repeatedly pledged to fulfill Indian obligations in that regard. Regrettably, India reneged on its pledges and through the constituent assembly of the occupied Kashmir made a declaration of accession of the state to India.
It is pertinent to mention that the UN through its resolutions 91 and 122 also repudiated the Indian stance that the issue of accession of Kashmir had been resolved by the constituent assembly of IOK. These resolutions reiterated that the question of accession could not be resolved by any means other than those enunciated in the UN resolutions on the subject. This proves beyond any doubt that the Indian claims of Kashmir being an integral part of India lacks any legal basis.
This claim has also been effectively negated by the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir in a landmark judgment on the attempts by the Modi government to have Article 370 of the Indian constitution repealed. The judgment said: “Article 370 of the Indian constitution is a permanent provision and cannot be abrogated, repealed or even amended. Jammu and Kashmir retained limited sovereignty and did not merge with the dominion of India after partition in 1947”. The Indian Supreme Court also gave a similar verdict on the subject.
The Indian intransigence to fulfill its obligations in conformity with UN resolutions led to two more wars between India and Pakistan and eventually to the launching of an armed struggle by the people of Kashmir in 1989 to win their freedom. Since then India has been using its military might ruthlessly to suppress the freedom struggle. According to reports compiled by human rights organizations within India and those working on a global level, Indian troops have brutally killed more than 100,000 people and raped 11,060 women since then.
In the wake of a new wave of uprising in the backdrop of the killing of Burhan Wani in July 2016, Indian security forces have killed 755 Kashmiris, raped 903 women, maimed and injured thousands of them, and destroyed 3002 structures and buildings.
The scrapping of articles 370 and 35-A of the Indian constitution by the Modi regime and bifurcation of Indian Occupied Kashmir into two territories has further aggravated the situation. Fearing backlash against the decision, India had increased the number of its security forces before making its move. Since August 5, 2019 the entire population of Kashmir is under siege. The Indian forces continue extrajudicial killings with impunity and reportedly they have killed more than 270 Kashmiris during search and cordon operations.
The illegal and unilateral action taken by the Modi regime in IOK poses a grave threat to peace and security in the region. Pakistan has been warning the UN and the international community of the permeating situation and the likely consequences of the RSS ideology of Hindutva.
Regrettably, the international community and the UN – notwithstanding the fact that they have not accepted the Indian narrative on Kashmir being its internal matter – do not seem inclined to force India to resolve the Kashmir issue. The people of Kashmir are not going to accept the Indian occupation as is evident from their continued struggle and the determination to take their freedom movement to its logical end. Similarly, Pakistan being a party to the dispute cannot remain oblivious to what is happening in the valley.
Resolution of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the wishes of the people of Kashmir as enshrined in the UN resolutions is absolutely imperative for both Pakistan and India. Kashmir is acknowledged as a nuclear flashpoint. Any clash between the two nuclear powers could have disastrous consequences for both countries as well as the region. India therefore, must not as a war-like state and take lessons from history.
The UN as a peace-making body must show sensitivity to the continued plight of the people of Kashmir and insists on its resolutions being implemented.
The writer is a freelance contributor. Email: ashpak10gmail.com