Kashmir peace is long climb, shadows Obama trip to India

Kashmirmap520x599

There has been much in the news about Kashmir. Most of what you hear regarding Kashmir is violence, separatists and the tensions between India and Pakistan. It is a complex situation with a history of twists and turns and battles.

Kashmir is the last major question to be resolved stemming from India's British colonial past, the freedom struggle and the 1947 partition of India and Pakistan. It has been the cause of war between India and Pakistan. It's also an issue that can be settled by only the two countries: India and Pakistan.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently told reporters from Pakistan who asked the United States to "ease" or "facilitate" the issue that the U.S. cannot intervene if one of the parties (India) does not want it.

As President Barack Obama prepares to visit India in November, reports in the Indian press say the Kashmir issue is "unlikely to figure during talks" between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Obama in New Delhi. The "U.S. considers this an 'internal' matter of India," Indian sources have said.

To understand why India considers this an "internal" matter and something to be settled directly with Pakistan and not a third party facilitator lies in the history of Kashmir and the Indian subcontinent.

When British colonialists faced the first war of India's independence in 1857, they started dividing the subcontinent. First of they separated Burma (now known as Myanmar), followed by Nepal, and then Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). Then, in 1905, the British tried to divide Bengal from the rest of "British India" but the Bengalese put up a massive struggle, sacrificing thousands of lives. They won the much sought after unity, until the 1947 partition, which divided Bengal again. Along with the division of Punjab, the partition was made on a religious basis with Muslim-majority districts being part of the newly-created Muslim state of Pakistan. Punjab and Bengal were at the time of independence known as "British ruled" states.

But, there were still 650 princely states at the time of freedom where the rulers -- not the people -- were given the right to accede to India or Pakistan. (Some argue that had it been the "people's choice" Pakistani provinces like Balochistan, Frontier provinces and possibly Sindh would have opted out of Pakistan.)

Kashmir in 1947 was a princely state with Muslims, Hindus, and other religions, ruled by Hindu Kings as part of the larger Muslim-ruled Mughal Empire. At the time of independence Kashmir was ruled by the last of the maharajas, Hari Singh.

About the same time, Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah -- the leader of Kashmir's largest political party and a close friend to India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru (who was also from Kashmir) -- became the first chief minister of Kashmir. This occurred after Singh wrote a letter of accession to India addressed to the British governor Lord Mountbatten.

War erupted (one of the four wars between India and Pakistan) fueled by partition and Cold War machinations. Military troops from Pakistan and India were sent to Kashmir. A year or so later, the United Nations voted for a referendum calling for a vote by the Kashmiri people on whether to accede to Pakistan and India.

Nehru out of his unflinching faith in secularism and its roots among the Kashmiri people was confident of winning the plebiscite and wanted one to go forward, however India's federal cabinet never endorsed it. (Years later, Pakistan eventually said they would not insist on a plebiscite.)

After the war in the 1970s, in which East Pakistan won its independence and became Bangladesh, Pakistan's Prime Minister Bhutto and India's Indira Gandhi signed a pact known as the Simla agreement. Both agreed to respect a line of control and not to allow a third party intervention on Kashmir issue, neither the United Nations, nor any nation.

Now, part of Kashmir is with India, and other parts Pakistan, and still a third part is under Chinese control.

The Indian Constitution grants a special status to Jammu and Kashmir, which is the current name of the Indian state, and even an autonomous status is under negotiation between the state legislature and the central government.

Since Kashmir's first Chief Minister Sheikh Abdullah, elections have taken place for Jammu and Kashmir government. The current chief minister is Sheikh Abdullah's grandson, Omar Abdullah, who is, like his grandfather, progressive in political outlook.

Kashmiris of India elected young Abdullah in their most recent general elections ending Dec. 24, 2008. Kashmiri separatist sections called for a boycott. But few seemed to have listened, as there was a massive turn out of voters, with long queues at the 8,000 polling booths.

Kashmir has a relatively higher standard of living than most of India (and Pakistan). Indian Kashmiri women are educated in modern schools and colleges instead of in narrow, strict religious-based schools or no schooling at all. According to a recent survey only six percent of Kashmiris are below India's poverty level. English is spoken at a high rate. Students from neighboring Punjab and Himachal states go to Kashmir for college. Mobile phones and computers are in common use.

Reports say the economic and literacy status of Kashmiris under Pakistani rule are lower.

The recent violence in Indian Kashmir began when police shot a Muslim boy after a group threw rocks at them. In the ensuing protests, more than 60 people were killed. Kashmir and Jammu government came under swift criticism for the way it handled the situation, and eventually made restitution to the victims' families and freed jailed teenagers.

Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Sitaram Yechury had led some members of an all-party delegation to meet separatist leaders as well as displaced Kashmiri Pandits (Hindus), besides holding talks with other sections of the people there.

At the same time, there are Pakistan-supported criminal gangs and individuals that have focused for years on attacking India and Jammu and Kashmir through violent means. The ideology that sustains such attacks is religious extremism, which is in contradiction to the long history of Indian and Kashmiri secularism.

India's Delhi government recently appointed a three-person team of interlocutors to discuss with all parties in Kashmir (from separatists to ruling Kashmiri parties) a solution "in line with the aspirations of the Kashmiri people."

Kashmir's chief minister and members of parliament from the region warn of the danger of "independence" seekers. Reflecting the regional worries of violence in Afghanistan and Pakistan, CM Abdullah said, "You will be engulfed by Al Qaeda movement" if Jammu and Kashmir secede from the Indian Union.

MP Farooq Abdullah also warned that separatists and their supporters do not know the dire security and democratic consequences of forming a separate state. The Taliban from Pakistan and Afghanistan will be ruling Kashmir if independence is obtained, he said.

 

Teresa Albano contributed to this article.

 

 

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  • EU based reputed Think tank INSPAD warmly appreciated US President Obama remarks on Kashmir issue during his recent visit to India. If Kashmir dispute not resolve peacefully American intimacy may finish in South Asia, President Barrack Obama give first priority of world Peace and its not possible without peaceful resolution of Kashmir & Palestine disputes. United States and world community need urgent seeks to resolve Kashmir issue other wise nuclear war can not stop in the region. President Obama’s visit get boost Kashmir issue.
    In a meeting of Board of Directors EU based Think tank the Institute of Peace and Development (INSPAD) presided by Chief Executive Officer Mr. Muhammad Tahir Tabassum, Ambassador for Peace, INSPAD directors said that World powers make sure to permanent seat of India in UNSC should conditional with resolution of Kashmir otherwise huge destroy in region not stop. America appoint special envoy on Kashmir who trace durable and acceptable resolution for three parties. Kashmiri are not extremist they stopped militancy and now start peaceful movement for right to self-determination because they are asking globally recognized their birth right. President Obama change Bush policies, these negative policies creating hatred against America since day of first. American policy makers realized now that campaign against Islam and Muslims can not stop terrorism and extremism. Islam is name of peace and durable stability around the universe since 1500 years. America’s present policy aggravating global terrorism. These policies are against humanity and basic rights. Democrats defeated recent election in US House and Senate badly on their bad and hatred practices, its need to be change.
    UN, OIC and EU use strong diplomatic and political influence to stop serious violation of human rights and killing of innocent Kashmiris and Palestinians. India and Israel both had same hatred brutal policies to killing human beings. Resolution of Kashmir and Palestine essential for world peace & stability. The world community can’t allow India to hide its atrocities in Kashmir, there would be no end to the ever-increasing gross and consist violations of human rights in that unfortunate land. US and China can play key role in resolving the Kashmir and Palestine issues was to facilitate better understanding between parties. Mr. Muhammad Tahir Tabassum said US shouldn’t compromise the rights of Kashmiri and Palestinian people, It’s essential to take in confident to China. INSPAD directors Dr Lubna Ali, Dr. Farhat, Babar Gorsi, Irfan Tahir, Madam Musarat, Saliha Ansari, Masood Ahmed and Syed Munir Qadri also spoke in the meeting.

    Posted by Muhammad Tahir Tabassum, 11/11/2010 10:57pm (4 years ago)

  • Sorry but this is drivvle, You give unaware readers especially to non regional readers a perception that British India was a nation. I dismayed at your reference that Burma, Sri Lanka is some how part of India.

    Let me begin by saying there was no India as a nation prior to 1947 when it was created forced by making the many nations making up the Inian sub continent and other regions annexed byt he Briitsh and absorbed into British India.

    The map of India changed with the different European Colonisations. The most sucessful in terms of colonisation and Imperialism being The British. The Sub Continent is the land mass South of Asia to which Sri Lanka is part of but not in the sense that this was one whoilesome nation. Far from it, this was a continent with many nations, different ethnicities, diferent histories, different cultures, different languages and different religions. Even among the Dravidians (the real indigenous people of South Asian land mass ) they differed in history and cultures and beleif systems all having different subscriptions to Vedic pantheons.

    The British in blunt terms were colonisers a more sensitive way of saying occupiers. They occupied the sub continent and bit by bit nation by nation they conquered through their various proxies (largely from the vedic beleiving people - and somnathis). Each conquered region became known as British India and was aprt of the British Empire. They did not exists as a nation but many nations with their own kingdoms the smallest the size of Benelux countries and the largest in size the size of Spain and France. These became "protectorates" of The British Crown essentially part of the British Empire because they were absorbed in British India. There was a struggle with the indigenous people of The Sub Continent and the British. The conquered and colonised lands was known as The British India. Thus British India from where modern India is born with all the historic struggles was not indegenous but created from colonisation and annexing of land mass not belonging to The British and modern India who iherited British India.

    In a similar fashion The British annexed the region of Khorasan (Central Asia) a large rich resource sway of Islamic Lands. Annexed between Tsarist Russia and The British Empire. Where turkmenistan, Kazakhstran, Tajikistan, Uzbekhistan became nations under Tsarist influence as the Ottoman Empire was crumbling away. Southern and South Eastern regions inhabited by the proud, fearless an feirce Pashtun people was fighitng British Colonisation. The British could not quell the Pashtun uprising and thus divided this region of Khorasan into two halfs. One half became a buffer state between British empire and Tsarist Russia and the other divided by an artificial boundary known as Durran line was ruthlessly absorbed into British India. When we refer to British India we refer to british colonisation of a multitude of nations and regions and as such we refer in essence to The British Empire.

    Everything east of the Durrand Line was somehow lumbered with the title British India and hence the recent re writing of histories by India ascerting that this was part of India. it never was but was colonised and ruthlesly absorbed by the British. This region was a great empire and wa sknown as Mughalistan and included Kashmir and The Mughals had part of their vast empire also colonised much of The sub continent, including regions like hyderabad, Bengal at one stage the whole of Goa was largely Islamic before the Dutch came and forced conversion into Christianity. Thus everything west of the Durrand Line became a buffer zone because neither the Tsars army nor the British could subdue these brave feirce people The Pashtuns. This nation was given the name Afghanistan.

    In 1947 the muslims reclaimed their identity and heritage and named their nation Pakistan.

    Now onto Kashmir, In 1846 Kashmir was at the time colonised by The British essentialy in occupation of The British Crown. In 1846 they sold Kashmir to their patsy, their proxy a warmongering war lord. This Hindu patsy declares himself Maharaja of Kashmir forcefully. This was an illegal transaction and The British had no right to sell Kashmir. The Maharaja's rule known as The Dogra was a aprticularly violoent, brutal and repressive regime. The Dogras were not ethnic Kahsmiris and this marked the first exodus of non Kashmiri Hindus to the region. Kashmir was 95% Muslim and some 4% Bhuddist with less than 1% Sikh or Hindu. With the British leaving and creation of Pakistan iminent the Kashmiris had ros eup tot he Dogras on numerous occasions and di so again in 1947 forcing the last Dogra despot who called himself Maharaja of Kashmir was known as Hari Singh. He escaped Kashmiri backlash and called on India for help.
    India had also newly beocme independent and New delhi was calling on the multitude of nations and autonomous princely states to become part of India, it is also important to say much of the nations were forced to relinquish their powers to New Delhi. Modern India is thus referred to as Nehus India as he forced princely nations/states to relinquish their powers to New Delhi. Under partition Kashmiris were calling to be part of Pakistan and India claims the Dogra despot Hari Singh signed a Instrument of Accsension to enjoin with India. 2 points firstly the occupier Hari Singh had no right to ascede to India as this was illegal and against Kashmiri wishes. Secondly this "Instrument of Accsension" has never been provided to Pakistan, United Nations and India has said it has some how miraculously disappeared as if it ever existed.

    Under this fraud in 1948 India occupied Kashmir. Pakistan went to war with India in 1948 and 1/3 of Kashmir was liberated from where I hail from. Based on the popular azaadi movement in kashmir we called our region Azaad Kashmir (Free Kashmir).

    We share our culture, ethnicity, food, history, language and history witht he rest of Central Asia and also one has only to look at Geography to see where Kashmir belongs. Azaad Kashmir in 1948 was barren, wasteland and in a decrapid state after the ensuing barbaric Dogra Rule and previously The British and The Sikhs. On contrast the Valley of J&K Jammu and Kashmir (Indian Occupied) was flourishing, great
    academics, colleges, universities and a great vibrant culture and economy. Today Azaad Kashmir (Pakistan) is free we live free, free from daily harrasment by Hindus or Hindu Police or Hindu Army or of any police or army for that matter. Good roads, infrastructure, colleges, universities and medical colleges. Azaad Kashmiri (Pakistan) cities equate to cities in Pakistan, bustling and vibrant and a great economy no indiscriminate killings or disappearances our sisters ar enot dishnoured becase we are assimilated with the rest of pakistan where we belong. Azaad Kashmir has open access as the rest of Pakistan to outsiders or any agency seekign to monitor the development and progression of people.

    The Valley of Kashmir J&K (Occupied by India) is isolated from the rest of the world, it is denied basic human rights, economy has been crushed by the brutal ocupation. Regular indiscriminate killings and disappearances and mas rape of Kashmiri muslim women. In the 1990's the far right Hindu Government came into power The BJP and on the backdrop of India going towads being Nuclear they began flooding Kashmir with non Kashmiri Hindus to change the demographics of the region. BJP affilaites militia organisations like Hinduveta, Bajrangbal were prevalent i.e. the saffron brigade inside Kashmir. They were inflicting untold brutality on Kashmiri muslims and inciting communal violence inside Kashmir, blamed on Kashmiri sepratist and Pakistan. This led to a violent backlas against Indian security forces and all groups aligned to India inside Kashmir and for the first time a rift appeared between Kashmiris between muslims and pandits.

    Since 1947 over 1 million Kashmiri muslims have been reported massacred and many int heir thousand are still missing and presumed dead. Over 1 million Kashmiris have been dispalced across the Line of Control into Azaad Kashmiri. Thousands of reported rape and molestation of Kashmiri muslim women numbering 5 digits at the hands of Indian "hindu" Security Forces and Police. The number of rape is particular high as this is heinous crime that goes unreported often resulting in suicide cases.

    Since the far right Hindu insitgated communal violence in the 1990's 60,000 pandit have been displaced, several hundred have been reported although not verified been killed. 100,000 verified and reported Kashmiri muslims have been massacred since 1990 alone. 10,000 Kashmiri muslim have been raped and molested by Indian Security Forces and Police.

    The Kashmiris are calling for India to uphold their obligation under the united nations resolution. Where all aprties and the International community had agreed to a Just, Free and Fair Plebiscite a political referendum under a United Nations Auspice.

    Kashmiris, UN and Pakistan have called for India to uphold their pledge and remove oIndian ccupying forces from Kashmir. The region be handed to th adminstration of The United Nations and a free and fair referendum to be administered by the United Nations.

    The writer of this post is wrong and wholly inaccurate on history and description of conflict. Kashmiris seek freedom and I would like people to remember Kashmir is not an integral part of India. Kashmir is divided with India and Pakistan by a Line of Control and Kashmir is disputed territory. India has occupied the valley and Pakistan upholds respects the Line of Control.

    The Line of Control is "not" a national boundary but a International ceasefire, a status quo which can tip either way if Kashmir issue not resolved. Kashmir sandwiched by 3 Nuclear Powers 2 of which are united in their call for Kashmiri Liberation and one namely India occupies Kashmir. If the peaceful Kashmiri protest for self determiantion is left unanswered the struggle will only get more violent.

    Kashmir will have to be liberated but the question is for India "at what cost" and "what time". India must accept a peaceful resolution to Kashmir which is a nuclear flashpoint that will englulf the region and wider world.

    Posted by Salim, 10/31/2010 11:03am (4 years ago)

  • The article presents the correct picture. However, the state of Jammu and Kashmir includes Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. Jammu and Ladakh are solidly pro India. Only Kashmir is problematic. A quest for wresting Kashmir from India is not likely to be successful. The people of Kashmir must realize this and return to peace and prosperity.

    Posted by Biresh, 10/30/2010 11:56am (4 years ago)

  • The irony of this article hits you like a punch, especially in a forum such as this one. I am a proud Indian, but Kashmiri's have never wanted to be a part of India. Their struggle is genuine and one even I support.

    Posted by Renu Bala, 10/29/2010 5:01pm (4 years ago)

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