By : Dar
PEOPLE of Indian Occupied Kashmir are being humiliated, tortured, injured and even killed with impunity by the brutal Indian occupying forces. What crime have they committed? Is asking for the promises to be fulfilled a crime? The promise of right of self determination was made to them by the Indian leadership (both Mr Nehru and Lord Mountbatten) and the world (UN Security Council) during the partition of British India. India calls Kashmir its integral part, the claim which is farthest from the truth and her stances negated in the following paragraphs.
The first argument that Indians give is that Maharaja Hari Singh acceded the state to India in October 1947. It is pertinent to mention that Maharaja was no longer in control of his state and had himself fled from Srinagar to Jammu and for all practical purposes was overthrown by the public of Kashmir. Since 1931 people had revolted against him and he had lost all control of the state especially in Kashmir by July 1947. Therefore, letter of accession signed by him in October 1947 cannot be taken as a legal one.
Another argument put forward by Indians is regarding non binding nature of UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions on Kashmir. It is claimed that since the resolutions were adopted under Chapter VI (Settlement of Disputes) rather than Chapter VII (Threat to the peace and act of aggression) therefore, UNSC can only suggest and not enforce its recommendations. It is true that the Kashmir dispute was filed by India under chapter VI but the resolutions are silent as to under which Chapter they were adopted. A cursory look into the history makes it evident that the Kashmir problem was not a mere dispute, rather a threat to the peace of the region; so logically resolutions had been adopted under Chapter VII rather than Chapter VI. To further fortify my point, it may be noted that three wars have been fought between Pakistan and India countries on Kashmir issue and any untoward incident can trigger a fourth war between the two nuclear armed neighbours that could have international fallout.
India also blames Pakistan for not implementing UNSC recommendation whereby it was required to demilitarise Kashmir before plebiscite could be held. UNSC recommendations required Pakistan to withdraw the tribesmen from Azad Kashmir and India to keep minimum forces necessary to help the civil administration to maintain law and order. Tribesmen have left the area since long whereas India has amassed approximately 700,000 soldiers in Kashmir which by any standard cannot be called minimum force. It is relevant to mention that Mr. Frank Graham, a UN representative for overseeing Kashmir demilitarisation, suggested around 12000-18000 troops on Indian side. This blatant violation of UNSC by India frustrated another UN representative, Sir Owen Dixen, the Chief Justice of Australia, who resigned in protest and stated to Security Council, “ I become convinced that India’s agreement would never be obtained to demilitarisation … freedom and fairness of the plebiscite might be imperiled”.
Another bogey used by Indian side is holding of “free and impartial” election in Kashmir and the resolution of Kashmir Assembly endorsing of state’s accession to India. UNSC in Jan 1957, very unequivocally stated that Kashmir Constituent Assembly cannot take any step to ascertain the future shape or affiliation of the state as it will be beyond its mandate. Moreover, every impartial observer has stated that the elections held under Indian forces were never free and impartial. In 1951, less than 5% of the population voted in the election and out of seventy-five seats, seventy-three were elected unopposed. Similar trend is visible in the latest elections held in Srinagar where only 2% of the voter cast their vote.
It is also contested by Indians that since Pakistan signed Simla Agreement in 1972, thus the UN Security Council resolutions have been invalidated. No doubt Simla Agreement lay down that the two countries should resolve their issues in bilateral negotiations but it also categorically stated that the two sides must meet and discuss the modalities and arrangements for final settlement of Kashmir. This is testified by the history that the Indians have remained extremely reluctant to enter into negotiations on the issue let alone agreeing to right of self determination for the people of Kashmir. Thus it is Indians that have violated the spirit of Simla Agreement by refusing to talk to Pakistan on the issue of Kashmir.
Clearly, India’s claim over Kashmir being its integral part is illegal. I am convinced that India has lost Kashmir and time is on the side of Kashmir. It is better that India and Pakistan enter into dialogue, preferably under UN auspices, and try and reach the solution. History has shown that whenever there is a revolt which has the support of ordinary masses, the people in power need to act fast otherwise great misfortune hits the area. I would urge the media in India and Pakistan to highlight the plight of Kashmiri people and the civil society of both countries to raise the issue of human rights violations in Indian occupied Kashmir with much vigour.
The writer is a freelance columnist based in Manchester, UK. firstname.lastname@example.org