KASHMIRIS all over the world protest on October 27 each year, declaring it as a Black Day in their history. On this day in 1947, India invaded Jammu and Kashmir in complete disregard to Indian Independence Act, the UN Charter and above all, against the wishes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The people of Kashmir were poised to be part of Pakistan and had already started struggle against the Maharaja Hari Singh now united against Indian occupation forces. Indeed, Maharaja’s rule over the state had already lapsed August 15, 1947. Soon after invasion, India tried justify its illegitimate occupation of the state through an accession treaty, which neural historians contradict. Later on India took the case in UN on January 1, 1948, where it was decided through a number of resolutions that, future of the state will decided through a UN mandated plebiscite. After initial acceptance of UN resolutions, India subsequently delayed the implementation of the resolutions and later started calling the occupied areas of the state as its integral part. Owing to Indian obduracy, the Kashmir dispute is still unresolved even after passage of 71 years.
While analyzing the Kashmir dispute, one finds basic contradiction between what India proclaims and what Indian Constitution warrants. India wrongly claims Kashmir as its integral part, since IOK is being ruled through Article 370 of its Constitution. This article is drafted in part XXI of the Indian Constitution and clearly relates to the “Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions” concerning only Kashmir. No other Indian state is being ruled through this article, which clearly depicts that, Kashmir is not integral part of Indian union. Unfortunately, despite knowing the facts, international community and UN are mysteriously silent over this stand claim. In order to know the reality of Indian claim on Kashmir, there is need to understand the historical context of Indian partition and subsequent events. On June 3, 1947, the British Indian Government announced partition of the Subcontinent into two Dominions; ‘India and Pakistan’. The British Parliament formally passed, the “Indian Independence Act”, on July 17, 1947, according to which, the partition was to be implemented from August 15, 1947. Partition of India was implemented as per Article 1 of the Independence Act.
As per Article 7 of the Act, it was clearly stated that, from 15th August 1947, “the suzerainty of His Majesty over the Indian states lapse and with it lapses all treaties and agreements enforce at the date of the passing of this Act between His Majesty and the rulers of Indian states”. As per Indian Independence Act, all agreements of British governments with either rulers or states also lapsed on 15th of August 1947. Since the state of Jammu and Kashmir was a Princely State with a special autonomous status, therefore, it can be very conveniently said, that on 15th day of August 1947, the Maharaja Sir Hari Singh was not the legal ruler of the state of Jammu and Kashmir as all his treaties with British India lapsed on that day. Once he was not a legal ruler of the state, he had no right to sign the instrument of accession (if at all he signed that) with the new Indian dominion.
The Indian claim that its forces landed Srinagar Airport on October 27, 1947, only after signatures on Instrument of Accession by Maharaja and the Indian government, is also unfounded. Indeed, a heavy contingent of Patiala State was involved in fighting against the Kashmiri fighters in Uri area on 18 October 1947, which means that they were very much inside the State’s territory much earlier than October 27, 1947. On 24 October 1947, Kashmiris formally declared their independence from Dogra Raj and established their own government with the name of Azad (Free) Kashmir Government. Following this Maharaja Hari Singh sent his deputy Prime Minister Mr. R.L. Batra to New Delhi, requesting Indian military assistance. The Indian Government however, conditioned the military assistance with state’s accession to India, which Maharaja Harisingh never desired.
Two well-known British historians; Alastair Lamb and Victoria Schofield have contested the signing of any Instrument of Accession by Maharaja Harisingh with India, at least before October 27, 1947. Nevertheless, even if there was an instrument of accession between Maharaja Hari Singh and Indian government, it provides a number of safeguards to the state’s sovereignty, e.g. Clause 7 of the instrument says, “Nothing in this instrument shall be deemed to commit me in any way to acceptance of any future constitution of India …”. If it is accepted that, there was an instrument of accession, signed by the Maharaja and Indian government, even then, it clearly states, that, “after the restoration of law and order in the State of Jammu and Kashmir and the expulsion of the raiders, its future will be decided in accordance with the wishes of the people of the State.” In summary, Indian claim over the state of Jammu and Kashmir is completely illegitimate and unsubstantiated. Its invasion in Kashmir on October 27, 1947 was illegal and against UN Charter, thus Kashmiri protest this day, declaring it as Black Day in the history of Kashmir. All UN resolutions, ask for the right of self-determination for the Kashmiris through a neutral mechanism. In last 30 years, India has committed unprecedented atrocities in IOK, latest being the Kulgam on 22 October, 2018. Time has come where; UNO, US and rest of world must realize their responsibilities towards resolution of Kashmir dispute on humanitarian bases. There is no legitimacy of Indian rule over Kashmir and it cannot befool the Kashmiris anymore.