by Zukhruf Amin 31 October 2022
When Pakistan gained independence in 1947, it was widely believed that Kashmir, a state with a predominantly Muslim population, would accede to Pakistan. However, on October 27, 1947, India invaded Jammu and Kashmir – completely disregarding the wishes of the people of the region, the Indian Independence Act, and the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This day went down in history as the Black day in the history of Kashmir. Conferring to the Partition Plan, the princely states were given a choice initially to accede either to Pakistan or India on the basis of their demography and geography. However, India illegally occupied Hyderabad, Junagarh, Jammu, and Kashmir. Hyderabad and Junagarh were Hindu-majority states, but their rulers were Muslims. Being a Muslim-majority state where Muslims constituted 87% of the population, Kashmir had a natural tendency to accede to Pakistan. However, the Hindu ruler of Jammu and Kashmir, Maharaja Hari Singh, shattered the future of Kashmiris by announcing its accession to India under a controversial document titled the “Instrument of Accession.”
With the intent to change the demographic landscape and influence the results of any plebiscite in the future, the Indian troops and the Dogra forces massacred over a thousand Kashmiri Muslims within a few months in the occupied region. The killings triggered a series of critical events between the newly independent nations of Pakistan and India, which resulted in the Kashmir dispute. In August 1948, a report by a special correspondent got published in The Times, London, which revealed that almost 237,000 Muslims were systematically exterminated – unless they escaped to Pakistan along the border – by the forces of the Dogra State headed by the Maharaja in person and aided by the RSS and Sikh. In addition to the brutality, the Boundary Commission headed by Radcliffe, which demarcated the partition line, gave Gurdaspur – a Muslim-majority area to India – providing it the land route to Kashmir. It is widely believed that if the principles of justice were followed during the partition, India would have no land route to access Jammu and Kashmir. As a result, the Kashmiris strongly opposed the blatant invasion by India. They were determined to recapture Srinagar. It was then, that India took the matter to the UN Security Council on January 01, 1948. Resultantly, consecutive resolutions were passed by the Security Council which invalidated the illegal invasion of Kashmir. Under the resolutions passed on August 13, 1948, and January 05, 1949, the UN approved a ceasefire, demilitarization of the occupied region, and a free and impartial plebiscite under the UN’s supervision, to decide the future of the state.
The darkness of the day continues for Kashmir. Since then, the people of Kashmir have vehemently rejected the illegal Indian occupation. Blatant human rights violations have been on the rise. India, in the past 75 years, has been carrying on state terrorism in the occupied Muslim-majority region. There are increased incidences of pellet-firing guns, forced disappearances, fake encounters, murders, gang rapes, and other atrocities at the hands of the Indian security forces. From January 1989 to September 2022, the Indian troops have martyred 96,158 Muslims, widowed 22,950 women, orphaned 107,880 children, and arbitrarily arrested 165,200 civilians. Narendra Modi’s Hindutva-driven repressive policies of targeting the Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir are a constant reminder, that the situation in Kashmir has the ingredients of an unprecedented escalation. The abrogation of Kashmir’s special status, granting Hindus domiciles, redrawing the electoral boundaries, and giving voting rights to non-locals, is part of a larger political agenda of the Modi-led BJP government. Unfortunately, despite the unfolding humanitarian crisis in the occupied region, the silence of the world community is a tragedy in itself. The world must be reached on every relevant forum to force India to stop the demographic changes in the occupied territory and give Kashmiris their right to self-determination as promised under the UNSC resolutions.
The writer is a researcher at Strategic Vision Institute (SVI), Islamabad. She tweets @ZukhrufAmin