Can There Be a Kashmir Solution?
A Problem that Defy's solution
Kashmir was a quasi independent state under the British Raj. The maharajah had limited powers, but the Raj did not interfere with his day to day administration. This state of affairs continued till 1947, when the Raj an euphemism for British rule lapsed on the midnight of 15 August 1947. The maharajah decided that he would like to be independent. This was a grandiose dream and ignored the reality that the state had to decide between India and Pakistan. However teh Maharajah Hari singh assumed he would succeed and so he signed a " stand still" agreement with both Pakistan and India. The Maharajah in this agreement requested for more time to decide the issue.
However things moved at a fast pace and the new leader of Pakistan ordered an invasion of the Kashmir state. The Pakistan army aided by tribal of the Frontier region oinvaded kashmir. They had swift success and the maharajah and his army were defeated. the troops reached Srinagar the capital and that is when the Maharajah panicked and acceded to India. He signed the Instrument of accession and agreed to be a part of the Indian union,
Kashmir and India after the Accession
Once the Indian army intervened in Kashmir the raiders were pushed back and soon the valley was free of the tribal horde. However at this critical juncture Nehru for reasons that now appear silly( he was influenced by the wife of Lord Mountbatten) approached the UNO and security council and this in turn led to a cease fire and the unfortunate part is that Gilgi t and parts of Western Kashmir remained part of Pakistan. Pakistan thus gained over 40% of Kashmir for a song and the folly of Nehru. In addition Nehru agreed for 2 further conditions that also are difficult explain. He agreed
a A Special status for Kashmir by amending the Indian constitution and incorporating article 370. This gave kashmir a special status and allowed the state to have its own constitution and flag. In addition article 45 was adopted that forbade Indians to buy land and settle in Kashmir.
b. Nehru promised to hold a plebiscite in the valley to ascertain the wishes of the people of Kashmir.
The last promise was never effected as the chances of voting for a integration with Pakistan were bright and the Indian leadership could not accept it.
Pakistan sponsored Terrorism in Kashmir
In 1987 after 3 wars and resultant defeat of teh Pakistan army and teh failure to annexe Kashmir by force, general Zia ul Haq formulated a plan to try and win Kashmir for Pak by terro activities. Zia die in 1989, assassinated by his opponents, but the policy of sending terrorists into the valley was adopted in to to. The entire state now became a battle ground as the so called mujahideen went about their task in earnest. Their religious appeal also had aneffect and many local youths joined this terro activity.
The Indian army has till date killed hundreds of these Mujahideen, but Pakistan is hell bent on creating unrest in the state. In addition a small but vocal section of teh political leadership have been calling for a movement to join Pakistan. The movement headed by Geelani has little grass roots support, but the AK 47 and the Mujahaddin do the trick and one can say the gun rules in the valley.
The state is now on a burner. The fact is that this movement of the pro Pak parties can be crushed in no time. How many know that these separatists leaders are given protection by the Indian army. They are also looked after by the government of Kashmir with subsidy and money. One fails to understand this dichotomy and no one in the Indian government has been able to explain this.
This soft approach of the government is both misguided and presents a soft face to the enemy. The result is that the Indian case on Kashmir is greatly weakened. I am afraid till this soft approach is discarded and a bullet for bullet policy adopted Kashmir problem will remain and have disastrous consequences for the Indian state in the years to come.