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The Kashmir problem; need for an ' out of box ' solution

Updated on December 22, 2017

Background

Kashmir state was a part of the empire of Maharajah of Punjab, Ranjit Singh. Earlier it was a part of the Mughal empire and Jahangir the emperor loved the place and compared it to paradise on earth. Thus Kashmir was a part of India for many centuries. When we say India, we refer to the composite India which consisted of Baluchistan to Assam. During the days of the Raj, Kashmir was a semi-autonomous region but defense and foreign affairs were exercised by the Raj and overall suzerainty was with the English.

In 1947 with the lapse of British power as per the terms of the transfer of power as incorporated in the Government of India Act, passed by the British parliament, the Indian semi-independent states were given the option to either join India or Pakistan. This was in 1947, but Maharajah Hari Singh decided that he wanted total independence and thus did not accede to either India or the newly created state of Pakistan. He signed a "standstill agreement", with both nations Pakistan, however, invaded Kashmir and a panic-stricken Maharajah signed the instrument of accession to India. One point that must be mentioned is that Kashmir had a Hindu ruler, but the majority of the subjects were Muslim. In addition in Indian Kashmir, the valley was 90% Muslim.


The Pakistan factor

Pakistan never accepted the accession of Kashmir to India and insisted on a plebiscite in the valley to ascertain the wishes of the people of Kashmir. As was his habit, the Indian PM Jawaharlal Nehru in his misguided zeal agreed to a plebiscite under UN auspicious after peace was restored. Pakistan made at least 4 attempts to annex Kashmir but failed. At that time the majority of the people of Kashmir, though Muslim eyed the Pakistan military and government with suspicion. But from 1989 things began to change as incessant propaganda by extremist Muslims and Pakistan fostered a feeling that Muslims are superior and different from India. They began to wean away from the Indian state, which began to be perceived as a Hindu state, trying to foster Hindu Raj in the valley. In addition,n the policy of the Indian government to support men who had no grass root support in the valley like Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed added fuel to the fire. In 1989 the election was also rigged in favor of the Congress and the NC added to the alienation of the Kashmiri people. Pakistan saw its opportunity and exploited the deep resentment of the Kashmir youth and gave arms and money for an insurrection.

Worsening situation

Pakistan made at least 4 attempts to annex Kashmir but failed. At that time the majority of the people of Kashmir, though Muslim eyed the Pakistan military and government with suspicion. But from 1989 things began to change as incessant propaganda by extremist Muslims and Pakistan fostered a feeling that Muslims are superior and different from India. They began to wean away from the Indian state, which began to be perceived as a Hindu state, trying to foster Hindu Raj in the valley. In addition, the policy of the Indian government to support men who had no grass root support in the valley like Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed added fuel to the fire.

In 1989 the election was also rigged in favor of the Congress and the NC added to the alienation of the Kashmiri people. Pakistan saw its opportunity and exploited the deep resentment of the Kashmir youth and gave arms and money for an insurrection. Over the last 2 decades, the insurrection in the valley has gone out of hand and not a day passes without the Indian security forces not having to have firefights with the Kashmir militants. Matters are not helped by a weak government, which is also paralyzed as it is run by party's which are poles apart in their ideology. The BJP which is in a coalition with the PDF is thus guilty in part for this spurt in extremist activity. The situation is now bad and one can gauge the extent of alienation from India when the death of a Hizbul commander, a terrorist named Burhani is lionized and thousands attend his funeral and call for attacks on Indian forces to ' free' Kashmir. No Indian can walk the streets of Kashmir unescorted and that is sad. Even the grave of Shiekh Abdullah who signed the Kashmir accord with India is guarded by the CRPF as the Kashmir youth hate him.


Out of box solution

The situation is now bad and one can gauge the extent of alienation from India when the death of a Hizbul commander, a terrorist named Burhani is lionized and thousands attend his funeral and call for attacks on Indian forces to ' free' Kashmir. No Indian can walk the streets of Kashmir unescorted and that is sad. Even the grave of Shiekh Abdullah who signed the Kashmir accord with India is guarded by the CRPF as the Kashmir youth hate him. The hatred against India is now deep and calls for a drastic solution. Unfortunately, the Modi government has no political option to up its sleeve and the death toll in daily attack is burgeoning. Somebody has to bite the bullet. I can see only 2 options which I have outlined below

a) Make the valley which is 99% Muslim at the moment a semi-independent state like Bhutan

b) Alternatively, enforce Martial law and hand the valley to the army to restore order with no holds barred.

I wonder how many will agree with me, but I see no option than the above two. As I have written somebody has to bite the bullet and think of an out of box solution. I understand the first option was under consideration of Atal Bihari Vajpayee in conjunction with General Musharraf.

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    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      Madan 

      2 years ago from Abu Dhabi

      Thank you Promod. Yes we have to have a solution as policy of drift cannot be allowed. I do feel martial law is an option.

    • pramodgokhale profile image

      pramodgokhale 

      2 years ago from Pune( India)

      Sir,

      India can not afford another partition so hand over to military to eliminate terrorism and then go for peace. During Bangladesh war we did not negotiate , we separated Bangladesh and then we made peace pact with Pakistan. When surgery is needed then perform it. Long back Naglaland was also a terror prone area but we paid price to integrate it.

      Kasmir problem is international problem and was made but it should be resolved , we spent billions of Rs to keep them with us so we are willing to pay price to hold Kashmir.

      Punjab problem was settled and sikhs came to know that they canot win war against Indian government but truth they were not Muslims. Kashmir is ours but most of Kashmiris are Muslims and their faith is external then it's anti-national move and should be fixed with iron hand.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      Madan 

      2 years ago from Abu Dhabi

      Yes lions, it's a catch 22 situation. Pakistan will object and there could be war, but that may entail breakup of Pakistan as Baluchistan and Since may split from Punjab.

    • lions44 profile image

      CJ Kelly 

      2 years ago from Auburn, WA

      This another story never reported in Western (especially the American) media. Very sad. If people could see past their religion...

      Good idea to make independent. Not sure if this is a good analogy, but they got through the East Pakistan crisis with a treaty, granted with a lot of violence.

      Can India afford to let it go? Would that set off a chain of event leading to either war with Pakistan or a civil war?

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