The Kashmir conflict is a territorial conflict primarily between India and Pakistan, having started just after the partition of India in 1947. China has at times played a minor role. India and Pakistan have fought three wars over Kashmir, including the Indo-Pakistani Wars of 1947 and 1965, as well as the Kargil War of 1999. The two countries have also been involved in several skirmishes over control of the Siachen Glacier.
India claims the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir, and, as of 2010[update], administers approximately 43% of the region. It controls Jammu, the Kashmir Valley, Ladakh, and the Siachen Glacier. India's claims are contested by Pakistan, which administers approximately 37% of Jammu and Kashmir, namely Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. China currently administers Demchok district, the Shaksgam Valley, and the Aksai Chin region. China's claim over these territories has been disputed by India since China took Aksai Chin during the Sino-Indian War of 1962.
The present conflict is in Kashmir Valley. The root of conflict between the Kashmiri insurgents and the Indian government is tied to a dispute over local autonomy and based on the demand for self-determination. Democratic development was limited in Kashmir until the late 1970s, and by 1988, many of the democratic reforms introduced by the Indian Government had been reversed. Non-violent channels for expressing discontent were thereafter limited and caused a dramatic increase in support for insurgents advocating violent secession from India. In 1987, a disputed state election created a catalyst for the insurgency when it resulted in some of the state's legislative assembly members forming armed insurgent groups. In July 1988 a series of demonstrations, strikes and attacks on the Indian Government began the Kashmir Insurgency.
Although thousands of people have died as a result of the turmoil in Jammu and Kashmir, the conflict has become less deadly in recent years. Protest movements created to voice Kashmir's disputes and grievances with the Indian government, specifically the Indian Military, have been active in Jammu and Kashmir since 1989. Elections held in 2008 were generally regarded as fair by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and had a high voter turnout in spite of calls by separatist militants for a boycott. The election resulted in the creation of the pro-India Jammu and Kashmir National Conference, which then formed a government in the state. According to Voice of America, many analysts have interpreted the high voter turnout in this election as a sign that the people of Kashmir endorsed Indian rule in the state. But in 2010 unrest erupted after alleged fake encounter of local youth with security force. Thousands of youths pelted security forces with rocks, burned government offices and attacked railway stations and official vehicles in steadily intensifying violence. The Indian government blamed separatists and Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistan-based militant group for stoking the 2010 protests.
Elections held in 2014 saw highest voters turnout in 26 years of history in Jammu and Kashmir. However, analysts explain that the high voter turnout in Kashmir is not an endorsement of Indian rule by the Kashmiri population, rather most people vote for daily issues such as food and electricity. An opinion poll conducted by the Chatham House international affairs think tank found that in the Kashmir valley – the mainly Muslim area in Indian Kashmir at the centre of the insurgency – support for independence varies between 74% to 95% in its various districts. Support for remaining with India was, however, extremely high in predominantly Hindu Jammu and Buddhist Ladakh.
According to scholars, Indian forces have committed many human rights abuses and acts of terror against Kashmiri civilian population including extrajudicial killing, rape, torture and enforced disappearances. Crimes by militants have also happened but are not comparable in scale with the crimes of Indian forces. According to Amnesty International, as of June 2015, no member of the Indian military deployed in Jammu and Kashmir has been tried for human rights violations in a civilian court, although there have been military court martials held. Amnesty International welcomed this move but cautioned that justice should be consistently delivered and prosecutions of security forces personnel be held in civilian courts. Amnesty International has also accused the Indian government of refusing to prosecute perpetrators of abuses in the region.
Kashmir's accession to India was provisional, and conditional on a plebiscite, and for this reason had a different constitutional status to other Indian states. In October 2015 Jammu and Kashmir High Court said that article 370 is "permanent" and Jammu and Kashmir did not merge with India the way other princely states merged but retained special status and limited sovereignty under Indian constitution.
According to the mid-12th century text Rajatarangini the Kashmir Valley was formerly a lake. Hindu mythology relates that the lake was drained by the sage Kashyapa, by cutting a gap in the hills at Baramulla (Varaha-mula), and invited Brahmans to settle there. This remains the local tradition and Kashyapa is connected with the draining of the lake in traditional histories. The chief town or collection of dwellings in the valley is called Kashyapa-pura, which has been identified as Kaspapyros in Hecataeus (Apud Stephanus of Byzantium) and the Kaspatyros of Herodotus (3.102, 4.44). Kashmir is also believed to be the country indicated by Ptolemy's Kaspeiria. Kashmir thrived for centuries as a centre of Hindu culture.
During the early 1300s local leaders embraced Islam and due to the arrival of proselytizing Central Asian ulama, most Kashmiris accepted Islam by the late 1400s. Kashmir remained under Muslim rule for five centuries. The Pashtun Durrani Empire ruled Kashmir in the 18th century until its 1819 conquest by the Sikh ruler Ranjit Singh. The Raja of Jammu Gulab Singh, who was a vassal of the Sikh Empire and an influential noble in the Sikh court, sent expeditions to various border kingdoms and ended up encircling Kashmir by 1840. Following the First Anglo-Sikh War (1845–1846), Kashmir was ceded under the Treaty of Lahore to the East India Company, which transferred it to Gulab Singh through the Treaty of Amritsar, in return for the payment of indemnity owed by the Sikh empire. Gulab Singh took the title of the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir. From then until the 1947 Partition of India, Kashmir was ruled by the Maharajas of the princely state of Kashmir and Jammu. According to the 1941 census, the state's population was 77 percent Muslim, 20 percent Hindu and 3 percent others (Sikhs and Buddhists). Despite its Muslim majority, the princely rule was an overwhelmingly Hindu state. The Muslim majority suffered under Hindu rule with high taxes and discrimination.
British rule in the Indian subcontinent ended in 1947 with the creation of new states: the Dominion of Pakistan and the Union of India, as the successor states to British India. The British Paramountcy over the 562 Indian princely states ended. According to the Indian Independence Act 1947, "the suzerainty of His Majesty over the Indian States lapses, and with it, all treaties and agreements in force at the date of the passing of this Act between His Majesty and the rulers of Indian States". States were thereafter left to choose whether to join India or Pakistan or to remain independent. Jammu and Kashmir, the largest of the princely states, had a predominantly Muslim population ruled by the Hindu Maharaja Hari Singh. He decided to stay independent because he expected that the State's Muslims would be unhappy with accession to India, and the Hindus and Sikhs would become vulnerable if he joined Pakistan. On 11 August, the Maharaja dismissed his prime minister Ram Chandra Kak, who had advocated independence. Observers and scholars interpret this action as a tilt towards accession to India. Pakistanis decided to preempt this possibility by wresting Kashmir by force if necessary.
Pakistan made various efforts to persuade the Maharaja of Kashmir to join Pakistan. In July 1947, Mohammad Ali Jinnah is believed to have written to the Maharaja promising "every sort of favourable treatment," followed by lobbying of the State's Prime Minister by leaders of Jinnah's Muslim League party. Faced with the Maharaja's indecision on accession, the Muslim League agents clandestinely worked in Poonch to encourage the local Muslims to an armed revolt, by exploiting an internal unrest regarding economic grievances which had gained support for Muslim Conference's pro Pakistan stance in Poonch. The authorities in Pakistani Punjab waged a 'private war' by obstructing supplies of fuel and essential commodities to the Jammu and Kashmir State. Later in September, Muslim League officials in the Northwest Frontier Province, including the Chief Minister Abdul Qayyum Khan, assisted and possibly organized a large-scale invasion of Kashmir by Pathan tribesmen.:61 Several sources indicate that the plans were finalised on 12 September by the Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan, based on proposals prepared by Colonel Akbar Khan and Sardar Shaukat Hayat Khan. One plan called for organising an armed insurgency in the western districts of the state and the other for organising a Pushtoon tribal invasion. Both were set in motion.
The Jammu division of the state got caught up in the Partition violence. The violence in the eastern districts of Jammu that started in September, developed into a widespread 'massacre' of Muslims around the October, organised by the Hindu Dogra troops of the State and perpetrated by the local Hindus, including members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, and the Hindus and Sikhs displaced from the neighbouring areas of West Pakistan. The Maharaja himself was implicated in some instances. A large number of Muslims were killed. Huge number of Muslims have fled to West Pakistan, some of whom made their way to the western districts of Poonch and Mirpur, which were undergoing rebellion. Many of these Muslims believed that the Maharaja ordered the killings in Jammu and instigated the Muslims in West Pakistan to join the uprising in Poonch and help in the formation of the Azad Kashmir government.
The rebel forces in the western districts of Jammu got organised under the leadership of Sardar Ibrahim, a Muslim Conference leader. They took control of most of the western parts of the State by 22 October. On 24 October, they formed a provisional Azad Kashmir (free Kashmir) government based in Palandri.
Justice Mehr Chand Mahajan, the Maharaja's nominee for his next prime minister, visited Nehru and Patel in Delhi on 19 September, requesting essential supplies which had been blockaded by Pakistan since the beginning of September. He communicated the Maharaja's willingness to accede to India. Nehru, however, demanded that the jailed political leader, Sheikh Abdullah, be released from prison and involved in the state government. Only then would he allow the state to accede. The Maharaja released Sheikh Abdullah on 29 September. Before any further reforms were implemented, the Pakistani tribal invasion brought the matters to a head.
Maharaja's troops, heavily outnumbered and outgunned and facing internal rebellions from Muslim troops, had no chance of withstanding the attack. The Maharaja made an urgent plea to Delhi for military assistance. Upon the Governor General Lord Mountbatten's insistence, India required the Maharaja to accede before it could send troops. Accordingly, the Maharaja signed an instrument of accession on 26 October 1947, which was accepted by the Governor General the next day. While the Government of India accepted the accession, it added the proviso that it would be submitted to a "reference to the people" after the state is cleared of the invaders, since "only the people, not the Maharaja, could decide where Kashmiris wanted to live." It was a provisional accession.[note 1] National Conference, the largest political party in the State and headed by Sheikh Abdullah, endorsed the accession. In the words of the National Conference leader Syed Mir Qasim, India had the "legal" as well as "moral" justification to send in the army through the Maharaja's accession and the people's support of it.[note 2]
The Indian troops, which were air lifted in the early hours of 27 October, secured the Srinagar airport. The city of Srinagar was being patrolled by the National Conference volunteers with Hindus and Sikhs moving about freely among Muslims, an "incredible sight" to visiting journalists. The National Conference also worked with the Indian Army to secure the city.
In the north of the state lay the Gilgit Agency, which had been leased by British India but returned to the Maharaja shortly before Independence. Gilgit's population did not favour the State's accession to India. Sensing their discontent, Major William Brown, the Maharaja's commander of the Gilgit Scouts, mutinied on 1 November 1947, overthrowing the Governor Ghansara Singh. The bloodless coup d'etat was planned by Brown to the last detail under the code name 'Datta Khel'. Local leaders in Gilgit formed a provisional government (Aburi Hakoomat), naming Raja Shah Rais Khan as the president and Mirza Hassan Khan as the commander-in-chief. But, Major Brown had already telegraphed Khan Abdul Qayyum Khan asking Pakistan to take over. According to historian Yaqoob Khan Bangash, the provisional government lacked sway over the population which had intense pro-Pakistan sentiments. Pakistan's Political Agent, Khan Mohammad Alam Khan, arrived on 16 November and took over the administration of Gilgit. According to various scholars, the people of Gilgit as well as those of Chilas, Koh Ghizr, Ishkoman, Yasin, Punial, Hunza and Nagar joined Pakistan by choice.
Rebel forces from the western districts of the State and the Pakistani Pakhtoon tribesmen[note 3][note 4] made rapid advances into the Baramulla sector. In the Kashmir valley, National Conference volunteers worked with the Indian Army to drive out the 'raiders'.[note 5] The resulting First Kashmir War lasted until the end of 1948.
The Pakistan army made available arms, ammunition and supplies to the rebel forces who were dubbed the 'Azad Army'. Pakistani army officers 'conveniently' on leave and the former officers of the Indian National Army were recruited to command the forces. In May 1948, the Pakistani army officially entered the conflict, in theory to defend the Pakistan borders, but it made plans to push towards Jammu and cut the lines of communications of the Indian forces in the Mendhar valley. C. Christine Fair notes that this was the beginning of Pakistan using irregular forces and 'asymmetric warfare' to ensure plausible deniability, which has continued ever since.
On 1 November 1947, Mountbatten flew to Lahore for a conference with Jinnah, proposing that, in all the princely States where the ruler did not accede to a Dominion corresponding to the majority population (which would have included Junagadh, Hyderabad as well as Kashmir), the accession should be decided by an 'impartial reference to the will of the people'. Jinnah rejected the offer. According to Indian scholar A. G. Noorani Jinnah ended up squandering his leverage.
According to Jinnah, India acquired the accession through "fraud and violence." A plebiscite was unnecessary and states should accede according to their majority population. He was willing to urge Junagadh to accede to India in return for Kashmir. For a plebiscite, Jinnah demanded simultaneous troop withdrawal for he felt that 'the average Muslim would never have the courage to vote for Pakistan' in the presence of Indian troops and with Sheikh Abdullah in power. When Mountbatten countered that the plebiscite could be conducted by the United Nations, Jinnah, hoping that the invasion would succeed and Pakistan might lose a plebiscite, again rejected the proposal, stating that the Governors Generals should conduct it instead. Mountbatten noted that it was untenable given his constitutional position and India did not accept Jinnah's demand of removing Sheikh Abdullah.
Prime Ministers Nehru and Liaquat Ali Khan met again in December, when Nehru informed Khan of India's intention to refer the dispute to the United Nations under article 35 of the UN Charter, which allows the member states to bring to the Security Council attention situations 'likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace'.
Nehru and other Indian leaders were afraid since 1947 that the "temporary" accession to India might act as an irritant to the bulk of the Muslims of Kashmir. Secretary in Patel’s Ministry of States, V.P. Menon, admitted in an interview in 1964 that India had been absolutely dishonest on the issue of plebiscite. A.G. Noorani blames many Indian and Pakistani leaders for the misery of Kashmiri people but says that Nehru was the main culprit.
India sought resolution of the issue at the UN Security Council, despite Sheikh Abdullah's opposition to it.[note 5] Following the set-up of the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP), the UN Security Council passed Resolution 47 on 21 April 1948. The measure called for an immediate cease-fire and called on the Government of Pakistan 'to secure the withdrawal from the state of Jammu and Kashmir of tribesmen and Pakistani nationals not normally resident therein who have entered the state for the purpose of fighting.' It also asked Government of India to reduce its forces to minimum strength, after which the circumstances for holding a plebiscite should be put into effect 'on the question of Accession of the state to India or Pakistan.' However, it was not until 1 January 1949 that the ceasefire could be put into effect, signed by General Douglas Gracey on behalf of Pakistan and General Roy Bucher on behalf of India. However, both India and Pakistan failed to arrive at a truce agreement due to differences over interpretation of the procedure for and the extent of demilitarisation. One sticking point was whether the Azad Kashmiri army was to be disbanded during the truce stage or at the plebiscite stage.
The UNCIP made three visits to the subcontinent between 1948 and 1949, trying to find a solution agreeable to both India and Pakistan. It reported to the Security Council in August 1948 that "the presence of troops of Pakistan" inside Kashmir represented a "material change" in the situation. A two-part process was proposed for the withdrawal of forces. In the first part, Pakistan was to withdraw its forces as well as other Pakistani nationals from the state. In the second part, "when the Commission shall have notified the Government of India" that Pakistani withdrawal has been completed, India was to withdraw the bulk of its forces. After both the withdrawals were completed, a plebiscite would be held. The resolution was accepted by India but effectively rejected by Pakistan.[note 6]
The Indian government considered itself to be under legal possession of Jammu and Kashmir by virtue of the accession of the state. The assistance given by Pakistan to the rebel forces and the Pakhtoon tribes was held to be a hostile act and the further involvement of the Pakistan army was taken to be an invasion of Indian territory. From the Indian perspective, the plebiscite was meant to confirm the accession, which was in all respects already complete, and Pakistan could not aspire to an equal footing with India in the contest.
The Pakistan government held that the state of Jammu and Kashmir had executed a Standstill Agreement with Pakistan which precluded it from entering into agreements with other countries. It also held that the Maharaja had no authority left to execute accession because his people had revolted and he had to flee the capital. It believed that the Azad Kashmir movement as well as the tribal incursions were indigenous and spontaneous, and Pakistan's assistance to them was not open to criticism.
In short, India required an asymmetric treatment of the two countries in the withdrawal arrangements, regarding Pakistan as an 'aggressor', whereas Pakistan insisted on parity. The UN mediators tended towards parity, which was not to India's satisfaction. In the end, no withdrawal was ever carried out, India insisting that Pakistan had to withdraw first, and Pakistan contending that there was no guarantee that India would withdraw afterwards. No agreement could be reached between the two countries on the process of demilitarisation.[note 7]
Scholars have commented that the failure of the Security Council efforts of mediation owed to the fact that the Council regarded the issue as a purely political dispute without investigating its legal underpinnings.[note 8] Declassified British papers indicate that Britain and US had let their Cold War calculations influence their policy in the UN, disregarding the merits of the case.[note 9]
The 1950s saw the mediation by Sir Owen Dixon, the UN-appointed mediator, who came the closest to solving the Kashmir dispute in the eyes of many commentators. Dixon arrived in the subcontinent in May 1950 and, after a visit to Kashmir, proposed a summit between India and Pakistan. The summit lasted five days, at the end of which Dixon declared a statewide plebiscite was impossible. Dixon summarized that people in Jammu and Ladakh were clearly in favour of India; equally clearly, those in Azad Kashmir and the Northern Areas wanted to be part of Pakistan. This left the Kashmir Valley and 'perhaps some adjacent country' around Muzaffarabad in uncertain political terrain. Nehru then proposed a partition-cum-plebiscite plan: Jammu and Ladakh would go to India, Azad Kashmir and Northern Areas to Pakistan, and a plebiscite would be held in the Kashmir Valley. Dixon favoured the plan, which bears his name till this day. Concurrently, Dixon did express concern that the Kashmiris, not being high-spirited people, may vote under fear or improper influences.
The sticking point was that Dixon proposed, following Liaquat Ali Khan's objections, that Sheikh Abdullah administration should be held in "commission" (in abeyance) while the plebiscite was held. This was not acceptable to India. At that point, Dixon lost patience and declared failure. Dixon concluded that India would not agree to provisions governing the plebiscite that guard against influence and abuse ensuring a free and fair plebiscite.
The US ambassador Loy Henderson reported, "Dixon, however, had offered no alternative. He had taken [the] position there could be no fair plebiscite under Abdullah regime. It was on this issue and nothing else [that] discussions had broken down. [Government of India] was still willing to discuss direct with [Government of Pakistan] ... solution involving partition with plebiscite in Vale..." Dixon's premature withdrawal has been criticised, but perhaps Dixon had not realised how close he had come to solving the dispute.
In July 1950, Sheikh Abdullah sought to introduce far-reaching land reforms, but the Prince Regent Karan Singh insisted that they had to be carried out by a Legislative Assembly. Abdullah then proposed electing a Constituent Assembly, which was approved in April 1951. Abdullah wanted the Constituent Assembly to decide the State's accession. But this was not agreed to by the Prime Minister of India, he stated that such "underhand dealing" would be very bad, as the matter was being decided by the UN. Around this time, the Korean War broke out and the West grew anxious about defending the Middle East from possible communist attacks. They sought Pakistani help but were aware that Pakistan desired guarantees of security against an Indian attack. The international scene was in a flux.
Towards the end of 1950, sections of Pakistani leaders grew impatient about the lack of progress in the UN, and raised a hue and cry. The Prime Minister of North-West Frontier Province promised a jehad by the Pashtun population of Pakistan. The governor of Punjab declared that the "whole of Asia would be engulfed in a war". The calls for a holy war reverberated through the Pakistani society. India grew anxious and raised the issue with the western powers. Receiving no response, following a rash of violent incidents in Kashmir Valley in June 1951 and reports of Pakistani troop movements, India decided to move its troops to the border. According to Nehru, "our lack of proper defenses on our frontiers would itself be an invitation to attack." A military stand-off ensued, lasting from mid-July 1951 till the assassination of Liaquat Ali Khan in October 1951. India resisted pressures from western powers for standing down, claiming that the troop deployment was a necessary deterrent. Meanwhile, the elections to the Constituent Assembly passed off peacefully, the Assembly convening on 31 October.
However, the peace was short-lived. Later by 1953, Sheikh Abdullah fell out with the Indian government. He was dismissed and imprisoned in August 1953. His former deputy, Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad was appointed as the prime minister, and Indian security forces were deployed in the Valley to control the streets.
With India's "abridged authority" in Kashmir, Nehru decided that a settlement must be found since India could not hold Kashmir "at the point of a bayonet". He asserted several times since 1947 that only Kashmiris have the right decide their own future. Starting in July 1953, he made a renewed push on the plebiscite option in discussions with Pakistan. In August he proposed that a plebiscite administrator be appointed within six months. Other than demanding that the plebiscite administrator not be from one of the major powers, he placed no other conditions. Reversing his earlier policies, he suggested that the plebiscite could be held in all regions of the state and the state would be partitioned on the basis of the results. He was open to a "different approach" to the scaling back of troops in the State so as to allow a free vote.[note 10]
However, by now, Pakistan was moving in a different direction. Using the opening created by the Korean War, Pakistan was aggressively pursuing American military aid. Two days after Liaquat Ali Khan's assassination, Pakistani military delegation was in Washington to get as much military equipment as it could. The delegation expressed Pakistan's readiness to participate in defending the Middle East even if the US were to pay no attention to Pakistan's security against India. Pakistan regarded India's behaviour during the military stand-off as "aggressive", as one that needed a military response. As the US-Pakistan Mutual Defence Pact was taking shape in September 1953, Nehru warned Pakistan that it has to choose between winning Kashmir through a plebiscite or pursuing a military alliance with the US. If such a pact were to be concluded, Nehru said, the situation would change dramatically and "all problems would be seen in a new light". Consequently, when the pact was concluded in May 1954, Nehru withdrew the plebiscite offer and declared that the status quo was the only remaining option.
Nehru's withdrawal from the plebiscite option came a major blow to all concerned. Some have suggested that India was never seriously intent on holding a plebiscite and the withdrawal came to signify a vindication of their belief. Scholar Mahesh Shankar, who studied the matter in detail, finds that there is no basis for such an assessment. He cites numerous public and private statements of Nehru to demonstrate that he was intent on holding a plebiscite even after Sheikh Abdullah was imprisoned and India's chances of winning the plebiscite presumably became negligible.Shankar believes the reason for withdrawing from the "plebiscite offer" was that Nehru became thoroughly disillusioned with Pakistan's "bona fides", its policy of "venom and enmity against India", its "neurotic mood and hostile actions", the strong mood of jehad at the highest echelons in Pakistan, its inability to formally agree to a plebiscite for two months after the offer was made, and its policy based on "threat and bullying" where "appeasement only leads to more bullying". "Any surrender" by India to "this kind of aggression would lead to continuing aggression elsewhere". The US–Pakistan pact was seen as a yet another step in this direction. It was expected to "facilitate and encourage aggression". The military pact made the prospect of losing Kashmir strategically unacceptable as it made Pakistan the predominant security threat to India. The militarily stronger Pakistan expected to speak to India from a position of strength, engulfed in a talk of jehad. India's response had to be, in Nehru's view, an even greater firmness to deny Pakistan its perception of an increased bargaining strength. Having offered the status quo as the last option, Nehru even took that off the table once Pakistan rejected it. No further commitments would be made until "India's honour as a country is not vindicated".
Indian writer Nirad C. Chaudhuri has observed that Pakistan's acceptance of Western support ensured its survival. He believed that India intended to invade Pakistan twice or thrice during the period 1947–1954. For scholar Wayne Wilcox, Pakistan was able to find external support to counter "Hindu superiority", returning to the group security position of the early 20th century.
In 1962, troops from the People's Republic of China and India clashed in territory claimed by both. China won a swift victory in the war, resulting in Chinese annexation of the region they call Aksai Chin and which has continued since then. Another smaller area, the Trans-Karakoram, was demarcated as the Line of Control (LOC) between China and Pakistan, although some of the territory on the Chinese side is claimed by India to be part of Kashmir. The line that separates India from China in this region is known as the "Line of Actual Control".
Following its failure to seize Kashmir in 1947, Pakistan supported numerous 'covert cells' in Kashmir using operatives based in its New Delhi embassy. After its military pact with the United States in the 1950s, it intensively studied guerrilla warfare through engagement with the US military. In 1965, it decided that the conditions were ripe for a successful guerilla war in Kashmir. Code named 'Operation Gibraltar', companies were dispatched into Indian-administered Kashmir, the majority of whose members were razakars (volunteers) and mujahideen recruited from Pakitan-administered Kashmir and trained by the Army. These irregular forces were supported by officers and men from the paramilitary Northern Light Infantry and Azad Kashmir Rifles as well as commandos from the Special Services Group. About 30,000 infiltrators are estimated to have been dispatched in August 1965 as part of the 'Operation Gibraltar'.
The plan was for the infiltrators to mingle with the local populace and incite them to rebellion. Meanwhile, guerilla warfare would commence, destroying bridges, tunnels and highways, as well as Indian Army installations and airfields, creating conditions for an 'armed insurrection' in Kashmir. If the attempt failed, Pakistan hoped to have raised international attention to the Kashmir issue. Using the newly acquired sophisticated weapons through the American arms aid, Pakistan believed that it could achieve tactical victories in a quick limited war.
However, the 'Operation Gibraltar' ended in failure as the Kashmiris did not revolt. Instead, they turned in infiltrators to the Indian authorities in substantial numbers, and the Indian Army ended up fighting the Pakistani Army regulars. Pakistan claimed that the captured men were Kashmiri 'freedom fighters', a claim contradicted by the international media.[note 11] On 1 September, Pakistan launched an attack across the Cease Fire Line, targeting Akhnoor in an effort to cut Indian communications into Kashmir. In response, India broadened the war by launching an attack on Pakistani Punjab across the international border. The war lasted till 23 September, ending in a stalemate. Following the Tashkent Agreement, both the sides withdrew to their pre-conflict positions, and agreed not to interfere in each other's internal affairs.
The Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 led to a loss for Pakistan and a military surrender in East Pakistan. Bangladesh got created as a separate state with India's support and India emerged as a clear regional power in South Asia.
A bilateral summit was held at Simla as a follow-up to the war, where India pushed for peace in South Asia. At stake were 5,139 square miles of Pakistan's territory captured by India during the conflict, and over 90,000 prisoners of war held in Bangladesh. India was ready to return them in exchange for a "durable solution" to the Kashmir issue. Diplomat J. N. Dixit states that the negotiations at Simla were painful and tortuous, and almost broke down. The deadlock was broken in a personal meeting between the Prime Ministers Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Indira Gandhi, where Bhutto acknowledged that the Kashmir issue should be finally resolved and removed as a hurdle in India-Pakistan relations; that the cease-fire line, to be renamed the Line of Control, could be gradually converted into a de jure border between India and Pakistan; and that he would take steps to integrate the Pakistani-controlled portions of Jammu and Kashmir into the federal territories of Pakistan. However, he requested that the formal declaration of the Agreement should not include a final settlement of the Kashmir dispute as it would endanger his fledgling civilian government and bring in military and other hardline elements into power in Pakistan.
Accordingly, the Simla Agreement was formulated and signed by the two countries, whereby the countries resolved to settle their differences by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations and to maintain the sanctity of the Line of Control. Multilateral negotiations were not ruled out, but they were conditional upon both sides agreeing to them.:49–50 To India, this meant an end to the UN or other multilateral negotiations. However Pakistan reinterpreted the wording in the light of a reference to the "UN charter" in the agreement, and maintained that it could still approach the UN. The United States, United Kingdom and most Western governments agree with India's interpretation.
The Simla Agreement also stated that the two sides would meet again for establishing durable peace. Reportedly Bhutto asked for time to prepare the people of Pakistan and the National Assembly for a final settlement. Indian commentators state that he reneged on the promise. Bhutto told the National Assembly on 14 July that he forged an equal agreement from an unequal beginning and that he did not compromise on the right of self-determination for Jammu and Kashmir. The envisioned meeting never occurred.
Political movements in the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir started in 1932, earlier than in any other princely state of India. In that year, Sheikh Abdullah, a Kashmiri, and Chaudhry Ghulam Abbas, a Jammuite, led the founding of the All-Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference in order to agitate for the rights of Muslims in the state. In 1938, they renamed the party National Conference in order to make it representative of all Kashmiris independent of religion. The move brought Abdullah closer to Jawaharlal Nehru, the rising leader of the Congress party. The National Conference eventually became a leading member of the All-India States Peoples' Conference, a Congress-sponsored confederation of the political movements in the princely states.
Three years later, rifts developed within the Conference owing to political, regional and ideological differences. A faction of the party's leadership grew disenchanted with Abdullah's leanings towards Nehru and the Congress, and his secularisation of Kashmiri politics. Consequently, Abbas broke away from the National Conference and revived the old Muslim Conference in 1941, in collaboration with Mirwaiz Yusuf Shah. These developments indicated fissures between the ethnic Kashmiris and Jammuites, as well as between the Hindus and Muslims of Jammu. Muslims in the Jammu region were Punjabi-speaking and felt closer affinity to Punjabi Muslims than with the Valley Kashmiris. In due course, the Muslim Conference started aligning itself ideologically with the All-India Muslim League, and supported its call for an independent 'Pakistan'. The Muslim Conference derived popular support among the Muslims of the Jammu region, and some from the Valley. Conversely, Abdullah's National Conference enjoyed influence in the Valley. Chitralekha Zutshi states that the political loyalties of Valley Kashmiris were divided in 1947, but the Muslim Conference failed to capitalise on it due its fractiousness and the lack of a distinct political programme.
In 1946, the National Conference launched the 'Quit Kashmir' movement, asking the Maharaja to hand the power over to the people. The movement came under criticism from the Muslim Conference, who charged that Abdullah was doing it to boost his own popularity, waning because of his pro-India stance. Instead, the Muslim Conference launched a 'campaign of action' similar to Muslim League's programme in British India. Both Abdullah and Abbas were imprisoned. By 22 July 1947, the Muslim Conference started calling for the state's accession to Pakistan.
The Dogra Hindus of Jammu were originally organised under the banner of All Jammu and Kashmir Rajya Hindu Sabha, with Prem Nath Dogra as a leading member. In 1942, Balraj Madhok arrived in the state as a pracharak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). He established branches of the RSS in Jammu and later in the Kashmir Valley. Prem Nath Dogra was also the chairman (sanghchalak) of the RSS in Jammu. In May 1947, following the Partition plan, the Hindu Sabha threw in its support to whatever the Maharaja might decide regarding the state's status, which in effect meant support for the state's independence. However, following the communal upheaval of the Partition and the tribal invasion, its position changed to supporting the accession of the state to India and, subsequently, full integration of Jammu with India. In November 1947, shortly after the state's accession to India, the Hindu leaders launched the Jammu Praja Parishad with the objective of achieving the "full integration" of Jammu and Kashmir with India, opposing the "communist-dominated anti-Dogra government of Sheikh Abdullah."
Article 370 was drafted in the Indian constitution granting special autonomous status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, as per Instrument of Accession. This article specifies that the State must concur in the application of laws by Indian parliament, except those that pertain to Communications, Defence and Foreign Affairs. Central Government could not exercise its power to interfere in any other areas of governance of the state.
Sheikh Abdullah took oath as Prime Minister of the state on 17 March 1948. In 1949, the Indian government obliged Hari Singh to leave Jammu and Kashmir and yield the government to Sheikh Abdullah. Dr. Karan Singh, the son of the erstwhile Maharajah Hari Singh was made the Sadr-i-Riyasat (Constitutional Head of State) and the Governor of the state.
Elections were held for the Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir in 1951, with 75 seats allocated for the Indian administered part of Kashmir, and 25 seats left reserved for the Pakistan administered part. Sheikh Abdullah's National Conference won all 75 seats in a rigged election. In October 1951, Jammu & Kashmir National Conference under the leadership of Sheikh Abdullah formed the Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir to formulate the Constitution of the state. Sheikh initially wanted the Constituent Assembly to decide the State's accession. But this was not agreed to by Nehru, who stated that such "underhand dealing" would be very bad, as the matter was being decided by the UN.
Sheikh Abdullah was said to have ruled the state in an undemocratic and authoritarian manner during this period.
According to historian Zutshi, in the late 1940s, most Kashmiri Muslims in Indian Kashmir were still debating the value of the state's association with India or Pakistan. By the 1950s, she says, the National Conference government's repressive measures and the Indian state's seeming determination to settle the state's accession to India without a reference to the people of the state brought Kashmiri Muslims to extol the virtues of Pakistan and condemn India's high-handedness in its occupation of the territory, and even those who had been in India's favour began to speak in terms of the state's association with Pakistan.
In early 1949, an agitation was started by Jammu Praja Parishad, a Hindu nationalist party which was active in the Jammu region, over the ruling National Conference's policies. The government swiftly suppressed it by arresting as many as 294 members of the Praja Parishad including Prem Nath Dogra, its president. Though Sheikh's land reforms were said to have benefited the people of rural areas, Praja Parishad opposed the 'Landed Estates Abolition Act', saying it was against the Indian Constitutional rights, for implementing land acquisition without compensation. Praja Parishad also called for the full integration with the rest of India, directly clashing with the demands of National Conference for complete autonomy of the state. On 15 January 1952, students staged a demonstration against the hoisting of the state flag alongside the Indian Union flag. They were penalised, giving rise to a big procession on 8 February. The military was called out and a 72-hour curfew imposed. N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar, the Indian Central Cabinet minister in charge of Kashmir affairs, came down to broker peace, which was resented by Sheikh Abdullah.
In order to break the constitutional deadlock, Nehru invited the National Conference to send a delegation to Delhi. The '1952 Delhi Agreement' was formulated to settle the extent of applicability of the Indian Constitution to the Jammu and Kashmir and the relation between the State and Centre. It was reached between Nehru and Abdullah on 24 July 1952. Following this, the Constituent Assembly abolished the monarchy in Kashmir, and adopted an elected Head of State (Sadr-i Riyasat). However, the Assembly was reluctant to implement the remaining measures agreed to in the Delhi Agreement.
The Praja Parishad undertook a civil disobedience campaign for a third time in November 1952, which again led to repression by the state government. The Parishad accused Abdullah of communalism (sectarianism), favouring the Muslim interests in the state and sacrificing the interests of the others. The Jana Sangh joined hands with the Hindu Mahasabha and Ram Rajya Parishad to launch a parallel agitation in Delhi. In May 1953, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, a prominent Indian leader of the time and the founder of Hindu nationalist party Bharatiya Jana Sangh (later evolved as BJP), made a bid to enter Jammu and Kashmir after denying to take a permit, citing his rights as an Indian citizen to visit any part of the country. Abdullah prohibited his entry and promptly arrested him when he attempted. An estimated 10,000 activists were imprisoned in Jammu, Punjab and Delhi, including Members of Parliament. Unfortunately, Mukherjee died in detention on 23 June 1953, leading to an uproar in whole India and precipitating a crisis that went out of control.
Observers state that Abdullah became upset, as he felt, his "absolute power" was being compromised in India.
Meanwhile, Nehru's pledge of a referendum to people of Kashmir did not come into action. Sheikh Abdullah advocated complete independence and had allegedly joined hands with US to conspire against India.
On 8 August 1953, Sheikh Abdullah was dismissed as Prime Minister by the Sadr-i-Riyasat Karan Singh on the charge that he had lost the confidence of his cabinet. He was denied the opportunity to prove his majority on the floor of the house. He was also jailed in 1953 while Sheikh's dissident deputy, Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad was appointed as the new Prime Minister of the state.
From all the information I have, 95 per cent of Kashmir Muslims do not wish to be or remain Indian citizens. I doubt therefore the wisdom of trying to keep people by force where they do not wish to stay. This cannot but have serious long-term political consequences, though immediately it may suit policy and please public opinion.
Bakshi Mohammad implemented all the measures of the '1952 Delhi Agreement'. In May 1954, as a subsequent to the Delhi agreement, The Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1954, is issued by the President of India under Article 370, with the concurrence of the Government of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. In that order, the Article 35A is added to the Constitution of India to empower the Jammu and Kashmir state's legislature to define “permanent residents” of the state and provide special rights and privileges to those permanent residents.
On 15 February 1954, under the leadership of Bakshi Mohammad, the Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir ratified the state's accession to India. On 17 November 1956, the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir was adopted by the Assembly and it came into full effect on 26 January 1957. On 24 January 1957, the UN passed a resolution stating that the decisions of the Constituent Assembly would not constitute a final disposition of the State, which needs to be carried out by a free and impartial plebiscite.
After the overthrow of Sheikh Abdullah, his lieutenant Mirza Afzal Beg formed the Plebiscite Front on 9 August 1955 to fight for the plebiscite demand and the unconditional release of Sheikh Abdullah. The activities of the Plebiscite Front eventually led to the institution of the infamous Kashmir Conspiracy Case in 1958 and two other cases. On 8 August 1958, Abdullah was arrested on the charges of these cases.
India's Home Minister, Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant, during his visit to Srinagar in 1956, declared that the State of Jammu and Kashmir was an integral part of India and there could be no question of a plebiscite to determine its status afresh, hinting that India would resist plebiscite efforts from then on.
After the mass unrest due to missing of holy relic from the Hazratbal Shrine on 27 December 1963, the State Government dropped all charges in the Kashmir Conspiracy Case as a diplomatic decision, on 8 April 1964. Sheikh Abdullah was released and returned to Srinagar where he was accorded a great welcome by the people of the valley. After his release he was reconciled with Nehru. Nehru requested Sheikh Abdullah to act as a bridge between India and Pakistan and make President Ayub to agree to come to New Delhi for the talks for a final solution of the Kashmir problem. President Ayub Khan also sent telegrams to Nehru and Sheikh Abdullah with the message that as Pakistan too was a party to the Kashmir dispute any resolution of the conflict without its participation would not be acceptable to Pakistan. Sheikh Abdullah went to Pakistan in the spring of 1964. President Ayub Khan of Pakistan held extensive talks with him to explore various avenues for solving the Kashmir problem and agreed to come to Delhi in mid June for talks with Nehru as suggested by him. Even the date of his proposed visit was fixed and communicated to New Delhi. However, while Abdullah was still in Pakistan, news came of the sudden death of Nehru on 27 May 1964. The peace initiative died with Nehru.
After Nehru's death in 1964, Abdullah was interned from 1965 to 1968 and exiled from Kashmir in 1971 for 18 months. The Plebiscite Front was also banned. This was allegedly done to prevent him and the Plebiscite Front which was supported by him, from taking part in elections in Kashmir.
On 21 November 1964, the Articles 356 and 357 of the Indian Constitution were extended to the state, by virtue of which the Central Government can assume the government of the State and exercise its legislative powers. On 24 November 1964, the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly passed a constitutional amendment changing the elected post of Sadr-i-Riyasat to a centrally-nominated post of "Governor" and renaming "Prime Minister" to "Chief Minister", which is regarded as the "end of the road" for the Article 370, and the Constitutional autonomy guaranteed by it. On 3 January 1965, prior to 1967 Assembly elections, the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference dissolved itself and merged into the Indian National Congress, as a marked centralising strategy.
After Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, Kashmiri nationalists Amanullah Khan and Maqbool Bhat, along with Hashim Qureshi, in 1966, formed another Plebiscite Front in Azad Kashmir with an armed wing called the National Liberation Front (NLF), with the objective of freeing Kashmir from Indian occupation and then liberating the whole of Jammu and Kashmir. Later in 1976, Maqbool Bhat is arrested on his return to the Valley. Amanullah Khan moved to England and there NLF was renamed Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF).
Shortly after 1965 war, Kashmiri Pandit activist and writer, Prem Nath Bazaz wrote that the overwhelming majority of Kashmir's Muslims were unfriendly to India and wanted to get rid of the political setup, but did not want to use violence for this purpose. He added : "It would take another quarter century of repression and generation turnover for the pacifist approach to yield decisively as armed struggle, qualifying Kashmiris as 'reluctant secessionists'."
In 1971, the declaration of Bangladesh's independence was proclaimed on 26 March by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and subsequently the Bangladesh Liberation War broke out in erstwhile East Pakistan between Pakistan and Bangladesh which was later joined by India, and subsequently war broke out on the western border of India between India and Pakistan, both of which culminated in the creation of Bangladesh.
It is said that, Sheikh Abdullah, watching the alarming turn of events in the subcontinent, realized that for the survival of the region, there was an urgent need to stop pursuing confrontational politics and promoting solution of issues by a process of reconciliation and dialogue. Critics of Sheikh hold the view that he gave up the cherished goal of plebiscite for gaining Chief Minister's chair. He started talks with the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi for normalizing the situation in the region and came to an accord with her, called 1975 Indira-Sheikh accord, by giving up the demand for a plebiscite in lieu of the people being given the right to self-rule by a democratically elected Government (as envisaged under article 370 of the Constitution of India), rather than the "puppet government" which is said to have ruled the state till then. Sheikh Abdullah revived the National Conference, and Mirza Afzal Beg's Plebiscite Front was dissolved in the NC. Sheikh assumed the position of Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir again after 11 years. Later in 1977, the Central Government and the ruling Congress Party withdrew its support so that the State Assembly had to be dissolved and mid term elections called. Sheikh's party National Conference won a majority (47 out of 74 seats) in the subsequent elections, on the pledge to restore Jammu and Kashmir's autonomy, and Sheikh Abdullah was re-elected as Chief Minister. The 1977 Assembly election is regarded as the first "free and fair" election in the Jammu and Kashmir state.
During the 1983 Assembly elections, Indira Gandhi campaigned aggressively, raising the bogey of a 'Muslim invasion' in the Jammu region because of the Resettlement Bill, passed by the then NC government, which gave Kashmiris who left for Pakistan between 1947 and 1954 the right to return, reclaim their properties and resettle. On the other hand, Farooq Abdullah allied with the Mirwaiz Maulvi Mohammed Farooq for the elections and charged that the state's autonomy had been eroded by successive Congress Party governments. The strategies yielded dividends and the Congress won 26 seats, while the NC secured 46. Barring an odd constituency, all victories of the Congress were in the Jammu and Ladakh regions, while NC swept the Kashmir Valley. This election is said to have cemented the political polarization on religious lines in the Jammu and Kashmir state.
After the results of the 1983 election, the Hindu nationalists in the state were demanding stricter central government control over the state whereas Kashmir's Muslims wanted to preserve the state's autonomy. Islamic fundamentalist groups clamoured for a plebiscite. Maulvi Farooq challenged the contention that there was no longer a dispute on Kashmir. He said that the people's movement for plebiscite would not die even though India thought it did when Sheikh Abdullah died.
In 1983, learned men of Kashmiri politics testified that Kashmiris had always wanted to be independent. But the more serious-minded among them also realised that this is not possible, considering Kashmir's size and borders.
According to professor Mridu Rai, for three decades Delhi's handpicked politicians in Kashmir had supported the State's accession to India in return for generous disbursements from Delhi. Rai states that the state elections were conducted in Jammu and Kashmir, but except for the 1977 and 1983 elections no state election was fair.
Kashmiri Pandit activist Prem Nath Bazaz wrote that if free elections were held, the majority of seats would be won by those not friendly to India.
Increasing anti-Indian protests took place in Kashmir in the 1980s. The Soviet-Afghan jihad and the Islamic Revolution in Iran were becoming sources of inspiration for large numbers of Kashmiri Muslim youth. The state authorities responded with increasing use of brute force to simple economic demands. Both the pro-Independence Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) and the pro-Pakistan Islamist groups including JIJK mobilised the fast growing anti-Indian sentiments among the Kashmiri population. 1984 saw a pronounced rise in terrorist violence in Kashmir. When Kashmir Liberation Front militant Maqbool Bhat was executed in February 1984, strikes and protests by Kashmiri nationalists broke out in the region. Large numbers of Kashmiri youth participated in widespread anti India demonstrations, which faced heavy handed reprisals by Indian state forces. Critics of the then Chief Minister, Farooq Abdullah, charged that Abdullah was losing control. His visit to Pakistan administered Kashmir became an embarrassment, where according to Hashim Qureshi, he shared a platform with Kashmir Liberation Front. Though Abdullah asserted that he went on behalf on Indira Gandhi and his father, so that sentiments there could "be known first hand", few people believed him. There were also allegations that he had allowed Khalistan terrorist groups to train in Jammu province, although those allegations were never proved. On July 2, 1984, Ghulam Mohammad Shah, who had support from Indira Gandhi, replaced his brother-in-law Farooq Abdullah and became the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, after Abdullah was dismissed, in what was termed as a political "coup".
In 1986 some members of the JKLF crossed over to Pakistan to receive arms training but the Jamaat Islami Jammu Kashmir, which saw Kashmiri nationalism as contradicting Islamic universalism and its own desire for merging with Pakistan, did not support the JKLF movement. As late as that year, Jamaat member Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who later became a supporter of Kashmir’s armed revolt, urged that the solution for the Kashmir issue be arrived at through peaceful and democratic means. To achieve its goal of self-determination for the people of Jammu and Kashmir the Jamaat e Islami's stated position was that the Kashmir issues be resolved through constitutional means and dialogue.
Shah's administration, which did not have the people's mandate, turned to Islamists and opponents of India, notably the Molvi Iftikhar Hussain Ansari, Mohammad Shafi Qureshi and Mohinuddin Salati, to gain some legitimacy through religious sentiments. This gave political space to Islamists who previously lost overwhelmingly, allegedly due to massive rigging, in the 1983 state elections. In 1986, Shah decided to construct a mosque within the premises of an ancient Hindu temple inside the New Civil Secretariat area in Jammu to be made available to the Muslim employees for 'Namaz'. People of Jammu took to streets to protest against this decision, which led to a Hindu-Muslim clash. On his return to Kashmir valley in February 1986, Gul Shah retaliated and incited the Kashmiri Muslims by saying Islam khatrey mein hey (trans. Islam is in danger). As a result, communal violence gripped the region, in which Hindus were targeted, especially the Kashmiri pandits, who later in the year 1990, fled the valley in large numbers. During the Anantnag riot in February 1986, although no Hindu was killed, many houses and other properties belonging to Hindus were looted, burnt or damaged.
An investigation of Anantnag riots revealed that members of the 'secular parties' in the state, rather than the Islamists, had played a key role in organising the violence to gain political mileage through religious sentiments. Shah called in the army to curb the violence, but it had little effect. His government was dismissed on March 12, 1986, by the then Governor Jagmohan following communal riots in south Kashmir. This led Jagmohan to rule the state directly.
Jagmohan is said to have failed to distinguish between the secular forms and Islamist expressions of Kashmiri identity, and hence saw that identity as a threat. This failure was exploited by the Islamists of the valley, who defied the 'Hindu nationalist' policies implemented during Jagmohan's tenure, and thereby gained momentum. The political fight was hence being portrayed as a conflict between "Hindu" New Delhi (Central Government), and its efforts to impose its will in the state, and "Muslim" Kashmir, represented by political Islamists and clerics. Jagmohan's pro-Hindu bias in the administration led to an increase in the appeal of the Muslim United Front.
An alliance of Islamic parties organized into Muslim United Front (MUF) to contest the 1987 state elections. Culturally, the growing emphasis on secularism led to a backlash with Islamic parties becoming more popular. MUF's election manifesto stressed the need to solve all outstanding issues according to the Simla agreement, work for Islamic unity and against political interference from the centre. Their slogan was wanting the law of the Quran in the Assembly.
There was highest recorded participation in this election. Eighty per cent of the people in the Valley voted. MUF received victory in only 4 of the contested 43 electoral constituencies despite its high vote share of 31 per cent (this means that its official vote in the Valley was larger than one-third). The elections were widespreadly believed to have been rigged by the ruling party National Conference, allied with the Indian National Congress. In the absence of rigging, commentators believe that the MUF could have won fifteen to twenty seats, a contention admitted by the National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah. Scholar Sumantra Bose, on the other hand. opines that the MUF would have won most of the constituencies in the Kashmir Valley.
BBC reported that Khem Lata Wukhloo, who was a leader of the Congress party at the time, admitted the widespread rigging in Kashmir. He stated:
"I remember that there was a massive rigging in 1987 elections. The losing candidates were declared winners. It shook the ordinary people's faith in the elections and the democratic process."
In the years since 1990, the Kashmiri Muslims and the Indian government have conspired to abolish the complexities of Kashmiri civilization. The world it inhabited has vanished: the state government and the political class, the rule of law, almost all the Hindu inhabitants of the valley, alcohol, cinemas, cricket matches, picnics by moonlight in the saffron fields, schools, universities, an independent press, tourists and banks. In this reduction of civilian reality, the sights of Kashmir are redefined: not the lakes and Mogul gardens, or the storied triumphs of Kashmiri agriculture, handicrafts and cookery, but two entities that confront each other without intermediary: the mosque and the army camp.
In 1989, a widespread popular and armed insurgency started in Kashmir. After the 1987 state legislative assembly election, some of the results were disputed. This resulted in the formation of militant wings and marked the beginning of the Mujahadeen insurgency, which continues to this day. India contends that the insurgency was largely started by Afghan mujahadeen who entered the Kashmir valley following the end of the Soviet-Afghan War. Yasin Malik, a leader of one faction of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, was one of the Kashmiris to organise militancy in Kashmir, along with Ashfaq Majeed Wani, Javaid Ahmad Mir, and Abdul Hamid Sheikh. Since 1995, Malik has renounced the use of violence and calls for strictly peaceful methods to resolve the dispute. Malik developed differences with one of the senior leaders, Farooq Siddiqui (alias Farooq Papa), for shunning demands for an independent Kashmir and trying to cut a deal with the Indian Prime Minister. This resulted in a split in which Bitta Karate, Salim Nanhaji, and other senior comrades joined Farooq Papa. Pakistan claims these insurgents are Jammu and Kashmir citizens, and are rising up against the Indian army as part of an independence movement. Amnesty International has accused security forces in Indian-controlled Kashmir of exploiting an Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act that enables them to "hold prisoners without trial". The group argues that the law, which allows security forces to detain individuals for up to two years without presenting charges violates prisoners' human rights. In 2011, the state humans right commission said it had evidence that 2,156 bodies had been buried in 40 graves over the last 20 years. The authorities deny such accusations. The security forces say the unidentified dead are militants who may have originally come from outside India. They also say that many of the missing people have crossed into Pakistan-administered Kashmir to engage in militancy. However, according to the state human rights commission, among the identified bodies 574 were those of "disappeared locals", and according to Amnesty International's annual human rights report (2012) it was sufficient for "belying the security forces' claim that they were militants".
India claims these insurgents are Islamic terrorist groups from Pakistan-administered Kashmir and Afghanistan, fighting to make Jammu and Kashmir a part of Pakistan. They claim Pakistan supplies munitions to the terrorists and trains them in Pakistan. India states that the terrorists have killed many citizens in Kashmir and committed human rights violations whilst denying that their own armed forces are responsible for human rights abuses. On a visit to Pakistan in 2006, former Chief Minister of Kashmir Omar Abdullah remarked that foreign militants were engaged in reckless killings and mayhem in the name of religion. The Indian government has said militancy is now on the decline.
The Pakistani government calls these insurgents "Kashmiri freedom fighters", and claims that it provides them only moral and diplomatic support, although India believes they are Pakistan-supported terrorists from Pakistan Administered Kashmir. In October 2008, President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan called the Kashmir separatists "terrorists" in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. These comments sparked outrage amongst many Kashmiris, some of whom defied a curfew imposed by the Indian army to burn him in effigy.
In 2008, pro-separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq told the Washington Post that there has been a "purely indigenous, purely Kashmiri" peaceful protest movement alongside the insurgency in Indian-administered Kashmir since 1989. The movement was created for the same reason as the insurgency and began after the disputed election of 1987. According to the United Nations, the Kashmiris have grievances with the Indian government, specifically the Indian military, which has committed human rights violations.
In 1994, the NGO International Commission of Jurists sent a fact finding mission to Kashmir. The ICJ mission concluded that the right of self-determination to which the peoples of Jammu and Kashmir became entitled as part of the process of partition had neither been exercised nor abandoned, and thus remained exercisable. It further stated that as the people of Kashmir had a right of self-determination, it followed that their insurgency was legitimate. It, however, did not follow that Pakistan had a right to provide support for the militants.
In mid-1999, alleged insurgents and Pakistani soldiers from Pakistani Kashmir infiltrated Jammu and Kashmir. During the winter season, Indian forces regularly move down to lower altitudes, as severe climatic conditions makes it almost impossible for them to guard the high peaks near the Line of Control. This practice is followed by both India and Pakistan Army. The terrain makes it difficult for both sides to maintain a strict border control over Line of Control. The insurgents took advantage of this and occupied vacant mountain peaks in the Kargil range overlooking the highway in Indian Kashmir that connects Srinagar and Leh. By blocking the highway, they could cut off the only link between the Kashmir Valley and Ladakh. This resulted in a large-scale conflict between the Indian and Pakistani armies. The final stage involved major battles by Indian and Pakistani forces resulting in India recapturing most of the territories held by Pakistani forces.
Fears of the Kargil War turning into a nuclear war provoked the then-United States President Bill Clinton to pressure Pakistan to retreat. The Pakistan Army withdrew their remaining troops from the area, ending the conflict. India regained control of the Kargil peaks, which they now patrol and monitor all year long.
In a 'Letter to American People' written by Osama bin Laden in 2002, he stated that one of the reasons he was fighting America was because of its support for India on the Kashmir issue. While on a trip to Delhi in 2002, US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld suggested that Al-Qaeda was active in Kashmir, though he did not have any hard evidence. An investigation by a Christian Science Monitor reporter in 2002 claimed to have unearthed evidence that Al-Qaeda and its affiliates were prospering in Pakistan-administered Kashmir with tacit approval of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI). In 2002, a team comprising Special Air Service and Delta Force personnel was sent into Indian-administered Kashmir to hunt for Osama bin Laden after reports that he was being sheltered by the Kashmiri militant group Harkat-ul-Mujahideen. US officials believed that Al-Qaeda was helping organise a campaign of terror in Kashmir to provoke conflict between India and Pakistan. Their strategy was to force Pakistan to move its troops to the border with India, thereby relieving pressure on Al-Qaeda elements hiding in northwestern Pakistan. US intelligence analysts say Al-Qaeda and Taliban operatives in Pakistan-administered Kashmir are helping terrorists trained in Afghanistan to infiltrate Indian-administered Kashmir. Fazlur Rehman Khalil, the leader of the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, signed al-Qaeda's 1998 declaration of holy war, which called on Muslims to attack all Americans and their allies. In 2006 Al-Qaeda claim they have established a wing in Kashmir, which worried the Indian government. Indian Army Lieutenant General H.S. Panag, GOC-in-C Northern Command, told reporters that the army has ruled out the presence of Al-Qaeda in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir. He said that there no evidence to verify media reports of an Al-Qaeda presence in the state. He ruled out Al-Qaeda ties with the militant groups in Kashmir including Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed. However, he stated that they had information about Al Qaeda's strong ties with Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed operations in Pakistan. While on a visit to Pakistan in January 2010, US Defense secretary Robert Gates stated that Al-Qaeda was seeking to destabilise the region and planning to provoke a nuclear war between India and Pakistan.
In June 2011, a US Drone strike killed Ilyas Kashmiri, chief of Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami, a Kashmiri militant group associated with Al-Qaeda. Kashmiri was described by Bruce Riedel as a 'prominent' Al-Qaeda member, while others described him as the head of military operations for Al-Qaeda. Waziristan had by then become the new battlefield for Kashmiri militants fighting NATO in support of Al-Qaeda. Ilyas Kashmiri was charged by the US in a plot against Jyllands-Posten, the Danish newspaper at the center of the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy. In April 2012, Farman Ali Shinwari a former member of Kashmiri separatist groups Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami, was appointed chief of al-Qaeda in Pakistan.
The Kashmir Conflict arose from the Partition of British India in 1947 into modern India and Pakistan. Both countries subsequently made claims to Kashmir, based on the history and religious affiliations of the Kashmiri people. The princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, which lies strategically in the north-west of the subcontinent bordering Afghanistan and China, was formerly ruled by Maharaja Hari Singh under the paramountcy of British India. In geographical and legal terms, the Maharaja could have joined either of the two new countries. Although urged by the Viceroy, Lord Mountbatten of Burma, to determine the future of his state before the transfer of power took place, Singh demurred. In October 1947, incursions by Pakistan took place leading to a war, as a result of which the state of Jammu and Kashmir remains divided between India and Pakistan.
|Administered by||Area||Population||% Muslim||% Hindu||% Buddhist||% Other|
|India||Kashmir valley||~4 million||95%||4%||–||–|
|Azad Kashmir||~2.6 million||100%||–||–||–|
Two-thirds of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, comprising Jammu, the Kashmir Valley, and the sparsely populated Buddhist area of Ladakh are controlled by India while one-third is administered by Pakistan. The latter includes a narrow strip of land called Azad Kashmir and the Northern Areas, comprising the Gilgit Agency, Baltistan, and the former kingdoms of Hunza and Nagar. Attempts to resolve the dispute through political discussions have been unsuccessful. In September 1965, war again broke out between Pakistan and India. The United Nations called for another cease-fire, and peace was restored following the Tashkent Declaration in 1966, by which both nations returned to their original positions along the demarcated line. After the 1971 war and the creation of independent Bangladesh under the terms of the 1972 Simla Agreement between Prime Minister Indira Gandhi of India and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto of Pakistan, it was agreed that neither country would seek to alter the cease-fire line in Kashmir, which was renamed as the Line of Control, "unilaterally, irrespective of mutual differences and legal interpretations".
Numerous violations of the Line of Control have occurred, including incursions by insurgents and Pakistani armed forces at Kargil leading to the Kargil war. There have also been sporadic clashes on the Siachen Glacier, where the Line of Control is not demarcated and both countries maintain forces at altitudes rising to 20,000 ft (6,100 m), with the Indian forces serving at higher altitudes.
India has officially stated that it believes that Kashmir to be an integral part of India, though the then Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh, stated after the 2010 Kashmir Unrest that his government was willing to grant autonomy to the region within the purview of Indian constitution if there was consensus among political parties on this issue. The Indian viewpoint is succinctly summarised by Ministry of External affairs, Government of India —
Additional Indian viewpoints regarding the broader debate over the Kashmir conflict include –
According to a poll in an Indian newspaper Indians were keener to keep control of Kashmir than Pakistanis. 67% of urban Indians want New Delhi to be in full control of Kashmir.
Michigan State University scholar Baljit Singh, interviewing Indian foreign policy experts in 1965, found that 77 percent of them favoured discussions with Pakistan on all outstanding problems including the Kashmir dispute. However, only 17 percent were supportive of holding a plebiscite in Kashmir. The remaining 60 percent were pessimistic of a solution due to a distrust of Pakistan or a perception of threats to India's internal institutions. They contended that India's secularism was far from stable and the possibility of Kashmir separating from India or joining Pakistan would endanger Hindu–Muslim relations in India.
In 2008, the death toll from the last 20 years was estimated by Indian authorities to be over 47,000.
In 2017 India's Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh, demanded that Pakistan desist from demanding a plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir, saying: 'If at all a referendum is required, it is needed in Pakistan, where people should be asked whether they want to continue in Pakistan or are demanding the country's merger with India'.
Pakistan maintains that Kashmir is the "jugular vein of Pakistan" and a currently disputed territory whose final status must be determined by the people of Kashmir. Pakistan's claims to the disputed region are based on the rejection of Indian claims to Kashmir, namely the Instrument of Accession. Pakistan insists that the Maharaja was not a popular leader, and was regarded as a tyrant by most Kashmiris. Pakistan maintains that the Maharaja used brute force to suppress the population.
Pakistan claims that Indian forces were in Kashmir before the Instrument of Accession was signed with India, and that therefore Indian troops were in Kashmir in violation of the Standstill Agreement, which was designed to maintain the status quo in Kashmir (although India was not signatory to the Agreement, which was signed between Pakistan and the Hindu ruler of Jammu and Kashmir).
From 1990 to 1999, some organisations reported that the Indian Armed Forces, its paramilitary groups, and counter-insurgent militias were responsible for the deaths of 4,501 Kashmiri civilians. During the same period, there were records of 4,242 women between the ages of 7–70 being raped. Similar allegations were also made by some human rights organisations.
In short, Pakistan holds that –
A poll by an Indian newspaper shows 48% of Pakistanis want Islamabad in full control of Kashmir. 47% of Pakistanis support Kashmiri independence.
Former Pakistani president General Pervez Musharraf on 16 October 2014 said that Pakistan needs to incite those fighting in Kashmir, "We have source (in Kashmir) besides the (Pakistan) army…People in Kashmir are fighting against (India). We just need to incite them," Musharraf told a TV channel.
In 2015 Pakistan’s outgoing National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz said that Pakistan wished to have third party mediation on Kashmir, but it was unlikely to happen unless by international pressure. "Under Shimla Accord it was decided that India and Pakistan would resolve their disputes bilaterally," Aziz said. "Such bilateral talks have not yielded any results for the last 40 years. So then what is the solution?"
China states that Aksai Chin is an integral part of China and does not recognise the inclusion of Aksai Chin as part of the Kashmir region.
Scholar Andrew Whitehead states that Kashmiris view Kashmir as having been ruled by their own in 1586. Since then, they believe, it has been ruled in succession by the Mughals, Afghans, Sikhs, Dogras and, lately, the Indian government. Whitehead states that this is only partly true: the Mughals lavished much affection and resources on Kashmir, the Dogras made Srinagar their capital next only to their native Jammu city, and through much of the post-independence India, Kashmiri Muslims headed the state government. Yet Kashmiris bear an 'acute sense of grievance' that they were not in control of their own fate for centurues.
The border and the Line of Control separating Indian and Pakistani Kashmir passes through some exceptionally difficult terrain. The world's highest battleground, the Siachen Glacier, is a part of this difficult-to-man boundary. Even with 200,000 military personnel, India maintains that it is infeasible to place enough men to guard all sections of the border throughout the various seasons of the year. Pakistan has indirectly acquiesced its role in failing to prevent "cross-border terrorism" when it agreed to curb such activities after intense pressure from the Bush administration in mid-2002.
The Government of Pakistan has repeatedly claimed that by constructing a fence along the line of control, India is violating the Shimla Accord. India claims the construction of the fence has helped decrease armed infiltration into Indian-administered Kashmir.
In 2002, Pakistani President and Army Chief General Pervez Musharraf promised to check infiltration into Jammu and Kashmir.
India has furnished documentary evidence to the United Nations that Pakistan supports Kashmiri militants, leading to a ban on some terrorist organisations, which Pakistan has yet to enforce. Former President of Pakistan and the ex-chief of the Pakistan military Pervez Musharraf, stated in an interview in London, that the Pakistani government indeed helped to form underground militant groups and "turned a blind eye" towards their existence.
According to former Indian Prime-minister Manmohan Singh, one of the main reasons behind the conflict was Pakistan's "terror-induced coercion". He further stated at a Joint Press Conference with United States President Barack Obama in New Delhi that India is not afraid of resolving all the issues with Pakistan including that of Kashmir "but it is our request that you cannot simultaneously be talking and at the same time the terror machine is as active as ever before. Once Pakistan moves away from this terror-induced coercion, we will be very happy to engage productively with Pakistan to resolve all outstanding issues."
In 2009, the President of Pakistan Asif Zardari asserted at a conference in Islamabad that Pakistan had indeed created Islamic militant groups as a strategic tool for use in its geostrategic agenda and "to attack Indian forces in Jammu and Kashmir". Former President of Pakistan and the ex-chief of the Pakistan military Pervez Musharraf also stated in an interview that Pakistani government helped to form underground militant groups to fight against Indian troops in Jammu and Kashmir and "turned a blind eye" towards their existence because it wanted to force India to enter negotiations. The British Government have formally accepted that there is a clear connection between Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and three major militant outfits operating in Jammu and Kashmir, Lashkar-e-Tayiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed and Harkat-ul-Mujahideen. The militants are provided with "weapons, training, advice and planning assistance" in Punjab and Kashmir by the ISI which is "coordinating the shipment of arms from the Pakistani side of Kashmir to the Indian side, where Muslim insurgents are waging a protracted war".
Throughout the 1990s, the ISI maintained its relationship with extremist networks and militants that it had established during the Afghan war to utilise in its campaign against Indian forces in Kashmir. Joint Intelligence/North (JIN) has been accused of conducting operations in Jammu and Kashmir and also Afghanistan. The Joint Signal Intelligence Bureau (JSIB) provide communications support to groups in Kashmir. According to Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon, both former members of the National Security Council, the ISI acted as a "kind of terrorist conveyor belt" radicalising young men in the Madrassas of Pakistan and delivering them to training camps affiliated with or run by Al-Qaeda and from there moving them into Jammu and Kashmir to launch attacks.
Reportedly, about Rs. 24 million are paid out per month by the ISI to fund its activities in Jammu and Kashmir. Pro-Pakistani groups were reportedly favoured over other militant groups. Creation of six militant groups in Kashmir, which included Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), was aided by the ISI. According to American Intelligence officials, ISI is still providing protection and help to LeT. The Pakistan Army and ISI also LeT volunteers to surreptitiously penetrate from Pakistan Administrated Kashmir to Jammu and Kashmir.
In the past, Indian authorities have alleged several times that Pakistan has been involved in training and arming underground militant groups to fight Indian forces in Kashmir.
Another reason for the dispute over Kashmir is water. Kashmir is the source of many rivers and tributaries in the Indus River basin. This basin is divided between Pakistan, which has about 60 percent of the catchment area, India with about 20 percent, Afghanistan with 5 percent and around 15 percent in China (Tibet autonomous region). The river tributaries are the Jhelum and Chenab rivers, which primarily flow into Pakistan, while other branches—the Ravi, Beas, and the Sutlej—irrigate northern India.
The Indus is a river system that sustains communities in India and Pakistan. Both have extensively dammed the Indus River for irrigation of their crops and hydro-electricity systems. In arbitrating the conflict in 1947, Sir Cyril Radcliffe, decided to demarcate the territories as he was unable to give to one or the other the control over the river as it was a main economic resource for both areas. The Line of Control (LoC) was recognised as an international border establishing that India would have control over the upper riparian and Pakistan over the lower riparian of the Indus and its tributaries. Despite appearing to be separate issues, the Kashmir dispute and the dispute over the water control are in reality related and the fight over the water remains one of the main problems in establishing good relations between the two countries.
In 1948, Eugene Black, then president of the World Bank, offered his services to solve the tension over water control. In the early days of independence, the fact that India was able to shut off the Central Bari Doab Canals at the time of the sowing season, causing significant damage to Pakistan's crops. Nevertheless, military and political clashes over Kashmir in the early years of independence appear to have been more about ideology and sovereignty rather than over the sharing of water resources. However, the minister of Pakistan has stated the opposite.
The Indus Waters Treaty was signed by both countries in September 1960, giving exclusive rights over the three western rivers of the Indus river system (Jhelum, Chenab and Indus) to Pakistan, and over the three eastern rivers (Sutlej, Ravi and Beas) to India, as long as this does not reduce or delay the supply to Pakistan. India therefore maintains that they are not willing to break the established regulations and they see no more problems with this issue.
Human rights abuses such as extrajudicial killings and rapes have been committed by Indian forces in Kashmir. Militants have also committed crimes but their crimes pale in comparison to the crimes of Indian forces. Crimes by state forces are done inside Kashmir Valley which is the location of the present conflict.
The 2010 Chatham House opinion poll of the people of Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir found that overall concern, in the entire state, over human rights abuses was 43%. In the surveyed districts of the Muslim majority Kashmir Valley, where the desire for Independence is strongest, there was a high rate of concern over human rights abuses. (88% in Baramulla, 87% in Srinagar, 73% in Anantnag and 55% in Badgam). However, in the Hindu majority and Buddhist majority areas of the state, where pro-India sentiment is extremely strong, concern over human rights abuses was low (only 3% in Jammu expressed concerns over human rights abuses).
According to Hon. Edolphus Towns of the American House of Representatives, around 90,000 Kashmiri Muslims have been killed by the Indian government since 1988. Human Rights Watch says armed militant organizations in Kashmir have also targeted civilians, although not to the same extent as the Indian security forces. Since 1989, over 50,000 people are claimed to have died during the conflict. Data released in 2011 by Jammu and Kashmir government stated that, in the last 21 years, 43,460 people have been killed in the Kashmir insurgency. Of these, 21,323 are militants, 13,226 civilians killed by militants, 3,642 civilians killed by security forces, and 5,369 policemen killed by militants, according to the Jammu and Kashmir government data. Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society says there have been 70,000 plus killings, a majority committed by the Indian armed forces.
Several international agencies and the UN have reported human rights violations in Indian-administered Kashmir. In a 2008 press release the OHCHR spokesmen stated "The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is concerned about the recent violent protests in Indian-administered Kashmir that have reportedly led to civilian casualties as well as restrictions to the right to freedom of assembly and expression." A 1996 Human Rights Watch report accuses the Indian military and Indian-government backed paramilitaries of "committ[ing] serious and widespread human rights violations in Kashmir." Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society labels the happenings in Kashmir as war crimes and genocide and have issued a statement that those responsible should be tried in court of law. Some of the massacres by security forces include Gawakadal massacre, Zakoora and Tengpora massacre and Handwara massacre. Another such alleged massacre occurred on 6 January 1993 in the town of Sopore. TIME Magazine described the incident as such: "In retaliation for the killing of one soldier, paramilitary forces rampaged through Sopore's market, setting buildings ablaze and shooting bystanders. The Indian government pronounced the event 'unfortunate' and claimed that an ammunition dump had been hit by gunfire, setting off fires that killed most of the victims."  A state government inquiry into the 22 October 1993 Bijbehara killings, in which the Indian military fired on a procession and killed 40 people and injured 150, found out that the firing by the forces was 'unprovoked' and the claim of the military that it was in retaliation was 'concocted and baseless'. However, the accused are still to be punished. In its report of September 2006, Human Rights Watch stated:
Indian security forces claim they are fighting to protect Kashmiris from militants and Islamic extremists, while militants claim they are fighting for Kashmiri independence and to defend Muslim Kashmiris from an abusive Indian army. In reality, both sides have committed widespread and numerous human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law (or the laws of war).
Many human rights organisations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW) have condemned human rights abuses in Kashmir by Indians such as "extra-judicial executions", "disappearances", and torture. The "Armed Forces Special Powers Act" grants the military, wide powers of arrest, the right to shoot to kill, and to occupy or destroy property in counterinsurgency operations. Indian officials claim that troops need such powers because the army is only deployed when national security is at serious risk from armed combatants. Such circumstances, they say, call for extraordinary measures. Human rights organisations have also asked the Indian government to repeal the Public Safety Act, since "a detainee may be held in administrative detention for a maximum of two years without a court order." A 2008 report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees determined that Indian Administered Kashmir was only 'partly free'. A recent report by Amnesty International stated that up to 20,000 people have been detained under a law called AFSPA in Indian-administered Kashmir.
Some human rights organisations have alleged that Indian Security forces have killed hundreds of Kashmiris through the indiscriminate use of force and torture, firing on demonstrations, custodial killings, encounters and detentions. The government of India denied that torture was widespread and stated that some custodial crimes may have taken place but that "these are few and far between". According to cables leaked by the WikiLeaks website, US diplomats in 2005 were informed by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) about the use of torture and sexual humiliation against hundreds of Kashmiri detainees by the security forces. The cable said Indian security forces relied on torture for confessions and that the human right abuses are believed to be condoned by the Indian government. SHRC also accused Indian army of forced labour.
There have been claims of disappearances by the police or the army in Kashmir by several human rights organisations. Human rights groups in Kashmir have documented more than three hundred cases of "disappearances" since 1990 but lawyers believe the number to be far higher because many relatives of disappeared people fear reprisal if they contact a lawyer. In 2016 Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society said there are more than 8000 forced disappearances. State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has found 2,730 bodies buried into unmarked graves, scattered in three districts — Bandipora, Baramulla, and Kupwara — of North Kashmir, believed to contain the remains of victims of unlawful killings and enforced disappearances by Indian security forces. SHRC stated that about 574 of these bodies have already been identified as those of disappeared locals. In 2012, the Jammu and Kashmir State government stripped its State Information Commission (SIC) department of most powers after the commission asked the government to disclose information about the unmarked graves. This state action was reportedly denounced by the former National Chief Information Commissioner. Amnesty International has called on India to "unequivocally condemn enforced disappearances" and to ensure that impartial investigations are conducted into mass graves in its Kashmir region. The Indian state police confirms as many as 331 deaths while in custody and 111 enforced disappearances since 1989.
A report from the Indian Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) claimed that the seven people killed in 2000 by the Indian military, were innocent civilians. The Indian Army has decided to try the accused in the General Court Martial. It was also reported that the killings that were allegedly committed in "cold-blood" by the Army, were actually in retaliation for the murder of 36 civilians [Sikhs] by militants at Chattisingpora in 2000. The official stance of the Indian Army was that, according to its own investigation, 97% of the reports about human rights abuses have been found to be "fake or motivated". However, there have been at least one case where civilians have been killed in 'fake encounters' by Indian army personnel for cash rewards. According to a report by Human Rights Watch,
Indian security forces have assaulted civilians during search operations, tortured and summarily executed detainees in custody and murdered civilians in reprisal attacks. Rape most often occurs during crackdowns, cordon-and-search operations during which men are held for identification in parks or schoolyards while security forces search their homes. In these situations, the security forces frequently engage in collective punishment against the civilian population, most frequently by beating or otherwise assaulting residents, and burning their homes. Rape is used as a means of targetting women whom the security forces accuse of being militant sympathizers; in raping them, the security forces are attempting to punish and humiliate the entire community.
The allegation of mass rape incidents as well as forced disappearances are reflected in a Kashmiri short documentary film by an Independent Kashmiri film-maker, the Ocean of Tears produced by a non-governmental non-profit organisation called the Public Service Broadcasting Trust of India and approved by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (India). The film depicts mass rape incidents in Kunan Poshpora and Shopian as facts and alleges that Indian Security Forces were responsible. Médecins Sans Frontières conducted a research survey in 2005 that found 11.6% of the interviewees who took part had been victims of sexual abuse since 1989. This empirical study found that witnesses to rape in Kashmir was comparatively far higher than the other conflict zones such as Sierra Lone and Sri Lanka. 63% of people had heard of rape and 13% of the people had witnessed a rape. Dr Seema Kazi holds the security forces more responsible for raping than militants due to rape by the former being larger in scale and frequency. In areas of militant activity the security forces use rape to destroy morale of Kashmiri resistance. Dr Seema Kazi says these rapes cannot be ignored as rare occurrences nor should be ignored the documented acknowledgement of individual soldiers that they were ordered to rape. Kazi explains rape in Kashmir as a cultural weapon of war:
In the particular context of Kashmir where an ethnic Muslim minority population is subject to the repressive dominance of a predominantly Hindu State, the sexual appropriation of Kashmiri women by State security forces exploits the cultural logic of rape whereby the sexual dishonour of individual women is coterminous with the subjection and subordination of Kashmiri men and the community at large.
Former Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir High Court noted in his report on human rights in Kashmir: ''It is hard to escape the conclusion that the security forces who are overwhelmingly Hindu and Sikh, see it as their duty to beat an alien population into submission.''
Some surveys have found that in the Kashmir region itself (where the bulk of separatist and Indian military activity is concentrated), popular perception holds that the Indian Armed Forces are more to blame for human rights violations than the separatist groups. Amnesty International criticized the Indian Military regarding an incident on 22 April 1996, when several armed forces personnel forcibly entered the house of a 32-year-old woman in the village of Wawoosa in the Rangreth district of Jammu and Kashmir. They reportedly molested her 12-year-old daughter and raped her other three daughters, aged 14, 16, and 18. When another woman attempted to prevent the soldiers from attacking her two daughters, she was beaten. Soldiers reportedly told her 17-year-old daughter to remove her clothes so that they could check whether she was hiding a gun. They molested her before leaving the house.
According to an op-ed published in a BBC journal, the emphasis of the movement after 1989, ″soon shifted from nationalism to Islam.″ It also claimed that the minority community of Kashmiri Pandits, who have lived in Kashmir for centuries, were forced to leave their homeland. Reports by the Indian government state 219 Kashmiri pandits were killed and around 140,000 migrated due to millitancy while over 3000 remained in the valley. The local organisation of Pandits in Kashmir, Kashmir Pandit Sangharsh Samiti claimed that 399 Kashmiri Pandits were killed by insurgents. Al Jazeera states that 650 Pandits were murdered by militants. Human Rights Watch also blamed Pakistan for supporting militants in Kashmir, in same 2006 report it says, "There is considerable evidence that over many years Pakistan has provided Kashmiri militants with training, weapons, funding and sanctuary. Pakistan remains accountable for abuses committed by militants that it has armed and trained."
Our people were killed. I saw a girl tortured with cigarette butts. Another man had his eyes pulled out and his body hung on a tree. The armed separatists used a chainsaw to cut our bodies into pieces. It wasn't just the killing but the way they tortured and killed.— A crying old Kashmiri Hindu in refugee camps of Jammu told BBC news reporter
The violence was condemned and labelled as ethnic cleansing in a 2006 resolution passed by the United States Congress. It stated that the Islamic terrorists infiltrated the region in 1989 and began an ethnic cleansing campaign to convert Kashmir into a Muslim state. According to the same resolution, since then nearly 400,000 Pandits were either murdered or forced to leave their ancestral homes.
According to a Hindu American Foundation report, the rights and religious freedom of Kashmiri Hindus have been severely curtailed since 1989, when there was an organised and systematic campaign by Islamist militants to cleanse Hindus from Kashmir. Less than 4,000 Kashmiri Hindus remain in the valley, reportedly living with daily threats of violence and terrorism. Sanjay Tickoo, who heads the KPSS, an organisation which looks after Pandits who remain in the Valley, says the situation is complex. On one hand the community did face intimidation and violence but on the other hand he says there was no genocide or mass murder as suggested by Pandits who are based outside of Kashmir.
The displaced Pandits, many of who continue to live in temporary refugee camps in Jammu and Delhi, are still unable to safely return to their homeland. The lead in this act of ethnic cleansing was initially taken by the Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front and the Hizbul Mujahideen. According to Indian media, all this happened at the instigation of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) by a group of Kashmiri terrorist elements who were trained, armed and motivated by the ISI. Reportedly, organisations trained and armed by the ISI continued this ethnic cleansing until practically all the Kashmiri Pandits were driven out after having been subjected to numerous indignities and brutalities such as rape of their women, torture, forcible seizure of property etc.
The separatists in Kashmir deny these allegations. The Indian government is also trying to reinstate the displaced Pandits in Kashmir. Tahir, the district commander of a separatist Islamic group in Kashmir, stated: "We want the Kashmiri Pandits to come back. They are our brothers. We will try to protect them." But the majority of the Pandits, who have been living in pitiable conditions in Jammu, believe that, until insurgency ceases to exist, return is not possible. Mustafa Kamal, brother of Union Minister Farooq Abdullah, blamed security forces, former Jammu and Kashmir governor Jagmohan and PDP leader Mufti Sayeed for forcing the migration of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley. Jagmohan denies these allegations. Pro-India politician Abdul Rashid says Pandits forced the migration on themselves so Muslims can be killed. He says the plan was to leave Muslims alone and bulldoze them freely.
The CIA has reported that at least 506,000 people from Indian Administered Kashmir are internally displaced, about half of who are Hindu Pandits. The United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCR) reports that there are roughly 1.5 million refugees from Indian-administered Kashmir, the bulk of who arrived in Pakistan-administered Kashmir and in Pakistan after the situation on the Indian side worsened in 1989 insurgency.
Harvardian Mehboob Makhdoomi writes that human rights violations in Pakistani administered part of Kashmir are not comparable with human rights violations in Indian administered Kashmir. The 2010 Chatham House opinion poll of Azad Kashmir's people found that overall concerns about human rights abuses in 'Azad Kashmir' was 19%. The district where concern over human rights abuses was greatest was Bhimber where 32% of people expressed concern over human rights abuses. The lowest was in the district of Sudanhoti where concern over human rights abuses was a mere 5%.
Claims of religious discrimination and restrictions on religious freedom in Azad Kashmir have been made against Pakistan. The country is also accused of systemic suppression of free speech and demonstrations against the government. UNHCR reported that a number of Islamist militant groups, including al-Qaeda, operate from bases in Pakistani-administered Kashmir with the tacit permission of ISI There have also been several allegations of human rights abuse.
In 2006, Human Rights Watch accused ISI and the military of systemic torture with the purpose of "punishing" errant politicians, political activists and journalists in Azad Kashmir. According to Brad Adams, the Asia director at Human Rights Watch, the problems of human rights abuses in Azad Kashmir were not "rampant" but they needed to be addressed, and that the severity of human rights issues in Indian-administered Kashmir were "much, much, much greater". A report titled "Kashmir: Present Situation and Future Prospects", submitted to the European Parliament by Emma Nicholson, was critical of the lack of human rights, justice, democracy, and Kashmiri representation in the Pakistan National Assembly. According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Pakistan's ISI operates in Pakistan-administered Kashmir and is accused of involvement in extensive surveillance, arbitrary arrests, torture, and murder. The 2008 report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees determined that Pakistan-administered Kashmir was 'not free'. According to Shaukat Ali, chairman of the International Kashmir Alliance, "On one hand Pakistan claims to be the champion of the right of self-determination of the Kashmiri people, but she has denied the same rights under its controlled parts of Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan".
After the 2011 elections, Azad Kashmir Prime Minister Sardar Attique Ahmad Khan stated that there were mistakes in the voters list which have raised questions about the credibility of the elections.
In December 1993, the blasphemy laws of Pakistan were extended to Pakistan Administered Kashmir. The area is ruled directly through a chief executive Lt. Gen. Mohammed Shafiq, appointed by Islamabad with a 26-member Northern Areas Council.
UNCR reports that the status of women in Pakistani-administered Kashmir is similar to that of women in Pakistan. They are not granted equal rights under the law, and their educational opportunities and choice of marriage partner remain "circumscribed". Domestic violence, forced marriage, and other forms of abuse continue to be issues of concern. In May 2007, the United Nations and other aid agencies temporarily suspended their work after suspected Islamists mounted an arson attack on the home of two aid workers after the organisations had received warnings against hiring women. However, honour killings and rape occur less frequently than in other areas of Pakistan.
Scholar Sumantra Bose comments that the uprising remained restricted to the Indian side and did not spill over into Pakistani-administered Kashmir despite a lack of democratic freedoms on the Pakistani side. Bose offers a number of possible explanations for this. Azad Kashmir's strong pro-Pakistan allegiances and a relatively smaller population are suggested as reasons. But Bose believes that a stronger explanation was that Pakistan had itself been a military-bureaucratic state for most of its history without stable democratic institutions. According to Bose, the Kashmiri Muslims had higher expectations from India which turned out to be a "moderately successful" democracy and it was in this context that Kashmiri Muslim rage spilled over after the rigging of the elections in 1987. The residents of Azad Kashmir are also mostly Punjabi, differing in ethnicity from Kashmiris in the Indian administered section of the state.
The main demand of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan is constitutional status for the region as a fifth province of Pakistan. However, Pakistan claims that Gilgit-Baltistan cannot be given constitutional status due to Pakistan's commitment to the 1948 UN resolution. In 2007, the International Crisis Group stated that "Almost six decades after Pakistan's independence, the constitutional status of the Federally Administered Northern Areas (Gilgit and Baltistan), once part of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir and now under Pakistani control, remains undetermined, with political autonomy a distant dream. The region's inhabitants are embittered by Islamabad's unwillingness to devolve powers in real terms to its elected representatives, and a nationalist movement, which seeks independence, is gaining ground. The rise of sectarian extremism is an alarming consequence of this denial of basic political rights". A two-day conference on Gilgit-Baltistan was held on 8–9 April2008 at the European Parliament in Brussels under the auspices of the International Kashmir Alliance. Several members of the European Parliament expressed concern over human rights violations in Gilgit-Baltistan and urged the government of Pakistan to establish democratic institutions and the rule of law in the area.
In 2009, the Pakistani government implemented an autonomy package for Gilgit-Baltistan, which entails rights similar to those of Pakistan’s other provinces. Gilgit-Baltistan thus gains province-like status without actually being conferred such status constitutionally. Direct rule by Islamabad has been replaced by an elected legislative assembly under a chief minister. The 2009 reform has not satisfied locals who demand citizenship rights and it has continued to leave Gilgit Baltistan's constitutional status within Pakistan undefined; although it has added to the self-identification of the territory. According to Antia Mato Bouzas, the PPP-led Pakistani government had attempted a compromise between its official position on Kashmir and the demands of a population where the majority may have pro-Pakistan sentiments.
There has been criticism and opposition to this move in Pakistan, India, and Pakistan-administered Kashmir. The move has been dubbed a cover-up to hide the real mechanics of power, which allegedly are under the direct control of the Pakistani federal government. The package was opposed by Pakistani Kashmiri politicians who claimed that the integration of Gilgit-Baltistan into Pakistan would undermine their case for the independence of Kashmir from India. 300 activists from Kashmiri groups protested during the first Gilgit-Baltistan legislative assembly elections, with some carrying banners reading "Pakistan's expansionist designs in Gilgit-Baltistan are unacceptable" In December 2009, activists from nationalist Kashmiri groups staged a protest in Muzaffarabad to condemn the alleged rigging of elections and the killing of an 18-year-old student.
As with other disputed territories, each government issues maps depicting their claims in Kashmir territory, regardless of actual control. Due to India's Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1961, it is illegal in India to exclude all or part of Kashmir from a map (or to publish any map that differs from those of the Survey of India). It is illegal in Pakistan not to include the state of Jammu and Kashmir as disputed territory, as permitted by the United Nations. Non-participants often use the Line of Control and the Line of Actual Control as the depicted boundaries, as is done in the CIA World Factbook, while the region is often marked out in hashmarks. When Microsoft released a map in Windows 95 and MapPoint 2002, a controversy arose because it did not show all of Kashmir as part of India as per the Indian claim. All neutral and Pakistani companies claim to follow the UN's map and over 90% of all maps containing the territory of Kashmir show it as disputed territory.
India continues to assert its sovereignty or rights over the entire region of Kashmir, while Pakistan maintains that it is a disputed territory. Pakistan argues that the status quo cannot be considered as a solution and further insists on a UN-sponsored plebiscite. Unofficially, the Pakistani leadership has indicated that they would be willing to accept alternatives such as a demilitarised Kashmir, if sovereignty of Azad Kashmir was to be extended over the Kashmir valley, or the "Chenab" formula, by which India would retain parts of Kashmir on its side of the Chenab river, and Pakistan the other side—effectively re-partitioning Kashmir on communal lines. The problem with the proposal is that the population of the Pakistan-administered portion of Kashmir is for the most part ethnically, linguistically, and culturally different from the Valley of Kashmir, a part of Indian-administered Kashmir. Partition based on the Chenab formula is opposed by some Kashmiri politicians, although others, including Sajjad Lone, have suggested that the non-Muslim part of Jammu and Kashmir be separated from Kashmir and handed to India. Some political analysts say that the Pakistan state policy shift and mellowing of its aggressive stance may have to do with its total failure in the Kargil War and the subsequent 9/11 attacks. These events put pressure on Pakistan to alter its position on terrorism. Many neutral parties to the dispute have noted that the UN resolution on Kashmir is no longer relevant. The European Union holds the view that the plebiscite is not in Kashmiris' interest. The report notes that the UN conditions for such a plebiscite have not been, and can no longer be, met by Pakistan. The Hurriyat Conference observed in 2003 that a "plebiscite [is] no longer an option". Besides the popular factions that support one or other of the parties, there is a third faction which supports independence and withdrawal of both India and Pakistan. These have been the respective stands of the parties for a long while, and there have been no significant changes over the years. As a result, all efforts to solve the conflict have so far proved futile.
Revelations made on 24 September 2013 by the former Indian army chief General V. K. Singh claim that the state politicians of Jammu and Kashmir are funded by the army secret service to keep the general public calm and that this activity has been going on since Partition.
In a 2001 report entitled "Pakistan's Role in the Kashmir Insurgency" from the American RAND Corporation, the think tank noted that "the nature of the Kashmir conflict has been transformed from what was originally a secular, locally based struggle (conducted via the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front – JKLF) to one that is now largely carried out by foreign militants and rationalized in pan-Islamic religious terms." The majority of militant organisations are composed of foreign mercenaries, mostly from the Pakistani Punjab. In 2010, with the support of its intelligence agencies, Pakistan again 'boosted' Kashmir militants, and recruitment of mujahideen in the Pakistani state of Punjab has increased. In 2011, the FBI revealed that Pakistan's spy agency ISI paid millions of dollars into a United States-based non-governmental organisation to influence politicians and opinion-makers on the Kashmir issue and arrested Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai.
The Freedom in the World 2006 report categorised Indian-administered Kashmir as "partly free", and Pakistan-administered Kashmir, as well as the country of Pakistan, as "not free". India claims that contrary to popular belief, a large proportion of the Jammu and Kashmir populace wishes to remain with India. A MORI survey found that within Indian-administered Kashmir, 61% of respondents said they felt they would be better off as Indian citizens, with 33% saying that they did not know, and the remaining 6% favouring Pakistani citizenship. However, this support for India was mainly in the Ladakh and Jammu regions, not the Kashmir Valley, where only 9% of the respondents said that they would be better off with India. According to a 2007 poll conducted by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in New Delhi, 87% of respondents in the Kashmir Valley prefer independence over union with India or Pakistan. However, a survey by Chatham House in both Indian and Pakistani administered Kashmir found that support for independence stood at 43% and 44% respectively.
The 2005 Kashmir earthquake, which killed over 80,000 people, led to India and Pakistan finalising negotiations for the opening of a road for disaster relief through Kashmir.
The 9/11 attacks on the United States resulted in the US government wanting to restrain militancy in the world, including Pakistan. They urged Islamabad to cease infiltrations, which continue to this day, by Islamist militants into Indian-administered Kashmir. In December 2001, a terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament linked to Pakistan resulted in war threats, massive troop deployments, and international fears of a nuclear war in the subcontinent.
After intensive diplomatic efforts by other countries, India and Pakistan began to withdraw troops from the international border on 10 June 2002, and negotiations restarted. From 26 November 2003, India and Pakistan agreed to maintain a ceasefire along the undisputed international border, the disputed Line of Control, and Actual Ground Position Line near the Siachen glacier. This was the first such "total ceasefire" declared by both powers in nearly 15 years. In February 2004, Pakistan increased pressure on Pakistanis fighting in Indian-administered Kashmir to adhere to the ceasefire. Their neighbours launched several other mutual confidence-building measures. Restarting the bus service between the Indian- and Pakistani- administered Kashmir has helped defuse tensions between the countries while both India and Pakistan have decided to co-operate on economic fronts.
In 2005, General Musharraf as well as other Pakistani leaders sought to resolve the Kashmir issue through the Chenab Formula road map. Based on the 'Dixon Plan', the Chenab Formula assigns Ladakh to India, Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) to Pakistan, proposes a plebiscite in the Kashmir Valley and splits Jammu into two-halves. On 5 December 2006, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf told an Indian TV channel that Pakistan would give up its claim on Kashmir if India accepted some of his peace proposals, including a phased withdrawal of troops, self-governance for locals, no changes in the borders of Kashmir, and a joint supervision mechanism involving India, Pakistan, and Kashmir. Musharraf stated that he was ready to give up the United Nations' resolutions regarding Kashmir.
In the week of 10 March 2008, 17 people were wounded when a blast hit the region's only highway overpass located near the civil secretariat—the seat of government of Indian-controlled Kashmir—and the region's high court. A gun battle between security forces and militants fighting against Indian rule left five people dead and two others injured on 23 March 2008. The battle began when security forces raided a house on the outskirts of the capital city of Srinagar housing militants. The Indian Army has been carrying out cordon-and-search operations against militants in Indian-administered Kashmir since the violence broke out in 1989. While the authorities say 43,000 people have been killed in the violence, various human rights groups and non-governmental organisations have put the figure at twice that number.
According to the Government of India Home Ministry, 2008 was the year with the lowest civilian casualties in 20 years, with 89 deaths, compared to a high of 1,413 in 1996. In 2008, 85 security personnel died compared to 613 in 2001, while 102 militants were killed. The human rights situation improved, with only one custodial death, and no custodial disappearances. Many analysts say Pakistan's preoccupation with jihadis within its own borders explains the relative calm.
Massive demonstrations occurred after plans by the Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir state government to transfer 100 acres (0.40 km2) of land to a trust which runs the Hindu Amarnath shrine in the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley. This land was to be used to build a shelter to house Hindu pilgrims temporarily during their annual pilgrimage to the Amarnath temple. Such demonstrations have been aloof of the fact that the India government very regularly undertakes activities for upliftment of Muslim community (as a secular government)and very regularly donates lands and other properties to the systemized Waqf Boards.
Indian security forces and the Indian army responded quickly to keep order. More than 40 unarmed protesters were killed and at least 300 were detained. The largest protests saw more than a half million people waving Pakistani flags and crying for freedom at a rally on 18 August, according to Time magazine. Pro-independence Kashmiri leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq warned that the peaceful uprising could lead to an upsurge in violence if India's heavy-handed crackdown on protests was not restrained. The United Nations expressed concern at India's response to peaceful protests and urged investigations be launched against Indian security personnel who had taken part in the crackdown.
Separatists and political party workers were believed to be behind stone-throwing incidents, which have led to retaliatory fire from the police. An autorickshaw laden with stones meant for distribution was seized by the police in March 2009. Following the unrest in 2008, secessionist movements got a boost.
State elections were held in Indian administered Kashmir in seven phases, starting on 17 November and finishing on 24 December 2008. In spite of calls by separatists for a boycott, an unusually high turnout of more than 60% was recorded. The National Conference party, which was founded by Sheikh Abdullah and is regarded as pro-India, emerged with a majority of the seats. On 30 December, the Congress Party and the National Conference agreed to form a coalition government, with Omar Abdullah as Chief Minister. On 5 January 2009, Abdullah was sworn in as the eleventh Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir.
In March 2009, Abdullah stated that only 800 militants were active in the state and out of these only 30% were Kashmiris.
In 2009, protests started over the alleged rape and murder of two young women in Shopian in South Kashmir. Suspicion pointed towards the police as the perpetrators. A judicial enquiry by a retired High Court official confirmed the suspicion, but a CBI enquiry reversed their conclusion. This gave fresh impetus to popular agitation against India. Significantly, the unity between the separatist parties was lacking this time.
The 2010 Kashmir unrest was series of protests in the Muslim majority Kashmir Valley in Jammu and Kashmir which started in June 2010. These protests involved the 'Quit Jammu Kashmir Movement' launched by the Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who had called for the complete demilitarisation of Jammu and Kashmir. The All Parties Hurriyat Conference made this call to protest, citing human rights abuses by Indian troops. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah attributed the 2010 unrest to the fake encounter staged by the military in Machil. Protesters shouted pro-independence slogans, defied curfews, attacked security forces with stones and burnt police vehicles and government buildings. The Jammu and Kashmir Police and Indian para-military forces fired live ammunition on the protesters, resulting in 112 deaths, including many teenagers. The protests subsided after the Indian government announced a package of measures aimed at defusing the tensions in September 2010.
The Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly election, 2014 was held in Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir in five phases from 25 November – 20 December 2014. Despite repeated boycott calls by separarist Hurriyat leaders, elections recorded highest voters turnout in last 25 years, that is more than 65% which is more than usual voting percentage in other states of India.
Phase wise voting percentage is as follow:
|Tuesday 25 November||15||71.28%|
|Tuesday 2 December||18||71%|
|Tuesday 9 December||16||58.89%|
|Sunday 14 December||18||49%|
|Saturday 20 December||20||76%|
The European Parliament, on the behalf of European Union, welcomed the smooth conduct of the State Legislative Elections in the Jammu and Kashmir. The EU in its message said: "The high voter turnout figure proves that democracy is firmly rooted in India. The EU would like to congratulate India and its democratic system for conduct of fair elections, unmarred by violence, in the state of Jammu and Kashmir". The European Parliament also takes cognizance of the fact that a large number of Kashmiri voters turned out despite calls for the boycott of elections by certain separatist forces.
In October 2014, Indian and Pakistani troops traded gunfire over their border in the divided Himalayan region of Kashmir, killing at least four civilians and worsening tensions between the longtime rivals, officials on both sides have said. The small-arms and mortar exchanges – which Indian officials called the worst violation of a 2003 ceasefire – left 18 civilians wounded in India and another three in Pakistan. Tens of thousands of people fled their homes on both sides after the violence erupted on 5 October. Official reports state that nine civilians in Pakistan and seven in India were killed in three nights of fighting.
On 8 July 2016, a popular militant leader Burhan Muzaffar Wani was cornered by the security forces and killed. Following his death, protests and demonstrations have taken root leading to an "amplified instability" in the Kashmir valley. Curfews have been imposed in all 10 districts of Kashmir and over 40 civilians died and over 2000 injured in clashes with the police. More than 600 have pellet injuries who may lose their eyesight. To prevent volatile rumours, cellphone and internet services have been blocked, and newspapers have also been restricted in many parts of the state.
An attack by four militants on an Indian Army base on 18 September 2016, also known as the 2016 Uri attack, resulted in the death of 19 soldiers as well as the militants themselves. Although no-one claimed responsibility for the attack, the militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed was suspected of involvement by the Indian authorities.
The Indians were particularly shaken by the event which they blamed on Islamabad. Response took various forms, including the postponement of the 19th SAARC summit, asking the Russian government to call off a joint military exercise with Pakistan, and the Indian Motion Picture Producers Association decision to suspend work with Pakistan.
On the Pakistani side, military alertness was raised and some Pakistan International Airlines flights suspended. The Pakistani government "denied any role in cross-border terrorism, and called on the United Nations and the international community to investigate atrocities it alleged have been committed by the security forces in Indian-ruled Kashmir".
In July 2009, US Assistant Secretary of State Robert O. Blake, Jr. stated that the United States had no plans to appoint any special envoy to settle the dispute, calling it an issue which needed to be sorted out bilaterally by India and Pakistan. According to Dawn this will be interpreted in Pakistan as an endorsement of India's position on Kashmir that no outside power has any role in this dispute.
India and Pakistan conducted nuclear tests in 1998 and the two countries each hold significant numbers of nuclear warheads. India and Pakistan fought two wars over the issue of Kashmir in 1947 and 1965. These two neighbours came dangerously close to a third war during the Kargil conflict in 1999.
In telegram No.413 dated 28 October 1947 addressed to Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nehru wrote,
"That Government of India and Pakistan should make a joint request to U.N.O. to undertake a plebiscite in Kashmir at the earliest possible date."
Nehru's statement in the Indian Parliament, 26 June 1952,
"I want to stress that it is only the people of Kashmir who can decide the future of Kashmir. It is not that we have merely said that to the United Nations and to the people of Kashmir; it is our conviction and one that is borne out by the policy that we have pursued, not only in Kashmir but every where.
"I started with the presumption that it is for the people of Kashmir to decide their own future. We will not compel them. In that sense, the people of Kashmir are sovereign."
In his statement in the Lok Sabha on 31 March 1955 as published in Hindustan Times New Delhi on Ist April, 1955, Pandit Nehru said, "Kashmir is perhaps the most difficult of all these problems between India and Pakistan. We should also remember that Kashmir is not a thing to be bandied between India and Pakistan but it has a soul of its own and an individuality of its own. Nothing can be done without the goodwill and consent of the people of Kashmir." There was also a White Paper on Kashmir published by Indian government regarding plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir in 1948.
On the battlefield, the National Conference volunteers were working shoulder-to-shoulder with the Indian army to drive out the invaders. On 31 December 1947, India filed a complaint with the United Nations against the Pakistani aggression and its help to the invading tribesmen. Sheikh Abdullah was not in favor of India seeking the UN intervention because he was sure the Indian army could free the entire State of the invaders. The UNO did not resolve the Kashmir issue. It called for withdrawal of troops on 21 April 1948. The Indian army had driven the Pakistanis up to Uri in Kashmir and Poonch in Jammu when ceasefire was ordered in December 1948. Mr. Jinnah, the promoter of this invasion, had died in September of that year. Both India and Pakistan accepted the ceasefire.
writers like Baba (2014), Bose (2005), Schofield (2010) and Robinson (2013) see it as an indigenous Kashmiri response to the decades of political repression and the denial of the Kashmiri right to self-determination.
Sordid and gruesome as the militant record of violence against Kashmiri women and civilians is, it does not compare with the scale and depth of abuse by Indian State forces for which justice has yet to be done.
Kashmir’s accession to India was provisional and for this reason its constitutional position within India was not the same as other Indian states.
Muslims, however, suffered under Hindu rule.
Alam replied [to the locals], as recorded by Brown: 'you are a crowd of fools led astray by a madman. I shall not tolerate this nonsense for one instance... And when the Indian Army starts invading you there will be no use screaming to Pakistan for help, because you won't get it.'... The provisional government faded away after this encounter with Alam Khan, clearly reflecting the flimsy and opportunistic nature of its basis and support.
Nearly 70 years ago, the people of the Gilgit Wazarat revolted and joined Pakistan of their own free will, as did those belonging to the territories of Chilas, Koh Ghizr, Ishkoman, Yasin and Punial; the princely states of Hunza and Nagar also acceded to Pakistan. Hence, the time has come to acknowledge and respect their choice of being full-fledged citizens of Pakistan.
More importantly, Dixon concluded that it was impossible to get India's agreement to any reasonable terms. 'In the end I became convinced that India's agreement would never be obtained to demilitarisation in any such form, or to provisions governing the period of the plebiscite of any such character, as would in my opinion permit of the plebiscite being conducted in conditions sufficiently guarding against intimidation and other forms of influence and abuse by which the freedom and fairness of the plebiscite might be imperilled.
Senior Jammu journalist Ved Bhasin has said: "That(Abdullah's) government was not a democratic government. They did not behave in a democratic manner. Corruption had started. [...]he denied democratic rights to people. He did not tolerate any opposition. He crushed the freedom of press. He and other NC leaders did not tolerate any voice of dissent. He acted as an authoritarian ruler. The constituent assembly elections of 1951 were totally rigged. [...]Within the state, freedom was curbed, civil liberties were denied, there was no freedom for public meetings, demonstrations."
Ved Bhasin has remarked: "Obviously, Abdullah was more concerned in absolute power. His struggle was for greater autonomy, maximum powers, which he tried to concentrate in his own hands. He was interested in absolute power, and if India gave him absolute power, he was willing for it. It is not that for people he was interested. Initially he supported accession with India."
In 1953, Mr Adlai Stevenson the then Governor of Illinois (USA) met Sheikh Abdullah in Sri Nagar. Commenting on this meeting, Manchester Guardian disclosed in August 1953, that he (Mr Stevenson) “seems to have listened to suggestions that the best status for Kashmir could be independence from both India and Pakistan” and that Sheikh Abdullah had been encouraged by Adlai Stevenson. “Sheikh was suspected of planning a session of the constituent Assembly which instead of ratifying the accession to India, would declare the vale of Kashmir, independent.” According to New York Times July, 1953 “Kashmir valley would gain independence, possibly guaranteed by both countries and the rest of the state would be partitioned between them roughly along the present cease-fire line. It was said that John Foster Dulles, U.S Secretary of State supported a solution of this nature”
Led by him (Bakshi Ghulam Muhammad), 64 of 74-strong Constituent Assembly members ratified the state's accession to India on February 15, 1954. "We are today taking the decision of final and irrevocable accession to India and no power on earth could change it", declared Bakshi Muhammad.
The report of the Drafting Committee "ratifying the accession" of the Jammu and Kashmir State to India was adopted by the Constituent Assembly in Jammu on February 15 before it was adjourned sine die. Earlier, Premier Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed, speaking on the report, declared amidst cheers: "We are today taking the decision of final and irrevocable accession to India and no power on earth could change it."
Culturally, a growing emphasis on secularism generated a backlash, contributing to the popularity of Islamic political parties, especially the Jamāʿat-i Islāmī (established in 1953) and the Islāmī Jamʿīyat-i T‥ulabā, its allied student body.
Nearly 90 percent of people living in Indian Kashmir's summer capital want their troubled and divided state to become an independent country, according to a poll in an Indian newspaper on Monday.
Ask any Kashmiri what he wants and his answer will be "azadi". Ask how does he seek to secure that and he will reply "through a plebiscite".
Tens of thousands of Kashmiri civilians were killed in security operations or went missing even as a substantial part of Kashmir’s population remained permanently scarred by violence, dispossession and psychological trauma. India’s military occupation inflicts daily violence, humiliation, and indignity on the local population… In this respect the motive and intent of rape in Kashmir was no different from the Balkans and Rwanda, where rape functioned as a cultural weapon of war against women and against the community at large (Kesic, 2000)…Rape and sexual abuse is an integral part of the Indian counteroffensive in Kashmir… A Médicins Sans Frontières empirical study documented the extraordinarily high incidence of rape and sexual abuse since the outbreak of armed conflict in Kashmir: according to the report the number of people that had actually witnessed a rape since 1989 was much higher in comparison to other conflict zones in the world.
The absence of a popular mandate underwriting the accession, India’s reneging of its promise to hold a plebiscite allowing the people of Kashmir to determine their own political future, its violation of constitutional provisions protecting Jammu and Kashmir’s autonomy, and repeated subversion of the democratic process in Kashmir by successive central governments in New Delhi produced simmering resentment and eventually mass rebellion in 1989–1990.
Chapter VI establishes the appropriate methods of settling international disputes and the Security Council's powers in relation to them. It is generally agreed that resolutions under Chapter VI are advisory rather than binding. These resolutions have generally been operative only with the consent of all parties involved. Traditionally, the Chapter has not been interpreted to support collective intervention by member states in the affairs of another member state.
Read 15th Paragraph.