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Jammu Kashmir Seeks Attention....Freedom is Our Birth Right....We Want United independent Jammu Kashmir..

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Who is pioneer of ideology of an independent Kashmir?

 Dr Shabir Choudhry .
Concept of an independent Kashmir is not new, as there is thousands of years long and dignified history to support this reality. However, in the recent past some people are making conflicting claims that so and so is the pioneer of ideology of an independent Kashmir.

For example, some people claim Sardar Rashid Hasrat is Baba e Khud Mukhtari – meaning grandfather of concept of an independent Kashmir. Others claim Maqbool Butt was the father of this concept – independent Kashmir. But recently some people from Mirpur have started claiming that Khaliq Ansari is the pioneer of ideology of an independent Kashmir.

Without hurting sentiments of any individual, tribe or a group I want to assert that none of the above is pioneer of this ideology or concept, although all three of them have made a valuable contribution to the struggle for an independent Jammu and Kashmir, and suffered for their dedication; and we all admire that. As stated above, an independent Kashmir existed on the map of the world with different boundaries, so no one in 20the Century could claim to be the pioneer of this concept.

However, the State of Jammu and Kashmir which was forcibly divided in October 1947, its founder was Raja Gulab Singh; and Maharaja Hari Singh was its last ruler. Hari Singh succeeded to throne in 1925 after death of Maharaja Sir Pratap Singh; and introduced some economic, social, legal, administrative economic and political reforms. Heintroduced State Subject Ordinance, political reforms like a right to vote and a Legislative Assembly, Compulsory primary education, laws prohibiting child marriage; “The Land Alienation Act” forbidding transfer of agricultural land to the non-agriculturists, and certain tax immunities for agriculturalists.
In order to empower people the Maharaja Hari Singh set up Village Panchayats; and also established Department of Rural Development in 1937. To support trade and industry he abolished numerous taxes, and the Government encouraged the people to purchase local products. He too great interest in manufacturing units of matchboxes, tents, carpets, woodworks, crafts, tannery goods, silk yarn, food etc. To me he took a bold step of establishing The Jammu and Kashmir Bank in 1938 that took control over the government treasury. Branches The Jammu and Kashmir Bank were established in Srinagar, Jammu and some other towns.
He was a reformer and from every characteristic of nationalism, Hari Singh was a nationalist leader with a forward looking approach to governance. We have to view his governance in light of the prevailing political and social situation of that time and not what is available to people in 21st Century. One writer complimented him by saying: ‘Maharaja Hari Singh was great reformer, a nationalist and patriotic in spirit, betrayed by both Pakistan and India in their respective commitments. Maharaja Hari Singh breathed his last at Bombay on April 26, 1961.’

He did his best to preserve integrity and independence of his State, and care for all his subjects. Towards the end of the British Raj in India, he emphatically resisted the pressure to accede to either India or Pakistan; and after lapse of the British Paramountcy on 15 August 1947, he became a sovereign ruler of Jammu and Kashmir State.

During the British Raj he provided a legal protection to his citizens that no one from outside the State of Jammu and Kashmir could purchase any land and exploit his people. The State Subject Ordinance of 20 April 1927 not only granted people of Jammu and Kashmir class 1 citizenship, it also confirmed his love and care for his people and his State. He didn’t want rich people of India to purchase land in Jammu and Kashmir and do what Jews did to people of Palestine. In order to protect rights of his citizens the State Subject Ordinance affirmed that:
‘In matters of grants of the State scholarships State lands for agricultural and house building purposes and recruitment to State service, State subjects of Class 1 should receive preference over other classes....’

On 15 August 1947, State of Jammu and Kashmir also gained its independence. As a sovereign ruler of Jammu and Kashmir, and in order to protect and promote interests of Kashmir, he concluded a Standstill Agreement with Pakistan; and also offered India do the same. The above examples clearly demonstrate that he was a nationalist and wanted to preserve integrity and rights of his State and his citizens; and if that is not nationalism then one may ask what nationalism is.

Some Muslims with tunnel vision and overwhelmed Muslim nationalism might put forward this view that the Maharaja was a Dogra – and a non Muslim and an autocrat so he could not be a Kashmiri nationalist. Religion and nationalism are two separate things. Religion is a personal matter of citizens, as it is for them to decide what religion to follow (or not to follow) and the State has no role in determining faiths of its citizens; and nationalism – love for a country and its welfare has nothing to do with any religion. One person could be a devoted Muslim, Hindu, Sikh or a Buddhist and still be a patriotic citizen of Jammu and Kashmir.

Apart from the Maharaja Hari Singh other notable nationalists of the time were people like Sheikh Abdullah and Prem Nath Bazaz who played a leading role in politics of Jammu and Kashmir. It was they who clearly advocated equality for all citizens. Struggled for political and social reforms and forcefully advocated Kashmiri nationalism.

It must be pointed out that when the Maharaja Hari Singh passed the State Subject Ordinance in 1927, Khaliq Ansari was only two years old; and Sardar Rashid Hasrat and Maqbool Butt were not even born. We respect all three figures for their respective struggle and suffering. What they have done for the cause of an independent Jammu and Kashmir no one can take that away from them. However, we are not enhancing their status or doing justice to them, to their struggle or to history by associate wrong things to them.

Writer is a political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs Affairs.Email:drshabirchoudhry@gmail.com 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Afzal Guru’s execution and questions thereof


THE GURU FILE

By

HASHIM QURESHI


On learning about hanging a offender in 21st century, one is transported to 8th or 10th century.  In this century, offenders are not given punishment to put an end to their life but to improve and reform them.  In more than 150 countries capital punishment has been abolished. The thinking among intellectuals is that if a government retaliates with same vengeance as the offender acts, it has no better thinking than that of the offender. Thereby the government commits no less a crime. There can be an error in meting out justice. In the process of evolution nations have done away with capital punishment. 

Was Afzul Guru a culprit or not, can be a contentious issue. We shall have a look at its legal aspects. We take into account his interrogation during imprisonment. Radio Pacific Network correspondent Vinod K. Jose had interviewed him in Tihar jail on 19 January 2013. Guru had talked at length about STF Kashmir, BSF Kashmir, 22 RR and Delhi Police. He had also given details of his case to Human Rights and Civil Society organizations. He also said how Delhi police had blackmailed him from time to time. He had not seen his lawyer or his family members for six months. “I saw my family at Patiala House Court but only from afar.  I gave names of four lawyers to  plead my case. Court judge S.N. Dhengra said they could not plead my case. The lawyer given to me by the court filed many prosecution papers without telling me which were accepted and at the end of the day he began pleading the case of another accused and not mine. The court appointed Amicus quadric. He was not appointed to defend me but to help the court and he never met me. Initially I didn’t have a lawyer available,” is what Guru had told the correspondent.

High Court acquitted S.A.R. Geelani and two more accused but upheld death penalty to Afzal Guru.
No direct witnesses were available   in this case from the early beginning. It maintained his death sentence on the basis of circumstances. It was perhaps for the first time that such a high ranking court said this in its judgment:

“The incident which resulted in heavy casualties has shaken entire nation and collective conscience of the society will be satisfied if the capital punishment is awarded to the offender.”
We don’t intend to open any legal commentary on the court verdict but let it be said that more than two hundred intellectuals, writers and film makers wrote to the President of India as this:
“We believe that you made a grave error in rejecting the Mercy Petition of Afzal Guru”. They said that the offender is given the right for judicial review once the Mercy Petition is rejected. Afzal Guru  was denied this right.

We don’t think that hanging of Afzal Guru  satisfied the legal stipulations. Congress government has taken political mileage out of it. In the past, whenever BJP demanded Guru’s execution Congress spokespersons took the position that there were more cases. When his case comes up the President would take the decision. His execution, done mysteriously, was suddenly announced on the morning of 9 February 2013. Questions will be raised on Indian democracy, India’s relations with Kashmir and Indian laws. Questions have already been raised. Arundhati has asked 13 questions in regard to attack on Parliament. Question Nos 12 an 13 are as this:

Six days after the attack on Parliament, Police Commission of Maharashtra    (Thane) S.M. Shangari  identified one assailant and gave a statement that his name was Muhammad Yasin Fath Muhammad alias Abu Hamza who was arrested in Mumbai in November 2000 and handed over to Kashmir police. If this statement of Police Commissioner is correct then how could Muhammad Yasin be involved in the attack on parliament? If it is not correct, where is Muhammad Yasin?
    
 3.  We still do not know who were the five persons reported to have attacked the Parliament

4. It was reported that before attack was launched on the parliament, BJP had started deployment of the army and the ruling party was looking for pretexts to begin war with Pakistan. This opportunity was provided by the attack. Keeping this in mind and the statement of Afzal Guru The Martyr, the statement of Maharashtra police and other related factors, it becomes imperative that Indian civil society and international commission conduct an enquiry into this event, It is pertinent to say that owing to the movement of the troops more than a thousand jawans of Indian army got killed and losses ran in billions of dollars.

5. The mercy petition of the murderers of Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh was pending with the President before Afzal Guru’s petition. Even the Mercy Petition of Tamil assailants of Rajiv Gandhi were also made much before that of Afzal Guru’s petition.  There were other appeals also.

6. Afzal Guru’s Mercy Petition was rejected by the President on 21 January. However, neither Afzal nor his family members were informed about it. For judicial review, Afzal’s family was informed through speed post on 8 February which was received by them on 11 February when he had already been hanged. His family members were not called for the last meeting enabling the dying man to express his last wish. He was suddenly hanged on February 9 and buried in the compound of Tihar Jail. The announcement was made by the Home Minister of India.

Many questions will rise about how Afzal Guru’s execution was conducted so secretly and the family was denied the opportunity of meeting with him and the dead body was not handed over to the family but buried in the compound of the jail. Justice is not only to be done but has to be seen. No justice was done to Afzal Guru rather injustice has been done to him.

Many among Congress opponents and among the opposition believe that Afzal became a victim of politics. BJP was insisting on his execution and Congress obliged. This disarmed BJP in the forthcoming elections. If it was not a political decision then the murderers of Beant Singh and those of Rajiv Gandhi should have been denied their mercy petitions much ahead of Afzal Guru. Punjab and Tamil Nadu assemblies have passed resolutions that these culprits should not be hanged. This is also one of the reasons why their mercy petitions have not been rejected so far.

 Omar Abdullah expressed his reaction on two counts, not allowing Guru to meet with his family members and being informed only 12 hours before the execution took place. He expressed his unhappiness with the centre on these counts. But is that all what is expected from a CM? He was informed a day earlier. Could he not ask for fulfilling human consideration? He could have told the centre to let his family meet with him and delay the hanging by three days.? Could not the dead body of Afzal Guru be brought by a helicopter to his village for giving it proper burial? On 9 February Saterday strict curfew was imposed before morning prayers and all internet facilities were cut off. Newspaper, television broadcasts were also locked. It was a march to medieval times for Kashmiris. Youth were detained in police stations, resistance leaders were put under house arrest. 

In hospitals not only the patients but their helpers too were put to miserable conditions.
We can ask the collective conscience of Indian society how long they would put Kashmiris in jails in order to satisfy their collective conscience.? Peaceful demonstrators are fired at, youth are detained and put behind bars and four Kashmiris were gunned down during the course of demonstrations. More than one crore of people were virtually held as hostage. More than a hundred persons have been wounded in J&K during past few days. Guru’s hanging was as sudden as the imposition of curfew. It was the weekend and people would have done shopping. People had not the eatables left in homes. 

Condition of patients was worse as if life had come to a halt. Along with Afzal Guru entire Kashmiri community was given punishment. Did India’s collective conscience find solace by imposing curfew for full one week in Kashmir? 

Now Geelani Sahib has come out with his own formula. He does not consider seven days of curfew as protest demonstration and gave call for two more days of strike. This is called whipping the dead horse. 

A question can be put to the resistant leadership also. It is all right to express condolence and grief on the execution of Guru. But the question is why the resistance movement and its leadership played politics from the very beginning but did not extend legal help to him.? If no fewer than four famous lawyers could be engaged for the defence of SAR Geelani, why was not a suitable legal defence made available for Afzal Guru ? In his last interview he had said it as this: ”In the length and breadth of India, Kashmiri youth are facing cases against them without the assistance of any lawyer, any follower and without any legal support. I am worried lest they have to meet with the same fate as I have met with”. 

Let me reiterate my question. Can’t all resistance organization come together at least on one point that keeping clear of self-aggrandizement and personal interests, should it not be possible to constitute a defence committee for rendering legal assistance to all those Kashmiri youth against whom cases have been framed?

India rulers claim they want peaceful resolution of Kashmir issue and produce various references like Bajpai’s efforts and Manmohan Singh’s round table conferences or the missions of Panth and Jaithmalani and Vohra etc. Sometimes they put forward the interlocutors. The result of all these efforts is nothing. The chasm of trust deficit between Kashmiri nation and Indian nation is widening day after day. People say all these committees and dialogues are meant to sabotage the struggle of Kashmiris

Indian intelligentsia should try to understand that Kashmiri thinking class is obsessed with the belief that India and all of her institutions are doing injustice to Kashmiris and forcing them to bend their knees. Afzal Guru’s execution has deepened this belief. Martyrdom of Maqbul Bhat gave the Kashmiri youth the spirit of forging unity in the Kashmiri nation and making their land free and independent. Afzal Guru’s execution has shown that Kashmiris will not be able to enjoy the right to protest and freedom of expression in India. They have also begun to question whether Indian courts can do justice to their cause.? In other words Kashmiris have lost faith in non-violent struggle and democratic dispensation. 

I would like to impress upon the mainstream parties of Kashmir also that unless they commit themselves to be faithful to the Kashmiri masses and consider them the real source of power, the centre will continue to expect servility and circumventing of law from them. We would advise New Delhi with all sincerity that it should apologize to the widow and orphan children of Afzal Guru for not allowing them the last meeting with him and his dead body should be handed over to his kith and kin. True by burying Maqbul Bhat in the compound of Tihar prison and not allowing Kashmiris to raise a tomb in his memory on their soil, now millions of tombs have been raised in the minds of Kashmiris in memoriam to Maqbul Bhat the martyr. The same will hold true in the case of Afzal Guru. Its consequences would be grave. 

Let me reiterate that we condemn attacks as on Parliament House, Assembly House or Taj hotel of Mumbai. Attack on Parliament House which is the symbol of India’s democracy was in no way a right step. It was condemnable. But murdering a human being is the biggest of sins. Hanging of Afzal Guru, the martyr, might have solaced Indian ultra nationalism, but the way he was hanged is not to be found anywhere in the world. The entire world has taken up this execution case to ask many questions from the Hindustan of Gandhiji and the law and democracy of  Hindustan.?

“Some people don’t like telling the truth, others don’t like hearing it”


Hashim Qureshi Intoduction



Hashim Qureshi (born 1 October 1953 in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir) is one of the founding members of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) and is now the Chairman of Jammu Kashmir Democratic Liberation Party (JKDLP), one of the main separatist Kashmiri political organizations which strives to find a political solution to the Kashmir issue through peaceful and political activities.

Birth and childhood Born in the Nowhatta locality of Srinagar to Mohammad Khaleel Qureshi and Saeeda Begum, Hashim Qureshi comes from a middle class family. He studied at Islamia School, Srinagar. He started his political career at the young age of 14 by participating in demonstrations and stone pelting against Indian occupation in Kashmir. During a trip to Pakistan for his sister’s wedding, he met Maqbool Bhat in 1969 in Peshawar and joined his JKNLF.


Ganga hijacking Maqbool Bhat was the founding father of Kashmir’s independence struggle and he wanted to highlight the Kashmir issue internationally. He masterminded the idea of a hijacking. He chose Hashim Qureshi for the hijacking who along with his cousin Ashraf Qureshi hijacked an Indian Airlines plane on 30 January 1971 (Ganga) en route from Srinagar to Jammu and brought the plane to Lahore, Pakistan. Hashim Qureshi was only 17 years old. The Indian Airlines flight was carrying 30 people including crew members. After landing on Lahore Airport the hijackers demanded the release of about two dozen political prisoners of the JKNLF in Indian prisons, political asylum in Pakistan and guarantee from the Indian Government that there relatives in Srinagar, will not be hurt in anyway. The Hijackers were greeted by the Chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, who would later become the Prime Minister of Pakistan. On February the 1st 1971 all the passengers and crew were sent back to India via Amritsar and the ‘Ganga’ was set on fire by the Pakistani ISI [3][4].The hijackers and Maqbool Bhat were firstly praised as heroes and freedom fighters (as this was the first instance Kashmiris had brought their cause to the attention of the World) but then they and hundreds of other members of JKNLF were arrested, interrogated in Shahee Qila, Lahore and Dolayee Camp near Muzaffarabad. Later six of them were tried in a Special Court of Pakistan under the charges of collaboration with the Indian intelligence services. They were Maqbool Bhat, G.M. Lone, Mir Abdul Qayyum, Mir Abdul Manan and the two hijackers Hashim Qureshi and Ashraf Qureshi.The case started in December 1971 and after a long trial in which 1984 prosecuting and 1942 defence witnessed were called was concluded in May 1973. All but Hashim Qureshi were cleared of all charges other than dealing with arms and explosives etc. Hashim Qureshi was sentenced for nineteen years imprisonment. Maqbool Bhat submitted for this case a statement which is arguably the most detailed reflection of his political ideology, excerpt: “I can say without any hesitation that I have not designed any conspiracy nor have I been a part of any group of conspirers. My character has always been transparent and unambiguous. However, I have done one thing and that is the rebellion against ignorance, greed of wealth, exploitation oppression, slavery and hypocrisy. If the ruling class of Pakistan that is a product of imperialism and represented by the bureaucracy and military dictatorship of this country views this as conspiracy then I have no hesitation in accepting the charge”. Ganga Case was carried out under special presidential orders of the then President of Pakistan Yahya Khan according to which the accused were denied the right to appeal against the decision of this Special Court. Despite many requests and protests in Azad Kashmir and Pakistan the right to appeal for Ganga accused was not accepted. The right to appeal was restored only after the British Kashmiris warned several Pakistani ministers on their visits to Britain that the unlawful tactics of the Pakistani rulers to convict these Kashmiris will be exposed. Using this right JKNLF filed an appeal against the Special Court’s decision about Hashim Qureshi. But it took seven years before this appeal was heard at Supreme Court, which was compromised of a full bench of three judges, where Hashim Qureshi was eventually also cleared.


The Pakistani authorities released Hashim Qureshi in 1980. He married the daughter of his maternal uncle in 1982. In 1985, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) approached him in order to join hands. The ISI wanted to get young people from Kashmir, for training. They offered him money, land and other things. After long discussions of four months, he declined. He argued that Pakistan had also occupied Gilgit- Baltistan and PoK, where there is no democracy. After that the Pakistani authorities started hunting him, he managed to escape Pakistan and fled to The Netherlands. He had to leave his wife, who was then pregnant, and their two children. They joined him after four months with help from Amnesty International and other Human Rights organizations

Formation of Jammu Kashmir Democratic Liberation Party Hashim Qureshi stayed connected to the fight for Kashmiri independence and wrote articles and press releases to the leaders in Kashmir warning not to start an armed rebellion. He believed that the freedom movement of a country cannot be run by another country or foreign intelligence agencies. It has to be an indigenous movement, not one running at somebody else’s behest. He wanted to correct the wrong path the struggle had been led to and save Kashmir from unwanted elements. According to him weapons were the enemy of the Kashmiri people in this era and the Kashmiri rebellion would be called a terrorist movement instead of a freedom movement. After having read Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and others in jail, Hashim Qureshi, now was convinced that an armed struggle would only damage the Kashmiri cause and advocated a non-violent movement based on the principle of civil disobedience.


Because of JKLF’s collaboration with the ISI and differences with the then Chairman Amanullah Khan on his role in the Ravindra Mhatre case, he left the JKLF in 1993 and formed his own Jammu Kashmir Democratic Liberation Party (JKDLP) in 1994.
Return to Kashmir from exile Hashim Qureshi returned to India after an exile of almost 30 years on 29 December 2000. He was immediately arrested at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport and was produced before metropolitan magistrate Gulshan Kumar, who remanded him to judicial custody till January 11, 2000.

Hashim Qureshi filed Habeas Corpus, challenging the magistrate’s order on the ground that his detention was illegal and that he could not be retried as per the law as he was already sentenced to life by a Pakistan court and had served a prison term for over nine years. He later on withdrew his writ petition, because according to his counsel K.T.S. Tulsi, Qureshi had conveyed his wish that he was very anxious to go back to Kashmir. “He wanted to go as a free man, but as it is taking so much time he has decided to withdraw, said Tulsi. Adding, that he came back to India to be in Kashmir, with his people. As he is not well, he thought it would be better to continue the case in J&K. Later on he withdrew his Habeaus Corpus petition in the Delhi High Court and was flown to Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir on 12 January 2000.

In Kashmir he was again charged for the 1971 hijacking with wrongful confinement, robbery, kidnapping and criminal conspiracy. He was also charged with hatching a criminal conspiracy with hanged JKNLF’s founder Maqbool Bhat under a section of the Enemy Ordinance Act 3. This accuses him of being a Pakistani agent. Ironically he was charged under the same ordinance in Pakistan during the hijacking trial, which accused him of being an Indian agent. Maqbool Bhat and Hashim Qureshi are the only two Kashmiris who have been charged under the Enemy Ordinance Act in Pakistan as well as India.






Sunday, February 10, 2013

Hanging of Afzal Guru – India provided another martyr to Kashmiri


Dr Shabir Choudhry         
09 February 2013
On the morning of Saturday 9th February 2913, Mohammed Afzal Guru was hanged in Tihar Jail of New Delhi and buried inside the Jail. This undesirable action was carried out only two days before 29th death anniversary of Maqbool Butt, who was also hanged in the same jail on 11 February 1984.
It was not the first time a Kashmiri leader was executed in unsatisfactory manner and buried without handing the body to the relatives. Afzal Guru, whether guilty or innocent is no more with us, and let us pray that Almighty bless his soul.
Afzal Guru was accused of masterminding the attack on the Indian Parliament on 13 December 2001, in which 14 people lost their lives. All five attackers were killed on spot.India accused the Jaish-e-Mohammed militant group for this attack which has links with some officials of the Pakistani establishment. Afzal Guru and Shaukat Hussain Guru were sentenced to death in December 2002 for planning and providing logistic support for the attack. On appeal the sentence of Shaukat Hussain Guru was reduced to 10 years; and he was released on 30th December 2010.
In the same case, two other people, Delhi University Lecturer, SAR Geelani and Afshan Guru, wife of Shaukat Hussain Guru were acquitted due to a lack of evidence. What that suggests is that there must be some evidence against Afzal Guru and Shaukat Hussain Guru. Afzal Guru was to be executed on 20 October 2006, but after his wife’s clemency appeal to the President of India, it was put on hold. On 3 February 2013, the present President of India Pranab Mukherjee rejected the appeal, hence the execution of the accused.
It is not common in India to hang people for murder. Since 2004, only two people have been executed. Mohammed Ajmal Kasab was executed in November 2012 for his involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attacks; and Afzal Guru for his involvement on the attacks on the Indian Parliament.
One may not say that Afzal guru was completely innocent man; but he certainly did not deserve a death sentence. In one TV interview he acknowledged his role in the incident, which was limited to providing logistic support and weapons. He also acknowledged that he went to Pakistani administered Kashmir as a JKLF man for training; and he later on established links with Jaish E Mohammed. 1
Important point here is that Afzal Guru was not part of the team that attacked the Parliament. He did not kill anyone, although he had some supportive role in the incident. People who are directly involved in murders, at times, do not get death sentence, and question arises why Afzal Guru had to be hanged? Why his sentence could not have been changed to life imprisonment?
Timing of the hanging and the way it was carried out, and what they did to his body speaks volumes about callousness of the authorities. If he had to be sentenced to death, why he had to be hanged two days before the death anniversary of Maqbool Butt, when feeling are running very high; and anti India feeling are at its peak? Why his family was not allowed to meet him before executing him? Above all, why his death body was not given to his family?
Is that not clear breach of fundamental human rights, and against ethics and morality? Is this not to rub salt in wounds of the suffering people? Is this not a message to angry and frustrated people of Kashmir that their sentiments, dignity and honour were not important to the authorities?
What that indicates is that some people don’t want any kind of peace or normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir, as Kashmir dispute has become a big business and a valuable source for winning public support or diverting attention from other important issues. One Kashmiri journalist today phoned me and asked my views about this incident. I expressed my serious anger, concern and strongly opposed this action; and called it a breach of fundamental human rights.
He agreed with me, but added that Afzal Guru was not innocent, as he had some role in the incident – he provided weapons which were used to kill people; but he should not have been hanged. He also agreed that his body must have been given to his family. He said: ‘Choudhry Sahib the Kashmir dispute will never be resolved. One condition for a plebiscite is normal situation; and those who are in position of power always ensure that the normal situation does not prevail in Jammu and Kashmir State’.
Commenting on the incident General secretary of CPI(ML) Liberation, Dipankar Bhattacharya said: "Faced with growing popular opposition and resistance one very front, the Congress party and the UPA government are desperately trying to appease the BJP and the communal-fascist brigade." 2
Arun Dhati Roy writes: ‘Like most surrendered militants Afzal was easy meat in Kashmir — a victim of torture, blackmail, extortion. In the larger scheme of things he was a nobody. Anyone who was really interested in solving the mystery of the Parliament Attack would have followed the dense trail of evidence that was on offer. No one did, thereby ensuring that the real authors of conspiracy will remain unidentified and uninvestigated. But now that Afzal Guru has been hanged, I hope our collective conscience has been satisfied. Or is our cup of blood still only half full?’ 3
The Supreme Court judgment says the evidence is circumstantial: “As is the case with most conspiracies, there is and could be no direct evidence amounting to criminal conspiracy.” But then it goes on to say: “The incident, which resulted in heavy casualties had shaken the entire nation, and the collective conscience of society will only be satisfied if capital punishment is awarded to the offender.” 4
Already demonstrations on both parts of the divided State have started. Whereas, demonstrations on the Indian side of Jammu and Kashmir have become violent; demonstrations on the Pakistani side were peaceful and despite government support numbers were limited to few hundred people. Fearing demonstrations as a result of Afzal Guru’s hanging the authorities in Jammu and Kashmir imposed a curfew, but hundreds of people still came out resulting in some injuries.
The big test will be on 11 February. Despite the curfew, people will come out in thousands; and that could result in serious clashes resulting in loss of valuable lives and damage to property. I hope common sense prevails and the authorities do not show heavy handedness; and let angry people protest peacefully and express their sentiments.
This incident will remain controversial, as some will claim he was innocent, others will say he was part of the terror project and was rightly executed. Some will say he had some role in it but did not deserve death sentence. Whether innocent or not, but by hanging Afzal Guru India has provided another prominent martyr to the Kashmiri Muslims. Afzal Guru is dead, but he will live as a martyr, and will boost anti India sentiments. My fear is that some groups will claim that they have no hope for justice; and that will provide new recruits for violence and terrorism.

Kashmiri Muslims offer funeral prayers in absentia for Mohammad Afzal Guru
Writer is a political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs.Email:drshabirchoudhry@gmail.com 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Why 22 October matters in Kashmiri history?

We believe that our sovereignty was violated on 22 October when hordes of tribesmen from North West Frontier of Pakistan attacked and invaded some parts of the State territory. They mercilessly killed and looted people. Religion of victims was not an issue to them; and their victims included Muslims and non Muslims. In fact, first person who was killed by these so called Jihadis was a Muslim from Muzaffarbad.

When these tribesmen attacked house of a non Muslim citizen of Muzaffarabad, Master Abdul Aziz in line with Islamic duty and Kashmiri ethos, tried to protect his neighbour; and asked the tribesmen not to harm him or his family. The tribesmen did not like intervention from Master Abdul Aziz, and killed him on spot. To these jihadis crime of Master Abdul Aziz was so severe that he did not deserve a funeral (janaza) or burial. They threw his dead body in River Neelam.

This Tribal Invasion was actively supported and directed by senior Pakistani officials both civil and military. This unprovoked attack caused enormous problems to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. It caused death, destruction and chaos. When the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir realised that he and his forces were unable to hold them back, he asked government of India for help to save his people and his State. He was told that in order to get military help, he should accede to India.

The Maharaja was left with no choice but to accede. This accession was provisional and had to be ratified by the people of Jammu and Kashmir; and to date people did not have an opportunity to express their opinion on this.

The purpose of this conference and this booklet is not to support or oppose any ideology, but to tell people what is the root cause of our miseries and problems; and what was the status of the State of Jammu and Kashmir after end of the British Raj in the Indian Sub Continent. I have provided many historic documents for the information of people that they can correctly ascertain legal and constitutional position of the State.


Legal documents

There are three important documents which deal with partition of India and position of Princely States. One is 3rd June Statement, second is Cabinet Mission Memorandum on Princely States and third is Indian Independence Act. Relevant parts of these documents are produced below.

A/

Statement made by His Majesty's Government on Transfer of Power, 3 June, 1947, refers to Princely States as follows:
The States
‘His Majesty's Government wish to make it clear that the decisions announced above relate only to British India and that their policy towards Indian States contained in the Cabinet Mission Memorandum of 12 May 1946 remains unchanged.’

We can see that the 3rd June Statement does not provide clear answer to the position of Princely States, so we need to look at what Cabinet Mission Memorandum says.

B/ Text of Memorandum on States' Treaties and Paramountcy Presented by the Cabinet Mission to His Highness the Chancellor of the Chamber of Princes on 12 May 1946

‘When a new fully self-governing or independent Government or Governments come into being in British India, His Majesty's Government's influence with these Governments will not be such as to enable them to carry out the obligations of paramountcy. Moreover, they cannot contemplate that British troops would be retained in India for this purpose. Thus, as a logical sequence and in view of the desires expressed to them on behalf of the Indian States, His Majesty's Government will cease to exercise the powers of paramountcy. This means that the rights of the States which flow from their relationship to the Crown will no longer exist and that all the rights surrendered by the States to the paramount power will return to the States. Political arrangements between the States on the one side and the British Crown and British India on the other will thus be brought to an end. The void will have to be filled either by the States entering into a federal relationship with the successor Government or Governments in British India, or failing this, entering into particular political arrangements with it or them.’

This surely has clarified the position. In nutshell it means the Princely States will regain their rights and privileges after the lapse of paramountcy, meaning they will legally become independent. Indian Independence Act is a long document and I am producing relevant section which deals with position of the Princely States.


C/ Indian Independence Act, 1947


Section 7.1

‘(b) 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, all functions exercisable by His Majesty at that date with respect to Indian States, all obligations of His Majesty existing at that date with towards Indian States or the rulers thereof, and all powers, rights, authority or jurisdiction exercisable by His Majesty at that date in or in relation to Indian States by treaty, grant, usage, sufferance or otherwise’ lapsed.

By the above provision all the Princely States after lapse of the British paramountcy technically and legally became independent.


3/


What Lord Mountbatten said about Princely States?

Louis Mountbatten Dating

Governor General of India Lord Louis Mountbatten's Address to a Special Full Meeting of the Chamber of Princes on July 25 1947, in which he said:

There were two distinct problems that faced me. The first was how to transfer power to British India and the second, how to fit Indian States into the picture in a manner which would be fair and just to all concerned.

I dealt first with the problem of British India, because you will realise that until that problem was solved it was quite useless to try to start on a solution of the problem of the States. So I addressed my mind to the former.

There had been universal acceptance among the States of the Cabinet Mission's Memorandum of 12 May and when the political parties accepted the Statement of 3 June they fully realised and accepted that withdrawal of Paramountcy would enable the States to regain complete sovereignty….

Now, the Indian Independence Act releases the States from all their obligations to the Crown. The States will have complete freedom- technically and legally they become independent. 1

4/

What Mohammed Ali Jinnah said about Kashmir?

8

Many Pakistanis especially who oppose Jammu and Kashmir’s separate status claim that the State should have been given to Pakistan on the basis of Two Nations Theory. They don’t know or don’t want to know that the Two Nations Theory only applied to the British India and the Princely States were not part of the British India, as it has been proved by the above quotations from legal documents.

Mohammed Ali Jinnah was a brilliant constitutional lawyer and he understood the legal and constitutional position of the Princely States. He strongly believed that the State of Jammu Kashmir and other Princely States had a right either to accede to India or Pakistan, or become independent States. In a reply to a question on 17th June 1947 about legal status of the Princely States, Qaaide Azam said:

‘That after the lapse of paramountcy the Indian States would be constitutionally and legally sovereign states and free to adopt for themselves any course they wished. It is open to States to join Hindustan Constituent Assembly {or Pakistan Constituent Assembly} or to decide to remain independent’.

On July 11 1947, while replying to some Kashmiris, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah once again clarified the position, he said:

“The second question that is engaging the attention of the Muslims of Kashmir is whether Kashmir is going to join the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan. I have already made it clear more than once that the Indian States are free to join either the Pakistan Constituent Assembly or the Hindustan Constituent Assembly or remain independent”.

Many Pakistanis ignore this statement of their Qaaid, but keep on referring to the statement which has no legal or historic significance that Kashmir is a ‘jugular vein of Pakistan’. Apart from the above statements on Kashmir Mohammed Ali Jinnah proved with his action that the Two Nations Theory did not apply to the Princely States, when he accepted accession of state of Junagarh which had non Muslim majority with a Muslim Ruler. If rules of the Two Nations Theory applied to the Princely States then this state should have automatically joined India; and Mohammed Ali Jinnah would not have accepted its accession to Pakistan.


5/


What Pandit Nehru said about Kashmir?

Excerpts of telegram dated 26 October, 1947 from Jawaharlal Nehru to the British Prime Minister, Clement Attlee

"For Prime Minister United Kingdom from Prime Minister India.

We have received urgent appeal for assistance from Kashmir Government. We would be disposed to give favourable consideration to such request from any friendly State. Kashmir's Northern frontiers, as you are aware, run in common with those of three countries, Afghanistan, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and China. Security of Kashmir, which must depend upon control of internal tranquillity and existence of stable Government, is vital to security of India especially since part of Southern boundary of Kashmir and India are common. Helping Kashmir, therefore, is an obligation of national interest to India. We are giving urgent consideration to question as to what assistance we can give to State to defend itself.

I should like to make it clear that question of aiding Kashmir in this emergency is not designed in anyway to influence the State to accede to India. Our view which we have repeatedly made public is that the question of accession in any disputed territory or State must be decided in accordance with wishes of people and we adhere to this view. It is quite clear, however, that no free expression of will of people of Kashmir is possible if external aggression succeeds in imperilling integrity of its territory.

I have thought it desirable to inform you of situation because of its threat of international complications."

Apart from that telegram Prime Minister of India, Pandit Nehru on many occasions made statements on Kashmir, and I am only producing a few here. He said:

1/

“We are anxious not to finalize anything in a moment of crisis and without the fullest opportunity to be given to the people of Kashmir to have their say. It is for them ultimately to decide.

“And let me make it clear that it has been our policy all along that where there is a dispute about the accession of a state to either Dominion, the accession must be made by the people of that state.” JAWAHARLAL NEHRU, (Broadcast to the Nation: “All India Radio”: 2 November 1947).

2/

“The issue in Kashmir is whether violence and naked force should decide the future or the will of the people.” JAWAHARLAL NEHRU, (Statement in Indian Constituent Assembly; 25 November 1947).

3/ “People seem to forget that Kashmir is not a commodity for sale or to be bartered. It has an individual existence and its people must be the final arbiters of their future.” JAWAHARLAL NEHRU, (Report to the All-India Congress Committee, 6 July 1951; The Statesman, New Delhi, 9 July 1951).

4/

“Kashmir is not a thing to be bandied about 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.” JAWAHARLAL NEHRU, (Statement in the Indian Parliament, 31 March 1955).

5/

“We have taken the issue to the United Nations and given our word of honour for a peaceful solution. As a great nation, we cannot go back on it. We have left the question for final solution to the people of Kashmir and we are determined to abide by their decision.” JAWAHARLAL NEHRU (Amrita Bazar Patrika, Calcutta, 2 January 1952).

6/ Standstill Agreement

As noted above after the lapse of ‘Paramountcy’ – end of British Raj - the Princely States were legally and constitutionally independent, and had absolute discretionary powers to decide about future of their states.

Lord Listowel, Secretary of State for India said in House of Lords said on 16 July 1947:

‘From the moment the appointments and functions of the Crown Representative and his officers will terminate and the States will be the masters of their own fate. They will be then entirely free to choose whether to associate with one or the other of the Dominion Governments or to stand alone, and Her Majesty’s Government will not use the slightest pressure to influence their momentous and voluntary decision’. 2

The Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir more than once expressed his desire not to accede to any country, as he wanted to become an independent Ruler of Jammu and Kashmir. In order to pursue his plans; and to avoid administrative collapse which could have resulted after the lapse of Paramountcy he offered Standstill Agreements to both India and Pakistan on 12 August 1947.

Telegram of Prime Minister of Kashmir to the States Relations Department, Government of Pakistan states:

‘Jammu and Kashmir Government would welcome Standstill Agreements with Pakistan on all matters on which these exist at present moment with outgoing British Government. It is suggested that existing arrangements should continue pending settlement of details formal execution of formal agreements.’

A similar telegram was sent to Government of India. The Government of India did not refuse to enter in to the Standstill Agreement, but replied that ‘Government of India would be glad if some duly authorised minister could fly to Delhi for negotiating Standstill Agreement between the Kashmir Government and Indian Dominion. Early action is desirable to maintain existing agreements and administrative arrangements.’ 3

On the other hand the Foreign Secretary, Government of Pakistan addressed Prime Minister of Kashmir in a telegram on 15 August 1947:

‘The Government of Pakistan agree to have a Standstill Agreements with the Government of Jammu and Kashmir for the continuance of the existing arrangements pending settlement of details and formal execution of fresh agreements.’ 4

7/

Was Jammu and Kashmir a sovereign state?

All the above proves without any doubt that the State of Jammu and Kashmir was a sovereign and an independent State. A state must have four attributes before it could be called a sovereign state.

1/ First attribute is that the state should have people. This attribute Jammu and Kashmir satisfied before the lapse of Paramountcy. The people living within the State boundaries were regarded as citizens of Jammu and Kashmir; and State Subject Definition Notification dated the 20th April, 1927 further strengthens our case in this regard.

2/ Second attribute of a statehood is that the state should have a defined territory. Size of the state does not matter; it could be a city state. The Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir had clearly defined territory of which he was the Ruler.

3/ Third attribute of a statehood is that there should be a government. A government could mean one or more people who are responsible for making laws and keeping law and order. All these attributes were satisfied before the lapse of paramountcy.

4/ Fourth attribute of a statehood is that a state should have capacity and right to enter in to relations with other states. This attribute distinguishes states from lesser units like members of a federation.

The Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir attained this capacity after the lapse of Paramountcy. He demonstrated this ability or right by concluding a Standstill Agreement with government of Pakistan; and by offering to have a Standstill Agreement with government of India.

Some argue that because the State of Jammu and Kashmir was not recognised, therefore it was not a sovereign state. This is not true. A State becomes sovereign when it is granted independence by a paramount power; legally it attains independence from that moment and does not depend on recognition of other states. Israel exists as a sovereign country, yet it is not recognised by so many countries.

In case of Jammu and Kashmir, India and Pakistan could not have recognised it as a sovereign state as both wanted Kashmir to join one or the other Dominion. Other countries could not recognise the State of Jammu and Kashmir so soon because situation was not clear; and the State of Jammu and Kashmir could not maintain its independence due to the tribal invasion which forced the Maharaja to accede to India, which was provisional and had to be ratified by people of the State.


8/ Tribal Invasion


Despite pressures from both India and Pakistan the Maharaja refused to accede to any country. As late as on 12 October 1947, RB Batra, Deputy Prime Minister of Kashmir while on a visit to Delhi said:

‘We intend to keep on friendly relations with both India and Pakistan. Despite constant rumours we have no intention of joining either India or Pakistan, and the Maharaja and his government have decided that no decision of any kind will be made until there is peace in the plains. He also revealed that the Maharaja had told him that it was his ambition to make Kashmir Switzerland of the East – a completely neutral state.’ 5

The government of Pakistan and Governor General of Pakistan, Mohammed Ali Jinnah hoped that the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir will join Pakistan or, at least, will not join India. When they realised that all was not well, and the Maharaja government, especially after expulsion of Prime Minister Rai Bahadur Pandit Ramchandra Kak was increasing its distance with Pakistan and getting closer to India, the hawks in Pakistan decided to teach Maharaja a lesson.

They violated terms of the Standstill Agreements and blockaded all supplies to the State to cripple the government; and increase pressure on the Maharaja to accede to Pakistan. They even stopped supply of essential items like food, salt, petrol and sugar etc. Also they encouraged rebellion in the State and sent in Tribesmen and other Pakistanis to capture Summer Capital, Srinagar and other parts of the State.

Mehar Chand Mahajan, Prime Minister of Kashmir wrote a letter of complaint to the British government but got no help, as the British role and responsibilities to the States ended on 15th August. He then wrote a letter of complaint to Government of Pakistan and requested to honour terms of the Standstill Agreement. The Pakistan government asked the Maharaja to come to Karachi to discuss these matters. The Maharaja refused to do that in view of the prevailing situation in the State, but agreed to set up a joint commission to look in to these matters.

While both governments exchanged telegrams as to what should be done to resolve these matters, on 22 October thousands of Tribesmen fully supported by the Pakistani administration crossed over the State territory; and violated and desecrated sovereignty of the State. This action of Pakistani government is called ‘indirect aggression’ in international law, and there is ample evidence to prove Pakistani hand in this aggression.

Mohammed Ali Jinnah, as a Governor General of Pakistan met Lord Mountbatten on 1 November 1947, who was at that time Governor General of India, and said, he can ‘call the whole thing off’ if Lord Mountbatten agreed to his terms. 6

Major General Akbar Khan who was assigned the task of ‘liberating’ Kashmir and who assumed the title of General Tariq – famous Muslim General who invaded Spain – reveals in his book ‘Raiders in Kashmir’ that he was called from Kashmir to take part in very important meeting. This high level meeting was held at Governor House Lahore on 27 October 1947, which was chaired by Prime Minister of Pakistan Liaquat Ali Khan. Other participants included Maj General Iskander Mirza – Defence Secretary, Chaudhry Muhammad Ali, Secretary General, Brigadier Sher Khan, Khan Abdul Qayyum Khan Chief Minister of NWFP, Nawab of Mamdot – Chief Minister of Punjab. In this meeting a plan to capture Jammu put forward by Maj General Akbar Khan was discussed, but not approved, as that could have provoked India to attack Pakistan.

He further writes: ‘My suggestion about the formation of a Liberation Committee to coordinate and direct our efforts in Kashmir was accepted….In the morning I was informed that I was to be the military member of the Liberation Committee. To enable me to attend to this work, I was to be relieved of my duties in GHQ, and was to be appointed Military Advisor to the Prime Minister. I was to stay in Pindi, and my work in connection with Kashmir was to be kept secret from the British Officers and GHQ.’ 7

Apart from that a cabinet member of the Government of Pakistan Sardar Shaukat Hyat Khan admitted in his book: ‘Seeing the Maharaja’s and India’s bad faith, we decided to walk into Kashmir. I was put in charge of the operation. I asked for the services of Brigadier Sher Khan and Brigadier Akbar, both of 6/13th Frontier Force and requested that we should be allowed some arms which we could retrieve from…Lahore Fort….We lost Kashmir through our own blunders. The people there were jubilant over Pakistan’s actions and wanted to join it, but the tribes fell back pell-mell.’ 8

There is abundant evidence that government of Pakistan was behind this tribal invasion which caused so many deaths and is the prime source of our troubles and miseries.

However some people argue that before the tribesmen arrived there was already armed rebellion against the Maharaja in certain parts of the State; and that some non Muslims also entered the State, especially in Jammu for the purpose of fighting and killing Muslims. In this regard some forces were sent by Maharaja of Patiala and some extremist Hindu elements from various parts of India went to Jammu.

True thousands of Muslims were killed in Jammu, but it is also true that Hindus were also killed, but this could not be equated to the Tribal Invasion, as the first one was a result of communal fighting which spilled over from the former British India; and the other one was an aggression to capture capital and punish the Maharaja who refused to accede to Pakistan despite all the pressure.

It is also true that some non Muslims entered to State to support the Maharaja in fight against the rebellion which was going on in certain parts of the State; but these people did not enter the State to topple the government, to invade the state or punish its Ruler.

No matter how much we dislike it, but fact remains that those non Muslims who entered the State did not violate any written agreement; they did not pose any threat to the sovereignty of the State, if anything they could have been there on the request of Kashmiri authorities to establish writ of the government.

Every State and every government has inherent right to defend its borders and establish writ of government? Prime task of every government is to protect life, dignity and property of every citizen. When his State faced unprovoked attack, was it not his responsibility to seek help to protect his government and state?


Tribesman demonstrated barbarism


Maharaja’s army was not in a position to fight back these tribesmen, and many small towns were ‘liberated’. They conquered Baramula without a problem, and problems started after capturing this important town which had population of nearly sixteen thousands and was the biggest town in the Valley after Srinagar.

Even at that time road to Srinagar was very good and it was only one hour bus journey. There was no army to defend the City from the Tribesmen. They could have taken to City without much effort within few hours, but their greed for looting and lust for women kept them busy there for few days. A famous Kashmiri historian Justice Yousaf Saraf notes:

‘A sizable number of tribesmen lost no time to turn against them (people of the town) and within few hours buildings were ablaze; entry was forced in almost all pucca houses (houses built with bricks) and its inmates were robbed on pain of death’. Nuns at the St Joseph’s Hospital were killed. 9

The tribesman demonstrated equality in looting and plundering, no one was spared. Justice Saraf painfully notes: ‘There was generally no distinction between Hindus and Muslims in so far as loot and arson was concerned. For instance, a tribesman snatched a blanket of Ghani, a poor weaver with four daughters. When asked whether this was the purpose for which they had come to Kashmir, the victim was shot dead on spot. The local cinema hall was converted into a sort of restricted brothel.’ 10

Most Muslim women had left the town in fear, but one unfortunate girl was caught by a tribesman and asked her to accompany her to the camp. She knew what will happen to her, so she asked if she could bring some jewellery and cash from the house. He happily agreed and the girl went inside the house. Justice Saraf wrote: ‘While the tribesman waited outside she dashed into a large room which stocked grass for a dozen of their horses. Setting it on fire, she entrusted herself to the flames’. 11

Rasul Joo Darzi, an oil mill owner invited about two hundred tribesmen for a dinner. After the dinner, ‘honourable guests’, who some people claim went for Jihad, demanded women. The host was stunned, but luckily all young women of the household had already left for safety. Justice Saraf notes, ‘there remained only a great grand mother who was shown to them as the only female inmate and it was with great difficulty that they had left the house.’ 12

When Khan Abdul Qayyum Khan heard stories of loot and pillage, he got alarmed that people of Jammu and Kashmir could turn against them, and he immediately sent Pir of Manki Sharif to Baramula that he could control unruly tribesmen in name of Islam. Pir Sahib told them that ‘plunder was not the primary purpose for which they had entered Kashmir’. Also he told them what were commands of Allah and Prophet (peace be upon him) ‘about rules of war and how important it was to protect everyone’s honour, life and property, regardless of religious belief.’ 13

For three days the tribesmen looted, raped and danced on the ‘great victory’ they had achieved, and did not proceed to Srinagar; and when they did by that time Indian army had already secured the airport. Sardar Ibrahim Khan, first President of Azad Kashmir wrote in his book, ‘The Kashmir Saga’: ‘Failure to capture Srinagar was a turning point in the history of this campaign. If we had captured Srinagar, which was deserted by the Maharaja and his troops we could have captured Srinagar very easily. But this could only be done before the landing of the Indian auxiliary troops in Srinagr.’ 14

The story of tribal invasion is a tragic one. This aggression which was done in holy name of Jihad brought misery and destruction to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, and they continue to suffer to date on both sides of the divide. Some people try to justify this invasion by claiming that they went there to help, because there were stories of mass killings of the Muslims in Jammu. But that is not true. If the aim was to help Muslims, then they should have been directed to advance towards Jammu where communal fighting was going on and where Muslims were in minority; instead they were directed to the areas where Muslims were in majority and where there were no communal riots.

Apart from that riots in Jammu started in the last week of August, and leaders of Pakistan and tribesmen remained quiet because there was still hope that the Maharaja might join Pakistan. When in second week of October, rulers of Pakistan realised that the Maharaja was not going to join Pakistan they used tribesmen to capture Kashmir. The strategy did not work as planned, and Pakistan ended up only capturing areas now known as Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan.

9/

As noted above the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir had two options: surrender to these tribesman and Pakistan or seek help from India, he chose the later. His letter to Governor General of India Lord Mountbatten is produced below.


Maharaja’s letter to Lord Mountbatten


My dear Lord Mountbatten,

I have to inform Your Excellency that a grave emergency has arisen in my State and request the immediate assistance of your Government. As Your Excellency is aware, the State of Jammu and Kashmir has not acceded to either the Dominion of India or Pakistan. Geographically my State is contiguous with both of them. Besides, my State has a common boundary with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and with China. In their external relations the Dominion of India and Pakistan cannot ignore this fact.

I wanted to take time to decide to which Dominion I should accede or whether it is not in the best interests of both the Dominions and of my State to stand independent, of course with friendly and cordial relations with both. I accordingly approached the Dominions of India and Pakistan to enter into standstill agreement with my State. The Pakistan Government accepted this arrangement. The Dominion of India desired further discussion with representatives of my Government. I could not arrange this in view of the developments indicated below. In fact the Pakistan Government under the standstill agreement is operating the post and telegraph system inside the State. Though we have got a standstill agreement with the Pakistan Government, the Government permitted a steady and increasing strangulation of supplies like food, salt and petrol to my State.

Afridis, soldiers in plain clothes, and desperadoes with modern weapons have been allowed to infiltrate into the State, at first in the Poonch area, then from Sia1kot and finally in a mass in the area adjoining-Hazara district on the Ramkote side. The result has been that the limited number of troops at the disposal of the State had to be dispersed and thus had to face the enemy at several points simultaneously, so that it has become difficult to stop the wanton destruction of life ad property and the looting of the Mahura power house, which supplies electric current to the whole of Srinagar and which has been burnt. The number of women who have been kidnapped and raped makes my heart bleed. The wild forces thus let loose on the State are marching on with the aim of capturing Srinagar, the summer capital of my government, as a first step to overrunning the whole State. The mass infiltration of tribesman drawn from distant areas of the North-West Frontier Province, coming regularly in motortrucks, using the Manwehra-Mazaffarabad road and fully armed with up-to-date weapons, cannot possibly be done without the knowledge of the Provincial Govemment of the North-West Frontier Province and the Government of Pakistan. In spite of repeated appeals made by my Government no attempt has been made to check these raiders or to stop them from coming into my State. In fact, both radio and the Press of Pakistan have reported these occurrences. The Pakistan radio even put out the story that a provisional government has been set up in Kashmir. The people of my State, both Muslims and non-Muslims, generally have taken no part at all.

With the conditions obtaining at present in my State and the great emergency of the situation as it exists, I have no option but to ask for help from the Indian Dominion. Naturally they cannot send the help asked for by me without my State acceding to the Dominion of India. I have accordingly decided to do so, and I attach the instrument of accession for acceptance by your Government. The other alternative is to leave my state and people to free booters. On this basis no civilised government can exist or be maintained.

This alternative I will never allow to happen so long as I am the ruler of the State and I have life to defend my country. I may also inform your Excellency's Government that it is my intention at once to set up an interim government and to ask Sheikh Abdullah to carry the responsibilities in this emergency with my Prime Minister.

If my State is to be saved, immediate assistance must be available at Srinagar. Mr. V.P. Menon is fully aware of the gravity of the situation and will explain it to you, if further explanation is needed.

In haste and with kindest regards,

Yours sincerely,

Hari Singh

October 26, 1947



10/ Lord Mountbatten’s reply to Maharaja Hari Singh

Even with close inspection one cannot see if the Maharaja offered a provisional accession. He wrote: ‘I have no option but to ask for help from the Indian Dominion. Naturally they cannot send the help asked for by me without my State acceding to the Dominion of India. I have accordingly decided to do so, and I attach the instrument of accession for acceptance by your Government’.

The Governor General of India, Lord Mountbatten in his reply to the Maharaja made the accession conditional, and gave a right to the people of the State to approve it or reject it. The letter of Lord Mountbatten is produced below.

My dear Maharaja Sahib,

Your Highness' letter dated 26 October 1947 has been delivered to me by Mr. V.P. Menon. In the circumstances mentioned by Your Highness, my Government have decided to accept the accession of Kashmir State to the Dominion of India. In consistence with their policy that in the case of any State where the issue of accession has been the subject of dispute, the question of accession should be decided in accordance with the wishes of the people of the State, it is my Government's wish that, as soon as law and order have been restored in Kashmir and its soil cleared of the invader, the question of the State's accession should be settled by a reference to the people.

Meanwhile, in response to Your Highness' appeal for military aid, action has been taken today to send troops of the Indian Army to Kashmir, to help your own forces to defend your territory and to protect the lives, property, and honour of your people. My Government and I note with satisfaction that Your Highness has decided to invite Sheikh Abdullah to form an interim Government to work with your Prime Minister.

Mountbatten of Burma

October 27, 1947



11/ Instrument of Accession


Instrument of Accession executed by Maharajah Hari Singh on October 26, 1947

Whereas the Indian Independence Act, 1947, provides that as from the fifteenth day of August, 1947, there shall be set up an independent Dominion known as INDIA, and that the Government of India Act 1935 shall with such omissions, additions, adaptations and modifications as the Governor General may by order specify, be applicable to the Dominion of India.

And whereas the Government of India Act, 1935, as so adapted by the Governor General, provides that an Indian State may accede to the Dominion of India by an Instrument of Accession executed by the Ruler thereof.

Now, therefore, I Shriman Inder Mahinder Rajrajeswar Maharajadhiraj Shri Hari Singhji, Jammu & Kashmir Naresh Tatha Tibbet adi Deshadhipati, Ruler of Jammu & Kashmir State, in the exercise of my Sovereignty in and over my said State do hereby execute this my Instrument of Accession and

1.

I hereby declare that I accede to the Dominion of India with the intent that the Governor General of India, the Dominion Legislature, the Federal Court and any other Dominion authority established for the purposes of the Dominion shall by virtue of this my Instrument of Accession but subject always to the terms thereof, and for the purposes only of the Dominion, exercise in relation to the State of Jammu & Kashmir (hereinafter referred to as "this State") such functions as may be vested in them by or under the Government of India Act, 1935, as in force in the Dominion of India, on the 15th day of August 1947, (which Act as so in force is hereafter referred to as "the Act').

2. I hereby assume the obligation of ensuring that due effect is given to provisions of the Act within this State so far as they are applicable therein by virtue of this my Instrument of Accession.

3. I accept the matters specified in the schedule hereto as the matters with respect to which the Dominion Legislature may make law for this State.

4. I hereby declare that I accede to the Dominion of India on the assurance that if an agreement is made between the Governor General and the Ruler of this State whereby any functions in relation to the administration in this State of any law of the Dominion Legislature shall be exercised by the Ruler of the State, then any such agreement shall be construed and have effect accordingly.

5. The terms of this my Instrument of Accession shall not be varied by any amendment of the Act or the Indian Independence Act, 1947, unless such amendment is accepted by me by Instrument supplementary to this Instrument.

6. Nothing in this Instrument shall empower the Dominion Legislature to make any law for this State authorizing the compulsory acquisition of land for any purpose, but I hereby undertake that should the Dominion for the purpose of a Dominion law which applies in this State deem it necessary to acquire any land, I will at their request acquire the land at their expense, or, if the land belongs to me transfer it to them on such terms as may be agreed or, in default of agreement, determined by an arbitrator to be appointed by the Chief Justice of India.

7. Nothing in this Instrument shall be deemed to commit in any way to acceptance of any future constitution of India or to fetter my discretion to enter into agreement with the Government of India under any such future constitution.

8. Nothing in this Instrument affects the continuance of my Sovereignty in and over this State, or, save as provided by or under this Instrument, the exercise of any powers, authority and rights now enjoyed by me as Ruler of this State or the validity of any law at present in force in this State.

9. I hereby declare that I execute this Instrument on behalf of this State and that any reference in this Instrument to me or to the Ruler of the State is to be construed as including a reference to my heirs and successors.

Given under my hand this 26th day of October, nineteen hundred and forty seven.

Hari Singh

Maharajadhiraj of Jammu and Kashmir State.



12/


Indian complaint to the Security Council, dated I January 1948 (S/628)

The Government of India have instructed me to transmit to you the following telegraphic communication:

"1. Under Article 35 of the Charter of the United Nations, any Member may bring any situation whose continuance is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security to the attention of the Security Council. Such a situation now exists between India and Pakistan owing to the aid which invaders, consisting of nationals of Pakistan and of tribesmen from the territory immediately adjoining Pakistan on the north-west, are drawing from Pakistan for operations against Jammu and Kashmir, a State which has acceded to the Dominion of India and is part of India. The circumstances of accession, the activities of the invaders which led the Government of India to take military action against them, and the assistance which the attackers have received and are still receiving from Pakistan are explained later in this memorandum. The Government of India request the Security Council to call upon Pakistan to put an end immediately to the giving of such assistance, which is an act of aggression against India. If Pakistan does not do so, the Government of India may be compelled, in self-defence, to enter Pakistan territory, in order to take military action against the invaders. The matter is, therefore, one of extreme urgency and calls for immediate action by the Security Council for avoiding a breach of international peace.

"2. From the middle of September 1947, the Government of India had received reports of the infiltration of armed raiders into the western parts of Jammu province of Jammu and Kashmir State; Jammu adjoins West Punjab, which is a part of the Dominion of Pakistan. These raiders had done a great deal of damage in that area and taken possession of part of the territory of the State. On 24 October, the Government of India heard of a major raid from the Frontier Province of the Dominion of Pakistan into the Valley of Kashmir. Some two thousand or more fully armed and equipped men came in motor transport, crossed over to the territory of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, sacked the town of Muzaffarabad, killing many people and proceeded along the Jhelum Valley road towards Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir State. Intermediate towns and villages were sacked and burnt, and many people killed. These raiders were stopped by Kashmir State troops near Uri, a town some fifty miles from Srinagar, for some time, but the invaders got around them and burnt the power house at Mahora, which supplied electricity to the whole of Kashmir.

"3. The position, on the morning of 26 October, was that these raiders had been held by Kashmir State troops and part of the civil population, who had been armed, at a town called Baramulla. Beyond Baramulla there was no major obstruction up to Srinagar. There was immediate danger of these raiders reaching Srinagar, destroying and massacring large numbers of people, both Hindus and Muslims. The State troops were spread out all over the State and most of them were deployed along the western border of Jammu province. They had been split up into small isolated groups and were incapable of offering effective resistance to the raiders. Most of the State officials had left the threatened areas and the civil administration had ceased to function. All that stood between Srinagar and the fate which had overtaken the places en route followed by the raiders was the determination of the inhabitants of Srinagar, of all communities, and practically without arms, to defend themselves. At this time Srinagar had also a large population of Hindu and Sikh refugees who had fled there from West Punjab owing to communal disturbances in that area. There was little doubt that these refugees would be massacred if the raiders reached Srinagar.

"4. Immediately after the raids into Jammu and Kashmir State commenced, approaches were informally made to the Government of India for the aeceptance of the accession of the State to the Indian Dominion. (It might be explained in parenthesis that Jammu and Kashmir from a State whose ruler, prior to the transfer of power by the United Kingdom to the Dominions of India and Pakistan, had been in treaty relations with the British Crown, which controlled its foreign relations ceased with the transfer of power on 15 August last, and Jammu and Kashmir lilce other States acquired the right to accede to either Dominion.)

"5. Events moved with great rapidity, and the threat to the Valley of Kashmir became grave. On 26 October, the ruler of the State, His Highness Maharaja Sir Hari Singh, appealed urgently to the Government of India for military help. He also requested that the Jammu and Kashmir State should be allowed to accede to the Indian Dominion. An appeal for help was also simultaneously received by the Government of India from the largest popular organization in Kashmir, the National Conference, headed by Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah. The Conference further strongly supported the request for the State's accession to the Indian Dominion. The Government of India were thus approached not only officially by the State authorities, but also on behalf of the people of Kashmir, both for military aid and for the accession of the State to India.

"6. The grave threat to the life and property of innocent people in the Kashmir Valley and to the security of the State of Jammu and Kashmir that had developed as a result of the invasion of the Valley demanded immediate decision by the Government of India on both the requests. It was imperative on account of the emergency that the responsibility for the defence of Jammu and Kashmir State should be taken over by a Government capable of discharging it. But, in order to avoid any possible suggestion that India had utilised the State's immediate peril for her own political advantage, the Government of India made it clear that once the soil of the State had been cleared of the invader and normal conditions restored, its people would be free to decide their future by the recognized democratic methods of a plebiscite or referendum which, in order to ensure complete impartiality, might be held under international auspices.

"7. The Government of Indian felt it their duty to respond to the appeal for armed assistance because:

"(1) They could not allow a neighbouring and friendly State

to be compelled by force to determine either its internal affairs

or its external relations;

"(2) The accession of Jammu and Kashmir State to the

Dominion of India made India really responsible for the

defence of the State.


"8. The intervention of the Government of India resulted in saving Srinagar. The raiders were driven back from Baramulla to Uri and are held there by Indian troops. Nearly 19,000 raiders face the Dominion forces in this area. Since operations in the Valley of Kashmir started, pressure by the raiders against the western, and south-western border of Jammu and Kashmir State had been intensified. Exact figures are not available. It is understood, however, that nearly 15,000 raiders are operating a gainst this part of the State. State troops are besieged in certain areas. Incursions by the raiders into the State territory, involving murder, arson, loot, and the abduction of women continue. The booty is collected and carried over to the tribal areas to serve as an inducement to the further recruitment of tribesmen to the ranks of the raiders. In addition to those actively participating in the raid, tribesmen and others, estimated at 100,000 have been collected in different places in the districts of West Punjab bordering Jammu and Kashmir State, and many of them are receiving military training under Pakistani nationals, including officers of the Pakistan Army. They are looked after in Pakistan territory, fed, clothed, armed and otherwise equipped, and transported to the territory of Jammu and Kashmir State with the help, direct and indirect, of Pakistani officials, both military and civil.

"9. As already stated, the raiders who entered the Kashmir Valley in October came mainly from the tribal areas to the north-west of Pakistan and, in order to reach Kashmir, passed through Pakistan territory. The raids along the south-west border of the State, which had preceded the invasion of the valley proper, had actually been conducted from Pakistan territory, and Pakistan nationals had taken part in them. This process of transmission across Pakistan territory and untilisation of that territory as a base of operations against Jammu and Kashmir State continues. Recently, military operations against the western and south-western borders of the State have been intensified, and the attackers consist of nationals of Pakistan as well as tribesmen. These invaders are armed with modern weapons, including mortars and medium machine-guns, wear the battle dress of regular soldiers and, in recent engagements, have fought in regular battle formation and are using the tactics of modern warfare. Man-pack wireless sets are in regular use and even mark V mines have been employed. For their transport the invaders have all along used motor vehicles. They are undoubtedly being trained and to some extent led by regular officers of the Pakistan Army. Their rations and other supplies are obtained from Pakistan territory.

"10. These facts point indisputably to the conclusion

"(a) that the invaders are allowed transit across Pakistan

territory;

"(b) that they are allowed to use Pakistan territory as a base

of operations;

"(c) that they include Pakistan nationals;

"(d) that they draw much of their military equipment,

transportation, and supplies (including petrol) from Pakistan;

and

"(e) that Pakistan officers are training, guiding, and

otherwise actively helping them.

"There is no source other than Pakistan from which they could obtain such quantities of modern military equipment, training or guidance. More than once, the Government of India had asked the Pakistan Government to deny to the invaders facilities which constitute an act of aggressian and hostility against India, but without any response. The last occasion on which this request was made was on 22 December, when the Prime Minister of India handed over personally to the Prime Minister of Pakistan a letter in which the various forms of aid given by Pakistan to the invaders were briefly recounted and the Government of Pakistan were asked to put an end to such aid promptly; no reply to this letter has yet been received in spite of a telegraphic reminder sent on 26 December.

"11. It should be clear from the foregoing recital that the Government of Pakistan are unwilling to stop the assistance in material and men which the invaders are receiving from Pakistan territory and from Pakistan nationals, including Pakistan Government personnel, both military and civil. This attitude is not only un-neutral, but constitutes active aggression against India, of which the State of Jammu and Kashmir forms a part.

"12. The Government of India have exerted persuasion and exercised patience to bring about a change in the attitude of Pakistan. But they have failed, and are in consequence confronted with a situation in which their defence of Jammu and Kashmir State is hampered and their measures to drive the invaders from the territory of the State are greatly impeded by the support which the raiders derive from Pakistan. The invaders are still on the soil of Jammu and Kashmir and the inhabitants of the States are exposed to all the atrocities of which a barbarous foe is capable. The presence, in large numbers, of invaders in those portions of Pakistan territory which adjoin parts of Indian territory other than Jammu and Kashmir State is a menace to the rest of India. Indefinite continuance of the present operations prolongs the agony of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, is a drain on India's resources and a constant threat to the maintenance of peace between India and Pakistan. The Government of India have no option, therefore, but to take more effective military action in order to rid Jammu and Kashmir State of the invader.

"13. In order that the objective of expelling the invader from Indian territory and preventing him from launching attacks should be quickly achieved, Indian troops would have to enter Pakistan territory; only thus could the invader be denied the use of bases and cut off from his sources of supplies and reinforcements in Pakistan. Since the aid which the invaders are receiving from Pakistan is an act of aggression against India, the Government of India are entitled, under international law, to send their armed forces across Pakistan territory for dealing effectively with the invaders. However, as such action might involve armed conflict with Pakistan, the Government of India, ever anxious to proceed according to the principles and aims of the Charter of the United Nations, desire to report the situation to the Security CDuncil under Article 35 of the Charter. They feel justified in requesting the Security Council to ask the Government of Pakistan.

"(1) to prevent Pakistan Government personnel, military

and civil from participating or assisting in the invasion of

Jammu and Kashmir State;

"(2) to call upon other Pakistani nationals to desist from

taking any part in the fighting in Jammu and Kashmir State;

"(3) to deny to the invaders: (a) access to any use of its

territory for operations against Kashmir, (b) military and other

supplies, (c) all other kinds of aid that might tend to prolong

the present struggle.

"14. The Government of India would stress the special urgency of the Security Council taking immediate action on their request. They desire to add that military operations in the invaded areas have, in the past few days, been developing so rapidly that they must, in self- defence, reserve to themselves the freedom to take, at any time when it may become necessary, such military action as they may consider the situation requires.

"15. The Government of India deeply regret that a serious crisis should have been reached in their relation with Pakistan. Not only is Pakistan a neighbour but, in spite of the recent separation, India and Pakistan have many ties and many common interests. India desires nothing more earnestly than to live with her neighbour-State on terms of close and lasting friendship. Peace is to the interest of both States; indeed to the interests of the world. The Government of India's approach to the Security Council is inspired by the sincere hope that, through the prompt action of the Council, peace may be preserved.

"16. The text of this reference to the Security Council is being telegraphed to the "Government of Pakistan."



13/


Article 257 of Constitution of Pakistan

Most Pakistanis and many Kashmiris wrongly assume that Kashmir is part of Pakistan or, at least, those areas which are under Pakistan are part of Pakistan. This is not true. The recent new package for Gilgit Baltistan has confirmed one thing that these areas are not ‘Northern Areas’ of Pakistan, as they claimed over the years. Constitution of every country defines its territory; and Pakistani constitution clearly says:

‘When the people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir decide to accede to Pakistan, the relationship between Pakistan and the State shall be determined in accordance with the wishes of the people of that State.’

14/ Article 370 of the Indian constitution

Temporary provisions with respect to the State of Jammu and Kashmir

(1) Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution,

(a) the provisions of article 238 shall not apply in relation to the State of Jammu and Kashmir;

(b) the power of Parliament to make laws for the said State shall be limited to,

(i) those matters in the Union List and the Concurrent List which, in consultation with the Government of the State are declared by the President to correspond to matters specified in the Instrument of Accession governing the accession of the State to the Dominion of India as the matters with respect to which the Dominion Legislature may make laws far that State; and

(ii) such other matters in the said Lists as, with the concurrence of the Government of the State, the President may by order specify.

Explanation For the purposes of this article, the Govermnent of the State means the person for the time being recognised by the President as the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir acting on the advice of the Council of Ministers for the time being in office under the Maharaja's Proclamation dated the fifth day of March. 1948;

(c) the provisions of article 1 and of this article shall apply in relation to that State;

(d) such of the other provisions of this Constitution shall apply in relation to that State subject to such exceptions and modifications as the President may by order specify:

Provided that no such order which relates to the matters specified in the Instrument of Accession of the State referred to in paragraph (i) of sub-clause (b) shall be issued except in consultation with the Government of the State:

Provided further that no such order which relates to matters other than those referred in the last preceding proviso shall be issued except with the concurrence of that Government.

(2) If the concurrence of the Government of the State referred to in paragraph (ii) of sub-clause (b) of clause (1) or in the second proviso to sub-clause (d) of that clause be given before the Constituent Assembly for the purpose of framing the Constitution of the State is convened, it shall be placed before such Assembly for such decision as it may take thereon.

(3) Notwithstanding anything in the foregoing provisions of this article, the President may. by public notification, declare that this article shall cease to be operative or shall be operative only with such exceptions and modifications and from such date as he may specify:

Provided that the recommendation of the Constituent Assembly of the State referred to in clause (2) shall be necessary before the President issues such a notification.


15/

Excerpts of Sheikh Abdullah speech in the UN Security Council

A file picture of late 1970s of Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah, chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir (J and K) and the leader of the largest political party of the state, National Conference (NC), addresses a press conference, in Srinagar.

‘…………The situation was worsening day by day and the minority in our State was feeling very nervous. As a result tremendous pressure was brought to bear upon the State administration to release me and my colleagues. The situation outside demanded the release of workers of National Conference, along with its leader, and we were accordingly set free……

Immediately we were liberated from the prison we were faced with the important question of whether Kashmir should accede to Pakistan, accede to India, or remain independent... We could not decide this all important issue before achieving our own liberation, and our slogan became "Freedom before accession." Some friends from Pakistan met me in Srinagar. I have a heart-to-heart discussion with them and explained my point of view....

While I was engaged in these conversations and negotiations with friends from Pakistan, I sent one of my colleagues to Lahore, where he met the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr.Liaquat Ali Khan, and other high dignitaries of the West Punjab Government. He placed the same point of view before them and requested that they should allow us time to consider this vital question, first helping us to achieve our liberation instead of forcing us to declare our decision one way or the other. Then, one fine morning while these negotiations were proceeding, I received news that a full-fledged attack had been carried out by the raiders on Muzaffarabad, frontier town in the Kashmir Province....

While the raiders came to our land, massacred thousands of people -- mostly Hindus and Sikhs, but Muslims too -- abducted thousands of girls, Hindu, Sikhs and Muslims alike, looted our property and almost reached the gates of our summer capital, Srinagar, the result was that the civil, military and police administration failed. The Maharaja, in the dead of the night, left the capital along with his courtiers, and the result was absolute panic. There was no one to take over control. In that hour of crisis, the National Conference came forward with 10,000 volunteers and took over the administration of the country. They started guarding the banks, the offices and houses of every person in the capital. This is the manner in which the administration changed hands. We were de facto in charge of the administration. The Maharaja, later on, gave it a legal form....

I was explaining how the dispute arose -- how Pakistan wanted to force this position of slavery upon us. Pakistan had no interest in our liberation or it would not have opposed our freedom movement. Pakistan would have supported us when thousands of my countrymen were behind bars and hundreds were shot to death. The Pakistani leaders and Pakistani papers were heaping abuse upon the people of Kashmir who were suffering these tortures……’ 15


16. Conclusion


It is not possible to turn back the clock of history. It is not possible to tell what exactly would have happened if 22 October 1947 was not in our history – if there was no tribal invasion.

People of Kashmir have a long history of suffering. Rulers of Kashmir, Muslims and non Muslims have equally oppressed the people, but it is believed that during the Dogra rule, by and large, Muslims suffered more. Politics based on religion and hatred, and subsequent partition of the British India polarised the entire Sub Continent; and that also had negative impact on polity of the State.

It is true there were anti Maharaja sentiments among many Muslims, but it is also true that he was the Ruler of the State and even pro Pakistan Muslim Conference more than once expressed its loyalty to the Maharaja and expressed its desire to accept him as a Constituent Ruler of the State.

Compared to other Princely States, the State of Jammu and Kashmir evolved a democratic and constitutional set up, and people had more democratic rights compared to subjects of other Princely States. The State had Parliament and had democratic elections.

If there was no outside interference, no infiltration, no insurgency and no tribal invasion, then it was possible that the Maharaja could have given more rights to the people and in return they could have accepted him as a Constituent Ruler of the State with more power to the Parliament. If the above had happened then it was possible that the State would have been one political entity and possibly independent country.

Unfortunately we cannot change the course of history with ifs and buts, we have to face hard facts and situation as it is today. The fact is that today our State is forcibly divided and people suffer on both sides of the divide; and despite death of tens of thousands, rapes, destruction and misery of millions there is no light at the end of tunnel.

Today people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir are deeply divided, oppressed and not sure what exactly they want. While ordinary people suffer on both sides of the divide Kashmiri struggle for right of self determination and unification of the State has become a lucrative business for some.

Despite the above, sincere and freedom loving people of the State will have to continue their struggle; and if not get independence for our next generation, at least, pass on the torch that they can continue the struggle for unification and independence of the State. END

by: Dr Shabir Choudhry