The state of Jammu and Kashmir, which has an area of 84471 square miles and is bordered by India, Pakistan, China, and Afghanistan, is nestled in the lap of the Himalayas. Kashmir Valley, a section of the state, is 85 miles long and 25 miles broad. Its tranquil, scenic, and captivating beauty has enchanted princes and peasants alike over the years, earning it the moniker “Paradise on Earth.” However, its people’s past is a sorrowful one filled with sorrows and troubles. According to the eminent researcher Vincent Smith, their existence remained a chronicle of deprivation and persecution: “Few regions in the world can have had worse luck than Kashmiris in the matter of government”.
The Kashmir problem, the oldest on the United Nations agenda, is an unresolved agenda of India’s subcontinental divide. The people of Kashmir, which is still oppressed by India, have a considerably longer history of independence struggle than the peoples of the rest of the Subcontinent. Kashmiris revolted in the 1830s after being suppressed and exploited by several dictatorial foreign rulers. The insurrection was defeated and the Kashmiri leaders were skinned alive by the Raja of Jammu, Gulab Singh, a warlord of the Sikh kingdom. Gulab Singh, who bought Kashmir from the British Indian Government in 1846 for a pittance of 750,000 rupees, introduced his own brand of barbarism to the region. Likewise, his descendants were no less vicious. However, the ambers of independence, which had been seething in the hearts of Kashmiris, erupted into flames in the 1920s and 1930s as well.
Jammu and Kashmir were one of the Indian Subcontinent’s 584 princely states. At the time of their independence in 1947, the rulers of these kingdoms were encouraged by the then-Viceroy to join either India or Pakistan, taking into account the preferences of their peoples as well as their geographical position. Kashmiri Muslims have two compelling incentives to join Pakistan: their demographic dominance (80% of the population) and geographical proximity. However, Indian authorities compelled the state’s non-Muslim ruler to submit to India (doubtful). Kashmiri Muslims rose up and liberated a substantial portion of the state, forming the Azad (free) Government of Jammu and Kashmir. India sought assistance from the United Nations, which denied India’s claim to the state and issued a number of resolutions in favour of Kashmiris’ right to self. The resolution of January 5, 1949 reads as follows:
“The question of accession of the State of Jammu & Kashmir to India or Pakistan will be decided through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite”.
India committed to organizing a vote in the state, and its officials made at least forty guarantees to that effect. However, they were only interested in gaining time and were not honest in this respect. They began negotiations on Kashmir whenever India was put under duress, which was another dilatory approach. Pakistan and India fought three wars over the subject, with India promising to address it but doing little on the ground.
An undue delay in executing UN resolutions on Kashmir, multiple absurd, fraudulent elections in the State and the tide of democracy that swept the world in the 1980s drew the people of Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) to the streets, demanding for their right to self-determination. Kashmiris were forced to pick up guns as India attempted to extinguish their spirit for freedom via force. To shatter the spirit of Kashmiris, India has sent over 700,000 soldiers who are fully armed and have limitless powers under the harsh Kashmir rules. They’ve caused devastation in the area. Atrocities committed against helpless Kashmiris have been documented by Indian and international human rights organizations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and others.
The European Parliament team that visited IOK dubbed it “the most beautiful jail in the world.” In its report, the team strongly criticized state terrorism targeting Kashmiris, requesting international human rights organizations to seek access to IOK and demanding the Indian government to enable greater monitoring of all detainees. The delegation also advocated for the European Parliament to designate a Rapporteur on Kashmir.
Indian politicians frequently make deceptive comments in order to deceive the world community. The Indian government have accused Kashmiris of terrorism at times, although the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948, and other UN pronouncements allow people to struggle for their right to self-determination. As a result, the Kashmiri liberation struggle cannot be labelled as terrorism. Concerning the charge of cross-border terrorism, Pakistan has frequently advocated expanding the position of UN Observers on the Line of Control (LOC), but India has refused. Respectful funerals and ever-expanding graveyards in occupied territory speak eloquently in favour of their indigenous struggle. Furthermore, a foreign-sponsored movement cannot maintain the same passion and unwavering devotion for 18 years. Several analysts, both Indian and international, have also disputed the Indian assertion.
India is likewise opposed to third-party action, claiming that the problem can be settled bilaterally under the Simla Agreement. The Agreement was signed on July 2, 1972, however, India has done nothing to address the matter in the subsequent 34 years, instead of rejecting all efforts made by Pakistan in this regard.
Unprecedented atrocities committed by Indian security forces in IOK, as well as India’s ever-increasing military strength, have rendered the Indian Subcontinent one of the most dangerous regions in the world, as noted by a number of international leaders.
India, which is vying for a permanent place on the United Nations Security Council, should remember the UN Security Council decisions on Kashmir, which it has consistently ignored with impunity. Similarly, the international community should accept its obligation under the UN Charter to address the Kashmir issue. If the UN decisions on Iraq, Kosovo, and East Timor can be executed, why can’t the Kashmir resolutions?
The world has shrunk, and a regional battle can encompass the entire globe, especially because India and Pakistan both have nuclear weapons. As a result, the international community must not turn a blind eye to the misery of the Kashmiris, who are recording their tales of sorrow in blood. It should step forward and put an end to the injustice meted out to them by the Indians.