The Kashmir Issue : What Can The Probable Solution?

4 Responses

Jammu and Kashmir, often called as the 'Paradise of the Earth', also houses the world's highest battlefield. Thousands articles have been written, many accusations have been made, wars have broken out, yet after sixty one years of independence, the fate of the Kashmir valley remains the major part of Indo-Pak disputes. Here's a highly condensed article based on this issue and a probable solution for the same.

The history

As history goes, Jammu and Kashmir was an independent princely state in British controlled India. Maharaja Hari Singh, the then ruler of Jammu and KashmirIt was ruled by Maharaja Hari Singh. When India and Pakistan were granted independence, the princely states had the options of merging their states into either India or Pakistan, or remain independent. Maharaja Hari Singh chose to be independent at first. But the Pakistani government began sending armed militia into the state and creating chaos everywhere. Many places were looted, many women kidnapped and raped. Later the Pakistani army began invading the region. So, The Maharaja fled the valley and decided to merge Kashmir with India. After the merger, the Indian armed forces were flown to Kashmir where they recaptured a big chunk of this invaded region, after which a ceasefire,thanks to the UN, was declared.

Article 370 of the Indian Constitution

According to the Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, the state of Jammu and Kashmir has special a separate set of laws, unlike the other states in India, except for some fields such as defence and foreign affairs, which makes it more or less autonomous. It's like a country inside another country. Any amendment in the laws would be made after the consultation of the state government. This article can still be removed from the constitution by the President of India, but it hasn't been done yet. The reason? Even I don't know. Maybe it's just politics.

What India has done for Jammu and Kashmir?

Apart from Article 370, India has taken immense efforts in undertaking development in this region. The Indian government has set up many schools, state-of-the-art institutes in various fields like engineering, medical sciences and management. Elsewhere in central India, there are seats reserved for Kashmiri migrants in various educational institutes and other corporations. Roads were constructed, railway lines were laid, thereby connecting the rest of the country to this region. In fact, the world's highest railway bridge is being built to connect Srinagar by rail to the rest of India. And the best part is, India is a terribly huge market for Kashmir's goods like fruits, textiles and art products, apart from tourism. But I feel, the freedom which the Kashmiris get in India which they may not(read never) get in Pakistan, is the most special thing in the platter.

The cost of independence...

Under the name of independence, thousands of people have been killed and seriously wounded in various incidences. It all started in 1989, when the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front(JKLF) was established. Although the group gave up violence, many other groups sponsored by Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence(ISI) sprouted. Violence increased, and the government had to deploy the Indian Army in this region due to the region's volatility and the continuous threat from the Pakistani forces. Yet, the Pakistani troops manage to infiltrate several terrorists, who not only create havoc, but also expand their ring of terror by recruitment of innocent, illiterate, unemployed youth from this region. Every year, about twenty thousand people including civilians are killed. The number has fallen recently, which seems to be breather for the government.

What the people of Jammu and Kashmir say...

The people of this state themselves have varied opinions. Some want to stay with India, while some want Pakistan. And there are many who want an independent Kashmir. Those who want India justify their feelings by saying they'll get better facilities, better education and a better future. Says a businessman,"Where else can you get a market of a billion plus people?". The people who vie for a Pakistani rule say they'll get a country full of Muslims, and won't be prejudiced, as they are allegedly subjected to in India. And those who ask for independence claim there will finally be peace in the valley.

And what do the others say?

People from all over the world have varied opinions on this issue. Some say that the UN should try and solve this issue.UN logo But if the UN is given the cue, it will insist for a plebiscite, whose outcome would obviously be Kashmir's independence. And if that happens, there may be a repetition of the 1947 invasion by Pakistan. Some people think the entire state should be given independence to the valley, so that there's peace in the region. General Pervez Musharraf, the former Pakistani prez had offered a four-point solution which was, a self-governance plan in the valley, which would be jointly supervised by India and Pakistan, withdrawal of the armed forces, and no changes in the state's present borders. (To me, it sounds totally absurd, as such a thing won't be practically possible, with a lot of friction between the two countries.) The West, always known for its interference, has done almost nothing to settle the spate.

My take on this issue...

I feel only peaceful methods can solve this issue. But a strong political will is necessary from both sides. Plebiscite can be waste of time and resources. Maybe Pakistan should accept the LoC as the international border and keep the northern part of Kashmir. Although Pakistan stakes its claim over Kashmir on the basis of Jinnah's principles that Hindus and Muslims can't live together, it cannot ignore the fact that India is the only country in the world which has the highest number of Muslims, who are living happily with not only Hindus, but also many others from various beliefs. Except for a few minor clashes, Hindus and Muslims have lived peacefully. If Pakistan ever gives up its claim, then perhaps there are hopes of complete demilitarisation, which may eventually bring some stability. In addition to this, India and Pakistan should negotiate and open up the trade and transit routes, which would prove to be cake's icing.

External Links

I've tried my best to keep this post as short as possible. But there's more to this. I went through many articles that have lots of matter regarding this issue. I would suggest you go through these articles...