Monthly Archives: October 2010

Shattering some myths on Kashmir

Arundhati Roy says Kashmir was never a part of India. We look at why she is wrong & why India’s position is not as vulnerable as it is portrayed to be

Myth I

Kashmir has never been an integral part of India: Arundhati Roy
The Story

At the time of Indian independence, none of the princely states — Hyderabad, Gwalior, Mysore, Baroda and Kashmir, to name a few — were part of India. They were called princely states — quasi-sovereign states ruled by the Indian princes under the “suzerainty” of the British. There were as many as 568 states in India when the British decided to leave India.

In 1947, under the Mountbatten Plan, they were given two options — either affiliate with India or with Pakistan. Though most of the princely states thirsted for freedom, that option was closed at the insistence of the Congress party. Though the choice of which entity to join was left to the rulers of the princely states, it was largely understood that the religious denomination of the majority of the citizens and geographical contiguities of the states would be the preponderant determining criteria.

Kashmir fulfilled both these paramount criteria to join Pakistan — geographical contiguity with the newly-formed state and religious domination of the majority of its citizens.

However, there was a problem: The Hindu ruler of Kashmir Maharaja Hari Singh wanted something which was not on the table — azaadi, or freedom from both India and Pakistan. He wanted Kashmir to remain independent. In spite of entreaties from various quarters including from the Governor General of India, Loius Mountbatten, the Maharaja continued to dither and remained non-committal. And the situation reached a stalemate.

Jinnah and Pakistan perceived this intransigence of the Maharaja to be a clever ploy by India and Mountbatten to pluck Kashmir surreptiously from Pakistan’s grasp. So, in an operation that today can be seen as a precursor of the Kargil Operation, Pakistan launched a military invasion of Kashmir on October 22, 1947.

Pashtun tribals and irregulars, morally and logistically supported by the Pakistan army, were sent in to force the Maharaja to accede to Pakistan. The invaders reached the outskirts of Srinagar, the capital. And threatened to besiege the city.

A frightened and panick-stricken Maharaja radioed Delhi for military help. The Indian leadership argued that it would not be legally possible to send in the Indian Army unless Kashmir acceded to India formally. After another bout of resistance, the Maharaja finally yielded and Mountbatten’s aide V P Menon was sent to Srinagar to secure his signature on the Instrument of Accession. Once signed (on 26 October 1947), the Indian Army was airlifted to Srinagar and the Pakistani invaders were beaten back, but not before they controlled about one-third of Kashmir.

The Reality:

As soon as the Maharaja signed the Instrument of Accession, Kashmir’s accession to India was complete in the legal and formal sense — the same Instrument of Accession that was signed by more than 500 other princely states. That is a fact of history, which cannot be disputed without stretching the truth. It’s there is black and white. In fact, it can be argued that it was Pakistan’s folly of invading Kashmir, overplaying its hand, which sowed the seeds of the Kashmir imbroglio.

File photo of Jawaharlal Nehru with Sheikh Abdullah. When the irregulars from Pakistan invaded India on October 22, 1947, Prime Minister Nehru went to the UN in good faith to call on the world body to intervene and ensure that Pakistan pull back its troops. Based on the Indian complaint and the counter-arguments of Pakistan, the UN Security Council called for not only an immediate ceasefire, but also a plebiscite to determine the wishes of the Kashmiris.

Myth II

India refuses to uphold the UN-mandated plebiscite that gives the right of self-determination to the Kashmiri people: Pakistan

The Story

When the irregulars from Pakistan invaded India on October 22, 1947, Prime Minister Nehru went to the UN in good faith to call on the world body to intervene and ensure that Pakistan pull back its troops. Based on the Indian complaint and the counter-arguments of Pakistan, the UN Security Council called for not only an immediate ceasefire, but also a plebiscite to determine the wishes of the Kashmiris.

Ignoring the advice of his Home Minister Sardar Patel and Indian Army commanders that India should not agree to a ceasefire before the area captured by the invaders was reclaimed, Nehru went ahead and not only ordered an immediate ceasefire but also agreed in principle to the plebiscite — a promise that has not been kept.

The Reality

This is the instance used to castigate India for not only breaking the spirit of the UN resolution but also ignoring the legitimate aspirations of the Kashmiri people.

But just look at what UN Resolution 38 of 17 January 1948 actually says about the run-up to the plebiscite —

“The Government of Pakistan should undertake to use its best endeavours: To secure the withdrawal from the State of Jammu and Kashmir of tribesmen and Pakistani nationals not normally resident therein who have entered the State for the purposes of fighting, and to prevent any intrusion into the State of such elements and any furnishing of material aid to those fighting in the State”.

Please read that again.

The much-bandied resolution, used to whip India with by the critics, clearly states that Pakistan will “withdraw” all “Pakistani nationals” and “tribesmen” who infiltrated on October 22, 1947 from the soil of the whole of Jammu and Kashmir as it existed then, without exception. This was the UN resolution’s ‘first condition’ for the beginning of the process towards the plebiscite.

Has that condition been fulfilled by Pakistan? Has the land ‘occupied’ by the Pakistanis and the tribesmen in 1947 been vacated? Isn’t the reality that Pakistan occupied and continues to occupy more than one-third of the territory of Kashmir?

As a way to fulfill the mandate and hold the plebiscite, will Pakistan be willing to vacate *** now, 63 years after the resolution? The answer is written on the wall.

For all intents and purposes the UN resolution on Kashmir is as good as dead.

No wonder then that the wily but pragmatic General Musharraf gave up the usual Pakistani harping on self-determination in Kashmir for a more practical and doable out-of-the-box solution, which unfortunately is being disowned by the present Pakistani government.

File photo of Pandit Nehru during his Kashmir visit in 1947. Ignoring the advise of his Home Minister, Sardar Patel, and Indian Army commanders that India should not agree to a ceasefire before the area captured by the invaders was reclaimed, Nehru went ahead and not only ordered an immediate ceasefire but also agreed in principle to the plebiscite, a promise that has not been kept.

Myth III

Pakistan has always stood by Kashmir, as against the brutality of the Indian security forces in the Indian side of Kashmir: Pakistan

Pakistan in Kashmir

a) Pakistan has carved out the Northern Areas (now called Gilgit-Baltistan, almost 72,971 Sq km) from Kashmir into a separate administrative and political unit. This area, which was part of the undivided Kashmir at the time of independence, has been ‘annexed’ by Pakistan, as it were, and separated from Kashmir.

b) In 1963, Pakistan illegally ceded 5,800 sq km in the Trans-Karakoram Tract to China. The Tract was part of the original state of Jammu and Kashmir.

c) Pakistan actively encourages “other people” to settle in *** and have even allowed the Chinese a huge presence in Gilgit-Baltistan, ostensibly for developing the infrastructure of the region.

In contrast:

a) Territorially, the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir is the same entity that existed in 1947, except for the portions gobbled-up by Pakistan/China.

b) The Freedom House Report, 2010, on the level of ‘freedom’ in *** characterised it as “not free’, while the Indian side of Kashmir was defined as “partly free”.

c) No non-Kashmiri can buy as much as an inch of land in the state of Jammu & Kashmir. There has been no attempt by India to change the demographics or the state’s ethnic character. The only demographic change that has happened in the state has been the “ethnic cleansing” of the Kashmiri pundits from the Valley. A mass exodus which has largely been ignored by the media and the powers-that-be.

Therefore, there is nothing much really that India has to feel defensive about. Whatever Arundhati Roy or others may put out on the air.

Source: India Syndicate
Shattering some myths on Kashmir –
http://news.in.msn.com/national/article.aspx?cp-documentid=4504093&page=2

J&K’s accession with India full & final: Karan

From Gopal Sharma

AKHNOOR, Oct 21: While putting a lid on the controversy pertaining to accession or the ‘merger’ of Jammu and Kashmir State with the Union of India and the so called role of some people in between, former Sadar-e-Riyasat and son of Late Maharaja Hari Singh, Dr Karan Singh ( Cong MP) today said that accession of J&K State with the Union of India was full and final and any body should not have any iota of doubt about it.

“The State of Jammu and Kashmir became the part of India like other major States after my Bapuji (father, Maharaja Hari Singh) signed the instrument of accession with the Union of India. There was no difference at all in any terms and conditions and our State also become part of India like other States. It is different thing that some developments took place later and by virtue of Article 370, the State got the special status which no other State has in the country”, Dr Singh said at the sidelines of a function organized to unveil a bronze plaque at Jia Pota Chenab bank where Raj Tilak ceremony of Maharaja Gulab Singh took place on June 17, 1928.

“I do not want to go into the details or legality of the situation or further status, but let us place a full stop on any further controversy over the issue. There had been some developments in the recent past and more was read and listened in the media over the controversy. The things should be very clear to the people”, Dr Singh added.

When asked for his comments on Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s remarks that it was just accession and not merger, Dr Singh avoiding any further controversy said that he would not like to differentiate or fall into legalities but put the things straight by saying that a document of accession was signed by Late Maharaja and by virtue of which this State became part of India. J&K has special status which no other State was enjoying and it also has it own Constitution.

Addressing large gathering Dr Singh said the present situation was not good in the Jammu and Kashmir. Amidst curfews, strikes, agitations, many innocent people have lost their lives. Over one hundred people who got killed during the Kashmir agitation, were the sons, brothers of somebody. It is very painful and unfortunate. They are citizens of this country. He said youth in Kashmir are pelting stones. The Jammu people will never do it. Pelting stones or indulging in violence is also not good and leads to nowhere. He said issues can be solved through dialogue and the Government is doing its best to restore peace and resolve issue.

Former Sadar-e-Riyasat further said that Jammu and Ladakh can not be ignored in any decision or dialogue. Without their involvement no headway can be made on any issue. He said the representatives from Jammu region should project aspirations of the people and their voice strongly heard at any fora. The rich culture of Dogra be projected and preserved. He said ‘Jia Pota’ place at the bank of river Chenab in Akhnoor is the first chapter of the Dogra rule, because at this place Maharaja Gulab Singh was coronated as Maharaja of Jammu on June 17, 1822 under historic Jia Pota tree by Lion of Punjab Maharaja Ranjit Singh himself. It is matter of proud for the people of Akhnoor and Dogra region. Thereafter, his fore fathers extended the boundaries of the State and J&K became the largest State of India with 84,000 sq miles area up to Ladakh, Gilgit and Baltistan.

Dr Singh said installing bronze plaque of the founder of J&K State at Akhnoor is just like repeating history again. And this plaque at this historic place is being installed on the birth anniversary of Late Maharaja Gulab Singh. He complimented the MP Madan Lal, Minister for Health Sham Lal, members of Maharaja Gulab Singh Trust, Brig J S Rajput and members of the Akhnoor Reception Committee who contributed a lot in raising this historic plaque. He said Akhnoor has already been brought on tourism destination and it will attract a large number of pilgrim tourists coming to Mata Vaishnodevi and Shiv Khori. He also honoured many persons including K P Singh, president of the Reception Committee and Director Tourism N K Verma for their contribution on the project on this occasion.

MP Madan Lal in his address said that with the installation of this historic plaque at this place an effort has been made to leave footprints of our great rulers for the coming generations. This place is the first step and rather beginning of Dogra rule in the Jammu and Kashmir. He said it was responsibility of each leader and person from this region to project and protect his Dogra culture, heritage and work for promotion of this language. He pointed out that a vacuum has been created in the leadership in Jammu region after the demise of leaders like Pt Tarlochan Dutt and it is need of the hour to protect the interests of the people of Jammu and raise their voice. Some conspiracies are being hatched against the people of Jammu and the representing people here should remain vigilant and aware.

Minister for Health said that Akhnoor town has attained more historic and tourism attraction and huge funds are being spent to develop it as good tourist destination. He said Ghats have been developed and one more on the Eastern bank will be developed shortly. One more bridge is being constructed over Chenab and Reasi will be connected to Jammu via Akhnoor tehsil shortly. It will open new routes for pilgrims visiting Vaishnodevi. Ajatshatru Singh extended gratitude to MP Madan Lal, his brother and also people who worked for installation of this plaque of Late Maharaja.

Earlier, Dr Karan Singh accompanied by his son, Kumar Ajatshatru Singh (MLC), MP Madan Lal Sharma and Minister Sham Lal unveiled the plaque of Maharaja Gulab Singh being coronated by Maharaja Ranjit Singh amidst Vedic sermons at the bank of river Chenab. A large number of people of the town and adjoining area witnessed the occasion.
source:dailyexcelsior.com