There are two parties which need to be taken care of – Pakistan and Islamists, at the same time, Jammu, Ladakh divisions need to be shielded in the process.
The end of PDP and BJP alliance in J&K has again brought forth the problem of Kashmir and has shown the failure of another experiment towards its solution. The BJP alliance with the party which is considered soft towards separatists, along with massive package of 80,000 crore rupees and agreement on common minimum programme (CMP) to keep Article 370 intact, review ASFPA and talks with Hurriyat and Pakistan along with other concessions like Ramzan ceasefire etc.has also been a failure which indicates that the whole Kashmir issue need fresh perspective.
A majority of the people on the Indian side of J&K feel themselves to be part of India, which is reflected from large voter turnout during assembly election in 2014.
The problem started during 1947 when J&K was a separate territory and had signed a standstill agreement with Pakistan. Violating its agreement, Pakistan attacked it and under pressure, the ruler of J&K signed Instrument of Accession (IoA)to cede his territory to India. Now being the Indian territory, India’s job was to vacate it from Pakistani soldiers but instead, the then PM moved to UN for conflict resolution, a move which is highly criticised to date.
The UN passed the resolution, which was non-binding and had non-mandatory enforceability, that suggested plebiscite with certain conditions. But Pakistan also violated those conditions like Pakistan effected demographic changes in PoK, Gilgit Baltistan, and Kashmir Valley through force and terrorism and changed the original territory by ceding the Trans-Karakoram Tract to China. Thus, the UN resolution stands void today due to actions from Pakistan and we’re back to the same situation as it was after signing the IoA, in this regard.
Further, a majority of the people on the Indian side of J&K feel themselves to be part of India, which is reflected from the declaration of Constituent assembly in 1951 and from the preamble of the J&K constitution and from large voter turnout during assembly election in 2014.
Persecution of minorities
The government of J&K has failed to protect the religious minorities in the state. The genocide of Kashmiri Pandits is well known where Pandits were killed and forced to flee Kashmir valley during Islamic insurgency. According to the political scientist, Alexander Evans, 95 percent of the Kashmiri Pandits living in the valley left in 1990 and a CIA report suggests a figure of 300,000 being displaced from the whole state with the actual figure much higher.
During 1989, there were riots between Buddhists and Muslims and Ladakh Buddhist Association which called a social and economic boycott of Muslims and was lifted in 1992. In early 2000, many Buddhists women were kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam with 50 from village Wakha alone and those who objected to it were harassed.[i]
During 20th March 2000, 35 Sikhs were fatally shot at Chittisinghpura in Anantnag district to force them to flee like Kashmiri Pandits. Similarly, during 3rd February 2001, 7 Sikhs were killed in Mehjoor Nagar firing.
So, it is quite apparent that in the environment of instability, the government of J&K is unable to handle the law and order situation and is unable to ensure the security, rights, and well-being of minorities.
Rohingya Muslims who were found to be a threat to Indian security were given safe haven in Jammu region, while refugees from Pakistan from 1947-48, who are working for the progress of country are still not given any recognition.
The region of J&K under Indian control is divided into three divisions viz., Kashmir, Jammu, and Ladakh. The biggest victims of the J&K problem are the people of Jammu and Ladakh divisions, who have been discriminated in jobs, education, benefits and political representation. BJP cited this to be the primary reason for ending the alliance with PDP.
The people of Jammu and Ladakh divisions have little say in the political matters and same is indicated from the absence of any non-Muslim CM in the state since the first election. The policies are framed in keeping the interests of Kashmir division in mind. The major chunk of government funds is invested in Kashmir division. All the major projects like AIIMS, NIT, the central university, medical college etc. are given preference to Kashmir. Most of the jobs and scholarships go to people of Kashmir and people of Jammu and Ladakh are blatantly discriminated against even though unemployment is more in Jammu division.[ii],[iii],[iv],[v],[vi]
The Jammu and Ladakh divisions despite having huge tourism potential, aren’t developed. Funds aren’t released even to prevent natural disasters. After unfortunate Ladakh floods in 2010, several projects were initiated but all projects are stalled due to non-release of funds.[vii] Funds weren’t released even to build mortuaries to bury dead bodies from mudslides.[viii] Several of the Indus tributaries pass through Ladakh, which could be harnessed when only 5% of Ladakh arid land is irrigated, only if the government pays attention to regions outside Kashmir.
Discrimination is also witnessed in religious affairs. Like in 2008, when Amarnath Shrine Board requested for land to provide better facilities for the pilgrims then there were mass protests all over Kashmir region against the request and no land was allotted by the government.[ix],[x]
Even people from other parts of India are discriminated like in case of NIT Srinagar where students from other states were thrashed by the police for hoisting national flag and for protesting against local students who celebrated India’s defeat in World T20.[xi]
Rohingya Muslims who were found to be a threat to Indian security were given safe haven in Jammu region, while refugees from Pakistan from 1947-48, who are working for the progress of country are discriminated and still not given any recognition…[xii], [xiii],[xiv]
The first task that is long overdue is to go to UN and declare that Pakistan has violated the resolution and promoted terrorism in Kashmir.
Problem and its misunderstanding
The approach of successive governments has failed to establish law and order and prevent discrimination, while the problem compounded over time. Governments tried to solve the issue through talks, agreements, and peace efforts with Pakistan, but it hasn’t yielded any favorable results till date but has only weakened India’s position. Governments assumed that the issue is economic and tried to solve it through infrastructure development, jobs and granting a huge sum of money, but that move also failed. Governments tried talks with separatists and that approach failed as well and the latest attempt of alliance based on CMP has also failed. It is time for the government to accept that the problem is political and needs a political solution.
The government also has this misconception that if they abrogate Article 35A then people from outside the regions will settle there and the problem would be solved like in Chinese Xingang region. The failure of the government to settle Kashmiri Pandits in the Kashmir division despite that being part of CMP disproves that this article is the sole reason that prevents settlement.
The government also believes that Jammu and Ladakh regions give them leverage in local politics. The blatant discrimination and failure of law and order situation and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits is the clear proof that government is disillusioned that it controls J&K.
The root cause of the problem is Pakistan and handful of Islamists in the valley, who with the support of Pakistan are misleading the people and creating chaos in the region and the same was referred by former CM Mehbooba Mufti when she said that only 5% people cause the problem.[xv]These people are funded by Pakistan to burn the region and create chaos and their links were also exposed in sting operations.[xvi],[xvii]They spread propaganda against India and incite people like paying people to throw stones, which was apparent during demonetization when no such incidents were reported.[xviii]
We must know our goal and then decide what steps are required to achieve it like whether Articles 370 and 35A are even an obstacle to that goal. The whole problem needs a solution in a phased manner. There are two parties which need to be taken care of viz., Pakistan and Islamists, while at the same time, we need to spread awareness among Kashmiri people and Jammu and Ladakh divisions need to be shielded in the process.
The first task that is long overdue is to go to UN and declare that Pakistan has violated the resolution and promoted terrorism in Kashmir and have repeatedly attacked India overtly and covertly through military and terrorists and also declare that India would cancel all agreements signed with Pakistan if it doesn’t take any positive steps and handover terrorists to India.
At present, the situation is like a house which has five rooms and two of which have already burned, and one is burning, and others are also catching fire. First, we must contain the fire to spread to other rooms and then try to douse the fire otherwise the whole house will burn. So, the government should trifurcate the State and separate Jammu and Ladakh divisions so that discrimination ends in those regions and law and order situation comes under control and effects of Kashmir region don’t appear there.
Then the government of Kashmir needs to focus on the Islamist elements and try to end their influence. The people need to be made aware of the nefarious designs of Pakistan and of these elements. We must keep article 35A in the Kashmir division to quell any apprehensions in the minds of Kashmiri people and allow anyone in J&K to keep their status of permanent resident (PR)of Kashmir and allot them additional ID card. This trifurcation is not on religious lines as many Islamists would want people to believe as there is a significant proportion of Muslims in Jammu and Ladakh divisions. Then, the government should set up SIT to investigate the genocide of Kashmiri Pandits and arrest those Islamists who helped Pakistan to spread terrorism in the region and to deliver justice to the victims. The state trifurcation might need an amendment to Article 370 and if that is not possible then the whole article should be abrogated, and we could go back to IoA and restart the process from there. Or else, maybe the government could amend article 1 and add law to reorganize J&K, if legally feasible.
The whole region is held hostage by few people to pressurize India and to keep it on the edge with a constant war-like situation.
Today, India is the world’s leading soft, military and economic power and has ties with all major nations. India has a record of being a peaceful nation and one respecting human-rights and has goodwill all over the world and thus it’ll receive either active or passive support from almost all the nations in this matter. The world also wants the problem to be solved as it doesn’t want to have another region controlled by ISIS like organization if India’s control is gone. Also, the problem isn’t unique for India as many countries are facing similar problems and they would understand India’s situation.
On the other hand, Pakistan is notorious in the world for terrorism and for military attacks against India and for terrorism in Kashmir and other parts of India. If Pakistan tries to escalate the situation then almost every country will oppose it. India has signed many treaties with Pakistan as a goodwill gesture to end Kashmir issue but article 62 of Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties allows treaties to be canceled/suspended under exceptional circumstances and India should cancel agreements with Pakistan like Indus water treaty for any act of aggression.
It is quite apparent that Pakistan was never interested in the resolution of this issue and even the invasion was illegal and was a violation of its agreement. It said one thing in UN while attacked and spread terrorism on the other hand. The world didn’t stop Pakistan to cause the genocide of Kashmiri pundits and to spread terrorism, so now they have no moral say or authority in the matter.
The whole region is held hostage by few people to pressurize India and to keep it on the edge with a constant war-like situation. The issue is affecting our people, so it is our responsibility to solve it instead of looking at the world and the UN to do anything.
Several discredited plans like Musharraf formula, Dixon Plan, Chenab formula or Kathwari formula were proposed but I’ve one simple plan i.e. if Pakistan stops spreading hate and terrorism then the problem will automatically solve.
Jammu and Ladakh region will see end of discrimination and better law and order situation due to dedicated government and better economic growth due to political autonomy and removal of restrictions imposed by 35A, which will push Industrialisation and that could convince people of Kashmir division later to also get rid of such provisions and reject propaganda by Islamists.
[ii]https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/jammu-kashmir/community/psc-slammed-for-job-bias-against-jammu/364632.html , PSC slammed for job ‘bias’ against Jammu
[iii]https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jammu/jknpp-on-hunger-strike-against-discrimination-with-jammu/articleshow/62521660.cms , JKNPP on hunger strike against discrimination with Jammu
[iv]https://www.dailypioneer.com/columnists/edit/a-sorry-tale-of-minorities-in-jammu-and-kashmir.html, A Sorry of minorities in J&K
[vi]https://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/minority-benefits-given-to-jk-muslims-sc-asks-for-reply-3010261/,Minority benefits given to J&K Muslims: SC asks for reply
[vii]http://www.dailyexcelsior.com/fate-flood-mgmt-projects-leh-hanging-balance-past-7-years/,Unlikely to be completed in another half a decade
[viii]http://www.rediff.com/news/column/is-it-time-to-divide-jk-into-three-/20160910.htm, Is it time to divide J&K into three?
[xi]https://www.dailyo.in/politics/nit-srinagar-kashmir-national-flag-azadi-world-t20-narendra-modi-mehbooba-mufti-jammu/story/1/9947.html, Students are right, shift NIT Srinagar out of Kashmir Valley
[xii]https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/rohingyas-are-national-security-threat-government-in-supreme-court/articleshow/60737138.cms, Rohingyas are national security threat: Government in Supreme Court
[xiii]https://swarajyamag.com/politics/why-locals-in-jammu-see-rohingya-settlement-as-part-of-an-islamist-project-and-want-them-out, Why Locals In Jammu See Rohingya Settlement As Part Of An ‘Islamist Project’ And Want Them Out
[xiv]https://www.dailypioneer.com/columnists/edit/rohingya-refugees–a-threat-to-jammu.html, ROHINGYA: A THREAT TO JAMMU
[xv]https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/5-per-cent-violent-population-causing-trouble-mehbooba-mufti/articleshow/53866332.cms, 5 per cent violent population causing trouble: Mehbooba Mufti
[xvi]https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/india-today-exclusive-caught-on-camera-pakistan-fund-separatists-977412-2017-05-16, Caught on Camera: How Pakistan funds Kashmiri separatists to burn the Valley
[xvii]https://www.firstpost.com/india/nia-crakdown-on-terror-in-kashmir-separatists-receive-funds-from-dubai-london-says-top-aide-3893887.html, NIA crackdown on terror in Kashmir: Separatists receive funds from Dubai, London, says top aide
[xviii]https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Demonetisation-has-led-to-decline-in-separatist-instigated-violence-in-the-Valley-MHA-sources/articleshow/55419257.cms, No stone pelting on forces in Kashmir after demonetisation
1. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.
2. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.