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This article is written by Shreya Srivastava and Ankit Chaturbedy, students from Amity University, Kolkata.


Today, the Indian subcontinent and the Line of Control (LOC) in Kashmir is the most dangerous place in the world. Kashmir being praised as “the paradise on earth” remains the longest. Unsettled and the most debatable dispute in the world emerges as a nuclear stalemate (flashpoint) between the two rival nations of South-East Asia- India and Pakistan. The scenic beauty of Kashmir is described as being surrounded by the mountains which are considered as the guardian angel and knight in a shining armour of the people of the region and paved way for various religions and culture to settle down in the Kashmir valley.

The stalemate in Kashmir region continues ever since the partition in 1947. A number of fights have been engaged in by the two nuclear powers over the ‘valley beautiful and bloody’. However, the majority of Kashmiris have been fighting for the right of self-determination; the beauty of Kashmir has been exposed to a great many violence. Ultimately straining the relations between the two nemesis countries. The Kashmir conflict is also an outcome of a process of neglect, discrimination, the suppression of Kashmiri identity and the pre-eminence of the power centric approach held by the seriate regimes of India and Pakistan. The Kashmir dispute has an immense economical and political impact India and Pakistan and also Kashmir.

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This research paper reveals the constitutional problems of the Kashmir conflict and draws attention towards the solutions to the Kashmir imbroglio. It depicts the wants of Kashmiri and how decade long conflicts have affected them; from the point of view of Kashmiri. The paper also traces the history and genesis of the conflict since the formation of Kashmir, various milestone the socio-political structure of the state, the revolt against the Dogra rule and insurgency that ultimately led to the once known ‘Happy Valley” depicting tolerance and peace to ultimately become the symbol of violence, ethno-nationalist assertions and political struggles; which ultimately resulted in havoc and the abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35-A through a dramatic overhaul of the Government of India towards resolving the deadlock in Kashmir with an expectation to improve – Indo-Pak relations in the future.


Was it, Sir Zafrullah Khan’s superb oratory skills in United Nations, or Pandit Nehru’s incompetent political fantasy to fight egoic war over Sardar, or Dogra clan’s aristocratic failure to take people in confidence that led to the dismay of hundreds and thousands of innocent masses of Jammu and Kashmir. As General A.G.L McNaughton stated, “So long as the dispute over Kashmir continues it is a serious drain on the military, economic and above all, on the spiritual drain of these two great countries”, we find that from the very beginning of the two-nation theory, Kashmir issue made India and Pakistan invest billions of dollars, to defend and aggres the might of the beautifully bloomed valley. However, the once peace-loving fraternity of the state has suffered the burns of terrorism, invasion, aggression, poverty, social alienation and discrimination and there is no solution either form any stakeholder- India, Pakistan, Hurriyat (as accepted by many notable stakeholders and UNHRC) or the mediator- United Nations and allied nations of both sides who keep pumping fuel cunningly to satisfy their own financial benefits. 

The discrepancy is neither party who is claiming authority over the state takes consent and consideration from general mass of Jammu and Kashmir. It’s hard for any government to kill its people, but our heads bow down in shame to accept the horrific scenario, which both Delhi-defending the “Sawmpoorna Kashmir” and Islamabad-propagating the “Jihad” have been committing through ages. Recently the Indian Government stirred the whole political scenario of Indian Subcontinent by abrogating the ‘Special Status’ of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, and dividing Ladakh from Jammu and Kashmir and creating both Union Territories, directly governed by the Union Government at Delhi. Pakistan on the other hand couldn’t add any value in the POK (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir) except terrorism and China’s CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) program which would ultimately be the OBOR (One Belt One Road) fantasy of China alike the creation of artificial islands in the South China sea, at the opportunity cost of brotherhood between people, socio-ethnic integration and peace. 

Every day at prime time and breaking news telecasted in both India and Pakistan, shows ceasefire violations, brutal protest of kashmiris living on either side of the LOC (Line of Control), massive crackdown by governments of Delhi and Islamabad, and all information which creates a sense of fear, aggression, anger, hate, avoidance of the people of both the nation, towards the people of the region who never got their fundamental rights, yet are demarcated with glossy names such as, ‘Sampoorna Kashmir’, IOK (India Occupied Kashmir), POK or AJK (Azad Jammu and Kashmir), etc. 

Chaos in the origin and claims by india and pakistan

The 84,471 square miles state of Jammu and Kashmir was even larger than Hyderabad at the time of partition, and handling the thinly spread 4 million population became the biggest failure of India and Pakistan. Jammu and Kashmir was ruled by Maharaja Hari Singh, who ascended to the throne in 1925, which their dynasty forefathers (Dogra Rajputs) established in late 1830s and expanding during 1840s to form the Jammu and Kashmir as a whole. Alike other Indian princes Hari Singh contributed most of his time at racecourses of Bombay and Calcutta, and lavishly spent time on hunting campaigns in his lush green province. As Hari Singh’s fourth and youngest queen complained, “he never meets the people”- and that was the penultimate problem. The king enjoyed his throne with courtiers and favourites from British high ranked officers and other Indian aristocratic lobby and knew nothing about the outside world and the condition of his kingdom. The great heterogeneity of Kashmiri population was offended by their king and his policies.

Unlike other disputed princely states such as Junagadh and Hyderabad; Jammu and Kashmir was contagious with both India and Pakistan. The king wanted an independent kingdom and denied to join either of the democracies even where the sentiments of the people were not considered. Even if his finances were low, he still found that Kashmir would stand to its paramount power with allying with any power in this world, not excluding Russia. The Indian efforts to make Hari Singh sign the instrument of accession was not feasible due to the Union controlled by Congress, which was not in favour of lavish lives of Indian princes and a socialist approach made the king more annoyed, only to decline requests made by Chacha Nehru, Bapu Gandhi, Sardar Patel and Lord Mountbatten. On the other hand, Quaid-i-Azam Jinnah married a Parsi and Prime Minister Liaqat Ali Khan married a Christian, were administrators of Pakistan, and for them it was governing a totally unknown place away from their homes left in Indian Union. 

The term ‘Muhajirs’ which we still hear at our daily lives were people who migrated to Pakistan from India during the partition, and its ironical from the Pakistani claims, of acceptance of the people of Kashmir as their near brothers seems fake as they are still actively mocking the migrated Muslims as “Muhajirs”. Similar was the case with the Governor-General of Pakistan and their Prime Minister to whom the essence of Kashmir-that familiar piece of land standing vulnerable and disputed, was the mark of their past which they want to incorporate in their new present and ultimately in future. It was all the faults of Maharaja Hari Singh, who ignored the harsh economic reality and his subjects, stayed aloof from joining any of the unions which later created a power struggle among both the newly born nations- India and Pakistan.

A master degree holder from Aligarh Muslim University was denied from his deserved government job in Kashmir and the control of Dogra Hindus on administration, and to be held as “….ill treatment of Muslims was an outcome of religious prejudice”. Yes, that degree holder later became the visionary of Kashmiri ideology and arch rival of Hari Singh, a witty and compelling orator, a son of Shawl merchant– Sheikh Abdullah. Abdullah, who was gathering groups of people and was leading a delegation of Muslims, hoped for recognition from the Maharaja, met with ill fate as an activist Abdul Qadir was arrested and an clash between the delegation and maharaja’s forces killed twenty one.
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In the next year, 1932, All-Jammu Kashmir Muslim Conference was formed by Sheikh Abdullah and Ghulam Abbas, a lawyer from Jammu, to fight for the deprived rights of Muslims. However, six years later Abdullah turned the organization into “National Conference”, which would include Hindus and Sikhs of the kingdom and propagate form a common Kashmiri goal, excluding his dearest companion Abbas who looked to organize Kashmiri Muslims independently. 

Coming back to the past struggle during 1946, we find Sheikh Abdullah instigating a movement against the Dogra Dynasty to ‘quit Kashmir’ which resulted in imposition of martial law by the Maharaja, death of more than twenty people, a sentence of three years imprisonment for ‘Sedition’. Another dynamic leader Pandit Nehru, who particularly considered Abdullah to be his friend rushed for his friend’s rescue only to be stopped at the border and getting back to British India. Now the Maharaja who loathed Congress could not join Indian Union and on the other hand joining Pakistan would seal ill fate for his Hindu dynasty. However, Hari Singh’s old acquaintance Lord Mountbatten reached Kashmir on the 3rd week of June 1947, after the decision to divide the nations was finalized, to convince the king to join the Indian Union. The Maharaja however averted the embarrassing encounter by a ruse of colic attack, and neither efforts of Nehru from Delhi, Mountbatten and later Gandhi ji who visited Kashmir could convince Maharaja Hari Singh and on 15th August, 1947, Kashmir neither acceded to India nor Pakistan.

Pakistan signed a “Standstill Agreement” offered by Kashmir which allowed free flow of goods and people across borders but India remained aloof to wait and watch the situation. Much to Indian anticipation, by mid of September 1947 the rail service between Sialkot in West Punjab and Jammu was suspended, and logistic services were blocked by Pakistan. Although Nehru was adamant to acquire Kashmir, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was inclined to let Kashmir join Pakistan. However, this scenario changed when Pakistan accepted the accession of a Hindu majority state with Muslim ruler– Junagadh.

For “if Jinnah could take hold of a Hindu-majority State with Muslim ruler, why should the Sardar not be interested in a Muslim-majority State with a Hindu ruler?” Thus the religious colours which had already inked Punjab and Bengal black, splashed upon the beauty of Kashmir for once and forever till present date. On 29th September, Sheikh Abdullah was released and his speech in Hazratbal mosque was a key in the Indo-Pak dispute, where he demanded a complete transfer of power to the people and let them decide which Union would they join. Although the National Conference was pro-Congress the people of Kashmir were not biased about either India or Pakistan. Maharaja Hari Singh still had high hopes for an Independent Kashmir and stated, “….the only thing that changes our mind is if one side or the other decides to use force against us” and he wanted Kashmir to be Switzerland – a state completely neutral. 

On 22nd October, just two weeks after the statement of Hari Singh mentioned above, few thousand men with arms, lorries, logistics, training and support from Pakistani Army invaded Kashmir, separated North-West Frontier Province and so called “Tribal Invasion” was blamed by each nation India and Pakistan as propaganda to acquire Kashmir by threat. Pakistan blamed the Indian Govt. to aid Pathan Muslims in valley to disrupt and destroy the Kashmiri Muslims and the sudden uprising of Muslim community at Poonch on 1936s due to the atrocities of the Maharaja gave Pakistan a cause to blame India. 

On 14th August many shops were closed in Poonch and people were found celebrating with Pakistani flags along with frequent clashes with Dogra troops. Pakistan with its ever-cunning nature in the name of Jihad started supplying rifles and ammunition to the Poonch rebels. A rebel base in Pakistani soil in the town of Murree was set up with the acknowledgement of Prime Minister Liaqat Ali Khan and Senior Punjab Muslim League leader Mian Iftikharuddin, who approved for more supplies to the rebels. To enforce an evil intention and provoking violence in the state of Kashmir, Colonel Akbar Khan supplied 4000 rifles to the rebels and named himself ‘General Tariq’, after a medieval Moorish warrior who had fought the Christians in Spain. 

The insurgents moved faster down Jhelum and captured Muzaffarabad, where Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry, having a large number of Muslims from Pooch refrained from attacking the invaders. Later, Brigadier Rajinder Singh’s defenses fell and Uri and Mathua Power station was captured by the rebels and whole Srinagar plunged into darkness, with no power supply. The invasion of Kashmir was thoroughly encouraged by the Prime Minister of then North-West Frontier Provinces, and as Jinnah’s American biographer Stanley Wolpert referred that, “trucks, petrol and drivers were hardly standard tribal equipment, and British officers as well as the Pakistani officials all along the northern Pakistan route they traversed knew and supported, even if they did not actually organize and instigate, the violent October operation by which Pakistan seems to have hoped to trigger the integration of Kashmir into the nation” Pakistan’s efforts are always of violence and the tendency of colourable religious war, in the name of ‘Allah’ and ‘Jihad’. 

Alastair Lamb, the famous historian on Kashmir dispute, commented on the tribal attacks as, “what might be expected from warriors engaged on what they saw as a jihad, a holy war”. The greed of these tribesmen triumphed over any basic humanity and religious identity, as they looted, burned, massacred the Hindus, Sikhs and Kashmiri Muslims, and a pallour of rapine continued with rapes of Kashmiri women. ‘Shrieks of terror and agony of those girls resounded across the town of Baramula’ Pakistani stand was never for the benefit of Kashmir and it is evident from the malafide intentions of invading Kashmir, when people were left free to decide their fate and the popularist view of Sheikh Abdullah was moving towards a peaceful solution and accession to Indian Union. But the Pakistani religious tactics continued and is still continuing in form of terror attacks and terror funding and lobbying, just that the people during the partition seemed more reasonable and logical than of current generations, who opt to stone-pelting, providing access to Pakistani militants and the once common cause for the unified of Kashmir seems fragmented by the evil propaganda of Pakistan and their well-wishers. 

Whether Abdullah was India’s man still remains a question, but surely, he was not Pakistan’s man, and according to Abdullah, ‘Pakistan would swallow us up. They have tried it once. They would do it again’.

The Kashmiri Muslim’s alienation was an apparent outcome of the policies of the Indian state. Since 1953 the various developments in the Kashmir politics viz. Patronage politics, missing relics, playing with autonomy, etc. all lead to tensions and havoc in the valley of Kashmir which further has led to insurgency in the region. The insurgency or uprising marked the agitation of the community which was exposed to discrimination, deprivation and threatened their very identity, leading then on the path of violence. The ethno-nationalist politics serves as a link between the ethnic identity of the entire community of the region and political movements. It is believed that the very insight of oppression, perceptions of having intruders, enemies, invaders, etc. gives rise to national consciousness. “Ethnic groups are born and arise because of the perception of oppression; if there were no perception of oppression, real or imagined, there would be no ethnic self-determination.” Thus, it was the perception of oppression that substantiated the dawn of insurrection in the Kashmir valley.

In the year 1988, a number of secessionist leaders crossed the border entering into the Pak controlled Azad Kashmir, trained themselves of weapons and returned to the valley preparing to initiate political insurgency. Majority of youth among them who crossed border were originally supporters of Muslim United Front. It was during this time that people began losing faith in democracy and thus became more tolerant to extremists. Thus, the journey which was supposed to begin from a ballot box unfortunately was led by bullets. In due course, the vale was caught up by militancy, strikes, bomb blasts, firing, etc. The JKLF (Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front) was the first secular militant organisation with a demand of independent Kashmir and leading to a beginning of a secessionist movement on the grounds of ethnicity lea by its chief Yaseen Malik. 

The organisation in 1988 first struck Srinagar by exploding a bomb and emerged as the first group to furnish momentum to the movement and the whole valley went into the euphoria of ‘Azadi’. In 1990, the situation of Kashmir was a violent turn that manifested in senseless killing, abduction and arson. Mercenaries like Hizbul Mujahideen critically backed by various agencies and interest were increasing their hold in different parts of the state, marking the second phase of the movement. Jihad was justified by Hizbul as a means of validating political violence in the name of Islam and Islam emerged as an instrument religion having a great impact influence on people’s ethno-religious sentiments that left imperishable mark on the Kashmiri society. These sentiments provided for an emotional upper hand which made people willing to die or kill in the name of religion. 

Thus, hijacking the secular belief of the Kashmiri identity. It was then the community of minority Kashmiri Pandits targeted and terrifying aura was created by the militants in the valley. Many Kashmiri pandits were forced to leave their homes and were called upon to live under the Islamic laws or go away. “Kashmir meh rehna hoga, Allah-Hu-Akbar kehna hoga” had psychologically shattered the Hindu minority community. Selective killing of the Kashmiri pandits and eventuating into the mass exodus was the result of the movement of Islamization of once a peace-loving secular state. Hence, depicting the entire struggle to be exclusively of the Muslims, for the Muslims and by the Muslims. 

With the entry of Afghani terrorists and Pakistani infiltrators, the year 1993 marked the beginning of the third militancy phase wherein groups ‘Harkat-ul-Ansar’, ‘Harkat-ul-Jehad-Islami’, ‘Harkat-ul-Mujahideen’, ‘Jamial-ul-Mujhaideen’ and ‘Lashkar-i-Taiba’ took shelter under one blanket – Jihad Islam. This phase had a negative impact on the masses and marked the beginning of the turnaround. The shift from Kashmiri Islamic Identity to Jihadi Islam was one reason for the decline in the movement. Also, involvement of foreign terrorists who identified the Kashmiri Muslims as Muslims and not Kashmiris, marked the second reason for the downfall. Popular resistance towards militancy, efforts to regain Kashmiri control and political avenues explode for the purpose of negotiation highlighted the fourth and fifth phase of the militant movement. It was then the All Party Hurriyat Conference came into existence to launch the freedom struggle from Kashmir. In 1995, the Kashmir’s most revered saint Nund Rishi/ Sheikh Noor Uddin’s shrine Charar-i-Sharif was destroyed by the militants. 

The roots of the Kashmiri uprising, driven by multiple intersecting sources (also including policy failures of New Delhi, political and social situation and meddling by Pakistan) was referred to as the most complex rebellion. “Islamic identity moved in to fill the vacuum created by failed elite”. 

The State Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir in the year 1996, created hopes in the minds of people of a return to normalcy in the situation. The elections which were held under the massive presence of the Indian army were boycotted by the separatist groups, won by Farooq Abdullah did not do much for the restoration of people’s trust on the democratic process. Infiltrators were sent by Pakistan in the year 1999 in the Kargil region, thus increasing the volatility of Kashmir and threatening the peace in the region. Steps were initiated by the Indian army to retrieve the areas seized by Pakistani troops and infiltrators and a result of which is the battle of Kashmir. Kashmir: the fourth war between India and Pakistan, which was immensely criticized at world forums.

99 acres of land in Kashmir were decided to be given to the governing board of the Hindu Amarnath Shrine in the year 2008. This ignited the ethno-nationalist movement of Kashmir. The land controversy of Amarnath led to several demonstration in equal numbers and with equal intensity. Slogans of Azadi: “Hum Kya Chahtey? Azadi!” (We want freedom) and “Jeevey Jeevey Pakistan” (Long live Pakistan), echoed in the valley surrounded by oceans of green flags which made impossible the doubting of the deep-rooted fervour. The cancellation of land transfer decision to Amarnath was highly opposed by Hindu population of Jammu who in turn protested against the politicisation of their religious identity (Amarnath Issue). This led to agitation and wide-spread demand of Azadi – based on their religious beliefs. “Ethno-Nationalist leaders are more successful in mobilising sentiments for Azadi when Kashmiri Muslims perceive that the state is acting in their economic interests or sufficiently protecting their distinct religious identity”.

In June 2011, a fresh spring of mass agitation sparked and violence erupted all over the valley, symbols of government authorities targeted and the valley of Kashmir was paralysed with numerous strikes and lock-outs. The continuous violence and massacre of people set fire to the anger that developed among the people, who had lost their faith in the mainstream leaders. According to Balraj Puri, “Young people with their faces covered, told the media that they were illusioned by the current separatist leadership. It seems the mutual rivalries between groups, and the attitude of the Pakistan Government that patronised one group after the other, has eroded their support”.

A conclusion through the lenses of history

Whether Abdullah was India’s man still remains a question, but surely, he was not Pakistan’s man, and according to Abdullah, ‘Pakistan would swallow us up. They have tried it once. They would do it again’. The Indian stand has always been defending the territories of Kashmir and much to his dismay, Pandit Nehru’s regretted his decisions to approach United Nations for mediation which made the Kashmir issue an India-Pakistan issue, only to ignite the problems of peace loving kashmiris. What Indian government has been trying to do is not solving a problem but keeping it aside to avoid embarrassing global scenarios, for the past 70 years. But the current government (NDA– with its supreme ambassador Narendra Modi) has taken a very strong step to abrogate Article 370 and 35 A which provided the special statue to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. 

Although the Muslim world media such as Dawn and Al Jazeera, along with prominent foreign media houses like New York Times and BBC, have criticised New Delhi for imposing Hindutva over Kashmiri Muslims, causing immense pain and sufferings, has not taken into consideration that Kashmir is no state in India. The state of Jammu and Kashmir has Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims, where the Muslim population is residing only in the 15% area of the total Jammu and Kashmir. The problem such that the 15% land has 53% of the population and that land has created a situation of horror throughout the state. The Government did exactly correct by division of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, and making the partly safer areas for human cohabitation more secure.

Moreover, the abolition of local form of governments and applying Central Laws by transformation of the State into Union Territory, has given ultimate authoritative powers on the Union Government. And as we have seen that the current NDA government, who was rejoiced the massive victory in General Elections, 2019, has shown its strong decisive actions on implication of GST (Goods and Services Tax)– a dynamic law reform, URI Surgical Strikes– a new face of India which enters and kills its enemies, Balakot Air Strikes– a hunt of terror through instigation of terror in the minds of Terrorism and Terrorist appeasers, Demonetization– a blow on Black Money and Parallel Economy, and NRC (National Registrar for Citizens)– India don’t want to add the burden of immigrants anymore, etc.

Even if the Leftist Media and Opposition parties have criticised the actions of the government the Narendra Modi government has the backing of Indian masses, as they find the greater good and strong leadership in it. Pakistan on the other hand is continuing with the same tactics of proxy wars, terrorist infiltrations, spreading the ideas of hate and misguiding the Kashmiri youth, and much to the apathy of logical thinking of the current generations of youngsters who are openly supporting terrorist activities, need to understand that Pakistan has never been theirs and won’t ever be. The POK region faces the worst forms of human right violations and commoners are tortured to the gravest extent. The Pakistani army and ISI– a counterpart of RAW in India, are still aiding, training, and nurturing the terrorists to hurt India every day. 

The 2018 Global Terror Index shows 8.181 ratings of Pakistan, which is only after Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Syria, the literacy rate is 58% as of 2018, and Pakistan jumped from 132nd rank to 153rd rank from 2008-2019, in terms of Peace, the current Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan stated the presence 30000-40000 terrorist in his country, and their decision to join USA and train Al-Qaeda, to breakdown Soviet Union a massive failure. Yet, we find Pakistani ceasefire violations daily, operations of terrorists, terror launchpads, provocative speeches from Pakistani Ministers and Prime Minister to put oil on fire, and a fire which they have aired since ages in Kashmir.

The Hurriyat has done what? They didn’t bring any solutions and peace in the scenario either, instead they have provoked the Kashmiri masses for Jihad against Indian government. The great deal of poverty and economic backwardness in the State of Jammu and Kashmir are the effects of the strikes and agitation created by the leaders of Hurriyat Conference– who enjoy lavish lives, protection from Indian Government, with their children studying and residing in foreign lands, and their provocation has led to massive unrest in the region and Indian government forced to use force to maintain law and order. Yes, military action is not what can bring trust and faith in the minds of people, but martial law is only applied in such sensitive areas where some miscreants are trying to instigate violence. 

Kashmir is a part of India and the best solution for the people is to consider and understand that it is India who has progressed in the ranks of world and is aiming for a 5 Trillion economy in future, and not Pakistan which as in the verge of getting Blacklisted by the FATF (Financial Action Task Force), for its aiding habits in creation of terror and terrorists in the Asian region. It’s not that we Indians don’t love Kashmiris or we appreciate the State to be in a political mess, instead we love Kashmir and its culture and would be better improving the economy and representation of Kashmir as the pride of India. The proud Kashmiris have suffered a lot and it is evident enough from the layers of history that aggression has never reached to an ultimate peace and religious aggression and brainwash brought only destruction to the lives of those propagating and acting on it, and also on the people avoiding and ignoring such intentions. It is well understandable that using pellet guns and imposing martial law cannot bring the faith, but when you have been misguided and misguided because of your own actions and inactions, you need to give the government some time to bring back normalcy!

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