Thursday, September 16, 2010

A solution to the Kashmir problem - Part II

Ever since I have started taking interest in the current affairs, it must have been in 1960, I have found the government of India adopting a defensive position when ever it comes to talking about Jammu and Kashmir as if it had a chip on its shoulder. The Kashmiri Muslims and Pakistanis on the other hand have been expressing their views on the problem very confidently, oftentimes outright aggressively. When logic is with India, the government should be assertive. There has been a propaganda that India has gone back on its solemn promise to the United Nations that it would have a plebiscite in the state of Jammu and Kashmir which would determine whether the state would remain with India, or become a part of Pakistan or it would become an independent country. This long continuing propaganda has never been countered effectively by the Indian government. The promise made in 1948 was to go in for a plebiscite when Pakistan had fully withdrawn its forces from the entire territory of Jammu and Kashmir. It is a condition that Pakistan has not fulfilled in 62 years and has no way of ever fulfilling. The reason – Pakistan has been occupying a large part of the Kashmir Valley since October 1947, it calls it Azad (or free) Kashmir but directly controls nearly all levers of government thoroughly justifying its Indian nomenclature of the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (POK); Gilgit and Baltistan, very much parts of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, have been annexed to Pakistan as the Northern Territories; and another part called Sinkiang was gifted long ago by Pakistan to China. India is, therefore, absolutely justified in not having a plebiscite in the only three parts (Jammu, portion of the Kashmir Valley and Ladakh) of the state of Jammu and Kashmir remaining with it. Let Pakistan restore to India all the parts it controls, has annexed or gifted to China, and let India rule over the entire state, as it existed when Maharaj Hari Singh acceded it to India, for as many years as have been denied to it, that is minimum 63 years, then yes, a plebiscite could be had. This should be the official position of the Indian government, not at all apologetic and full of supreme confidence, in the United Nations, or while talking to Pakistan or to its surrogates, the Kashmiri separatists.

India should also highlight the fact that the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir has a tradition of holding free and fair elections, the last two certified as such by a number of neutral observers from other countries, to choose its own government as against the POK, Gilgit, Baltistan and Sinkiang being ruled with a heavy hand by the central governments of Pakistan or China. Democracy in J & K is India’s strength and it should be proud of it.

Progressing from the above, as a final and permanent solution to the Kashmir problem, the Indian government, of course with the full approval of both houses of Parliament, can consider granting autonomy to the state of Jammu and Kashmir keeping foreign relations, defence, communications and currency in the central control provided :

1) All political parties and independent politicians in J & K take an oath of allegiance to the Indian Constitution and acknowledge and aver that the entire kingdom of Kashmir, as it had existed till the 24th October 1947, had acceded to India and that as and when the other parts, now under foreign occupation, are restored to India they would also form part of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir and as such would also have proportionate representation in the state assembly, till that time a token number of chairs would be kept unoccupied in the state assembly hall as a constant reminder that very many citizens of the state are under foreign rule and that they have to be freed at the earliest.

2) All Kashmiri Pandits, who were made to suffer the indignity and inhumanity of ethnic cleansing and forced to migrate to other parts of India in the 1990s, are welcomed back in the Valley fully restoring to them their properties and also giving them generous compensation for two decades’ loss of use of the properties and other opportunities of life.

3) There takes place in the state fresh delimitation of the assembly and Lok Sabha seats on the basis of population.


  1. I dont think many Kashmiri Pandits want to go back to Kashmir any more - they are doing well in different parts of the country and are quiet happy with their new life.

  2. Not all of them. After 21 years, thousands of them are still huddled together in makeshift shelters in Jammu. The government and, more unfortunately, the people of India seem to have forgotten them completely.