The Never-Ending Kashmir Issue
By Nishat Shuja
Aug 7, 2018
Kashmir has been the bone of conflict between India and Pakistan since 1947. It has been a game of tug of war between both the states to occupy more and more territories in the region. There have been wars between these states over Kashmir. The major reason for this struggle is religion. Muslim Kashmiris do not support a Hindu rule, while India is not ready to change the situation. As a princely state, Kashmiris wanted to join Pakistan whereas its Hindu ruler wanted to align with India. The issue started then and there.
Pakistan has occupied the Azad Kashmir, while India administers Jammu and Kashmir. There have been separatist movements in the North-east of India. Kashmir is one of the many regions in which separatists are fighting Indian forces. The violence has caused more than 47000 deaths and hundreds of disappearances and displacements. This 71-years-old dispute has been responsible for some severe human rights violations while no one is ready to take the responsibility. No one is ready to mediate between both parties to help solve the dispute. Only the people of Kashmir are suffering in all this situation. They are losing their homes, their families and their lives. Neither state is ready to give up even a chunk of Kashmir to the other party.
This dispute has remained unresolved up till now. United Nations has not played a significant role in resolving this dispute. India took this issue to the UN security council which passed resolution 39 and established a commission to mediate between both parties in Kashmir. But it has not been successful in ending the hostility going on in the disputed region. It has so many faces. Starting as a territorial and water conflict, it started turning into a multi-fold political crisis. It has remained the longest unresolved dispute of South Asia. The situation has now changed with majority of Kashmiris demanding independence and very little of them demanding a merger with Pakistan.
The insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir is only accelerating. There are many terrorist groups which are operating in that area against Indian forces. There are Lashkar-e-taiba and Jaish-e-Muhammad. Young Kashmiris are joining these terrorist groups as the last hope for their struggle. India blames Pakistan for supporting the insurgency because the intelligence agency of Pakistan supports Kashmiri separatists. This worsens the issue. Pakistan shows its solidarity with the Kashmiris of Indian-occupied area by annually celebrating Kashmir Day on 5th February.
India has openly put all the blame on Pakistan. Their home minister, Rajnath Singh said that whatever violent activities are happening in Kashmir are being sponsored by Pakistan. He gave this statement on 19th July 2017, in Rajya Sabha. This blame game is one of the reasons why Kashmir is not even close to being resolved.
Moreover, there is a distortion of facts. Neither side provides accurate facts of the causalities and disappearances. India claims that almost 10 thousand Kashmiris have been disappeared while Pakistan presents differing statistics. The line of control is violated on a regular basis. Since 2016, the situation has worsened to an extreme level with the killing of Burhan Wani who was a proponent for the liberation of Kashmir. He was an active insurgent against Indian forces. After his death, violent protests erupted in all of Kashmir as a reaction to the acts of the Indian government.
India has stationed its paramilitary forces to forcefully curb the insurgency in Kashmir. And it is not just the case with Kashmir, India is forcefully repressing other insurgencies in Assam, Nagalim and Tripura, and many other North-Eastern regions. This is a severe violation of the International Humanitarian Law, but no one bothers. Not even the United Nations has bothered to keep a check on the activities of Indian paramilitary forces. These forces are responsible for the extrajudicial killings of various Kashmiri freedom fighters. They are also responsible for the forceful disappearance of many young Kashmiris with the intent of curbing the insurgency.
None of the big players of the world is interested in resolving the conflict. It is not possible to declare the LOC as an official border between India and Pakistan because, in this way, the Jammu and Kashmir will stay with India, and the Kashmiris do not want that. The only possible solution to this problem can be a free and fair plebiscite in the region of Kashmir so that they can choose which side to align with or remain independent. But there are no chances of arranging a free and fair plebiscite because of such violence.