After the debacle of Mughal Empire in South Asia, the British became the master of ceremonies in the Indian sub-continent. In 1846, the British sold Kashmir to Hindu Dogra Maharaja, Gulab Singh under the terms of the Treaty of Amritsar, whereas Jammu & Kashmir had predominantly Muslim population. At the time of partition of India into two dominions (Pakistan and Bharat), over 95 percent population of Kashmir valley were Muslims, while the overall Muslim population in the state of Jammu & Kashmir including Ladakh was 78 percent. In view of the demographical majority position of Muslims in Kashmir, the Muslims were genuinely aspiring to join Pakistan; according to the terms of reference to the partition plan announced by British Viceroy Lord Mount Batten in June 1947. Whereas, Maharaja Hari Singh, the great-grandson of Maharaja Gulab Singh; in his contention wanted to keep the state independent. As a matter of fact, the state of Jammu & Kashmir remained independent for more than 2 months after India was partitioned on 15 August 1947.
This fact may not be ignored that the geographical area falling in the new dominion of Pakistan had strong ties with the state of Jammu & Kashmir from times immemorial. Kashmir is the part of the same Indus basin, unifying it with Indus River and its tributaries. Kashmir also became part of Muslim India and remained under Muslim/Mughal Rule for about 500 years. During Muslim Rule in India, the major population of Kashmir accepted Islam as their way of life. Since then and until Partition of India, peace and tranquility made the beauty flourished in the state; which transformed Kashmir valley into a great tourist attraction. Kashmir was rightly called a Heaven before it was forcefully occupied by Indian troops on 26 October, 1947.
The main excuse forwarded by Indian authorities for forcefully occupying Kashmir was that armed tribes-men from Pakistan have entered Kashmir and the Indian forces were sent to Kashmir on Maharaja’s request to quell the Muslim insurgency, while not mentioning anything about the earlier entry armed militants of RSS, a secret Hindu terrorist organization organized in 1925 in India on the dirty philosophy of Nazism to re-establish the concept of ‘Bharat Mata’ as designed by Arya Hindu Samaj to particularly absorb Muslims and Christians in Hinduism forcefully. Hence, RSS militants calling Kashmir as the body-head ‘Bharat Mata’ joined hands with Maharaja’s Dogra forces in silencing the Muslim aspirations for Kashmir accession to Pakistan. Taking into consideration the large scale killing of Kashmir’s having tribal affinity with adjoining tribal areas falling in Pakistan, the local tribes-men had entered Kashmir to save the lives of Muslims being killed indiscriminately by RSS militants and the Maharaja’s Dogra Forces.
Subsequently when Indian forces entered Kashmir, Quaid-i-Azam issued orders to the then Pakistani Army Chief, Gen Gracey who refused to obey the order under the advice of the former British Viceroy Lord Mount Batten then serving as Indian Governor General. Resultantly, Gen Gracey was removed from the slot, and Pakistani forces also entered Kashmir to protect the lives and properties of Kashmiri Muslims. Thus a war like situation surfaced between the two dominions. India took the matter before United Nations Security Council which passed a resolution on 13 August 1948 recommending cease fire and later on holding a plebiscite to determine the will of the Kashmiri people whether they want to join Pakistan or India. Hence UN Resolution was implemented and a ceasefire was made effective in Jammu & Kashmir in 1949. Former Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto, in her book; ‘Reconciliation’ wrote that after the war in Kashmir was over, the Indian Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru backed out of the UN sponsored plebiscite, claiming that time was not right to hold a plebiscite in the region.
As a matter of fact, Jawahar Lal Nehru wanted the accession of Jammu & Kashmir to India much before the partition of India, while Maharaja of Kashmir Hari Singh and his Prime Minister Ram Chandra Kak wanted to keep Kashmir as an independent state. On the behest of Nehru, the fundamentalist Hindu leader Sardar Patel, then working as Minister of State for Home Affairs in interim government of Viceroy’s Council, wrote a letter to Maharaja on 3 July 1947, after the British Viceroy announced the partition plan for dividing India into two dominions and transfer power on 15 August, 1947. Sardar Patel assured Maharaja of Kashmir for all possible support; demanding accession of Jammu & Kashmir to Indian Union. A British writer, Victoria Schofield in her book, ‘Kashmir in Conflict’ has quoted a few examples of Mount Batten-Nehru complicity in Redcliffe Boundary Commission Award, in which the former Viceroy clandestinely used his influence to hand over the Muslim majority Gurdaspur district to India with the sole motive of giving Indian dominion, the requisite access to Kashmir. Apparently this mischief was done by Mount Batten on the assurance of Jawahar Lal Nehru, the Prime Minister of Interim Indian government that the slot of first Indian Governor General, will be given to Lord Mount Batten. Indian journalist M. J. Akbar wrote that during private meetings, Nehru persuaded Mount Batten to leave Gurdaspur Link in Indian hands to reach Kashmir. Sir Conrad Corfield, British Political Advisor to Viceroy was not happy the way Mount Batten was making his secret moves. He alleged that Mountbatten never listened to him on Kashmir affairs; any suggestion forwarded by him to Viceroy carried no weight against the long-standing determination of Nehru to keep Kashmir in India. Mr. Corfield is learnt to have suggested that both the dominions may be given an opportunity to peacefully resolve the accession of Hindu majority state of Hyderabad having Muslim ruler with India and Muslim majority state of Jammu & Kashmir ruled by Hindu Maharaja with Pakistan. Lord Birdwood wrote, had the whole of Gurdaspur district been awarded to Pakistan, India could certainly never have fought a war in Kashmir.
British Writer Schofield had rightly referred Mount Batten’s agenda of Kashmir visit before partition to fulfill the desire of Nehru in its true perspective i.e., On 18 June (1947) viceroy flew to Srinagar. He had with him a long note prepared by Nehru, which on the basis of Sheikh Abdullah’s popularity in the valley, made out a strong case for the state’s accession to India. Nehru also seems to have pointed out the influence which the Maharaja’s Prime Minister Ram Chandra Kak had over him for an independent Kashmir. Nehru held Kak responsible for the Maharaja distancing himself from National Conference of Sheikh Abdullah as well as Nehru. Subsequently on Mount Batten’s influence, Kak was reluctantly replaced from the slot by Maharaja with Nehru’s recommended man Mr. Mahajan, shortly before temporary accession of Kashmir. Mahajan also had the tacit support of then RSS Chief Guru-Ji who by then held an important position in Maharaja’s Court. In fact, RSS armed volunteers worked hand in glove with Dogra forces killing Muslims freely all around with the ostensible purpose of silencing the Muslim opposition in the larger interest of ‘Bharat Mata’ as well as gaining influence in the Court of Maharaja and subsequently pressurized him to sign the interim accession of Kashmir with India.
Meanwhile, Indian authorities always referred the so called armed aggression of Pakistani tribes-men into Kashmir, whereas they never mentioned the dispatch of RSS armed volunteers to Kashmir with the secret understanding of Sardar Patel former Indian Home Minister; for the dual purpose of joining hands with Dogra Forces for ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Muslims, and gaining control of Srinagar and Jammu airports for facilitating the Indian occupation forces to land their troops under safe condition. Shri PP Sudarshan, former RSS Chief (October 2005) has categorically disclosed in his Vijaydashmi address at ChatishGardh that Shri Guru-ji late RSS Chief was instrumental in persuading Maharaja of Kashmir to accede to Bharat Union, when Pakistani tribe-men started marching into Kashmir. He also mentioned that RSS volunteers worked day and night to restore the airports of Srinagar and Jammu so that Indian troops could land safely. Margrate Kak, the spouse of Ram Chandra Kak; former PM of Maharaja who was ousted on the recommendation of Mount Batten, in a confidential letter addressed to Sir Stafford Cripps at his London address, had revealed the mysterious activities of two powerful groups from India in Maharaja’s Court, one led by a Guru-Ji who had developed immense influence over the decision making of Maharaja as his militants were fighting with Muslims along with Dogra forces. Her letter do indicate the dirty activities of RSS groups initially working for the Independence of Kashmir to gain the confidence of Maharaja and later shifted their loyalties to New Delhi by pressurizing Maharaja for the temporary accession of Kashmir with India. In fact, Mount Batten’s earlier Kashmir visit seems to have been with the ostensible purpose of preparing the ground to get Kashmir for Nehru. Viceroy’s diplomatic efforts to pressurize Maharaja to enter into stand-still agreements with both the emerging dominions of India and Pakistan and replace his Prime Minister R.C. Kak, were only meant to gain time for Nehru to get Kashmir after the unjust Redcliffe Award giving Gurdaspur to India which was surprisingly made public after the partition. Hence after Kak, the new Prime Minister Mahajan in collaboration with V.P. Menon, the personal representative of Indian Prime Minister Nehru, and the RSS chief Guru-Ji did the job for ‘Bharat Mata’ by ensuring temporary accession of Kashmir to India and immediately entering Indian forces in Kashmir.
In fact, the Indian secret terrorist organization RSS (Rashtaria Swaim Sevaksang), presently working as militant wing of ruling BJP, with the active support of Indian Army and other state institutions has, with the passage of time, built up huge strength of one million trained volunteers who hold regular training sessions in the length and breadth of Indian Union. In early 1972, a prominent Indian political personality late Jayparkash Narain, who addressed the concluding session of RSS training camp in Patna observed, “If any institution has the capacity and capability to bring together Bharat, Pakistan & Bangladesh for creating Akhand Bharat, it is only RSS”. Jayparkash, while making this sweeping statement knew the dirty role played by RSS in Kashmir, and 1965/1971 wars with Pakistan. RSS also takes the credit of working with Mukti Bahini in Bangladesh.
This fact may not be ignored that the RSS also opposed the Congress government in 2005; on the reported 4 point negotiated settlement in Kashmir Valley; initially suggested by Prof. Joseph E. Schwartzberg who served as visiting Professor in Jawahar Lal University New Delhi and later by US Security expert Mr. Rod Latham and pursued by President Musharraf with some modifications. The then RSS chief PP Sudhrshan in his Vijaydashmi address in 2005; claiming considerable high profile contacts in Indian Army and other important institutions threatened the Congress govt for dire consequences if the said Kashmir Valley sell-out is accepted by Man Mohman government. Sudhrshan revealed to his audience that, besides doing the national task in Kashmir forcing Maharaja Kashmir to sign the temporary accession of Kashmir with India, RSS also gave all out support to Indian Army during 1965 and 1971 wars with Pakistan. Former Pakistan President Ayub Khan also verified about thousands of Indian civilian’s interference in East Pakistan during East Pakistan turmoil. Addressing the participants of Round Table Conference (March 1969) in Rawalpindi, in the presence of Sheikh Mujeeb ur Rehman, told the participants of APC that foreign armed elements have started interfering in the internal affairs of East Pakistan as reported by local administration of Khulna/Navakhali that thousands of Indian armed men (RSS militants) have been frequently entering border cities to sell Rifals on cheep rates to motivate local citizens to rise against the government. Similarly Shudarshan is on record confirming to his audience that RSS Volunteers made the Srinagar and Jammu airport workable in October 1947 to enable the landing of Indian planes carrying Indian troops possible.
It is pity that Kashmiri Muslims, who have been forced to live under a cloud of suspicion and prejudice in their homeland, were treated most inhumanly. Therefore, to evaluate the meaning of Kashmir Conflict and subsequent atrocities initially let loose on them by Maharaja’s Dogra forces joined hands by RSS militants, and subsequently increased quantitatively by the Indian Occupation Forces, made the plight of Kashmiri Muslims as pathetic case study in itself. So much so that thousands of innocent Kashmiri Muslims were killed in cold blood and more than 40 thousand were forced to migrate to adjoining areas of Pakistan and Azad Kashmir in bad shape. Similarly in 1989, when Kashmiri Muslims raised voice against Indian atrocities and for the restoration of their right of self determination as envisaged in UN Security Council Resolutions, hundreds and thousands of Kashmiri Muslims were tortured, and many killed in brutal Indian Army operations. Kashmir Global Human Rights Report dateline Srinagar 15 September 2011 wrote: In Indian held Kashmir; Indian troops killed 92992 Kashmiris including 6961 in custody from January 1, 1989 till September 14, 2009. The report said that these killings rendered 22703 women widowed and 107273 children orphan while 9888 women fell victim to gang rape and molestation at the hands of Indian troops. In crackdowns, shelling and other violent acts the Indian forces destroyed 105755 shops and residential houses. The report further indicated that over ten thousand Kashmiris disappeared in custody, while hundreds of unnamed graves had been discovered in Indian held Kashmir without any explanation by security forces. Human rights activists suspect that these graves could be of disappeared Kashmiris who were torchered to death.
In a comprehensive report Asia Watch, an internationally reputed Human Rights organization has fully substantiated the grave human rights violations in Kashmir. The under-mentioned research papers compiled by Asia Watch Reports, “Kashmir Under Siege” (May 1991); “The crackdown in Kashmir”, “Torture of Detainees & Assaults on the Medical Community” (March 1993); give glimpses of grave human rights violations in Kashmir. Asia Watch had assessed: Since January 1990, Jammu and Kashmir has been the site of brutal conflict between Indian security forces and armed local Kashmiri insurgents demanding independence or accession to Pakistan. Whereas Indian government pursued a policy of repression in Kashmir which resulted in massive human rights violations by Indian Army and Paramilitary forces. Throughout the conflict, the security forces deliberately targeted civilian targets, assaulted civilians during search operations, tortured and summarily executed detainees in custody and murdered civilians in reprisal attacks. In these situations, the security forces frequently engaged themselves in collective punishment against the innocent civilian population, most frequently by beating or otherwise assaulting residents, and burning their homes. Rape is used as a mean of targeting women; in raping them, the security forces made attempts to punish and humiliate the entire community.
A noted Indian human rights activist and anthropologist, Dr Anjana Chatterjee, while speaking in a Seminar in Srinagar opined that 7000 Kashmiri women have been gang raped in homes, streets and Army camps by Indian troops during the reported period. She told the audience that she would raise the issue in international forums, as the Indian Army personnel have been disgracing women as a war weapon to punish Kashmiris for their demand of right to self determination. Another Indian civil rights activist, Gautam Naulakha said, he is ashamed of being an Indian and feel disgraced to belong to a nation, which is committing war crimes on Kashmir population to silence their demand of right to self determination. Victoria Schofield verified in her book ‘Kashmir in Conflict’ highlighting that Governor Jagmohan’s return to Kashmir with full control of events in Kashmir January19, 1990 marked the beginning of a new intensity both in New Delhi’s dealings with the Kashmiris and their response. The attempt to find a political solution to Kashmir’s social problem was put aside in favour of a policy of repression. International concern over Kashmir reached a high point in February 1994 when ex-Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who had returned to office In October 1993, raised the issue in the United Nations Commission for Human Rights in Geneva. The situation in Kashmir was intolerable. She said, despite its repression, India had failed to impose its will on the indomitable people of Jammu and Kashmir. Although Pakistan withdrew its resolution, because of Simla Agreement which binds both the countries to bilateral solution of Kashmir, however, it gave a clear picture of grave human rights situation in Kashmir to the international community.
In view of the aforementioned, it is necessary to glance through the history of Hindu-Muslim question in the sub-continent and go into the why of things to find out the nature of background influences working behind the deplorable treatment being meted out to Kashmiri Muslims. There is a need to also look into the nature of Hindu rigidity making the Kashmir dispute more complicated, which inter-alia, continued to pollute the peaceful political atmosphere in the region until to-date. As a matter of fact, Hindu Aryans duly described in history as Arya Hindu Samaj were the foremost to enter the sub-continent as conquerors around 1700 B.C. The aboriginal population of India called Dravidians, duly reflected in ancient culture of Harappa and Mohenjo Daro, could not stand the onslaught of the Aryans. The Aryans after defeating the Dravidians; continued pushing the Dravidians population to adjoining deserts, Jungles and Hills as well as to Southern India. Since the Aryan social order of Hinduism was based on racial discrimination and rigidity of cast system which tended to foster antagonism and estrangement even within the fold of its classified casts i.e., Brahmans (priests), the Kushteriyas (warriors), the Vaishyas (traders/formers) and the servile Dravidian aboriginals who, after a long process of persecution and hatred were forcefully absorbed in Hindu Cast System as Shudras (untouchables).
Historically speaking, the conquest of India was not confined to Aryans, the Muslims and the British only, because the Indian sub-continent was invaded over the centuries by many foreign invaders and empires. In the course of history, many foreign invaders including Greeks, Kushans, Sakas, Huns and others came to India as conquerors but were assimilated and absorbed in Hinduism. Prior to Islam, under King Ashok, the great grandson of Chandra Gupt Moria, the Budhism gained momentum and later Jainism also came to fore with local popular support against the rigid Hindu Cast system. However, the Brahman hierarchy continued intriguing and awaiting for an opportunity to launch crusade against the new cults. Recorded history do indicate intensive atrocities of Brahman hierarchies against Buddhism and Jainism, as the notables of these faiths were given exemplary punishment in front of local crowds by frying them alive in cauldrons full of boiling oil. Indian historian Nirad Chaudhry has, however, described the absorbing capability of Hinduism as a great achievement to survive through vicissitudes of history which have destroyed anti-Hindu cultures. Nirad Chaudhry’s thesis on Hinduism indicates that the strength and absorbing nature of Hinduism was so comprehensive that it absorbed all foreign nations who came to conquer India until Muslims arrived in India. However, Hinduism could not absorb Islam in its fold, which endangered the Hindu cast oriented system as many Hindus converted to Islam. Later during British rule, many Hindus converted into Christianity. To counter the move of Islam and Christianity, Hinduism adopted strict policy of social boycott of all those Hindus who had forsaken their religion i.e., rigidity of Hinduism. However, Indian Muslims continue to figure as number one enemy of RSS who found an opportunity to organize themselves on the plate form of RSS during British Indian government.
As a matter of fact, the Indian Muslims after ruling the sub-continent for 800 years; were defeated by emerging British Empire, the world over. Thus the Aryan Hindu Samaj found the desired opportunity to cooperate with British Indian government to take revenge from Muslims of their 800 years rule in ‘Bharat Mata’. Resultantly in Hindu majority provinces, Hindu-Muslim riots surfaced but despite immense pressure, Muslims remained steadfast and could not be absorbed in Hinduism. Nirad Chaudhri discussing the 800 years Muslim Rule in India observed that all invaders were absorbed in Indian social order, but when the process was completed, a far more dangerous enemy appeared who could never be absorbed. The enemy was the Muslim, who threatened the Hindu way of life in a manner never seen before. Prof Beni Parsad of Allahabad University also agreed with Nirad Chaudhri in his research paper saying that after Islam came to India, it was soon clear that Hindu culture could not swamp Muslims as it has swamped the earlier cultures. An example of the said Hindu psyche could also be witnessed in a speech of former Prime Minister of India, Mrs. Indira Ghandi, who after the dismemberment of East Pakistan claimed that she has taken revenge of one thousand years of Muslim Rule in India by drowning the two-nation theory in the Bay of Bengal. Contrary to her claim Bangladesh has survived in the comity of nations as an independent Muslim majority democratic state.
The fact remained as it is that Hinduism could not absorb Islam in its fold, which became the main irritant of Hindu psyche. The same psyche was witnessed during an Asia Cup Cricket Match in India when Kashmiri students cheered the victory of Pakistan, the RSS spectators subjected them to harsh beating while they were rusticated from the Indian University and the local Police registered a case FIR under Treason Act. Since then, Indian Cricket neither invited Pakistan Cricket to play in India nor coming to Pakistan to play cricket. In fact, the Indian military repression increased in Kashmir after the recent flop visit of PM Narendra Modi to Kashmir on the eve of election 2019. After the installation of second Modi government, RSS militants were given free hand to torture Kashmiri students on flimsy grounds. Torture and beating Muslims to death on the so called accusation of being cow eaters has become order of the day. India also signed Simla Agreement in July 1972 to resolve the Kashmir issue through bilateral talks, but since then always back-out from meaningful dialogue.
Despite the fact that Kashmiri’s uprising of early 90s has subsided giving way to political struggle, advocating for the right of self determination and resumption of democratic civil liberties, but Indian military repressions continued unabated. Kashmir is the oldest unresolved issue which figures as the unfinished UN agenda, but the Indian government always misused the Simla Agreement for blocking grave human rights violations in Kashmir in international forums instead resolving the Kashmir issue. Hence Indian policy of military repression, rapes of Kashmiri women and children by Indian military and RSS armed men continued as a punishment to Kashmiri youth and women folk. In fact, lot many Kashmiri Muslims and youth were killed every month making the plight of Kashmiri Muslims more deplorable. Kashmir was rightly called a Heaven on Earth before Indians forcefully occupied Kashmir, however, aforementioned resume do indicate that the Indian leadership is systematically working to fully subjugate Kashmiri Muslims through state terrorism and grave human right violation including rape, torture and indiscriminate killings with the ostensible purpose of reducing them to a schedule cast status. Allowing RSS militants and armed men in the garb of civilian Kashmiri Pandits, Indian government has already settled RSS diehards alongside retired military men in the suburbs of Jammu and Srinagar. It is clear enough that the deplorable military repression, killing of youth and atrocities of RSS let loose on Kashmiri civilian population has turned the Kashmir heaven into hell. The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the things more vulnerable by scratching the Article 370 and 15A from the Indian constitution, unilaterally changing the status of Jammu and Ladhak and giving all powers of Kashmir Valley to central government’s nominee, besides dispatching thousands of more military men and RSS terrorists, putting the whole Kashmir Valley under curfew for more than two weeks now.
In view of the aforementioned, the Indian government also violated the Simla Agreement unilaterally. With reference to article 1(ii) of Simla Agreement which says, “That the two countries are resolved to settle their differences by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations or by any other peaceful means mutually agreed upon between them. Pending the final settlement of any of the problems between the two countries, neither side shall unilaterally alter the situation and both shall prevent the organization, assistance or encouragement of any acts detrimental to the maintenance of peaceful and harmonious relations”. Article 6 clearly says, “Both Governments agree that their respective heads will meet again at a mutually convenient time in the future and that, in the meanwhile, the representatives of the two sides will meet to discuss further the modalities and agreements for the establishment of durable peace and normalization of relations, including the question of repatriation of prisoners of war and civilian internees, a final settlement of Jammu and Kashmir and the resumption of diplomatic relations”. That prisoners of war returned to each other country, diplomatic and trade relations resumed but India always avoided meaningful negotiated final settlement of Jammu and Kashmir after July, 1972 until todate. Therefore, India’s unilateral to qualitatively change the situation in Jammu and Kashmir is a grave violation of Simla Agreement as well. In view of the aforementioned, the Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan was left no other peaceful alternative except to take up the matter to UN Security Council, where the Security Council will listen to Kashmir Issue after 50 years. Meanwhile, Pakistan Army is red alert on the Line of Control and any incursion from India may bring the two nuclear nations to terrible war. Let’s hope for the better from UN Security Council to implement the old SC resolutions for the right of self determination to the people of Kashmir. The UN should also put the UN peace keeping Force on both sides of the Control Line until plebiscite is held in Jammu and Kashmir as per the UN Security Council resolutions.
The writer is an ex-Director of Cabinet Secretariat, Govt of Pakistan; turned journalist in 2005; presently editing net paper South Asian Pulse Online www.sapulse.com, besides writing column in national dailies. This paper was originally written in 2012; also published by Muslim Institute Islamabad in 2014, updated in August, 2019