Following the latest clashes along the line dividing the arch rivals in Kashmir, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Tuesday there could be no business as usual with Pakistan.
But I would like to point out that at the time of partition of the Indian subcontinent, the state of Kashmir was a princely state. It was supposed have been allowed self-determination, but that has remained a dream to this day.
On the eve of independence, the Hindu king of a predominantly Muslim Kashmir wanted to remain independent but his people wanted union with Pakistan. King’s refusal to do so led to disturbances and widespread protests. In the face of massive opposition from his own people he fled the state. His subsequent attempts to affect a crackdown failed and he turned to India for help and the latter immediately invaded the state on Oct. 27, 1947.
Later the Indians claimed that the Maharajah had acceded to India. There was no public comment from the maharajah who vanished and later died in mysterious circumstances in Delhi. The Indian claim was based on the so-called “Instrument of Accession,” supposed to have been signed by the king of Kashmir in order to obtain India’s military help against a popular revolt.
In a broadcast on All-India Radio on Nov. 2, 1947, the then Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru pledged: “We have declared that the fate of Kashmir is to be ultimately decided by the people.
That pledge we have given, and the maharajah (king) has supported it, not only to the people of Kashmir but to the world. We will not and cannot back out of it.” Despite this pledge, self-determination has remained an unfulfilled dream to the people of Kashmir.
What is really disturbing is that Kashmir was denied the right to self-determination in the middle of the 20th century by people who have the audacity to boast of their democracy. — Israrul Haque, Jeddah