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An insight

It has happened
and it goes on happening
and will happen again
if nothing happens to stop it.
The innocent knew nothing
because they are too innocent.
The poor do not notice
because they are too poor.
And the rich do not notice
because they are too rich.
The stupid shrug their shoulders

because they are too stupid.
And the clever shrug their shoulders
because they are too cleaver.
The young do not care
because they are too young
And the old do not care
because they are too old.
That is why nothing happens to stop it.
And that is why it has happened
And goes on happening
And will happen again.
(English translation of a poem written by German poet Erich Fried)

History: The Roots

Considering only the present and forsaking the past is to take a very narrow view of the reality. For to be careful of the present without being informed of the past is to have a deceptive view of things. Cicero rightly observed, “Not to know what took place before you were born is to remain for ever a child.” Peeping into the history one gets account of the periods Kashmir has passed through. The book namely Rajatarangini (River of Kings) written by Khalana in 1148-50 A.D. provides insight to the entire period of ancient Kashmir. It gives a fairly accurate and exhaustive account of the events and social and economic conditions from the eighth century onwards. History of Kashmir can be understood by going through following periods:

Period of Hindu and Buddhist Kings.

Period of Muslim Sultans.

Period of Mughals.

Period of Afghans.

Period of Sikhs.

Period of Dogras.

Although Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh were separate provinces having no link with each another, all the three were joined during the Dogra period. Gulab Singh, the fonder of Dogra dynasty hailing from Jammu was taken into service by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Gulab Singh’s exemplary courage and loyalty towards Ranjit Singh credited him with the title of Raja and he was given the permission to raise his own force.

Gulab Singh included Ladakh in his own province in 1834 with the implied consent of Ranjit Singh and East India Company. Ladakh, the most strategic area having borders with China and Tibet were an independent Kingdom under the suzerainty of Grand Lamas of Tibet till then.

After the death of Ranjit Singh, Gulab Singh by virtue of his ability and good fortune entered into a deal with Britishers through Treaty of Amritsar (March 16, 1846). In this treaty the British government transferred for ever an independent possession of some of ceded areas, including Kashmir to Gulab Singh for his willingness to pay rupees 75 Lac out of the total amount of indemnity demanded by the British. With this the state of J&K comes into being.

The Dogra dynasty lasted for a period of over hundred years and saw four Maharajas – Gulab Singh (1846-57); Ranbir Singh (1857-85); Pratap Singh (1885-1925) and Hari Singh (1925-52).

At the time of commencement of Dogra rule, the conditions in Kashmir were deplorable. Baron Schonberg, who traveled the valley at that time, observed, “I have been in many lands but nowhere the conditions of human beings present a more saddening spectacle than in Kashmir. It vividly recalled the history of Israelites under the Egyptian rule, when they were flogged at their daily labour by their pitiless task masters.”

That was the time forced labour was prevalent and the wages of the artisans were very low. Most of the people lived on a small quantity of rice. Gulab Singh employed stern, often inhuman, measures to restore order.

The year 1931 requires a special mention for this was the time movement against Dogra rule (autocracy) started. For the first time in the history of Kashmir people openly opposed the oppression from the rulers. Same year July 13, twenty one (21) Kashmiri Muslims fell to the bullets of tyrannical soldiers outside Srinagar central jail. This year marks the saga of sacrifices and that go on continuing.

1932: Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah and Mirwaiz Mohammed Yosuf Shah form the All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference.

1939: Muslim Conference is formally dissolved and Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah sets up the J&K National Conference (NC).

1946: National Conference launches the Quit Kashmir movement, directed at the abrogation of the Treaty of Amritsar. Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah is arrested. 1947: In August when Indian subcontinent became independent from Britain, all the rulers of 565 princely states had to decide which of the new dominions to join, India or Pakistan?

The ruler of Jammu and Kashmir, whose state was situated between the two new countries, could not decide which country to join. He was Hindu, his population was predominantly Muslim. He therefore did nothing and pretended an attack of colic, which had spared him the decision Lord Mountbatten, the then Governor-General had wanted him to take before August 14.

Instead he signed a “standstill” agreement with Pakistan in order that services such as trade, travel and communication would be uninterrupted. India did not sign a similar agreement.

Same year on October 22, Pashtun tribesmen from Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province invaded Kashmir, hearing communal violence against Muslims in the state and eager to precipitate its accession to Pakistan.

Lord Mountbatten believed the developing situation would be less explosive if the state were to accede to India, on the understanding that this would only be temporary prior to “a referendum, plebiscite, election.”

According to the terms of the Instrument of Accession, Indian’s jurisdiction was to extend to external affairs, defence and communication.

Exactly when did Hari Singh sign the Instrument of Accession, has been hotly debated for over 59 years. Official Indian accounts state that in the early hours of the morning of October 26, Hari Singh fled from Srinagar, arriving in Jammu later in the day, where he was met by V P Menon, representative of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, and signed the Instrument of Accession. On the morning of October 27, Indian troops were airlifted in to Srinagar to repel Pakistani’s raiders.

However a research from British sources quoted by Victoria Schofield, author of Kashmir in Conflict has indicated that Hari Singh did not reach Jammu until the evening of October 26 and that due to poor flying conditions, V P Menon was unable to get to Jammu until the morning of October 27, by which time Indian troops were already arriving in Srinagar.

Pakistan immediately contested the accession, suggesting that it was fraudulent, that the Maharaja acted under duress and that he had no right to sign an agreement with India, when “standstill” agreement with Pakistan was already in force.

Pakistani’s also argued that because Hari Singh fled from the valley of Kahmir, he was not in control of his state and therefore not in a position to take a decision on behalf of his people.

In the context of the Pakistan’s claim that there is a dispute over the State of Jammu and Kashmir, the accession issue forms a significant aspect of their agreement.

However Jagmon in his book My Frozen Turulence in Kashmir quotes gists of Maharaja Hari Singh’s letter of October 26, 1947 to Lord Mountbatten and latter’s reply to Maharaja on October 27, 1947, which reads as:

Maharaja Hari Singh said: “With the conditions obtaining at present in my State and the great emergency of situation as it exists, I have no option but to ask for help from Indian Dominion. Naturally they can not send the help asked for by me without my State acceding to the Dominion of India. I have accordingly decided to do so and I attach the Instrument of Accession for acceptance by your Government.”

Lord Mountbatten in reply to Maharaja’s letter writes: “In the special circumstances mentioned by Your Highness, my government has decided to accept the accession of Kashmir State to the Dominion of India. It is my government’s wish that as soon as law and order have been restored in Kashmir and her soil cleared of the invaders, the question of State’s accession should be settled by a reference to the people. Meanwhile, in response to Your Highness’s appeal for military aid, action has been taken today to send troops of the Indian Army to Kashmir to help your own forces to defend your territory and to protect the lives, property and honour of your people.”

On the basis of Maharaja’s “accession” India claims ownership of the entire State which includes the approximately one third of the territory currently administered by Pakistan.

The tribal raiders from North West Frontier Province descended on Baramullah, only 30 miles from Srinagar on October 24-26. Overtaken by their wild habits, they indulged in large scale looting, burning, raping and killing. All day, Monday October 27, while the Ist Sikhs of Indian troops secured their fragile hold on Kashmir’s only airport, the Pathan’s in Baramullah were giving vent to their ancient appetites for rape and pillage. They violated the nuns, massacred the patients in their little clinic, looted the convent chapel down to its last brass knob.

By the time Pathans resumed to their attack, it was too late. The raiders hardly realized that the time spent by them in committing their abominable crimes would turn out to be their punishment as it enabled the Indian forces to land at Srinagar airport on October 27 and ultimately push back the raiders inflicting heavy casualities on them. Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah is appointed head of the Emergency Administration.

November 6, 1947: Two Lac. Muslims were massacred in the city of temples (Jammu) and elsewhere in the region. More than one million people were forced to migrate to Pakistan. The carnage changed the demographic complexion of the region.

1948 : India takes the Kashmir problem to the United Nations Security Council on January 1 and offers to hold a plebiscite under UN supervision, after the raiders are moved back. On March 4, S M Abdullah was appointed Prime Minister of J&K with a Council of ministers. On August 13, a UN commission proposes that the State’s future be decided in accordance with the will of people. On December 20, Pakistan also accepts the UN resolution.

1949: A ceasefire between Indian and Pakistani forces leaves 84,000 sq.km under Pakistani control. On October 17, Indian constituent Assembly adopts Article 370 of the constitution, ensuring a special status for J&K.

1950: On March 14 UN Security Council decided to appoint a representative of the commission to carry out its work. Sir Owen Dixon was the first holder of this assignment. He formulated what is known as the ‘Dixon Plan’. The plan envisaged virtual partition of the state. Dixon held that the entire area of Jammu and Kashmir could be divided into three regions,

i) the region about which there was no doubt that it wished to accede to India

ii) the region about which there was no doubt that it wished to accede to Pakistan

iii) the region in respect of which there could be doubt about its wishes

He recommended that a plebiscite should be held only in regards the region falling in the third category. The ‘Dixon Plan’ was rejected both by India and Pakistan

1951: An interim constitution for the state comes into effect in November

1952: An agreement is arrived at on July 24 between Sheikh Abdullah and Government of India which provides for the states autonomy within India. This agreement made provision for the state like J&K to have its own flag. The year also saw acrimony growing between Sheikh Abdullah and India, with the former criticizing latter for communal nature and even on July 13, Sheikh declared that interference of New Delhi in affairs of the state wont be tolerated.

1953: The New York Times in its July 5 issue published a map hinting at the independent status of the valley. On July 13 Sheikh commented that, “It is not necessary that our state should become an appendage of either India or Pakistan.” On August 9, Sheikh Abdullah is dismissed and arrested. Bakshi Ghualm Mohammed becomes the Prime Minister. The governments of India and Pakistan agree to appoint a plebiscite administrator by the end of April 1954.

1955: Violence and demonstrations across the valley occur on December 27, when the holy relic is found missing from the Hazratbal Shrine

1964: The holy relic is recovered on January 4. Protest demonstration occur in Kashmir on December 21, against articles 356 and 357 of the Indian constitution being extended to the state.

1965: India and Pakistan go to war, after armed Pakistani infiltrators cross the ceasefire line on August 5, and the international border in Chamb in September. The war ends in a ceasefire on September 23. The denominations ‘Prime Minister’ and ‘Sadr e Riyasat’ are changed to ‘Chief Minister’ and ‘Governor’ respectively through an amendment of the J&K constitution with effect from May 30 1965. Prime Minister G M Sadiq becomes Chief Minister.

1966: Al Faleh comes into being with a call of Independent Kashmir. Tashkent declaration on Jan 10.

1975: Sheikh Abdullah sworn in as chief minister on Feb 25, with support of Congress Legistature Party.

1977: On June 30, elections in J&K are held. Authorities claim free and fair elections but critics like Prem Nath Bazaz call them manipulated

1981: Sheikh Abdullah nominates his son Farooq as his political heir

1982: Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah dies on Sept 8. Farooq Abdullah Sworn in as the chief minister. J & K grant of permit for Resettlement Act, 1982 given with the aim to provide for the resettlement of Nov 6, 1947 victims who migrated to PoK or Pakistan itself. On October 4 bill passed by the assembly for the second time with Farooq Adullah the Chief Minister.

1983: Congress starts campaign to discredit Farooq Abdullah and his victory in assembly elections in June. Relations with Farooq and Mrs Indira Gandhi worsened as former kept association with the opposition parties and invited them to a conclave in Srinagar within months of becoming chief minister. Three bomb explosions in Srinagar

1984: Indian authorities hang to death Maqbool Bhat, founder member of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) on February 11. He was charged for killing two intelligence officers besides indulging in anti-national activities.

1986: Shah government dismissed on March 7. By November Farooq is back in power after coming to an agreement with Rajiv Gandhi.

1987: The Muslim United Front comes into being in January when various organizations come together to oppose the National Conference-Congress electoral alliance. Farooq wins elections in March but faces allegations of rigging.

1988: Protests begin in valley along with anti India demonstrations. At least 10 people are killed and curfew is placed in the valley in August. On Aug 2 youth wing of National Conference submitted a memorandum to Governor Jagmohan to request President of India to accord assent to the resettlement bill which was paused by state legislature.

1989: JKLF emerges with the call of independence. Violence begins with bomb explosions rocking the city. Rubaiya Sayeed, daughter of home minister of India, Mufti Mohammed Sayeed kidnapped by JKLF.

On Dec 13, Rubaiya is released in exchange of 5 JKLF men, whose release from the prison results in victory celebrations in Srinagar. Two days later curfew is placed in the valley after 5 people are killed in police firing.

1990: Farooq Abdullah resigns. On Jan 20 around 100 people are killed (official figure 35) when protestors seeking freedom from Indian occupation are fired upon from both sides of Gawkadal bridge in Srinagar. In March mass exodus of Kashmiri Pandits takes place.

1991: May 21, Mirwaiz Molvi Mohammed Farooq assassinated. The violence continues.

1992: Jan 26, BJP Ekta Yatra is allowed to hoist the Indian flag in Lal chowk, under total curfew and massive security. The violence continues, spreading to the areas of Jammu province like Doda. Jammu and Kashmir Hizbul Mujahideen (JKHM) which strives for merger of J&K with Pakistan increases its strength dramatically. Differences arise between JKHM and JKLF. Other militant organizations proliferate. Allegations of human rights violations by the Indian soldiers increase

1993: In Jan 40 people are killed in Sopore by Indian soldiers who burn down a section of the town after two of their men are killed. In April state policemen go on strike after a constable Riyaz Ahmed is killed in army custody. In October militants inside Hazratbal Shrine are surrounded by security forces. After several days of siege Indian soldiers open fire on protestors in Bijbehara on October 22 killing about 43 and injuring more than 100.

1994: Association of Parents of Disappeared comes into being to impress upon the government to disclose the whereabouts of persons subjected to enforced disappearances by Indian soldiers and to put an end to this practice.

1997 Indian and Pakistani leaders meet several times to discuss the diffusion of tension in Kashmir. 1997 Indian and Pakistani leaders meet several times to discuss the diffusion of tension in Kashmir.

1998 In May, India conducts underground nuclear tests near the Pakistani border which are met by international condemnation. Pakistan conducts similar tests three weeks later.

1999: The Indian Army patrols detect intruders on Kargil ridges in Kashmir and India fights to regain lost territory. Two months later Pakistani and Indian military officials agree to end the fighting in the region and disengage their forces.

2001: In May India ends a six-month military ceasefire against Islamic guerillas in Kashmir while also inviting Pakistani military ruler, General Pervez Musharraf, to peace talks. Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee meet in Agra, in July for a three-day summit. The talks fail to produce a joint statement on Kashmir.
In October Militants attack the Kashmiri assembly in Srinagar, leaving 38 people dead. Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah urges the Indian government to launch a crackdown on militant training camps across the border in Pakistan.
On December 13, 2001 Unidentified men attack the Indian Parliament in New Delhi, leaving 14 dead, including the attackers.

2002: The row over the parliament attack triggers military build-up, diplomatic sanctions, and closure of transport links between the two nations. In May militants attack an army camp in Indian Kashmir, killing more than 30 people and ruining a new effort to ease the tension between India and Pakistan. India's Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee visits the front lines. In a speech to soldiers on the border with Pakistan he says that the time is right for a decisive battle. In October four rounds of polls to choose a new governemnt conclude in Indian-controlled Kashmir. About 500 people are killed during the blood-soaked election campaign.

2003: Indian prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee offers "hand of friendship" to Pakistan in a landmark address in Indian-administered Kashmir. In May India announces the resumption of a bus service between Delhi and Lahore. Diplomatic links are resumed. Heavily armed militants attack the Chief Minister's residence at high security zone of Lal Chowk in Srinagar. Several soldiers are killed but Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed not at home at the time of the attack. After years of refusing to talk to Kashmiri separatist groups, India announces it is prepared to hold negotiations with the All Parties Hurriyat Conference In November India agrees to a Pakistani offer of a cease-fire along their borders in the disputed region of Kashmir. The cease-fire goes into effect November 26.

2005: First passengers from either side of the Line of Control cross divided Kashmir on April 7 as the first Srinagar Muzaffarabad Bus Service is launched. On October 8 a massive earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale causes widespread devastation mostly in Pakistan admnistered Kashmir and parts under Indian control. Five points are opened along the line of control for exchange of relief material and cross over of quake survivors.

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