A nuclear flash point

KASHMIR ISSUE

Dust of the land embodying embers of Chinar, impossible not to retain the sacred flame.

        
Indian army's crimes in Kashmir:(Courtesy: Kashmir Media Service)


Figures: January 1989 to June 30, 2014
Kashmir is faced with military occupation for the last sixty six years facing unprecedented human-right violations and atrocities. Any help to add to information on the left will be highly appreciated.
 
"People seem to forget that Kashmir is not a commodity for sale or to be bartered. It has an individual existence and its people must be the final arbiters of their future" and he also said, "If we did anything of the kind our government would not last many days and there would be no peace....it would lead to war with Pakistan because of public opinion here and of war-like elements coming in control of our policy."
Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of ´democratic´ India
 
Pandit Nehru first visited Kashmir in 1940 to lay the foundation stone for the plan to annex Kashmir. He was stopped by the forces of Maharaja Hari Singh at Kohala as the Maharaja had understood the intrigue and knew about the growing influence of Pandit Nehru on Sheikh Abdullah and to stop this Nehru was not allowed to enter Kashmir. Maharaja, in order to retain his supremacy, considered Pandit Nehru a threat and tried to negotiate a standstill agreement with India and Pakistan. India hesitated and rejected the offer but Pakistan accepted this arrangement.
 
Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first Prime Minister, initially, seemed sincere towards kashmir but the caucus of harldliner Hindu fundamentalist forces around made him think otherwise, in this connection Pandit Nehru, in the Lok Sabha (Parliament) on June 26 and August 7, 1952 said:
 
"I say with all respect to our Constitution that it just does not matter what your Constitution says; if the people of Kashmir do not want it, it will not go there. Because what is the alternative? The alternative is compulsion and coercion..." "We have fought the good fight about Kashmir on the field of battle... (and) ...in many a chancellery of the world and in the United Nations, but, above all, we have fought this fight in the hearts and minds of men and women of that State of Jammu and Kashmir. Because, ultimately - I say this with all deference to this Parliament - the decision will be made in the hearts and minds of the men and women of Kashmir; neither in this Parliament, nor in the United Nations nor by anybody else."
 
Having an ancestral Kashmiri background, Nehru understood Kashmir politics and his fellow white collared Kashmiri Pandits were a great source of information and help at any time in any given situation.
Tyndale Biscoe in his autobiography writes: "When I arrived at the C.M.S.school in Srinagar I found it full of the sons of Hindu ruling class, the top-dogs in this Mohammedan country. Over 90 per cent of the Kashmiris are Mohammedans. Those sitting before me in the schools were the sons of the slave dealers, not the slaves, for the Mohammedans did not send their sons to school as all Government service was closed to them." In order to thwart the claim made by newly born Pakistan on Kashmir, Nehru demanded Sheikh Abdullah's release from Maharaja Hari Singh's unpopular and despotic government who made Muslim majority a special target for oppression, suppression and coercion. Nehru did this not for the love lost for the local population but to win over Sheikh Abdullah who by that time had grown into a charismatic upcoming leader of Kashmiris.
 
Pandit Nehru was quite aware about the future international developments and the questions those might be asked, wanted to legitimize his plans about Kashmir annexation by associating himself with the popular leader of Sheikh Abdullah's stature. Nehru had also taken the Last Viceroy of India, Lord Mountbattan into confidence and made him believe that Kashmir wants to stay with India and that their popular leader is secular in thinking to join "secular" India while rejecting to associate with Muslim Pakistan. Sixty two years after Independence, Dhiraj Nayyar of Indian Express, in its July 01, 2008 issue writes " The curious hybrid that is Indian secularism India’s political parties cynically and repeatedly exploit religion as a means to garner votes. Second, while experience elsewhere in the world suggests that as countries become more prosperous they become less religious and more secular, in India it seems to be the opposite — the affluent tend to be more conservative especially on issues of religion and secularism. So the future of secularism in India hangs in the balance." Nehru's cleverness paid dividends and Indian army landed in Kashmir on October 27, 1947 after tribal invasion from Pakistan. Sheikh Abdullah was sworn in as the first Prime Minister of now Independent Kashmir on March 5, 1948 as he had struck an understanding with Nehru and believed Nehru to keep his promise. It is on record that Pandit Nehru even committed to the people of Kashmir, November 1948, when he delivered a speach in Lal chowk, Srinagar and said "we have only come to help Kashmir to throw infiltrators out and once peace is restored, the Indian army will leave." And they never did.
 
MAMU (MATERNAL UNCLE) NEHRU AND EDWINA
Edwina Mountbatten, Pandit Nehru friendship cost Kashmiris very dearly, daughter Pamela referred to Nehru as 'Mamu'. 'Mamu' means a maternal uncle and an impression created is that Edwina had some sexual relationship with Nehru. Both the situations can cast aspersion on the character of Nehru. In Nehru's estimation, to reap the harvest of political benefits fro Mountbatten, keeping Edwina, Mountabatten's wife in good stead. Nehru focussed his attention spemdimg maximum time serving Lady Edwina and using good relation with her to seek maximum benefits from Miuntbatten. A very good move paying good dividends even to grab Kashmir comfortably.
 
 
Sri Prakash - India's first High Commissioner to Pakistan.
American historian Stanley Wolpert, in his book,Partition of India writes "when Jawarhar Lal Nehru was informed of what his high commissioner in Karachi had proposed, he expressed amazement. India's first high commissioner, Sri Prakash told Lord Mountbatten that for the sake of peace all around, the best thing India could do was to handover Kashmir to Pakistan. "In a sharp letter to Sri Prakash, Nehru wrote, I was amazed that you hinted at Kashmir being handed over to Pakistan....If we did anything of the kind our government would not last many days and there would be no peace....it would lead to war with Pakistan because of public opinion here and of war-like elements coming in control of our policy. We cannot and will not leave Kashmir to its fate....The fact is that Kashmir is of the most vital significance to India..here lies the rub...we have to see this through to the end...Kashmir is going to be a drain on our resources but it is going to be a greater drain on Pakistan." Wolpert further writes that if Nehru had accepted Gandhi's offer of mediating the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan, history would have taken a different course. "If Nehru had only listened to Gandhi, inviting him to arbitrate the Kashmir conflict with Jinnah, India and Pakistan might have been spared three wars and the tragic loss of countless lives, at least 50,000 of whom were Kashmiri. "According to Wolpert "Mountbatten's frenzied plans had blinded him (Nehru) to the wretched realities of partition's monstrous problems, the cause of so many deaths and sixty more years at least of fighting and hatred."
 
Article 370:   what it means

The background makes the meaning of Article 370 clearer still. It was on October 16, 1949, the product of negotiations between Sheikh Abdullah, Afzal Beg, Maulana Masoodi, Moti Ram Bagda, N Gopalaswamy Ayyanger and Nehru. Gopalaswamy Ayyangar gave an authoritative exposition of its terms in the Constituent Assembly: "You will remember that several of these clauses provide for the concurrence of the Government of Jammu and Kashmir State. Gulzari Lal Nanda as India’s Home Minister points out on December 4, 1964, that it would be "totally wrong to assume that with the repeal of the Article all constitutional provisions would automatically apply to Kashmir".

Louis Mountbatten of Burma had known the Hindu ruler since they had galloped side by side on the manicured grass of his polo field at Jammu during the Viceroy’s tour with the Prince of Wales, Mountbatten had deliberately arranged his state visit to Hari Singh’s capital Srinagar to force a decision on Kashmir’s future out of its hesitant rule
[Freedom at Midnight]
 
"Your letter dated 26 October 1947 has been delivered to me by Mr. V.P. Menon. In the circumstances mentioned by Your Highness, my Government have decided to accept the accession of Kashmir State to the Dominion of India. In consistence with their policy that in the case of any State where the issue of accession has been the subject of dispute, the question of accession should be decided in accordance with the wishes of the people of the State, it is my Government's wish that, as soon as law and order have been restored in Kashmir and its soil cleared of the invader, the question of the State's accession should be settled by a reference to the people.
 
Not that it matters whether ‘article 370’ exists or not, as V P Menon’s brainchild Instrument of Accession’, in connivance with Mehar Chand Mahajan under instructions from, Sardar Vallabhai Patel believed to be unauthentic has made the article irrelevant. With the passage of time, to strengthen and complicate the issue this ‘accession document’ or extension of Article 370 served the purpose as the proponents of IOA played their cards right and now Kashmir ‘Hamara hai’ thought to be a foregone conclusion need not even be discussed but for the purpose of maintaining record let us analyze what it means.
 
Only two authorities under the article could amend or abrogate it, the President of India and the Constituent Assembly of Jammu & Kashmir. The Assembly ceased to exist after it had enacted the state's Constitution on November 17, 1956, that came into force on January 27, 1957.
 
"Article 370 was adopted by the Constituent Assembly in 1949 and dubbed in the marginal note as "Temporary" Provisions with respect to the State of Jammu & Kashmir" and figured in Part XXI on "Temporary and Transitional Provisions" There was another reason for its temporary character. In 1949 India was committed to a plebiscite." Plebiscite, as is known, is consigned, for the time being, to dustbin of history and the State's Constituent Assembly stands vanished.
 
To complicate issue further an impression is created to establish India’s constitutional hold on Kashmir by laying emphasis on centre-state relations restricted to internal autonomy and the only question that could be discussed is restoration of ‘autonomy’ eroded through constitutional amendments from time to time and promoted through services rendered by puppet regimes installed by Government of India. To do all this article 370 was used as a necessary tool.
 
This infamous article is also used to confuse international community to substantiate the argument that Kashmir State acceded to India on three Union subjects i.e. defense, foreign affairs and communication. The article exempted the state from the provisions of the constitution providing for the governance of the state and the state was allowed to have its own constitution. Again under the article state was restricted to three subjects only and at the same time the President of India could extend to it the other provisions of the Indian constitution and only consultation with the State government was required and could be seen as an exercise of formality as no Kashmir State Government would survive if it did not conform to India’s wishes. The provision of a ratification of State’s Constituent Assembly, for any constitutional amendment from India’s President was never allowed in the real sense. The State’s Constituent Assembly, being an impediment, was done away with precision political maneuvering.
 
The background makes the meaning of Article 370 clearer still. It was on October 16, 1949, the product of negotiations between Sheikh Abdullah, Afzal Beg, Maulana Masoodi, Moti Ram Bagda, N Gopalaswamy Ayyanger and Nehru. Gopalaswamy Ayyangar gave an authoritative exposition of its terms in the Constituent Assembly: "You will remember that several of these clauses provide for the concurrence of the Government of Jammu and Kashmir State. Gulzari Lal Nanda as India’s Home Minister points out on December 4, 1964, that it would be "totally wrong to assume that with the repeal of the Article all constitutional provisions would automatically apply to Kashmir".
 
"Now, the provisions of the article relate particularly to matters which are not mentioned in the Instrument of Accession and it is one of our commitments to the people and Government of Kashmir that no such additions should be made except with the consent of the Constituent Assembly which may be called in the State for the purpose of framing its Constitution." This verbal commitment made in the above statement is an ample proof for Sheikh Abdullah and his colleagues being taken for a ride. That is why Sheikh is believed to be inexperienced and a novice in the field of politics. The engagement of political wrangling through clauses and sub-clauses of Indian constitution and argument about erosion of article 370 slowly and systematically, was used as another tool and a pretext to put a seal on and divert attention from the main issue of fraudulent ´Accession´ and that is the main reason for bringing in ´article 370´ that helped India to hoodwink and confuse local people in general and International community in particular. And if the accession was real and credible where is the need for extra constitutional provision? Further complications were created with ‘accords’ like Nehru-Abdullah Delhi agreement in July 1952 and or Indira-Abdullah Accord of February 1975.These accords were based on necessitated political compulsion or prevailing situation of the State or the sub-continent.
 
 
V P MENON   (Managed to put Kashmir in India's lap)
(Reforms Commissioner to the Viceroy, the transfer of power in India
V.P. (Vapal Pangunni) Menon, Reforms Commissioner, a key official of British Indian Government and honoured with the title of 'Rao Bahadur' had become indispensible. British policy on any constitutional question considered by the Viceroy's administration would not escape his notice and in certian cases policy matters were consummated on the basis of drafts prepared by him. Menon was invaluable as the provider of the fine detail, while unlike so many of his colleagues, not a lawyer by training, his formidable experience and intelligence made him a master draftsman.
 
Menon known as the British-Indian bureaucrat, privileged to be very close to the top brass of Viceroys, managed to create a clout in the decision making of Government of British-India. The genius hailed from Ottappalam in Kerala, not even passed the eighth standard became an eminent administrator and a diplomat. Last Constitutional Advisor to the Governor-General of British India, and right hand of Sardar Vallabhai Patel the Home Minister of India, immediately after independence. His vision and persevered commitment made it possible for him to extract a controversial ´Instrument of Accession´ from then Maharaja Hari Singh of Kashmir. It is beyond doubt that the plan to annex Kashmir would not succeed had V P Menon not played the pivotal role being part of the group namely Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru, Patel, Krishna Menon, with above all, the blessings of Lord Mountbatten. After getting the paper signed from Maharaja, V.P.Menon returns to Delhi on Sunday, October 26, 1947 and flashes out the paper before Alexander Symon, Britain's Deputy High Commissioner after pouring each a stiif drink said "the b*****d has signed the paper and now Kashmir is ours."
 
Field Marshal Archibald Percival Wavell, penultimate Viceroy of India noted that Menon had been presenting a Congress brief and too much reliance was being put on his advice. Private Secretary, George Abell had lost his earlier confidence in Menon and issued a note for Mountbatten's attention "Up to recently V.P.Menon knew everything that was connected with high policy that was going on between the Viceroy and the India Office. Lately he has rather less closely in confidence because he is a Hindu, and is inevitably under pressure from Congress to tell them what is going on…..thus though he is an old friend of mine, and one of the people I like best in Delhi, I am convinced that it is not possible to take him into confidence as fully as has been done in the past."
 
While Jinnah was putting bits and pieces of newly Pakistan together, he was unaware about the happenings in Kashmir. Mr Menon and the group were busy trying to influence Maharaja Hari Singh to change his mind and agree to join India which he declined many a times and even refused to see Lord Mountbatten who visited Kashmir to persuade Maharaja to save Nehru humiliation. Nehru’s growing influence on Sheikh Abdullah unnerved the Muslim Conference Leaders and out of panic, few of them provided a pretext to Nehru by sending Pathan tribesmen to capture Kashmir by force. The two letters exchanged, within just two days, between Maharaja and Lord Mountbatten is an ample proof to see the pivotal role that V P Menon played to change Maharaja’s mind.
 
V.P.Menon finds it hard to comprehend the easy exit of British from India and in his book "The transfer of power in India" makes a mention saying "It was in August 1947 that the British handed over power and left the country. The manner both of their coming and of their going was unique. They came to trade, but stayed to rule. They left of their own free will; there was no war, there was no treaty – an act with no parallel in history."
 
The world-war second had put a huge financial burden on the British Government and it was very difficult for them to continue their rule over the sub-continent. Prime Minister Attlee was in a desperate hurry to make a quick but smooth exit and he was convinced the job can be handled only by experienced Lord Mountbatten. Prime Minister Atlee wanted to leave India as quickly as possible and it were the circumstances like economic worsening situation of United Kingdom rather than anything else that gave India its freedom.
 
"Mahatma Gandhi has been insisting that freedom would lose its significance if the lot of the common man were not improved. Similarly, the agitation for Pakistan was based upon the need for the Muslims to build up their life in their own way. Neither object can be achieved if the two States’ resources are frittered away in futile military preparations. It is imperative that a way be found for building up a basis of security for both. Public opinion in India will therefore insist upon adequate military precautions on the frontiers of India, and no responsible statesman will be able to ignore the demand. This will naturally lead to counter-preparations on the Pakistan side…."
 
Menon further says, "Pakistan today is an Islamic State. There is today hardly a Hindu or a Sikh to be found in Western Pakistan. There is no minority problem in West Pakistan; while East Pakistan is being steadily drained of its Hindus. India on the other hand still has a population of about forty million Muslims, besides other minorities, to protect and care for."
 
"It is never too late for men of goodwill to take stock of realities, for the leaders to sit down calmly and dispassionately and together evolve some common machinery which would merely minimise the rigours of partition but, by banishing all sense of fear and conflict, would bring about for both countries enduring peace and progress."
 
Letter from Maharaja Hari Singh to Lord Mountbatten on the eve of "Pak invasion" on J&K in 1947
 
My dear Lord Mountbatten,
I have to inform Your Excellency that a grave emergency has arisen in my State and request the immediate assistance of your Government. As Your Excellency is aware, the State of Jammu and Kashmir has not acceded to either the Dominion of India or Pakistan. Geographically my State is contiguous with both of them. Besides, my State has a common boundary with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and with China. In their external relations the Dominion of India and Pakistan cannot ignore this fact. I wanted to take time to decide to which Dominion I should accede or whether it is not in the best interests of both the Dominions and of my State to stand independent, of course with friendly and cordial relations with both. I accordingly approached the Dominions of India and Pakistan to enter into standstill agreement with my State. The Pakistan Government accepted this arrangement. The Dominion of India desired further discussion with representatives of my Government. I could not arrange this in view of the developments indicated below. In fact the Pakistan Government under the standstill agreement is operating the post and telegraph system inside the State. Though we have got a standstill agreement with the Pakistan Government, the Government permitted a steady and increasing strangulation of supplies like food, salt and petrol to my State.
 
Afridis, soldiers in plain clothes, and desperado’s with modern weapons have been allowed to infiltrate into the State, at first in the Poonch area, then from Sia1kot and finally in a mass in the area adjoining-Hazara district on the Ramkote side. The result has been that the limited number of troops at the disposal of the State had to be dispersed and thus had to face the enemy at several points simultaneously, so that it has become difficult to stop the wanton destruction of life ad property and the looting of the Mahura power house, which supplies electric current to the whole of Srinagar and which has been burnt. The number of women who have been kidnapped and raped makes my heart bleed. The wild forces thus let loose on the State are marching on with the aim of capturing Srinagar, the summer capital of my government, as a first step to overrunning the whole State. The mass infiltration of tribesman drawn from distant areas of the North-West Frontier Province, coming regularly in motor trucks, using the Manwehra-Mazaffarabad road and fully armed with up-to-date weapons, cannot possibly be done without the knowledge of the Provincial Government of the North-West Frontier Province and the Government of Pakistan. In spite of repeated appeals made by my Government no attempt has been made to check these raiders or to stop them from coming into my State. In fact, both radio and the Press of Pakistan have reported these occurrences. The Pakistan radio even put out the story that a provisional government has been set up in Kashmir. The people of my State, both Muslims and non-Muslims, generally have taken no part at all.
 
With the conditions obtaining at present in my State and the great emergency of the situation as it exists, I have no option but to ask for help from the Indian Dominion. Naturally they cannot 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. The other alternative is to leave my state and people to free booters. On this basis no civilised government can exist or be maintained.
 
This alternative I will never allow to happen so long as I am the ruler of the State and I have life to defend my country. I may also inform your Excellency's Government that it is my intention at once to set up an interim government and to ask Sheikh Abdullah to carry the responsibilities in this emergency with my Prime Minister.

If my State is to be saved, immediate assistance must be available at Srinagar. Mr. V.P. Menon is fully aware of the gravity of the situation and will explain it to you, if further explanation is needed.

In haste and with kindest regards,

Yours sincerely,

Hari Singh

October 26, 1947

Reply from Lord Mountbatten to Maharaja Hari Singh

My dear Maharaja Sahib,

Your Highness' letter dated 26 October 1947 has been delivered to me by Mr. V.P. Menon. In the circumstances mentioned by Your Highness, my Government have decided to accept the accession of Kashmir State to the Dominion of India. In consistence with their policy that in the case of any State where the issue of accession has been the subject of dispute, the question of accession should be decided in accordance with the wishes of the people of the State, it is my Government's wish that, as soon as law and order have been restored in Kashmir and its soil cleared of the invader, the question of the State's accession should be settled by a reference to the people.
 
Meanwhile, in response to Your Highness' 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. My Government and I note with satisfaction that Your Highness has decided to invite Sheikh Abdullah to form an interim Government to work with your Prime Minister.

Mountbatten of Burma

October 27, 1947