Gar firdaus bar-rue zamin ast, hami asto, hamin asto, hamin ast.”
It means “If there is a heaven on earth, it’s here, it’s here,”
Amir-e-Khusru, a renowned poet, has beautifully described Kashmir in these lines. But the heaven he has written about has turned out into a place of torment in the past few decades. The Kashmir we hear about nowadays in news is completely different from the present scenario. It was once a peaceful heaven where people belonging to different religions breathed together. But the situation has changed and Kashmir is no longer what it once used to be.
In order to understand the Kashmir issue we need go back to the time when India was about to get rid of the Britishers
Before India got independent, it was divided into 565 princely states. Before Independence, Mohd. Ali Jinnah came up with the idea of creating a different country for Muslims. As a result, Pakistan was created.
Most of the princely states decided to either merge either with India or Pakistan. But the then Maharaja of J&K, Hari singh decided not to join any of the two countries and stay independent. On 14th Aug 1947, Pakistan got its independence and on 15th Aug 1947, India bacame an independent country. Kashmir remained an independent state.
After Britishers left India, Pakistan army started surrounding Kashmir. Finally, they attacked on 22 Oct 1947 and reached Domail within no time. In order to stop Pakistan army from advancing any further into Kashmir, Brigadier Rajinder Singh destroyed the bridge between Domail and Uri bringing the Pakistani army to a halt for sometime.
Even this tactic did not prove to be effective. Soon Pakistani army reached Baramulla, a small town just 55 kms from Srinagar.
When the Maharaj came to know about this, he immediately ordered his Prime Minister Meherchand Mahajan to go and meet Patel. Also known as Iron man of India, Sardar Vallabhai Patel was requested to send indian army to their rescue but the Indian government refused unless the Maharaja signs the instrument of accession with India.
Since Hari Singh did not have a strong army to defend Kashmir, he signed the instrument of accession on 26 Oct 1947. Hence, J&K merged with India but not completely. It was decided that Kashmir will be given autonomy and all the state affairs would be handled by State Assembly except for four things:-
Further, it was decided that Kashmir will have its own Prime Minister and Constitution.
Finally on 27 Oct, 1947 Indian army touched down at the Srinagar airport. Slowly they started retreating.
On 2 Nov, 1947, the then Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru went to AIR Delhi. He announced that after the situation in Kashmir normalizes a plebiscite would take place. The people of Kashmir will get to decide whether they want to stay with India or Pakistan.
Meanwhile Lord Mountbatten, Governor General of India advised Nehru to take the Kashmir issue to the UN Security Council. Accordingly, on 1 Jan, 1948, India went to the UN Security Council to resolve the Kashmir issue.
After hearing Indian and Pakistani representatives, the U.N Security Council passed its first resolution (Resolution 38) on Kashmir Conflict on January 17, 1948. It asked India and Pakistan to exercise restraint and ease tensions. Three days later, on January 20, the Security Council passed another resolution (Resolution 39). It created the United Nations Commission for Indian and Pakistan (UNCIP) to investigate the dispute and mediate between the two countries.
Led by Britain and the United States, the U.N Security Council passed another resolution (Resolution 47) on April 21, 1948. This enlarged the membership of the UNCIP from 3 to 5, called for cessation of hostilities between India and Pakistan, withdrawal of all Pakistani troops and tribesmen and bulk of Indian troops(except for a minimal number required for maintaining law order), allowing return of refugees, release of political prisoners and holding of a U.N supervised Plebiscite in the (Princely) State of Jammu and Kashmir to determine the aspirations of her people.
Ceasefire was finally declared on 1 Jan, 1948. A cease fire line was drawn between the positions where the two armies were engaged in fighting. This cease fire line is called line of control (LOC) now.
Pakistan always keeps on blaming the Indian government for not solving the Kashmir dispute but it never agreed to withdraw its Army from POK which is the first condition of the UN resolution.
Since then India and Pakistan have fought several wars over Kashmir. We also keep on hearing about terrorist attacks being carried out in the Valley every now and then. Due to this, the Kashmiris are suffering.
War is not going to solve this issue. The only way to solve this issue is peaceful political dialogue.
Edited by Mrinaal Datt
Read more about them here.