- Additional deployment of troops will not help India in IHK
Reportedly India has decided to deploy an additional 10,000 troops in Indian held Kashmir and the deployment is already underway. The Indian move has raised fears among the people of Kashmir who feel that this additional deployment is meant to suppress or muzzle any reaction against the likely decision of the Indian Supreme Court on the petitions for the repeal of article 35A of the Indian Constitution. The article prohibits people residing outside Kashmir from buying properties in Jammu and Kashmir. The attempts to have the article removed from the Indian constitution are part of the agenda of the Modi government to change the demographic realities in the occupied Kashmir. The new move makes the Indian designs in IHK very clear.
It is pertinent to point out that Modi government also wanted to have Article 370 of the Indian Constitution repealed which accords special status to IHK. In 2014, as part of its manifesto, the Bharatiya Janata Party pledged to integrate the state of Jammu and Kashmir into the Union of India. After winning the elections, attempts were made by the party along with its parent organisation, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), for the abrogation of Article 370. However, in October 2015, the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir ruled that the Article 370 cannot be “abrogated, repealed or even amended.” It explained that Clause (3) of the Article conferred power to the State’s Constituent Assembly to recommend to the President on the matter of the repeal of the Article. Since the Constituent Assembly did not make such a recommendation before its dissolution in 1957, the Article 370 has taken on the features of a “permanent provision” despite being titled a temporary provision in the Constitution. On 3 April 2018, the Supreme Court of India gave a similar opinion, declaring that the Article 370 has acquired a permanent status. It stated that, since the State Constituent Assembly had ceased to exist, the President of India would not be able to fulfil the mandatory provisions required for its abrogation.
India must read the writing on the wall and abandon its war-like state posture. Peaceful co-existence with Pakistan in a secure regional environment is pivotal to the economic advancement of both the countries and their efforts to change the fate of millions India under the poverty line
IHK has been under presidential rule since June 2018 after the BJP withdrew support for its local partner PDP and dissolved the government. The Indian security forces have let loose a reign of terror in the IHK since the launch of the freedom struggle by the people of Kashmir in 1989 which has gained more intensity in the wake of killing of Burhan Wani in 2016. International Human Rights organisations like Amnesty International have been regularly compiling reports on Indian atrocities in Kashmir and abuse of human rights. Two similar reports compiled by the UNHCR also testify to the ruthless killing of the people of Kashmir fighting for their legitimate right of self-determination. The situation in the Valley is very volatile. The new deployments are sure to raise the level of violence and killings in IHK and have already been rejected by the Kashmiri leaders. India already has 500,000 troops in IHK.
The new deployment comes following a severe reaction in India sparked by the claims of US President Donald Trump during a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan that the Indian Prime Minister had asked him to mediate in the Kashmir dispute. The Indian government has denied the claim by President Trump, insisting that the issue can only be resolved bilaterally.
The Indian stance on the Kashmir issue actually has no moral or legal basis and is self-contradictory. On the one hand it has been claiming Kashmir as its integral part since 1957 when the state constituent assembly declared Kashmir’s accession to India– which was repudiated by UN Resolutions 91 and 122, maintaining that the question of accession of the state could only be resolved through a plebiscite held under the auspices of UN– and on the other hand it accepted Kashmir as a disputed territory as enunciated in the Simla agreement, the basis of its claims for its resolution bilaterally. The reality is that the UN resolutions calling for a plebiscite in Kashmir take precedence over any other arrangement between the disputing states on the same issue. Article 103 of UN Charter says “ In the event of a conflict between the obligations of the members of the UN under the present charter and their obligations under any other international agreement, their obligations under the present charter will prevail” What it means is that the UN resolutions on Kashmir will take precedence over all other international agreements on the same issue. So, Pakistan is very much within its right to invoke the UN resolutions, after having been frustrated to find solution through the bilateral arrangement.
Resolution of the Kashmir dispute remains the responsibility of the UN as per its resolutions on the subject. The defiant Indian attitude will further aggravate the situation, putting peace and security in the region in peril and India itself having to bear the consequences. There are two possible ways of having this festering conflict resolved. Either through active role of the UN by invoking its resolutions, or the major powers playing a mediatory role as offered by the US President and endorsed by China and Turkey. The way the Kashmiris are reacting to the Indian suppression makes it absolutely clear that India cannot subdue their freedom struggle through the barrel of gun and inhuman treatment. History is also witness to the fact that freedom movements cannot be muzzled or subdued with military strength and ruthless oppression. The freedom struggle of the people of Kashmir is bound to succeed.
India must read the writing on the wall and abandon its war-like state posture. Peaceful co-existence with Pakistan in a secure regional environment is pivotal to the economic advancement of both the countries and their efforts to change the fate of millions living under the poverty line and saving the future of one and a half billion people living in the region whose lives are hostage to the Kashmir dispute.