Today 27th October 2021 completes the 74th year of Indian military presence in Jammu and Kashmir. The younger generation in India and in Pakistan and in Kashmir have their own ways of interpreting the Indian presence, (turned into occupation) in Kashmir. The most important facts to remember remain that the admission of Indian army into Kashmir on 27 October 1947 is conditional at core and subject to a strict discipline.
Indian army is a supplement. It is slated to help “Kashmir forces to defend the territory and to protect the lives, property and honour of Kashmiri people”. Just after six months on 21April 1948 UN Security Council imposed a second discipline comprising of three principles on the stationing of these Indian forces. The three principles include:
(1)That the presence of troops should not afford any intimidation or appearance of intimidation to the inhabitants of the State; (2) That as small a number as possible should be retained in forward areas; (3) That any reserve of troops which may be included in the total strength should be located within their present base area.
United Nations Security Council has placed restraints on the behaviour, number and location of these Indian forces. It is important to point out that at the 608th meeting of the UN Security Council held on 8 December 1952, India has requested to keep a military figure of 21,000 as “absolute and irreducible minimum” and emphasised “that this force will have no supporting arms such as armour or artillery”.
The two OHCHR Reports of June 2018 and July 2019 have quoted the current number of Indian security forces in Kashmir as between 500,000 to 700,000 and in utter disregards to the concerns shown in these two reports India decided to raise this figure to 900,000 before taking the unlawful action of 5 August 2019.
Indian action is a colonial occupation of a people waiting to vote on the future of the of Indian army in Kashmir (and their own future) as conveyed by Jawaharlal Nehru Prime Minister of India in his telegram dated 26 November 1947 sent to Clement AttleePrime Minister of Great Britain, to Liaquat Ali Khan Prime Minister of Pakistan in his telegram dated 31 October 1947 and as stated at the UN Security Council on 15 January 1948.
On 15 January 1948 India has surrendered the conditional and contested accession of Kashmir for a UN supervised vote. In the sequence of Indian promises made at the UN Security Council, India stated at the 533rd meeting of the UN Security Council held on 01 March 1951 that, “The people of Kashmir are not mere chattels to be disposed of according to a rigid formula; their future must be decided in their own interests and in accordance with their own wishes”.
Before making a reference to the UN Security Council in January 1948, India has assured the Great Britain and Pakistan that the sending of its army into Kashmir was to address a “grave emergency” pointed out by the ruler of Kashmir. On 26 October 1947 Prime Minister of India in his telegram assured the British Prime Minister that, “I should like to make it clear that question of aiding Kashmir in this emergency is not designed in any way to influence the State to accede to India. Our view which we have repeatedly made public is that the question of accession in any disputed territory or State must be decided in accordance with wishes of people and we adhere to this view. It is quite clear, however, that no free expression of will of people of Kashmir is possible if external aggression succeeds in imperilling integrity of its territory”.
Prime Minister of India in his telegram dated 31 October 1947 assured the Prime Minister of Pakistan that, “Our assurance that we shall withdraw our troops from Kashmir as soon as peace and order are restored and leave the decision regarding the future of this State to the people of the State is not merely a pledge to your Government but also to the people of Kashmir and to the world”. The telegram further assures Prime Minister of Pakistan that, “…all we have done is to go to the rescue of people threatened with loss of life, property and honour…I am convinced that if Pakistan and India are to live in peace, leaders on both sides must have trust in one another and act with understanding and restraint. Mutual mistrust and recrimination can only lead to consequences which would be to the advantage of neither India nor Pakistan”.
Great Britain has remained an intermediary between India and Pakistan before India decided to go to UN Security Council. On 27 October 1947, Prime Minister of Great Britain has conveyed to the Prime Minister of Pakistan that Prime Minister of India has made it clear in his telegram of 26 October 1947 before sending Indian troops to help the ruler of Kashmir that, “the question of aiding Kashmir in this emergency is not designed in any way to influence the State to acceded to India”. British Prime Minister has added in his message to the Prime Minister of Pakistan that, “I also suggest for your consideration, as I am suggesting to Mr. Nehru, that it might be most useful step towards settlement of difficult question of Kashmiri’s future if it could be discussed by you, Mr. Nehru, and Maharaja of Kashmir at a meeting to be held as soon as possible at some suitable place”.
It is important to retain the sequence of the correspondence between Prime Minister of India, Prime Minister of Pakistan and the Prime Minister of Great Britain. It constitutes the core jurisprudence of Kashmir case. On 28 October 1947, Prime Minister of India in his telegram conveyed to Prime Minister of Pakistan that, “They have no desire to intervene in affairs of Kashmir State after raiders have been driven away and law and order are established. In regard to accession also it has been made clear that this is subject to reference to people of State and their decision. Government of India have no desire to impose any decision and will abide by people’s wishes, but those cannot be ascertained till peace and law and order prevail. Protection of Kashmir from armed raids thus becomes first objective and in this we trust we shall have your cooperation”.
India has conceded that it does not have an exclusive monopoly to protect the people of Kashmir. It is an important component in the jurisprudence of Kashmir case. The role of Pakistan in the protection of the people of Kashmir has been flagged by Netherlands at the 611th meeting of the UN Security Council. It has said that, “…there shall be, on the Pakistan side, the minimum number of forces required for the maintenance of law and order and of the cease-fire agreement, with due regard to the freedom of plebiscite; on the Indian side, in addition to these two criteria, the stipulation “with due regard to the security of the State” must be taken into account – although that does not mean that India has exclusive responsibility in this respect”.
The last but not the least component in the jurisprudence of Kashmir case is that, even after Kashmir entered into a conditional and contested accession with India on 27 October 1947, the citizens of India continued to need an Entry Permit (visa) to enter into the State for 11 years and 5 months until the requirement was rescinded by the Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir on 31 March 1959.
United Nations has endorsed the “Rights and Dignity” and “Security and Self-Determination” of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Indian presence has degenerated from ‘help’ into ‘occupation’. UN General Assembly Resolution 2621 has reaffirmed “the inherent right of colonial Peoples to struggle by all necessary means at their disposal against colonial Powers which supress their aspiration for freedom and independence”. Fighting India’s colonial occupation of Kashmir is a just cause.
The author is President of London based Jammu and Kashmir Council for Human Rights – NGO in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations.