DMPQ- . Explain the challenges of Kashmir integration and also mention how did India respond to it.

. In Kashmir, Hari Singh was a Hindu ruler with 75% of Muslim population and he was also averse to idea of joining either India or Pakistan out of his apprehensions regarding both democracy and communalism. Popular political forces led by Sheikh Abdullah wanted to join India on the other hand. India, however, remained non-committal and left it to the people themselves to decide as was done in case of Junagarh and Hyderabad. Pakistan on the other disliked idea of plebiscite and launched an attack taking along several Pathan tribesmen in October 1947 and a panicked Hari Singh sought Indian military intervention. India when consulted the then Governor General Mountbatten, was advised that India cannot intervene as per international law before a formal instrument of accession is not signed by Kashmir. As a result, Sheikh Abdulla was appointed administrator and India sent troops to valley capturing most of the part including Sri Nagar and fight ensued for other parts.

Fearing a full-fledged war, India referred the matter to UN for Pakistan’s vacation of valley and restoration of peace on advice of Mountbatten which it later regretted. UK and US dominated security council sided Pakistan in highly partisan manner (as UK had a soft corner for Muslim League rather than Congress and US saw Pakistan as a buffer against rising Soviet Communism) and it came as a great shock to India. Russia also didn’t lend support to India at that time as it was not sure of India’s credentials and saw India joining Commonwealth as indicator of India’s imperialist bias.

Ceasefire was declared on 31st December 1948 and Kashmir was virtually divided along ceasefire line which today is known as ‘LoC’. In 1951, the UN passed a resolution calling for a referendum subject to withdrawal of troops by Pakistan which never happened and hence plebiscite could also not happen. Later elections were held in Kashmir and Constituent Assembly was formed in Kashmir which also ratified the accession of Kashmir to India and hence rendered the very question of plebiscite irrelevant. Pakistan continues to claim Kashmir as a part of it on the basis of two nation theory (which India never accepted as Pakistan is not the only home to Muslims of India), but India sees its accession as a testimony to its adherence to principle of secularism.

 

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