Kashmir's Resurgence - Daily Current Affair Article

CONTEXT

The Army on Monday used a rare tool to wean off local youth from militancy — screening a grim, black-and-white animation film of 2 minutes and 13 seconds named Back from Jaws of Death on 23 boys who were rescued from joining militants in north Kashmir’s Bandipora in 1998.

INTRODUCTION TO KASHMIR ISSUE

  • Maharaja Gulab Singh of Dogra Dynasty signed the ‘Treaty of Amritsar’ with the British East India Company in 1846. Under this treaty, he paid Rs. 75 lakhs to the East India Company in 1846 in exchange for Kashmir and some other areas. Jammu and Kashmir as a single entity was unified and founded (1846).
  • However, Jammu and Kashmir, from 1846 until 1947, remained a princely state ruled by Jamwal Rajput Dogra Dynasty. Like all other princely states in India then, Kashmir too enjoyed only a partial autonomy, as the real control was with the British.

KASHMIR AT THE TIME OF INDEPENDENCE

  • During the time of partition of British India (1947), Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) was a Princely State. Britishers had given all princely states choice – either to join India or to join Pakistan or even to remain independent.
  • The ruler of Kashmir during that time (1947) was Maharaja Hari Singh, the great-grandson of Maharaja Gulab Singh. He was a Hindu who ruled over a majority-Muslim princely state.
  • He did not want to merge with India or Pakistan.Hari Singh tried to negotiate with India and Pakistan to have an independent status for his state. He offered a proposal of Standstill Agreement to both the Dominion, pending a final decision on State’s accession. On August 12, 1947, the Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir sent identical communications to the Government of India and Pakistan.

Attack by Pakistan

  • Pakistan, though entered into Standstill Agreement with Jammu and Kashmir, had an eye on it. It broke the Standstill Agreement by sponsoring a tribal militant attack in Kashmir on October 1947.
  • Pashtun raiders from Pakistan invaded Kashmir in October 1947 and took control over a large area. Hari Singh appealed to the Governor General of free-India, Lord Mountbatten for assistance.
  • India assured help on condition Hari Singh should sign the Instrument of Accession. Maharaja Hari Singh signed the instrument of accession with India (1947). It was also agreed that once the situation normalised, the views of the people of J&K will be ascertained about their future.The Maharaja Hari Singh signed Instrument of Accession to India on 26 October 1947 in Srinagar.
  • As soon as the accession documents were signed, the Indian Armed Force took over the stage to repulse Pakistan-supported tribal assault. Indian and Pakistani forces thus fought their first war over Kashmir in 1947-48.
  • India successfully drove out most of the Pak-supported tribal militants from Kashmir occupation. However, one part of the State came under Pakistani control. India claims that this area is under illegal occupation. Pakistan describes this area as ‘Azad Kashmir’. India however, does not recognize this term. India uses the term Pak occupied Kashmir (PoK) for the area of Kashmir under the control of Pakistan.

UN Intervention:

  • India referred the dispute to the United Nations Security Council on 1 January 1948. Following the set-up of the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP), the UN Security Council passed Resolution 47 on 21 April 1948.
  • The UN Resolution was non-binding on India and Pakistan. However, this is what the UN resolution mentioned:
  • Pakistan is the aggressor in the state.
  • Pakistan has to vacate all occupied territory in state and handover the vacated territory to India.
  • India has to remove all its forces leaving aside enough to maintain law and order.
  • India to conduct a plebiscite in the state.

The new Jammu and Kashmir government ratified the accession to India. In 1957, Kashmir was formally incorporated into the Indian Union

COMPLICATING KASHMIR REGION

External Factors

  • Externally, ever since 1947, Kashmir remained a major issue of conflict between India and Pakistan (and between India and China to a minor extent).
  • Pakistan has always claimed that Kashmir valley should be part of Pakistan. The conflict resulted in 3 main wars between India and Pakistan – 1947, 1965, and 1971. A war-like situation erupted in 1998 as well (Kargil war).
  • Pakistan was not only the illegal occupant of the Kashmir region. China too started claiming parts of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • By the 1950s, China started to gradually occupy the eastern Kashmir (Aksai Chin). In 1962, India fought a war with China over its encroachments, however, China defeated India. To make matters worse, Pakistan ceded the Trans-Karakoram Tract of Kashmir (Saksham valley) to China.

Internal factors

Insurgency in Kashmir

  • After its humiliating defeat in 1971 war, Pakistan adopted the strategy of proxy war with India by promoting insurgency in Punjab and Jammu & Kashmir. Till 1987, the insurgency in Kashmir was low intensity warfare. In 1987 assembly elections, an eleven party oppositional alliance won only four seats despite its popular support, and a dispute started about rigging in the elections. This dispute had set the stage for birth of insurgency in the Kashmir valley in 1989. Within no time, it was escalated and the armed insurgent groups demanded sovereignty and freedom the Indian state.
  • Key players were
  • In the beginning, two main groups of the armed insurgents were the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) and the Hizbul-Mujahideen.
  • Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) were the latter faces.
  • The leadership in both countries compounded the original problem when they turned Kashmir into a badge of their respective national identities. Subsequently, Kashmir came to play a role in the respective domestic politics of both states—but especially Pakistan. For Pakistani leaders, both civilian and military, Kashmir was a useful rallying cry and a diversion from the daunting task of building a nation out of disparate parts.

Mediation in Kashmir

Background

  • Early attempts were made by the UN after India took ita complaint against Pakistan in POK to the UNSC in 1948.
  • UN then set up United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) which proposed 3-point action plan
  • Pakistani demilitarization of the Kashmir region
  • India's reduction in military presence
  • Final resolution by Plebiscite
  • Pakistan refused to take action and the plan never came into force.

In 1962, US provided India with defence equipments during war with China on the condition of India agreeing to mediated talks with Pakistan on Kashmir.

  • After the war, US and UK tried 6 rounds of negotiations between India and Pakistan.
  • Talks ended with the clear indicative by Nehru that India would never give up Kashmir.

Since then, India resisted any third party mediation due to various reasons:

  • Shimla agreement 1971
  • Lahore Declaration 1999
  • India believes that Third party comes with their own agenda and would try to accomplish that in the name of mediation.
  • India eyes itself as a regional leader and doesn't need any assistance in solving disputes with neighbours.
  • Historical suspicion too creates an air of distrust as previous attempts by US, UK, World Bank, Russia etc have failed to bring any results.

EXTREMISM AND RADICALISATION IN KASHMIR

  • In the last few years, Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) has witnessed a discernible rise in the levels of radicalisation and violent extremism. There has been a marked increase in local recruitment of terrorist groups.
  • The youth today appear far more emboldened to disrupt military operations and challenge the State authority, especially in the Kashmir Valley. The frenzied stone-pelting mobs at the encounter sites, of late, have demonstrated increasing levels of motivation and boldness in facilitating the escape of terrorists.
  • The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) sponsored propaganda and psychological operations based on toxic, warped and intolerant religious and ideological narratives have been instrumental in proselytising the people, eroding the ideals of ‘Kashmiriyat’ and gradually sowing the seeds of jihadist culture.
  • Pakistan has effectively employed the cyberspace, subverted sections of the media and its proxies in the state for this purpose.
  • The Friday prayers at the mosques are being used to fuel extremism and the young impressionable minds at the madrassas are also being surreptitiously subjected to jihadist ideology on a daily basis.
  • Pakistan has also leveraged the existing communal fault lines in other parts of our country to create insecurities that bolster secessionist tendencies and an inclination for a new political order.

INITIATIVES BY ARMY AND GOVERNMENT

Government approach in Jammu & Kashmir Insurgency

  • India’s present response to insurgency in Kashmir is multi-dimensional.
  • Military response against violence and prevention of infiltration across border areas,
  • Political dialogue and negotiations with those who have given up violence,
  • Economic and social developmental measures to improve the living conditions and employment prospects of the local population,
  • Encouraging the democratic activity in the Kashmir
  • Diplomatic initiatives towards peace which include confidence building measures with Pakistan, and international counter-terrorism cooperation with friendly countries.

Military response against insurgency in Kashmir

  • Indian army’s Northern Command is prime responsible for tackling terrorism and insurgency in Kashmir.
  • Operations of the Army, police, and the paramilitary forces in the region are coordinated by a Unified Headquarters.
  • The Paramilitary forces include the Border Security Force, Central Reserve Police Force and Special Forces.
  • The Rashtriya Rifles (RR) is a specially organized force to deal specifically with counter insurgency.
  • The main aspect of Indian approach to counterinsurgency operations in Kashmir is to stop the infiltration of insurgents from launch pads and training camps in Pakistan across the LOC and the between gaps in the International Border.
  • To plug the major infiltration routes, India fenced the LOC. The retired Army soldiers from the local villages have been organized into Village Defence Committees.
  • India is continuously following up the modernization of its army with new equipment and training. Intelligence agencies have been organized to provide real-time information

CONTEMPORARY EVENTS TILL NOW

Delhi Agreement

  • In 1951, the state constituent assembly was elected. It met for the first time in Srinagar on 31st October 1951.
  • In 1952, The Delhi Agreement was signed between Prime Ministers of India and Jammu & Kashmir giving special position to the state under Indian Constitutional framework.
  • On 6th february 1954, the J&K constituent assembly ratified the accession of the state to the Union of India.
  • The President subsequently issued the constitution order under Article 370 of the Constitution extending the Union Constitution to the state with some exceptions and modifications.

J&K Constitution

  • The state’s own constitution came into force on 26th January, 1957 under which elections to the state legislative assembly were held for the first time. This constitution also ratified the state’s accession to the Union of India.
  • Section 3 of the constitution says Jammu & Kashmir is and shall be an integral part of the Union of India.

Article 370

  • The provision of Article 370 was drafted by Sheikh Abdullah.
  • In the Indian Constitution, it was included as a temporary provision that grants special status to J&K.
  • All the provisions of the Constitution which are applicable to other states are not applicable to J&K except for defence, foreign affairs, finance and communications.
  • Parliament needs the state government’s concurrence for applying all other laws.
  • The state's residents live under a separate set of laws, including those related to citizenship and ownership of the property.
  • It gives J&K a unique power to have a separate Prime Minister, President, flag and constitution.
  • Due to special provisions attached to this article, it always remains debatable. Those who are against it argue that it hampers integration process of J&K with the rest of the country.

Article 35A

  • It came into existence through a Presidential Order in 1954 and it gives the J&K assembly the right to decide the definition of Permanent residents of the state and prevent the people of the other states from buying real estate in J&K.
  • According to the constitution of J&K, a permanent resident is defined as a person who was a state subject on 14th May, 1954 or who has been residing in the state for a period of 10 years and has lawfully acquired immovable property in the state or migrated from the state after 1st March, 1947 and has gone within the present Pakistani border area but has comeback with resettlement permit in the state.
  • Under this, citizen of any other state can neither buy property in J&K nor can they become permanent resident of the state.
  • The presidential order provided that only the original residents of J&K will have right to scholarships, services, land and settlement.
  • It stated that if a girl who is a citizen of J&K marries an outsider then she will lose her right to ownership of property. In 2002, the J&K High Court issued an order stating that in such cases, a girl’s right will continue for life.
  • It gives special powers to J&K as a state i.e. the state government has right to give and abstain privileges to people who migrated there during independence and other Indian nationals in J&K.
  • Some experts argue that spirit of Article 35A flows from Article 370 while some other argue that it is not constitutional as it came through a presidential order.

Shimla Agreement, 1972

  • The Shimla Agreement signed by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto of Pakistan on 2nd July 1972 was much more than a peace treaty seeking to reverse the consequences of the 1971 war.
  • It was a comprehensive blue print for good neighbourly relations between India and Pakistan.
  • Under the Shimla Agreement both countries undertook to abjure conflict and confrontation which had marred relations in the past, and to work towards the establishment of durable peace, friendship and cooperation.
  • The Shimla Agreement contains a set of guiding principles, mutually agreed to by India and Pakistan, which both sides would adhere to while managing relations with each other. These emphasize: respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty; non-interference in each other’s internal affairs; respect for each other’s unity, political independence; sovereign equality; and abjuring hostile propaganda.
  • The following principles of the Agreement are, however, particularly noteworthy:
  • A mutual commitment to the peaceful resolution of all issues through direct bilateral approaches.
  • To build the foundations of a cooperative relationship with special focus on people to people contacts.
  • To uphold the inviolability of the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, which is a most important CBM between India and Pakistan, and a key to durable peace

Lahore Declaration, 1999

  • Shall intensify their efforts to resolve all issues, including the issue of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Shall refrain from intervention and interference in each other's internal affairs.
  • Shall intensify their composite and integrated dialogue process for an early and positive outcome of the agreed bilateral agenda.
  • Shall take immediate steps for reducing the risk of accidental or unauthorised use of nuclear weapons and discuss concepts and doctrines with a view to elaborating measures for confidence building in the nuclear and conventional fields, aimed at prevention of conflict.
  • Reaffirm their commitment to the goals and objectives of SAARC and to concert their efforts towards the realisation of the SAARC vision for the year 2000 and beyond with a view to promoting the welfare of the peoples of South Asia and to improve their quality of life through accelerated economic growth, social progress and cultural development.
  • Reaffirm their condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and their determination to combat this menace.
  • Shall promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Refugees from Western Pakistan (1947) are still deprived of the fundamental rights and identity in the state. Such people can vote in Lok Sabha elections but can’t vote in local bodies and assembly elections.

In 1957, about 200 families of the Valmiki Community were brought from Punjab to J&K as Safai Karamcharis. They have been given conditional state subject rights i.e. they can own property but cannot take up any other job.

In January 1990 after the death of nearly a hundred people in military firing, there was rapid increase in militant activities.

  • Violence spread throughout the valley.
  • Srinagar’s Doordarshan was attacked and its director was killed and then the attacks against the Kashmiri Hindu community also started.
  • Due to the attacks, such people left their homes and fled to relief camps. After that, they settled in Delhi or anywhere they found the place. They have been demanding for their rehabilitation for a long time.

Abrogation of Special Status

  • On 5th of August 2019, the President of India promulgated the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 2019.
  • The order effectively abrogates the special status accorded to Jammu and Kashmir under the provision of Article 370 - whereby provisions of the Constitution which were applicable to other states were not applicable to Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).
  • According to the Order, provisions of the Indian Constitution are now applicable in the State.
  • This Order comes into force “at once”, and shall “supersede the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1954.”
  • A separate Bill - the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill 2019 - was introduced to bifurcate the State into two separate union territories of Jammu and Kashmir (with legislature), and Ladakh (without legislature)
  • Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019 was also introduced to extend the reservation for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) in educational institutions and government jobs in Jammu and Kashmir.

CONCLUSION

  • It requires an enduring strategy that focuses not just on targeting the external and internal actors and conditions that fuel radicalisation but also attends to the process of de-radicalisation. Logically, it should form an additional dedicated prong of our overarching national strategy that aims at bringing normalcy in J&K. In addition to the ongoing military operations, it will require a coordinated deployment of our political, diplomatic, economic, social, and perception management prowess.
  • Improvements in governance are necessary, whereby political leaders at all levels and the administration remain committed to the aspirations of the people. The state’s Vigilance Commission should be revitalised to deal with widespread corruption, which has precluded the desired economic development in the state. Sincere efforts should also be made in addressing the feelings of any perceived injustice. Rogue political and community leaders, who are playing to the tune of negative elements and spoilers, should be sternly dealt with as per the law.
  • Contemporary educational infrastructure with dedicated security cover should be created and the religious preachers at the mosques should not be allowed to spew venom and spread jihadist ideology.
  • Since poverty creates exploitable conditions for radicalisation and idle minds are the root of all evil, job opportunities should be created expeditiously by giving a boost to tourism, developing infrastructure and raising additional Home Guards and security forces units
  • On the military front, the security forces should continue with their people-friendly counter proxy war operations, employing smart power, which is an imaginative mix of both hard and soft power.

Sources

  • The Indian Express
  • The Hindu
  • The Hindustan Times
  • BBC
  • ORF
  • Dawn magazine
General Studies Paper 1
  • Internal Security