The Valley of Kashmir having gigantic mountains and beautiful scenery might look beautiful in the pictures yet the reality is far away from this. 1947 was the year when the Indian subcontinent got divided into two parts, a Muslim majority Pakistan and a Hindu majority yet official secular India. The partition is considered as one of the deadliest events of the known history. With trains put on arson and the children and women killed brutally, a huge number of people migrated from one side of the border to the other, but almost 1 million people never reached their destination. While all of this happening, the even bigger tragedy was setting up in the northwestern side of the Indian sub-continent in the region known as Kashmir, which will be known as the Kashmir crisis in years to come.
As the subcontinent was divided on religious grounds, Pakistan was expecting that Kashmir will be the part of Pakistan because of its Muslim majority. As the situation unfolded, Kashmir became one of the 576 princely states, the rulers of which were given the authority to include themselves in India or Pakistan. Most of the princely states became part of India, and a few became part of Pakistan.
Indo-Pak first war over Kashmir crisis:
1948 was the year when India and Pakistan came face to face on the issue of Kashmir. Pakistan always wanted to have Kashmir on its side because the water source of almost all of Pakistan’s water originates in Kashmir. As the local Pakistani boys invaded the Kashmir, the maharaja of Kashmir asked India for military help. India denied and asked the ruler to sign an instrument of accession to include Kashmir in India. Maharaja signed the papers, the credibility of which was denied by Pakistan. With all of this happened, the Kashmir crisis kicked off in the erstwhile British colony.
Kashmir, who controls what?
Both India and Pakistan occupied a part of Kashmir in 1948 war known as Indian administrated Kashmir, and Pakistan administrated Kashmir, respectively. Besides, a part of Kashmir equal to the area of Switzerland is also under the control of China. China got a small part of the Kashmir as a gift from Pakistan in 1962 to in a bid to settle the border dispute while China got much of its part known as Aksai Chin by winning an armed battle against India. UN arranged a peace deal in Kashmir and the de-facto border was set up in Kashmir know as Line of Control (LOC).
The major dispute which is causing the insurgency in the region is between India and Pakistan. Both of the countries claim that whole of the Kashmir belongs to them. While Pakistan says that as the Indian subcontinent was divided on religious grounds, so Kashmir belongs to them, Indians claim that the maharaja of Kashmir signed the instrument of annexation with India, so Kashmir belongs to India. Thus both of the neighboring states are contributing to the Kashmir crisis.
In the pursuit of power from both the countries, the actual voices of Kashmiris have been suppressed for a long time. The situation is worst on the Indian side of Kashmir, where the human rights violations have raised the eyebrows of the global actors. Thee UN’s report suggests that India is doing war crimes in Kashmir, an argument which India negates to its fullest.
India blames Pakistan for harboring terrorism in Kashmir and in mainland India:
India blames Pakistan for sponsoring terrorism in the Indian part of the Kashmir. Thus India say that this is the actual reason for the Kashmir crisis.
For instance, when Uri attack happened in Indian Kashmir, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi blamed Pakistan and threatened Pakistan to stop its water. As Modi said,
“Blood and water cannot flow together”
Pakistan denied the allegations altogether. In the later events, India also claimed that it had launched surgical strikes in POK, a claim which Pakistan refused.
Similarly, in the recent clash between the rival countries, India blamed Pakistan for the Pulwama attack in Kashmir when almost 42 soldiers of India died. As the events unfolded, India invaded Pakistan through its airforce. It claimed to bomb 300 “terrorists,” a claim which Pakistan vehemently denied and invited the international actors to come and see the situation. In retaliation, Pakistan conducted airstrikes across the border and shot down one Indian jet, captured the pilot in action, and later returned him to India.
The famous 1965 war of India and Pakistan also started on Kashmir. Similarly, after becoming a nuclear power, both the countries came face to face in the Kargil war in Kashmir and signaled the world a danger.
Insurgency in Kashmir and the role of India and Pakistan in the region: An Historical perspective of Kashmir Crisis:
The actual Kashmir crisis started in the early 1990s when people of Indian occupied Kashmir came out with the slogans of Azadi (Freedom). The organization behind all those protests was Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), which wanted Kashmir independent from both India and Pakistan. Scores of young people rushed on the streets across the Srinagar, the capital, and the other places of Kashmir. With guns in hand, the destruction looked inevitable. A significant question arouse that how did such massive ammunition come to them. India blamed Pakistan for this, but Pakistan denied the allegations.
Indian security forces fought against the insurgency and stopped the wave of young people by force. Meanwhile, Kashmiris Hindus faced the brunt of the masses, and many of the Hindus were forced to leave Kashmir.
The insurgency was so severe in the 1990s that Indian security forces killed almost 5000 people. This was just the beginning of the upcoming killings, which was just about to put the region at stake. Indian security forces kidnapped thousands of boys. While some people picked up the arms, the wrath of Indian troops was faced by innocent civilians where people were tortured, and women were raped vehemently.
While JKLF was chanting Kashmir Banega Khodmukhtar (Kashmir will become independent), Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM) started the slogan Kashmir Baneg Pakistan (Kashmir will become Pakistan). For this slogan, the inter-services-intelligence agency of Pakistan (ISI) has often been blamed by Indian authorities to support freedom movements in India. But Pakistan denied these claims citing it as “internal resistance.”
India and Pakistan went nuclear and made the region vulnerable to nuclear war
In the same decade, both India and Pakistan acquired nuclear capabilities, which worried the world more. Kashmir is often labelled as the “nuclear flashpoint” because its the only place in the world where two nuclear-armed countries of the world come face to face against each other regularly.
The battle of Kargil, a twist in Kashmir crisis:
The situation came to the worst point when India and Pakistan waged war in 1999 in the mountains of Kargil. The USA had to interest in between to sign a peace deal. Since then, the relations between both countries didn’t get well established.
The fidayeen phase:
The worst situation came in the period when at least 55 attacks happened in the region, and 160 military personnel died along with almost 100 civilians between mid-1999 and 2001. This phase of the crisis is known as the fidayeen phase; the blames of which were put on Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Muhammad, the groups which are allegedly supported by Pakistan.
Lasher-e-Taiba emerged on the scene in 1995 when they started to recruit local Kashmiris in their missions. The group was equipped with the latest weaponry, which was given to them from Pakistan’s Intillenge agencies in a bid to produce armed struggle in the valley.
The Fidayeen cadre grew as locals started to join the movement. Yet the majority of people were from Pakistan who used to cross Line of Control (LOC), a border that divides Indian occupied Kashmir and Pakistan Kashmir. Indian forces killed at least 1612 people in 2000 alone, among which many civilians were present.
Indian Parliament attack of 2002:
In another incident of terrorism, five shooters managed to approach the Indian Parliament, where the session of Parliament was going on. All of the gunmen were killed by security staff, and they failed to get into the Parliament. Had they entered the said building, it could have been one of the deadliest massacres of politicians in the known history. For this reason, the Indian subcontinent remains under the clouds of war in 2002, which was fortunately never happened.
Mumbai Attacks of 2008:
India witnessed deadly Mumbai attacks in which at least 174 people die, and 3000 got injured in 2008. The attacks brought the bilateral relations of Pakistan and India again at the lowest point as India once again blamed Pakistan for orchestrating the attacks.
The insurgency of post-2016 in Kashmir:
The retaliation continued between local protestors and the Indian forces, and the contribution of Pakistan started declining. The pro-Pakistan movement begun to turn in the Pro-Independence movement. With the rise of 2016, protestors tried to try their luck once again, and 2016 saw an exponential increase of armed resistance once again. The same year the world witnessed the assassination of Burhan Wani, a local Kashmiri boy leading the freedom movement.
While India labelled the boy as a terrorist, Pakistan marked him as a hero and a “freedom fighter” and issued a postal ticket having a picture of the boy on the ticket. 2018 saw an ever increased retaliation by Indian forces as almost 586 people were killed in a single year.
A famous photo of a local boy went viral on the social media when he was tied on the army jeep to stop pelting on the jeep.
Concerns of the United Nations over Kashmir crisis:
The United Nations released a report in 2019 addressing grave human rights violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir. The reports also shed some light on human rights violations in Pakistan’s side of Kashmir. The United Nations has also presented many resolutions for the plebiscite in Kashmir, but the rigidness of India and Pakistan never made it possible.
Trump has also offered to mediate between Pakistan and India on the said issue, and suggest which Pakistan supported, but India denied citing it as a bilateral issue.
The Misery of Being Kashmiri:
The fidayeen attacks fell steeply after 2003 and remained limited to small scale attacks. 2008 was the year when insurgency started again in the valley, and the said year witnessed the most massive insurgency since 1994. Scores of people came on roads with huge slogans all around. Unlike previous protests, this time their weapons were stones.
Thousand of young Kashmiri boys having deep-rooted anger over Indian annexation turned the valley into a battleground. Indian forces came once again to defend the region. Most of the protestors supported independent Kashmir.
The Kashmiris probably started to realize that the worth of their life is more prominent than Indo-Pak politics.
The young generation started seeing Indian atrocities and Pakistan’s role in the prevailing tensions. Instead of dealing with the protests peacefully, Indian forces decided to launch an all-out attack on the boys and killed hundreds of boys by shooting them on their faces. The young generation believes today that both countries are equally responsible for the Kashmir crisis.
The Kashmiri in the last three decades have witnessed some of the worst brutalities of Indian forces and saw how low Pakistan could go to achieve the political ends. Thousand of Kashmiri people have been murdered since the dispute began.
The boys have been tortured, children being pelted brutally, women got raped vehemently. The Kashmiris lives a misery today, and in the near future, the solution of the issue seems next to impossible.
The Indian and Pakistan premiums have been threatened each other side with nukes at times over Kashmir crisis. The prime minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, said in the United Nations General Assembly that if we face the choice between surrender and fight till death, we will choose to fight and when two nuclear-armed countries fight till death it will have consequences far beyond the borders”.
The politics and the pursuit of power of the two nuclear-armed countries have pushed the whole region at stake. The resulted misery is being faced by a common Kashmiri at the Indian side who does not know whether he or she will see tomorrow or not.