25 Years : A brief timeline of the troubles in Kashmir

Discussion in 'Internal Security' started by Singh, Aug 4, 2013.

  1. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    If you are an Indian born in the late 1980s when the Kashmir issue became an active internal armed conflict, you would have spent the last few wondering what is it all about. Why cannot people talk to each other and sort it out. Why can’t one travel to Srinagar without being worried about safety.

    This year marks 25 years since the Kashmir issue first started. Yet, today there are still reports of sporadic violence in the region.

    Here is a brief timeline of the troubles in Kashmir:

    1. The current state of Jammu and Kashmir was formed by the Treaty of Amritsar in 1846 when Dogra ruler Gulab Singh, the Raja of Jammu bought Kashmir by paying Rs75 Lakh to the British and became Maharaja of J&K. The Kashmir valley is separated from Jammu region by the mighty Pir Panjal mountains. Before that Gulab Singh had already conquered Ladakh and defeated Tibet to mark his claim. The protrusion you see on the top left of the J&K map is Gilgit which was also conquered but continued to have rebels.

    2. For nearly 100 years, Gulab Singh's dynasty ruled J&K under the British Empire. When India was set to become free from British rule, J&K was one of the 562 such princely states all over India. Some others being Hyderabad (the biggest), Mysore and Travancore. Independent India's first task was to integrate all these states under the stewardship of Sardar Patel. The states had the option to either join Pakistan or India, or stay independent.

    3. In 1946, Hyderabad state which was ruled by the Nizam, was in no mood to join India. Patel sent a message via Mountbatten to Liaquat Ali Khan (later first PM of Pakistan) that India would give up Kashmir if they would leave their claim on Hyderabad. Liaquat Ali Khan is said have been furious, saying who will give up Hyderabad for the mere mountains of Kashmir. As it happened later, India had to take over Hyderabad by police action.

    4. The ruler of J&K at that time, Maharaja Hari Singh wanted to remain independent. His kingdom was majority Muslim but with a good number of Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs. Many Muslims at that time were not happy to join India and wanted to join the new Islamic state of Pakistan. There was a rebellion in the Muslim dominated Poonch district which had to be crushed by Maharaja's forces.

    5. Since Hari Singh was planning to stay independent, Pakistan invaded J&K on Oct 22nd, 1947 using 10,000 tribesmen, supported by its army, leading to the first Indo-Pak war. The plan for the tribesmen was to reach the capital Srinagar by Oct 26th and claim victory. The land route from Pakistan to Srinagar is much easier and there were no tunnels in Pir Panjal in those days for Indian army to easily approach Kashmir. Pakistan was thus very confident of succeeding in this plan which had Jinnah's approval.

    6. Tribesmen were not professional soldiers and spent extra days looting and raping in the town of Baramullah just 50km from Srinagar. A local hero Maqbool Sherwani delayed the tribesmen by confusing their guides. He was nailed to a tree. On Oct 25th, Hari Singh decided to join India. His hand forced by the Pakistani invasion. Indian army landed on Oct 27th and the only route open was by air to Srinagar airport where the tourists land today. Major Somnath Sharma was awarded India's first Param Veer Chakra for deciding to fight till the last man or bullet to save the airport from the tribesmen. The bravery of people like Maqbool and Somnath Sharma saved Srinagar. Once the army reinforcements came in, the tribesmen were thrown back.

    7. Meanwhile, a government of Azad Kashmir had been formed in areas closer to Pakistan. Gilgit, goaded by a British army officer, had mutinied against the Maharaja and joined Pakistan. Thus Kashmir was effectively partitioned and a Line of Control formed. It was not called a border since the Maharaja had legally signed the instrument of accession to join India although Pakistan claimed that the majority of people in Kashmir would have preferred to join
    Pakistan.

    Thus we reached a stage where things became complicated for years to come. During this period, a lot of Muslims moved to Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and most Non-Muslims came to the Indian side. There still remained some Muslims, especially in Kashmir Valley who wanted to live in an Islamic state. However, the state is like a mini-India with lot of diversity.

    Many languages, cuisines and religions co-exist like all over India. 10% of the population in the state is even today of Muslim nomadic tribes. Such diversity would not be tolerated in an Islamic state (as has happened in Pakistan where Shia Muslims are being target killed everyday).

    Since 1947, there have been periodic protests by separatists in Kashmir valley due to this desire for an Islamic state. These get magnified since a big concentration of these demands is in the capital city of Srinagar.

    In the last international cricket match played in 1986 between India and West Indies in Srinagar, the Indian players were hugely demotivated with the crowd waiving separatist flags.

    Then in 1987, Rajiv Gandhi made a tactical mistake of fighting the elections together with the local ruling party National Conference. Since Congress was not opposing the ruling party, the role of opposition was taken by the many separatist leaders, most of whom were connected to the Jamaat-e-Islami.

    Some of the separatists won. But allegations of rigging of results denying them the victory gained credence. Within two years, the separatists had taken up guns and were trained in Pakistan sponsored jehadi camps. During the 1980s, many jehadis fought in Afghanistan and that war came to an end in 1989.

    Most of those foreign jehadis initially trained the separatists and then entered the conflict themselves. We saw the first example of the intolerance to diversity in the vision of the separatists in this period when Kashmiri Pandits were target killed and forced to leave the Kashmir valley. It is modern India's biggest internal displacement due to conflict with nearly 3.5 Lakh Kashmiri Pandits made refugees.

    India has finally managed, after great loss of lives, to control the insurgency. Another Afghanistan war has started since 2002 in the meanwhile which diverted the attention of the foreign Jehadis. But it is also coming to an end now. The situation is still not conducive to Kashmiri Pandits going back though. So we are back to the pre-1989 period where we have separatist protests happening. This will lead to periodic disturbances as we are seeing. However, democracy is much stronger now.

    Elections are free and fair and panchayati raj has also started in J&K.

    A brief timeline of the troubles in Kashmir - Analysis - dna — www.dnaindia.com — Readability
     
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  3. The Messiah

    The Messiah Bow Before Me! Elite Member

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    I wonder why the british "goaded" to give away gilgit to pakistan, perhaps the same reason why pakistan was created in the first :hmm:
     
  4. sydsnyper

    sydsnyper Senior Member Senior Member

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    Superb summary @Singh sahab...

     
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  5. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    @sydsnyper Sahab, I didn't write it, its from DNA. But Cheers.
     
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  6. anoop_mig25

    anoop_mig25 Senior Member Senior Member

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    One question if we go by what newspapaer then we would have given Kashmir in lieu of Hyderabad .tat would had cut india from path to central asia.

    Even though theoretically India is connected to central asia but practically India is disconnected to them.

    gaining lost ground seems remote as political class belonging to which ever political party wants to convert LoC into IB.

    Hope in future we have party that would capture lost ground
     

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