Article 370 Revocation Through the Eyes of an Indian-American Immigrant – Part II

In the first part of this article Article 370 Revocation Through the Eyes of an Indian-American Immigrant – Part I I provided a historical, geographic and demographic context to the Kashmir conflict. In this part I provide contemporary political context and speculate on what the future might hold for J&K.

I was a teenager in North-Central India (Uttar Pradesh) when the Kashmir Valley exploded into the national consciousness as a full-blown armed insurgency and secessionist movement in 1989-90. India at that time had state-controlled TV media and most adverse news out of J&K was suppressed. However, we had all heard about Islamic terror groups targeting Hindus. Many of these Hindus trickled into refugee camps in and around New Delhi which was a city I often visited to see relatives, so people had begun to be familiar with the scale of the violence against Hindus despite the attempts of state-controlled media to conceal it.

India’s Rationale for Preventing Kashmir’s Secession

In general, the attitude of most Indians since the late 1980s and early 1990s when the conflict became radicalized has been to hold on to the Kashmir Valley by any means necessary. There is a simple rationale for that position. Around 20% of the population of India is not Hindu (with religious minorities being broken up roughly in 70%/10%/10%/10% proportions of Muslim/Christian/Sikh/Other) and there are close to 200 million Muslims in India in a country of 1,400 million people. Indians have always been proud of having a secular Constitution and State, uniquely so in South Asia. India is the most ethnically and religiously diverse nation in the world bar none. Each and every resident of J&K has always been a full-fledged citizen of India. So, it is a hard pill for any Indian to swallow that 7 million Muslims in the Kashmir Valley feel that they cannot be equal citizens of India and must secede to Pakistan. It would raise questions about the unity of India and its tradition of religious and ethnic diversity. It would also put a question mark against the nearly 200 million Muslims in the rest of India. Consequently, almost all Indians feel an emotional and visceral reaction against allowing even just the overwhelmingly Muslim majority Kashmir Valley region of J&K to secede. India has Muslims in positions of power and influence in every field, ranging from Government to Sports and Entertainment. Some of the biggest Indian movie stars are Muslim minorities. Every Muslim of J&K had more than equal citizenship in secular India. There was simply no reason for a secession movement other than religious fascism.

Most Indians are united on Kashmir policy, regardless of political affiliation. Even If Modi lost the next election in 2024 and even if a Communist government was in power, there is very little chance that their actual policy on J&K would differ very much other than in public rhetoric. That is because a religion-based secession would be disastrous to India’s identity.

Muslim Kashmiri Secession Movement and the Global Islamic Jihad

Did the Indian state crack down hard and commit human rights abuses? Absolutely 100% it did. But that is inevitable once an armed terror movement funded by an enemy country starts.  Keep in mind that some of the Kashmiri terror groups have a base in Pakistan and have not just restricted themselves to anti-India terrorism but have also been engaged in anti-Western terrorism. There were groups in the valley who may have genuinely desired independence from both countries (the JKLF formally had this position), but they were sidelined (and in many cases, violently eliminated) by Pakistani supported groups with an extremist Islamist agenda. Pakistan is a global Jihadi factory and recruits for anti-Western Jihad and anti-Indian Jihad are drawn from the same source. The Lashkar-e-Taiba terror group is completely sponsored by the Pakistani military. When Lashkar-e-Taiba attacked Mumbai on Nov 26, 2008 they went out of their way to attack a Jewish Centre and kill the Israeli American Rabbi and his wife. One of the planners of those attacks was a Pakistani American by the Nome de plume of David Headley who also tried to stage a terror attack in Denmark in retribution for cartoons he found to be blasphemous. India is facing a global Jihadi terror movement in the Kashmir Valley, not some localized conflict. On Christmas Eve in 1999 Indian Airlines Flight 814 from Katmandu to New Delhi was hijacked by Pakistan based terrorists and. India had to release three hardened terrorists in order to secure hostage release. These terrorists then openly lived in Pakistan and one of them, Omar Saeed Sheikh, was a key conspirator in the killing of American WSJ reporter Daniel Pearl.

India is facing a Global Jihad terror movement that has globalized a local issue. India is trying to tackle that while balancing out competing demands of a secular democracy and the need for national security. The world should be on the side of India and not Pakistan.

Article 370 Considered Harmful

It is also important to recognize the pernicious effects of the special autonomy granted to J&K by Article 370 and Article 35A of the Indian constitution. For example, if residents of J&K got married to someone else, neither their spouse nor their children would be allowed to acquire real estate. Any progressive changes made to Indian laws would not apply to J&K, which include recent reforms such as legalizing gay sex, banning Triple Talaq (instant Muslim divorce) and other reforms such as making inheritance laws gender equitable.

This special autonomy also led to the rise of a few Muslim family political dynasties who became “conflict entrepreneurs”, playing a double game – acting as advocates of remaining in India, while turning a blind eye to Jihadi terrorism sponsored by Pakistan. Needless to say, J&K did not benefit from the 1990s economic reforms in India that unleashed an economic boom and the tourism industry in the Kashmir Valley completely dried up. At one-point J&K state per capita income was at or above national average. it is now 25% below.

Speculation on the Motives and Future Plans of the Modi Government

One question people might have is why did the Modi government break up the state of J&K into two Union Territories – J&K and Ladakh? Why not three regions of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh? I think it is probably because the Modi government did not want to create a territory where 95%+ of the population was Muslim. Keeping Jammu together with Kashmir Valley results in 1 out of 3 residents of J&K being non-Muslim. Ladakh is a sparsely populated region with little violence and a completely distinct culture, which was also badly neglected by the J&K state govt. Its separation has strong support within the region and makes tactical and strategic sense. Unlike a State, a Union Territory is administered directly by the Indian Federal Govt. This will eliminate from the political scene the two major Muslim political dynasties in J&K – the Abdullah family and the Sayeed family. This is, in my view, a very good thing as it will eliminate a lot of political corruption and the principal-agent conflict. These families had just enriched themselves and their political position. Removal of the state’s special status and conversion to Union Territories renders them meaningless.

There has been a lot of idle speculation that the Modi government will change the demographics of the Kashmir Valley. There is zero chance of that happening. India has no equivalent of the Israeli settler movement in the West Bank.

No Hindu in their right minds is going to rush to the Kashmir Valley and snap up land, because the Indian government is simply powerless in ensuring their security. What is possible is that Indian Muslims from outside of J&K might take advantage of opportunities to buy land and start a business there. Even they might be reluctant to do so as separatists have recently killed Muslims they deem disloyal to separatist goals. In any case, any such demographic change will be extremely gradual. India is not China (and that is a good thing). The Kashmir Valley will remain Muslim majority for a very, very long time. Nothing will change in terms of religious mix.

How is the Future Likely to Unfold in J&K?

Pakistan has openly sponsored terrorism against India for decades and will continue to do so. India can expect major terror attacks in J&K as well as other parts of India. No one in India is under any illusions about this. This is a very long game, and it will take at least one generation (~30 years) to get to a point where the situation is completely peaceful in the Kashmir Valley.

In any case, it should be clearly understood that “independence” is not even on the list of possible outcomes. With both Pakistan and India insisting on their respective claims to Kashmir, the only possible outcomes are status quo (split between the two nations), conquest by India, or conquest by Pakistan. “Freedom” for Kashmir is little more than a Pakistani talking point, meant to paint India as the occupying power, but never intended as the final outcome. Even in a purely hypothetical (and frankly implausible scenario) India were to lose its will to hold on and allow independence for the Kashmir Valley, Pakistan would capture it the next day. There is simply no other option.

Now getting back to current events, there has been a communications blackout on landline and cell phones and restrictions on movements of the public. The restrictions on movement and landlines seem to have been eased, but not the mobile phone or internet restrictions. That is undoubtedly leading to hardship. I am of the view that at least full landline service should be restored immediately across the state and cell and internet service gradually restored. Once that happens, we can expect to see large political demonstrations and protests within the Kashmir valley (though likely not in Jammu or Ladakh). I do feel for all the hardships faced by J&K residents (both Hindu and Muslim) with the communications blackout. I hope phone service and Internet are restored soon. I feel for those Muslim families that have a missing son or father locked up in jails without any knowledge, or perhaps even worse. killed by Indian security forces. However, there is a path now open for economic development of the state should the local population shun violence.

The bottom-line is that the Muslim Kashmiri movement is by no means a “liberal” movement worth of support for the “underdog”. Islamic terrorist groups in Kashmir have already expelled Hindus from the Kashmir valley via a well-planned and ruthless ethnic cleansing campaign. An Islamic Kashmir will unite with Pakistan, an openly Islamic theocratic state where all non-Muslims (as well as “Muslim heretics” such as Ahmedis and Shias) are second class citizens, subject to formally legalized and informal discrimination. Of course, no one deemed an apostate or atheist would survive in such a state. The conflict in J&K is a classic case of two liberal principles running up against each other. The principle that all groups have the right to self-determination would suggest that Muslim Kashmiris have the right to secede from India. The principle that all residents of any state should have the same rights and privileges and the same protection under the law regardless of religion or ethnicity would suggest that the Pakistanization of Kashmir is contrary to dearly held liberal ideals. Which principle should prevail?

I would say that as long as India is willing to grant full legal rights and privileges to Kashmiri Muslims (and there is no indication that they are not) – Kashmiris have enjoyed full Indian citizenship and are not being treated  for example like the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza who do not enjoy Israeli citizenship or the rights and protections that go along with that – then the second principle is more important than the right to self-determination.

Even under a hardline Modi government the path forward in Kashmir will almost certainly be not to punish and diminish the Muslim population of J&K, but instead to offer them full rights and privileges as Indian citizens, provided they give up violence. This might seem unlikely at present, but at various points it would have seemed equally unlikely for the violent secessionist movements in Punjab and various Northeastern Indian states, each of which have been pacified. Human beings do not have unceasingly unbending attitudes but adjust their positions based on what they see as possible and desirable. Even if many Kashmiri Muslims currently desire to join Pakistan, that desire will be replaced by other options in the long run once it becomes clear that independence for Kashmir is not on the cards.

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71 Replies to “Article 370 Revocation Through the Eyes of an Indian-American Immigrant – Part II”

  1. “This special autonomy also led to the rise of a few Muslim family political dynasties who became “conflict entrepreneurs”, playing a double game”

    Tamil Nadu has political dynasties. Destorying the autonomy and using the crushing of political leaders to say it’s a good thing is illogical.

    The separatists certainly enjoyed the dynasties being destroyed.

    “However, there is a path now open for economic development of the state should the local population shun violence.”

    Absolute nonsense propaganda. There was no such blockage before revocation of the 370.

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  2. What a crap bullshit. Freedom movements across the world are fought with blood not with democracies. Bhagat Singh would have joined congress and fought for Independence rather then going on killing spree. Do Indians consider him Hindu terrorist? Algerians were also labelled same. No oppressor in the world give in to the demands of opperesed.

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    1. Bhagat Singh did not enjoy the same rights as his rights British rulers, he was a subject. Kashmiris enjoy full-fledged citizenship the same as the 190 million Muslims who don’t live in the state. Bhagat Singh also targeted British colonial state officials and in his most famous attack the bombs were designed not to kill. The freedom fighters in J&K have killed women and children and of course ordinary civilian men.

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    2. Bhagat Singh did not kill innocent civilians. Don’t do his memory the disservice of comparison with scum like the Jihadi terrorists.

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  3. \The principle that all groups have the right to self-determination would suggest\

    This is not true or liberal. Catalonia voted for independence from Spain 2 years. What happened ? All the top Catalonia politicians have been jailed and are being prosecuted for treason. Catalonia movement is completely homegrown with no support from other countries or international jihadi connections. Even then all Western countries accept what Spain did was right and proper.

    Kashmir valley insurgency was stoked by Pakistan through Jihadi agencies and terrorism. That must be crushed by all means.

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    1. How do you know what is going in Catalonia? Know people there? Ever been? Are you in touch with all the stakeholders?

      If one or more answers to those questions is no……

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  4. It’s always deeply ironic when non-Kashmiris feel they have the right to decide the future of the Kashmiri people. They don’t realize how deeply colonialist this is. Kashmir belongs to the Kashmiri people and not to mainland Indians (or to Pakistanis). The only moral solution is to allow a plebiscite and give the Kashmiri people the right to decide whether they want to join India, Pakistan or create an independent Kashmir. That India has never been serious about holding this plebiscite reflects their fear that a Muslim-majority region is not going to want to stay in an overwhelmingly Hindu country, especially when that country is increasingly giving up on all claims of being nominally “secular”. When your current leadership blatantly favors Hindus and wants a “Hindu Rashtra”, it is obvious that Kashmiri Muslims are going to want no part of it.

    It is irrelevant to the Kashmiri people that India’s denial of the Two Nation Theory requires it to have a Muslim-majority state. In any case, since Hindutva leaders are keen on proving the TNT correct by creating a Hindu Pakistan, it is only logical that the Muslim Valley should leave India. Hindu-majority Jammu and Buddhist Ladakh can stay in India if they so wish. As for the impact of Kashmir’s secession on Indian Muslims, that is also not the concern of Kashmiris. Indian Muslims are descended from those who chose to stay back at Partition. Kashmiris are an ethnically distinct population that was promised a referendum.

    If Article 370 had been honored and not whittled down over the years (starting with the imprisonment of Sheikh Abdullah), it is quite possible that Kashmiri Muslims would have accepted autonomy within the Indian constitution. However, too much blood has now been spilled for that to happen. India will be forced to further militarize the Valley and Kashmiris will continue to resist. This cycle can go on indefinitely but India’s image will continue to take a hit. After all, no one likes a country that increasingly acts like an occupying power.

    Putting a population under siege for more than 60 days is certainly not a way to win hearts and minds. But unsurprisingly mainland Indians are so happy to see the Kashmiri people humiliated. It proves that all they care about is the land of Kashmir and not the people. It’s ironic how the colonized have become the colonizer.

    It is true that Pakistan is not serious about granting true independence to Azad Kashmir. However, AJK does not have over 700,000 troops controlling the native population. The situation in AJK cannot be compared to Occupied Kashmir.

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    1. The article addressed that independence was not a possibility. Even if India somehow made it independent, Pakistan would take it over soon thereafter. It is not a viable independent state given its size and neighborhood. Accession of J&K followed the same process as other Princely states.

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      1. Arguments about the “viability” of independence are deeply colonialist. It is the right of Kashmiris to decide the future of their own land. Mainland Indians who are not ethnically kashmiri do not have this right. I’m sure the British had a whole lot of arguments about why granting independence to British India was not “viable”.
        The Dogra Maharaja acceded to India under the specific conditions that Kashmir would be autonomous in everything except defense, currency and foreign affairs. Even before the annexation on August 5, Article 370 was basically a fig leaf.

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        1. I am afraid Pakistani actions of 1948 show that this is not a theoretical objection on grounds of viability, it is a real one. Moreover Article 370 never stated that the autonomy was a permanent one, in fact it laid out the steps to remove it, which is what the Modi government followed.

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          1. Getting the consent of the BJP’s own governor instead of that of the Kashmiri assembly (which is suspended) is deeply problematic. But you go ahead and keep defending the regime.

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    2. Charges of colonialism coming from Pakistan is Alice in wonderland like Osama bin Laden lecturing on Ahimsa. To decolonise, all Pakistan has to do leave J&K lock, stock and barrel as required by UN resolution of 1948. Oh, one more thing, get back from China parts of J&K it donated. Then it has a moral high ground to talk about plebiscite.

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      1. The people of Azad Kashmir and G-B are not carrying out a freedom struggle against Pakistan. The people of Indian Occupied Kashmir are fighting against India. It is extremely disingenuous to compare the two situations.

        As for the settlement of the Pakistan-China border, the agreement explicitly states that if the Kashmir dispute is ever resolved, China will renegotiate the border with whoever that territory legitimately belongs to.

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        1. The people of Azad Kashmir and G-B are not carrying out a freedom struggle against Pakistan. The people of Indian Occupied Kashmir are fighting against India. It is extremely disingenuous to compare the two situations.

          No, it’s not. You’ve always made a big deal about Kashmir being “Disputed territory.” Well, that applies to the whole of the former princely state of J&K, including G-B. It doesn’t matter whether or not the people there are struggling for independence from the local hegemon, be it India or Pakistan; disputed territory is disputed territory.

          There may not be a full-blown insurgency in the Pak side, but there are people who protest, say, Pakistan’s colonization of G-B, like Senge Sering. In fact, the current situation in PoK and G-B is a good indicator of what Indian Kashmir would be like had Pakistan left the place alone.

          (To add the obligatory caveat: I’m against what the Indian govt is doing in Kashmir now; think it’s both wrong and counter-productive.)

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          1. Why waste time in all this? Considering that a permanent member of UNSC holds 2 areas of the disputed territory (Sakshgam and Aksai Chin) UN resolutions wont come to pass , and with that the plebiscite.

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          2. Numinous,

            I agree the whole of the Maharaja’s state is disputed territory. It is precisely for this reason that Pakistan has not made Azad Kashmir and G-B into provinces of Pakistan. Doing so would have legitimized India’s annexation of Occupied Kashmir (of course India went ahead and annexed the Occupied Valley in any case). However, Azad Kashmir and G-B are not among the most militarized areas on earth. The troops are at the LOC, not in the cities trying to control a restive population. Pakistani troops don’t disappear Kashmiri men or rape Kashmiri women. Children are not being blinded by pellet guns. In that sense the two situations are incomparable.

            The people of G-B want to be full-fledged Pakistani citizens. They are not ethnically Kashmiri and resent being held hostage by the dispute. After all, they rebelled against the Dogra Maharaja in 1947 to join Pakistan. Yet they still have no representation in the National Assembly. The official Pakistani position is that we cannot make G-B a province until the dispute is resolved, otherwise it would prejudice the final solution.

            Things may not be perfect in AJK or G-B yet there is no comparison to the Occupied Valley where people have been in lockdown for more than 60 days. People in Indian-held Kashmir want nothing to do with India. Conversely, people in the Pakistani-administered territory are fine being part of Pakistan.

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  5. \ non-Kashmiris feel they have the right to decide the future of the Kashmiri people\
    Funny such statements are coming from Pakistan where the people are fed on a diet on ‘Kashmir banega Pakistan’. Pity such sentiments are not available for the benefit of Baluchis, or even Afghanistanis which the Pakistan govt has considered divine right to interfere and conduct terrorism towards Pakistan friendly Taliban govt.

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    1. Many of us Pakistanis are ethnically Kashmiri. We naturally feel for our brothers and sisters in Indian-held Kashmir.

      Balochistan is not a disputed territory and nor were the Baloch ever promised a plebiscite. It is purely an internal matter for Pakistan just as Manipur and Nagaland are internal matters for India.

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      1. \Many of us Pakistanis are ethnically Kashmiri. We naturally feel for our brothers and sisters in Indian-held Kashmir.\
        In international relations , ethnic feelings are no basis for cross-border terrorism . If you feel strongly for anyone on the basis ethnic solidarity, you should ask them to come to Pakistan to live and ask Pakistan govt to grant them citizenship. That is what Israel does.

        There were nasty anti-Chinese riots in Malaysia and Indonesia in which perhaps hundreds or thousands of Chinese were killed; but China did not invade those countries.

        By the way, are you Kashmiri speaker to claim ethnic solidarity?

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        1. You are being very disingenuous. Kashmir is a Disputed Territory. Pakistan is a party to the conflict. That is why there is a Line of Control and not a border. The situation is not analogous to a state invading another country.

          Why should Kashmiris have to move to Pakistan or anywhere else? They are the natives of the land, not someone like you from the deep south of India.

          My great-grandfather is buried in Srinagar. Both sides of my family can trace their origin to the Kashmir Valley. Whether we speak Kashmiri or not is not germane to this discussion.

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          1. “My great-grandfather is buried in Srinagar. Both sides of my family can trace their origin to the Kashmir Valley.”

            Well my great-grandfather is buried in France (in WW1 ), doesn’t make him a French though.

            Just kidding 😛 . Its nice to see views from the opposite side.

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          2. Bro that was a world war. Surely people had better things to do than to cremate a soldier, that too in a foreign land. From what I have heard his body was ever found, so most probably buried.

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  6. I don’t recall there being any suppression of news about what was going on in J&K (I was around 10 when the JKLF burst into the scene, and a teenager through the most intensive years of the insurgency.) My next-door neighbor during the early 90s was a Kashmiri boy (family had rented the house) who became a close friend. That the Pandits had been intimidated into leaving the valley was quite publicly known.

    That the Kashmiri secessionist cause was not a liberal one is one I persistently used to make before August 5 on these forums. But our govt’s draconian crackdown since then has underscored its (and its cheerleaders’) complete unwillingness to understand how the situation has changed over the past 30 years, and that it’s exceedingly unwise to act in 2019 as if it were 1990. Pakistan is a pipsqueak country today, the occasional terrorist attack emanating from there notwithstanding. And the Kashmiri public has been well-punished (and brutalized) over the past 30 years by our military occupation.

    If it was time at all for a bold action, it was of the form where we would draw down our forces (apart from what is necessary to stop border infiltrations), give the public there some breathing space, and promote more civilian integration (which was already happening; heck, we had Kasmir cricket players at our junior levels.) Time may have healed the wounds, and led us to some kind of sustainable arrangement. But all that is moot now.

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  7. The issue with Kashmir and Indian stand on it really boils down to answering the following questions on morality of governance and fairness of allocation:

    Is it ever moral to hold a geographical territory against the wish of its average dweller, irrespective of the moral content of that wish?

    Can you fairly apportion territory if you grant the principle of dweller deciding to self-govern – where do the dissenting dwellers go?

    No case can be made for separatism without explicitly / implicitly answering these two questions. And I think Kashmiri separatism fails to make a good argument on both these questions.

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    1. “Can you fairly apportion territory if you grant the principle of dweller deciding to self-govern – where do the dissenting dwellers go?”

      Isn;t it putting cart before the horse, considering during India’s independence movement, wasn;t our (Congress) stand that the British should get out first , and let us Indians decide what we do with Pakistan (dissenting dwellers ) folks.

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      1. @Saurav
        The questions are based on objective abstractions. How Congress answered them is besides the point. They may have got them wrong (or they may not). That has zero bearing on how they are answered by someone else.

        Would you pass the laggard in the class who says he should pass because his dad failed the same exam but turned out ok later?

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        1. Well i have no view either way. I just feel we are putting in qualifications which hasn;t been historically part of nation building movements. If we are now adding other pre conditions (i am ok with it), we should at least be clear that we are shifting the goal post. That’s all.

          Historically self governance has neither been accepted or rejected on basis of what the majority pops does to the dissenting folks. In most cases the whole process has resulted in massacre or expulsion of the dissenting folks. Almost always the majority views holds supreme, notwithstanding their behavior , at least historically.

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          1. When USA , the Land of Free, became free from British after winning the war, the dissenters I.e. Crown Loyalists had to pack their bags for Crown lands in Canada. It started with an ethnic cleansing

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    2. \principle of dweller deciding to self-govern \
      There is another aspect to self-governance . It is matter of degrees. If you say I want to self-govern to have my own culture, religion and language is one thing. I will self-govern to the extant of undermining your secular constitution is second thing. I will self-govern to the extant of joining hands with your enemies is third thing . The now-dead Kashmiri separatism was keen on 3 and 2.

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    3. “Is it ever moral to hold a geographical territory against the wish of its average dweller, irrespective of the moral content of that wish?

      Can you fairly apportion territory if you grant the principle of dweller deciding to self-govern – where do the dissenting dwellers go?”

      These questions can be asked at multiple scales but can we have scale invariant answer to them?

      Consider at the levels of the Indian Union, the state of J&K, the (now) UT of Ladakh

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    4. Yes this is the point I want to emerge more prominently in reporting on Kashmir. 1 in 3 residents of J&K is not Muslim and very few people (including Indians) appear to be conversant with this fact.

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    5. Yes, it’s definitely moral.

      Start letting land go free and every petty potentate will want a coronation, and you won’t have a state worth a damn

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  8. The apologies offered here for the occupation of Kashmir make me wonder if perhaps the Mughals and British had the right idea. Perhaps another few centuries of foreign rule is what is needed to civilize Indians properly (I count Pakistanis in this latter category as well).

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  9. “Is it ever moral to hold a geographical territory against the wish of its average dweller, irrespective of the moral content of that wish?”

    Off the top of my head, at the moment of writing this, following territories are being held against the wishes of their average dwellers.
    (Some of them are in western world)
    1. Xinjiang
    2. Tibet
    3. Kashmir
    4. Chechnya
    5. Kurdistan
    6. Palestine
    7. Balochistan
    9. Catalonia
    10. Quebec

    The list, by no means, is complete – not even close. This is just the list of the territories which makes most news for whatever reasons. The full list goes something like this..

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_of_active_separatist_movements

    As you can see, the list is big enough to be subdivided in lists per continent.

    This is just to put Kashmir in global context, that’s all.

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    1. Baluchistan is not being held against the will of Baluchis. Polls have been done by both international and local organizations, and the desire for independence among Baluchis is around 35%.

      Compare that to 90% for Kashmiris.

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      1. INDTHINGS says –

        “Baluchistan is not being held against the will of Baluchis. Polls have been done by both international and local organizations, and the desire for independence among Baluchis is around 35%.

        Compare that to 90% for Kashmiris.”

        This is disingenuous. 90% of the residents of the Kashmir Valley, may be accurate, especially after having induced the Kashmiri pandits to leave the valley. But definitely NOT 90% of Jammu and Kashmir as it was constituted before the recent removal of Article 370.

        I don’t have data on Baluchistan. Hasn’t its demographics been changed radically by the influx of Afghan refugees?

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        1. Its only disingenuous if you can’t read. Nowhere did I say or even imply that all of Jammu and Kashmir scored 90%. I specifically said 90% of Kashmiris, because that was the population polled. Pandits are irrelevant, they were less than 5% of the population before the exodus.

          The polls asks ethnic Baluchis, who score around 35%. Ethnic Pashtuns in Baluchistan score even lower for independence.

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          1. There is no territorial dispute about Balochistan. The Baloch are unequivocally Pakistani citizens. No one ever promised them a referendum on independence. To compare this with the Disputed Territory of Kashmir is beyond ridiculous.

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  10. A blanket right of self-determination is meaningless, because people’s choice varies in time, depending on its prospect of success. Changing geopolitical landscape and other external factors can influence people’s choice.

    An average Punjabi Sikh would probably have opted for a separate Khalistan state in mid-80s, probably due to misreading the situation and thinking that success was nigh. Today this support is near zero, simply because the chances of Khalistan enterprise ever succeeding is zero.

    An average Bavarian would probably have voted for independence from Germany in 1920s when Germany was tottering near collapse, but by mid 30s as the Germany grew in strength, he was an enthusiastic German nationalist.

    Indian government, rightfully in my mind, has complained that sporadic unsolicited offers of mediation by US in Kashmir dispute really do no good, because they just prolong the agony of Kashmiris by giving them false hopes. Nearly every US president from Clinton onward has perfunctorily made one offer to mediate, and it never goes beyond that. The offer remains just an offer.

    Unfortunately Kashmiris keep throwing stones thinking that US is serious about coming to their aid. If the world clearly tells Kashmiris that independence was not on the table, I am pretty sure they will settle for reasonable autonomy.

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    1. “Reasonable autonomy” existed. It was called Article 370. In its original form, this would have allowed Kashmir to have its own Prime Minister and Sadar-e-riyasat. But India has whittled this down to the point that even before the recent annexation, 370 was basically meaningless. The events of the past two months are certainly not going to endear India to the Kashmiri people. Rather, there will a consensus in the Valley that there is no future with India.

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      1. Kabir, I would agree that India has made a lot of mistakes in its handling of Jammu and Kashmir.

        Regardless of whether India had left the original Article 370 intact, do you think Pakistan would have stopped its campaign of “Kashmir Banega Pakistan”? I do not really think so. Quite simply because the rationale for the Pakistani Army to retain its commanding role in the Pakistani polity was to keep the J&K issue on the boil. If by some remote chance, India had handed over J&K to Pakistan, this would have only helped those in Pakistan whose slogan has been “Hans ke liya hai Pakistan, Ladke lenge Hindustan”.

        So Modi has basically upped the ante. India’s red line is now any major terrorist attack in J&K – or other location in India – will invite retribution.

        This is the reason Imran Khan is running around saying that India is planning false flag operations to discredit Pakistan. The reality is that Pakistan has nurtured so many jihadi groups that activities of many of these groups are not adequately supervised by their masters in the ISI. So a terrorist attack is but a matter of time.

        While the Pakistani Army controls Pakistan, nothing will change. There was a golden opportunity to do this after the 1971 war. The Pakistani Army could have been downsized and the budget could have been diverted to development. But Bhutto figured he could manipulate the Army by appointing a compliant Army chief – Zia Ul Haq. We know what happened there. After the on-and-off bromance with the US CIA and Pentagon over the last three decades, the Pakistan Army has now latched on to China and the CPEC for support.

        I am very pessimistic that there is going to be a good outcome here.

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        1. If India had not whittled away at Article 370 and rigged elections, there may not have been a full fledged freedom struggle. This is despite Pakistan’s efforts to fan the flames in the valley. In 1965, the attempt to get Kashmiris to rise up against India utterly failed. Clearly things changed after 1989 and that was largely due to India’s own actions.

          I live in Pakistan and I have never heard this slogan regarding conquering Hindustan. No serious Pakistani has any designs on any part of india proper. The disputed territory is another matter.
          Regardless of the role played by Pakistan, India will have to eventually find a solution that is acceptable to the kashmiri people. Keeping a people against their will is not sustainable in the long term. Neither is keeping them in a state of seige and under a communications blockade. Eventually a solution will have to be negotiated between all parties to the conflict.

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    1. But is anything new being revealed? It looks like we’ve flogged this horse for all it’s worth, and all of us seem to be locked into our positions.

      The only thing to do is wait and see what happens when the situation changes meaningfully, like enabling internet services and drawing down the armed forces.

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  11. Well i have something new (for the right wing), cede Kashmir and gain India (Hindu rastra) for perpetuity

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  12. Kashmiris struggle for freedom is much older then so called war on terror which India have used in the past 2 decades to commit more crimes against innocent civilians. But now western world is getting sick of WOT and want to get out of this mess. India terror card against Kashmiris will no longer work. 5th August have only made things worse for India as far as Kashmir is concerned.

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    1. Exactly, the Kashmir dispute goes back to 1947. It’s only since 9/11 that India has been able to successfully frame the freedom struggle as a pan-Islamist movement. Pakistan’s sending of jihadis into the Valley also helped the Indian narrative.

      Removing whatever fig leaf was left of autonomy and putting the people under a 60 day (and counting) siege is only going to hurt India’s image. Regardless of whether one believes that Kashmir legitimately belongs to India, most decent people can agree that there is never any good reason to deprive 8 million people of all means of communication for more than two months.

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  13. Few things article left out on purpose.
    Referendum was promised to Kashmiris. Once Abdullah realised India will not hold in to this promise, he rebelled and was put in jail. His aim was always independent Kashmir but he though Pakistan will never allow that while India will.

    Just because India back stabbed Kashmiris doesn’t mean now they have to sing bande matram and jay ram to get lynched for eating meat in so called secular republic.

    And now India under full control of RSS have finally done what hindutvas dreamed for long, start ethnic cleansing after abrogation of article 370. Once Kashmir is hindu majority and then hold referendum.

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    1. Plebiscite was promised before Pakistani invasion took place and subject to Pakistani army withdrawal. Pakistani army has only itself to blame.
      Refusing the above and instead reframing these illegal actions as constituting “disputed territory” convinces only the faithful.

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      1. Actually, the plebiscite was promised in the United Nations after the Pakistani invasion not before as you erroneously wrote.

        Kashmir is disputed–whether Indian nationalists want to admit it or not. That is why there is a LOC and not an international border. India claims the entire territory as does Pakistan.

        Nothing stopped India from ascertaining the wishes of those in Indian held Kashmir. You don’t need Pakistan’s permission to do that. Instead, it has annexed the territory and placed the population under siege. And somehow you will still find a way to blame Pakistan.

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  14. I think people forget the cost of changing boundaries in South Asia. Our “great” leaders on both sides of the border never foresaw the chaos, dislocation, massacres, rapes and abductions that accompanied partition in 1947. In 1971 there was a great price paid by the people of what is now Bangladesh. Even without the change of borders, jihadi elements in the Kashmir valley succeeded in coercing the Kashmiri Pandits to leave the valley.

    We somehow treat the boundaries of the pre-partition state of J&K as sacred and cast in stone. But the areas that comprised that state were cobbled together over a short period of time. There was no cultural, religious, and ethnic homogeneity to pre-partition state of J&K. Most states ruled by “native” Maharajas and Nawabs in South Asia have been constituted into new political units and states in both India and Pakistan. Let’s keep this in mind.

    I posit that that trying to change international boundaries in Jammu and Kashmir will open a Pandora’s box of the mayhem that accompanied partition in 1947. We forget that lesson at our peril. We need to let the individual components of the erstwhile state of J&K to develop independently. Who knows what the contours of South Asia will look like in the year 2100, as climate change wreaks havoc.

    The problem is that continued conflict in J&K is critical for allowing the Pakistani Army to retain its command over the economy and polity of Pakistan. Right sizing the Pakistani Army can happen only from a groundswell in Pakistan, but its masses are hypnotized by the Kashmir narrative.

    And with that, I bow out of this thread…..

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    1. It is ironic – but unsurprising – that Pakistanis are more concerned about the purity of democracy in Kashmir than in their own country and more about the role of Indian security forces in Kashmir than that of their own army in their country.

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    2. Yes, let’s let the individual components of the Maharaja’s state develop independently. Azad Kashmir and G-B should formally join Pakistan, Jammu and Ladakh can stay in India. The problem is in the Valley, which has zero desire for any association with Hindutva India. Some sort of negotiated solution will have to be found here.

      Whatever the role of the Pakistan Army, Kashmir ultimately belongs to the natives of the land–the Kashmiri people. Mainland Indians will always find reasons to deny Kashmiris the right to self-determination, but it is the opinion of the natives that matters, not that of non-Kashmiris.

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  15. Agree. While we are at it let’s carve out Tharparkar for Sindhu Hindus – I’m sure they don’t enjoy their daughters being forcibly married and converted and the Islamism of the Paki constitution, leaders and people ( across the political spectrum). Also Rabwah for Ahmedis, a portion of Lahore district for Paki Christians. Balochis should be freed of occupation by Pakjabis and their Chinese friends. As far as Pushtuns are concerned we need to heed PTM’s peaceful call for action and find a negotiated solution that takes into account the wishes of Pushtuns, and has Afghanistan onboard as an interested and affected party.
    Let justice prevail all over South Asia.

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    1. Poor effort.
      Kashmiris are the majority in Kashmir. Hindus are not the majority in Thar Parkar, nor Christians/Ahmedis in any region of Punjab.
      Polls show most Baluchis and Pashtuns do not want independence. Contrast that with 90% of Kashmiris who want independence from India.
      I know Hindus are desperate to find some equivalence with the Kashmir issue, but there is none. India’s occupation and atrocities in Kashmir are unique in the region.

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      1. You will believe what suits you. The fact is that there is no reason to redraw borders especially since it will open up a Pandora’s box and jeopardize millions of lives across the subcontinent. Separatist Kashmiri Muslims who are 50% of J&K need to find a way to coexist.
        As for Paki issues, they should do a plebiscite in pushtun and Baloch areas.
        Finally, Pakis have no credibility as human rights crusaders or moral exemplars. Sorry but just the way that is. Individually, you have no credibility as in all your time on this forum you have never found on instance in which to toe a line that is contrary to Islamic or Muslim.intetests, contemporary or even historical.

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        1. Your comments are typical Hindutva emotive nonsense, so I’ll just reply to the one substantive point you made.

          Though they weren’t separately asked, these same polls indicate most Jammu Muslims also favor independence from India (you can arrive at this conclusion by looking at independence support in Jammu and account for its Muslim population).

          So Kashmir + Jammu Muslims is well over 50% of the entire J&K.

          As for plebiscites in Pakistan, what’s the point? Unlike India, most people of every ethnicity in Pakistan don’t want independence.

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          1. Coming from a Muslim supremacist/ closet Islamist (even if of the atheist variety like Jinnah), I will take that as a compliment.
            Why should the unit of consideration be Kashmir or J&K? Let’s go by mohalla in Srinagar – I am sure the erstwhile Pandit areas would not want to have anything to do the likes of you.
            Also, let’s do it by district in the erstwhile NWPF, Gilgit Baltistan, Sindh etc. At the very least let’s take this all to its logical conclusion and in the spirit of TNT carve out separate areas for Ahmedis, disgruntled Balochs ( at least 30 % of Balochistan) , oppressed Hindus, Choorhas aka Paki Christians etc. lead the way and set an example for India. Thank you

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          2. There are no pandit, christian, or ahmedi majority areas. Not even at the 4th subdivision level.

            Perhaps some Hindu majority sub-districts in Thar Parkar, which Pakistan would be fine letting go to India if the reverse was done for the Muslim-areas of J&K.

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          3. Great. If the Hindu majority districts and tehsils of Tharparkar are on the table, that is certainly progress.
            However, while we are fixing all the wrongs and injustices borne out of Partition, we must do right by other oppressed people like Baloch, a minority(?) of disgruntled Pushtuns, oppressed dalit christians (called Choorhas by our Paki friends), and Ahmedis (who are persecuted and oppressed for their religion even if they are economically elite). We can’t solve one issue and leave others festering. Let’s fix them all at once.
            Ofcourse india will need to do the same, but like I said, Indians/Hindus are status-quoist and believe in the least harm theory as opposed to striving for perfect justice. Pakistanis in the spirit of Islam, Mohammad and Jinnah must lead the way for a just, equitable South Asia (where there no troops deployed internally like in J&K, no areas are helicopter/drone bombed like Balochistan, Waziristan, Pushtoon tribal areas etc, no civilians are killed in the hundreds of thousands like in East Pakistan).
            Let’s do this. Let’s make South Asia just again.

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  16. Just to be clear, there are other injustices that will need to be addressed in India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the rest of South Asia.
    But I believe Pakistanis are best positioned to take a lead and set an example for the rest of South Asia given the unique ideological foundation of the country, Islam’s emphasis on Justice and their current leadership ( the great Imran Khan who is focused on peace and justice). Hindus and dharmics in particular are Ill equipped given the moral ambiguity of their religions. Islam and Muslims really can lead the way. Hope Imran Khan and Bajwa do something – I’m sure Kabir and others in Pakistan would support and radical relook at nationalism and nation states which puts people and justice first.

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  17. Yeah but there are Shuas, Gujjars that are ambivalent..
    We can carve out enclaves for them + Pandits + Dalits in the valley.

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