Jammu & Kashmir, history: 1947-88

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This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.


A timeline: Political history

August 14, 2008

India Today , September 1,2016

From the archives of “The Times of India”: 2008

As Jammu & Kashmir slips into another spell of anarchy, here’s a look at the history and social indicators of the scenic state that was once known for its unique syncretic culture where diverse faiths prospered in peace.

Ancient Era  : According to mythology recorded in Rajatarangini, the history of Kashmir written by Kalhana in the 12th century, the Kashmir Valley was formed when sage Kashyapa drained a lake. It became a centre of Sanskrit scholarship and later a Buddhist seat of learning

14th century  : Islam becomes the dominant religion in Kashmir. The Sufi-Islamic way of life of Muslims here complements the ‘rishi’ tradition of Kashmiri Pandits, leading to a culture where Hindus and Muslims revere the same local saints

1588  : Akbar invades Kashmir and the region comes under Mughal rule

Early 19th century : Sikhs take control of Kashmir. Maharaja Ranjit Singh had earlier annexed Jammu. Scion of the Dogra clan, Gulab Singh, made raja of Jammu in 1820. Singh soon captures Ladakh and Baltistan

1846  : After partial defeat of the Sikhs in the First Anglo-Sikh War, Kashmir is given to Gulab Singh for Rs 75 lakh. Thus the princely state of Kashmir and Jammu (as it’s then called) is formed

Post-1857  : After the first war of independence, kingdom comes under the reign of British Crown. Gulab’s son, Ranbir Singh, becomes ruler

1925  : Hari Singh, Ranbir’s grandson, ascends the throne. His rule is generally considered unpopular

Oct 1932  : Kashmir’s first political party, the Muslim Conference, is formed with Sheikh Abdullah as president. It is renamed National Conference in 1938

August 1947  : At the time of partition, India and Pakistan agree that rulers of princely states will be given the right to opt for either nation. To put off a decision, Maharaja Hari Singh signs a ‘standstill’ agreement with Pakistan to ensure that trade, travel and communication continue

October 1947  : Pashtun raiders from Pakistan’s NWFP invade Kashmir. Hari Singh appeals to Governor General Mountbatten for help. India assures help on condition Hari Singh signs Instrument of Accession. He does, and Indian troops repulse assault from across border. UN invited to mediate and insists opinion of Kashmiris be ascertained. India initially says no to referendum until all raiders are driven out but Nehru two months later agrees to a poll. Pakistan contests accession, claims Indian army illegally entered Kashmir

Jan 1, 1948  : India declares unilateral ceasefire. Under Article 35 of the UN Charter, India files complaint with UN Security Council

Jan 20, 1948  : Security Council establishes a commission and adopts a resolution on Kashmir accepted by both countries. Pakistan is blamed for invading Kashmir and asked to withdraw its forces. A year later, UN passes resolution calling for plebiscite

March 17, 1948  : Sheikh Abdullah takes oath as prime minister of J&K

Jan 1, 1949  : India and Pakistan conclude a formal ceasefire

1949  : Article 370 granting special status to J&K is inserted in Constitution

Aug 9, 1953 : Sheikh Abdullah arrested and imprisoned. His dissident cabinet minister, Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed, appointed PM. Abdullah jailed for 11 years, accused of conspiracy against the state in the ‘Kashmir Conspiracy Case’

1965 : Pakistan attacks India in operation codenamed Gibraltar. Following Pakistan’s defeat, Tashkent Agreement signed

March 30, 1965  : Article 249 of Indian Constitution extended to J&K. Designations like prime minister and president of the state replaced by chief minister and governor.

1972  : India and Pakistan sign Simla Agreement, promising to respect Line of Control until Kashmir issue resolved

Feb 1975  : PM Indira Gandhi and Sheikh Abdullah sign accord. J&K made a ‘constituent unit’ of India. Abdullah becomes CM

1977  : National Conference wins the first post-Emergency elections

1982  : Abdullah dies after naming son, Farooq, successor. Allegations of rigging surface during state elections in the 1980s

1987  :Street protests and demonstrations in Srinagar against inefficiency and corruption against the state government turn into anti-India protests

1989  : Armed militancy erupts. Kashmiri Pandits flee valley. State brought under central rule next year as Army fights Pak-trained militants

1990-present : Armed militancy and terrorism, with international jihadi elements entering the arena, stalk the valley. Elections in 1996 and 2002, especially the latter, bring back some legitimacy to the democratic process but violence continues

UN intervention in 1948

The Times of India, Oct 17, 2011

UN intervention in 1948 gave J&K its present shape

From the Durranis and Mughals, the Kashmir Valley passed to the Sikh rulers who conquered the region in the early 19th century. Gulab Singh played a vital role in this campaign and Maharaja Ranjit Singh made him the king of Jammu. Later, Gulab Singh captured Ladakh and Baltistan and merged them into Jammu. After the first Anglo-Sikh war, the Sikhs ceded Kashmir, Hazarah and all the hilly regions between the Indus and Beas to the East India Company. In 1846, Gulab Singh and the company signed a treaty in which he purchased the Valley from the British.

What happened in 1947?

After Independence, the princely states were given the option of joining India or Pakistan. The ruler of J&K, however, delayed his decision. He was a Hindu while a majority of his subjects were Muslims. In October 1947, ‘tribals’ from Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province, supported by the Pakistan army invaded J&K, instigating communal clashes between Hindus and Muslims in the state. Unable to control the situation, the king requested India for armed assistance.

When did the Indian army intervene?

The government of India offered a temporary accession and promised to carry out a referendum later on, ensuring that India would control external affairs, defence and communications in J&K. Indian troops were airlifted into Srinagar on October 27, 1947. The fighting continued for over a year and in 1948 Jawaharlal Nehru asked the UN to intervene. A UN ceasefire was declared from December 31, 1948. By now, two-thirds of the state was under the control of India, while one-third came under Pakistan’s control. The ceasefire was laid out by a UN resolution requiring Pakistan to withdraw its troops while India was allowed to keep its forces to maintain law and order in the state. A plebiscite was supposed to take place once peace was restored.

Why did the plebiscite never take place?

Both sides blame each other for that. While Pakistan blames India for not carrying out the referendum, India counters by saying that Pakistan never withdrew its forces, thereby making it impossible for India to hold a referendum in the entire territory.

Sangh’s stand on J&K plebiscite

Swati Mathur, National Archives displays Sangh’s stand on J&K plebiscite, January 12, 2018: The Times of India

A month-long exhibition on J&K, which opened at the National Archives on Thursday, seeks to highlight just how the founding president of Jan Sangh, Syama Prasad Mookerjee, warned former PM Jawaharlal Nehru and Sheikh Abdullah about the far reaching consequences of the signing of Kashmir’s Instrument of Accession.

Drawing from documents and videos obtained from the ministry of defence, the films division and the British Pathe, the exhibition includes rare documents like The Treaty of Lahore of March, 1846, The Treaty of Amritsar, and the Instrument of Accession signed in October 1947. The exhibition also contains a section titled ‘Syama Prasad Mookerjee on J&K issue and on the agitation which sought full integration of the state with India’.

Four letters written by Mookherjee, two each to Nehru and Sheikh Abdullah, are also on display. In one such letter to Nehru on January 9, 1953, Mookerjee wrote, “It is high time that both you and Sheikh Abdullah should realise that this movement will not be suppressed by force or repression...The problem of J&K should not be treated as a party issue. It is a national problem and every effort should be made to present a united front.”

Warning against the dangers of a “general plebiscite on a highly controversial issue”, Mookerjee also predicted the rise of communal passions in J&K. His letter to Abdullah also exposes the schism between the Jan Sangh and the National Conference over the rule of J&K shifting hands from the ‘Hindu Dogras’ to the ‘Kashmiri Muslims’. In a letter dated February 13, 1953, Mookerjee refers to Abdullah’s opposition to Praja Parishad, a political outfit with close ties with

the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, and which campaigned for the integration of Jammu & Kashmir with India, and opposed the special status granted to the state under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution.

Inaugurating the exhibition, culture minister Mahesh Sharma said the purpose of curating the exhibition is to educate the youth about how Kashmir became a part of India. “Maharaja Hari Singh, when he signed this instrument (of accession), only after that, I repeat, only after that, the Indian forces went to that area. This needs to be showcased,” Sharma said.

The dispute

Pakistan-occupied Kashmir: In brief; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, August 15, 2016

The Times of India, Aug 15 2016

How India, Pakistan describe parts of J&K under Pak control

What India calls PakistanOccupied Kashmir (POK) is part of the former princely state of J&K -areas under Islamabad since Oct 22 1947, after Pakistan-backed tribal militia invaded and Hari Singh acceded to India. Islamabad divided this region into GilgitBaltistan (G-B) and the areas south of it, including Mirpur and Muzaffarabad.

How is POK in the Mirpur sector administered?

Before 1970, the MirpurMuzaffarabad sector had different administrative arrangements. In 1970, voting rights were introduced, a presidential system adopted.This worked for four years.Then, through legislation, a socalled parliamentary system was brought. This, with amendments, is in place. Since 1975, the region has elected a `prime minister'. It also has a 6-member council chaired by the Pakistan PM. Three are ex-officio; five nominated by the Pak PM. In theory, the council's assigned functions like defence, security, foreign affairs, currency, to Islamabad. Experts often question the pretenseautonomy in these places.

What about G-B?

Pakistan considers the regions disputed territory; G-B's status was vague until recently. To protect its claim in global fora that it supports freedom of the people in this region that it occupies, Islamabad couldn't declare G-B as its territory.For long, this region had no specified status in Pakistan's constitution. Through the “G-B Order, 2009“, a governance model similar to that in the Mirpur-Muzaffarabad sector was set up. The region is a defacto Pakistan province, but doesn't participate in electoral politics.

The Indian experts' view

India's IDSA says administration of POK only nominally under “elected“ govts. Real power is with Islamabad; army presence is overwhelming. When Islamabad ceded large tracts of POK territory to China, it undermined the pretense of the region's autonomy. The area has seen demographic changes, with Pakhtuns encouraged to settle here.

See also

Jammu & Kashmir, history: 1846- 1946

Jammu & Kashmir, history: 1947-88

Jammu & Kashmir, history: 1989-

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