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Noorani, The Frontline and Kashmir

By: Dr.Dipak Basu
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(The author is a Professor in International Economics in Nagasaki University, Japan)

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A.G.Noorani writes regularly in The Frontline trying to make both Jinnah and Sheikh Abdullah as victims of circumstances rather than the devils we know. Although he was found guilty in a defamation case against him and The Statesman, pleaded by the Rastriya Sayam Sevak Sangha, he had refused to give up. In his latest essays in a series called "Kashmir Question" in The Frontline, starting with the issue of vol 27, issue2, 2010, he is narrating a false history of Kashmir to propagate the cause of Pakistan.

According to him, Kashmir, which includes the entire area of Jammu & Kashmir rightfully belongs to the Kashmiris, means only the Muslims, as the forefathers of the late Maharajs Hari Singh only purchased it from the British. This is also the argument of the Pakistanis in general, but there is no truth in it.

After the defeat of the Sikh Empire by the East India Company, The Treaty of Lahore and later the Treaty of Amritsar between the defeated Sikh Empire and the East India Company was signed by Gulab Singh, a commander of the Sikh Empire Ranjit Singh and the grandfather of Hari Singh, and great grandfather of Karan Singh. As a part of the Treaty of Surrender in Lahore, Jammu & Kashmir was given to Gulab Singh, who would be treated as independent ruler allied to the East India Company, according to that treaty. Then the Maharaja gave a huge sum of money to the British to organize a revenge attack on the Muslim rulers of Afghanistan, who previously was a governor appointed by the Empire of Rajit Singh but declared independence from the Sikh Empire. If we go backward, the ancestors of the same Maharaja Gulab Singh was appointed as the Mughal Governor of Jammu by Emperor Akhbar himself. Thus, it is just a Pakistani and British propaganda that Gulab Singh was just a Dogra businessman with a lot of money purchsed Jammu & Kashmir.

According to Noorani and most Muslim historians, Indians and Pakistanis, the people of Kashmir were converted by the Sufis in a very peaceful way. Noorani also has mentioned that during the Turkish rule of Kashmir, before it was invaded by the Mughals, Kashmir was a very peaceful heavenly place. Kashmir was a pure Hindu-Buddhist until it was invaded by the Turks first in 12 century and then again in 13th century, and later by the Mongols. When Akbar invaded Kashmir it was mainly Hindu, with a Muslim Turk ruler. Hindus and Buddhists were forcibly converted by the Muslim rulers since 13th century, and the process went on even in 1930s by no other than Seikh Abdullah, who had created a communal riot in Kashmir to get rid of the Hindus, who used to be at least one third of the population in Kashmir in 1930s.

Noorani forgot to mention the Pakistani invasion of Jammu & Kashmir and the fact that Pakistan and China are both holding about half of what was Jammu & Kashmir. Out of 2,22,236 sq kms of the J&K state, Jammu has 26,293 sq kms and Ladakh 1,38,942 sq kms. It must be remembered that 78,114 sq kms of the state is under illegal occupation of Pakistan, 37,555 sq kms under illegal occupation of China and 5,180 sq kms have been illegally handed over to China by Pakistan. While Ladakh constitutes 69.60 % of the state"s total land area, Kashmir valley, the most turbulent and vocal one is just 11.48 % and Jammu 18.92 %. India has only 55 % of the former Princely state of Jammu & Kashmir, with Pakistan having 35 % and China having 10%; thus it is absurd to call India to give Jammu & Kashmir self rule or independence when Pakistan and China have completely absorbed the parts of Jammu & Kashmir they have occupied.

Within Ladakh, Buddhist majority district Leh has 45,110 sq kms and Shia Muslim majority district Kargil has 13,000 sq kms. While Kargil has shown an extraordinary growth in population of 17.34 % in the years between 1981to 1991, Leh population grew at the rate of just 9.10 %. Even in Leh district the population of Muslims increased from 15.32 % in 1981 to 18.37 % in 1991. Non-Muslim population of the Kashmir valley was all either killed or evicted by the separatist"s movement that had started in 1989. Thus, autonomy or independence of Indian Kashmir means all non-Muslims living in the entire Jammu & Kashmir would have to come to India as refugees or would be killed by the Muslims, as they did to the non-Muslim population of Pakistan already.

Noorani has mentioned in a number of articles that as a lawyer he cannot any merit in the accession document, which Maharaja Hari Singh has signed. Pakistan even denies that there was any agreement by which the Maharaja has agreed to join India. However, "the treaty of accession" is a legal document whose merit was accepted by the United Nations to whom India made a petition on 30 October 1947 to settle this matter. Legality of the accession was accepted by USA as well.

The U.S Permanent Representative in the U.N, Mr. Warren Austin, said, on 4 February 1948 to the Security Council, " The external Sovereignty of Kashmir is no longer under the control of the Maharajah. With the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India this foreign sovereignty went over to India and that is why India happens to be here (Security Council) as a petitioner."

According to the international law, if the agreement does not exist or invalid, as Pakistan argue, then the State of J&K still belongs to the right-full owner Dr.Karan Singh, the son of the late Maharaja and therefore the inheritor of the state of J&K. If the agreement exist and is legally valid, then Pakistan or China cannot occupy any parts of the state of J&K. That was the reason Pakistan had put forward another argument, that the right of the self-determination of the people, not any Royal ownership, should be the supreme. However, the UN Resolutions have nothing to do with the "right of self determination" for the Kashmiris, because there are only two options: Join India or join Pakistan.

Noorani has pointed out detail about various UN resolutions but failed to point out some important fact, which can go against the Plebiscite lobby. There are about 20 such resolution passed by the UN security council on Kashmir from 1948 to 1971, the most important one is the Resolution no 47, all others are repeating the same points. The UN Resolution No 47, on April 1948, which Pakistan regularly refers, said clearly: ".After Pakistan troops withdrawal, India to withdraw the bulk of its forces but to maintain a requisite strength for safeguarding the law and order in the state." As Pakistan never vacated the areas it had occupied, no plebiscite could take place. It makes no sense, after fifty years to implement the UN resolution in only 45 percent of the original state of the Jammu and Kashmir, which is in India now.

Pakistan already got 35 percent of the old state of Jammu & Kashmir when it had invaded the state on 20 October 1947. Thereafter Pakistan launched three large-scale wars on India in 1965, 1971 and in 1999 with an attempt to militarily change the territorial status of J&K. As soon as the Soviet forces withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989, Islamic Muzzahadins, who were fighting in Afghanistan, came to Jammu & Kashmir, supported by Pakistan, to change the territorial status of J&K unilaterally. In 1992, all Hindus from the Indian part of Kashmir were forcibly expelled by the Muslims of Kashmir. There are large-scale infiltrations of Pakistanis in the Indian part of the state of J&K. The percentage of the Muslim in Ladakh went up from about 10 in 1947 to 46 in 2001; in Jammu it went up from about 20 in 1947 to 30 in 2001. In the "Northern Area Province", there were hardly any Muslims in 1947, now there is no non-Muslims in either there or in the Pakistan held Kashmir. The original people of Kashmir have long since left, thus it would be next to impossible to determine who are now eligible to vote in the plebiscite as real Kashmiris.

In 1989, the last soldier of the Soviet Union had left Afghanistan. A full-scale attack on the non-Muslims of Kashmir also had started in 1989 to drive them away from Kashmir. General Zia addressed a meeting of selected military commanders and top bosses of I.S.I. (Inter Services Intelligence) in April 1988 and said:

" As you know, due to our preoccupation in Afghanistan, I have not been able to put these plans before you earlier. Let there be no mistake, however, that our aim remains quite clear and firm and that is the liberation of the Kashmir Valley - our Kashmiri brothers cannot be allowed to stay with India for any length of time, now. We whip up anti-Indian feelings amongst the students and peasants, preferably on some religious issues, so that we can enlist their active support for rioting and anti-government demonstrations. By the grace of God, we have managed to accumulate large stocks of modern arms and ammunition from US consignments intended for Afghan Mujahideen. This will help our brethren to achieve their goals."

Benazir Bhutoo, the darling of the British media, was the main architect of that plan to turn Kashmir from " a heaven on earth" to "a killing field", as she with the help of Turkey turned Bosnia into hell by sending 20,000 strong Arab army trained in Pakistan to the former Yugoslavia to kill the Serbians there. The proposal of the former President General Musharaf in November 2004 has listed several options for a settlement: (a) the whole area could be demilitarized and made autonomous; (b) it could be put under the joint control of the two countries; (c) some parts could be divided between the two countries and the Kashmir Valley either would become autonomous or would be under UN supervision. Pakistan"s demand is now not restricted to the Indian part of Kashmir valley only, but it has extended to include Kargil of Ladakh Valley and Muslim inhabited districts of western Jammu as well. Pakistan has clearly explained that the problem of Kashmir is religious and a partition along the religious line is the only acceptable solution for Pakistan. Noorani, Farook Abdullah with a British wife, and Omar Abdullah a half-British, are supporting the very idea of General Mussaraf, which was promoted by the Anglo-Americans in 1950s, and because of that Nehru imprisoned Sheikh Abdullah.

The acceptance of Musharaf"s proposal would imply fragmentation of India in future and open war between Muslim and non-Muslim communities as we have seen in the former Yugoslavia recently. Unfortunately, India"s English language media is preparing a case for the same kind of proposal of autonomy for Kashmir as suggested by General Musharaf before. The recent demands by both Farouk Abdullah and Omar Abdullah for autonomy and the open border should be the revelation for all who does not want India to be conquered by Pakistan bit by bit.

Dr.Dipak Basu

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