January 28, 2015

Kashmir's Forgotten Plebiscite- History, Opinions, Solutions !

It has been 67 years since UN passed a resolution to held a plebscite in Kashmir and 68 years since our Independence! But today, that is 28th January, 2015, just 2 days after our Republic Day I feel shameful to tell you about a forgotten plebiscite in Kashmir. Lets start from the beginning-

 India's partition took place in 1947, when according to the Mountbatten Plan all the princely states had the choice to join either Pakistan or India. It was a time when diplomacy stood as the prime strategy. There were more than 500 princely states and Sardar Vallabhabhai Patel stood successful to convince most of them to join India. However, the nawab of Kashmir declined and wanted to be an independent state. All went well till Pakistan attacked Kashmir. Kashmir being a weak state asked for help from India. This was the time when an agreement was signed between India and Kashmir which stated that Kashmir will become a part of India if India helps Kashmir in the war. However, the agreement also stated that Kashmir will become a part of India on the condition that some special rights will be given to the people of Kashmir. Soon, Kashmir became a part of India with some special rights given to Kashmiris and Kashmir state stated in Article 370. But, sadly a part of Kashmir remained under Pakistan which is called as PoK (Pak Occupied Kashmir). 

Kashmir is state which has a very strategic location in terms of defense. Kashmir's borders are adjacent to that of China and Pakistan, two nations with whom India has never had good relations. A year ago, I met Lt. Manoj Pandey who was a courageous soldier and played a very important role in the Kargil war. He told us that if Kashmir wasn't a part of India then it would have heavily affected the cost of goods in the Northern states and the exported goods because of long distance transportation. Also, Kashmir is called the heaven of India. Its natural beauty and culture attracts millions of tourists each year. Kashmir being the major tourist attraction of India, brings huge profits to the Indian economy. Kashmir has an ideal climate and soil for the growth of fruits such as apple and also saffron. Therefore, Kashmir is a state which is important economically as well as militarily and hence, is sought after by China, Pakistan and India. However, today India has control over largely half the size of the princely state Jammu and Kashmir. 
THE STORY OF KASHMIR'S FORGOTTEN PLEBISCITE?                                                      Even after Kashmir's agreement with India, Pakistan's troops took control of some land of Kashmir. When the news reached Delhi, Nehruji went to the United Nations to discuss this conflict. In October 1948, UNO passed a resolution stating a plebiscite in Kashmir. But conducting a plebiscite in the still disputed state of Kashmir to decide its fate is still a question.

India says that the region of PoK is under Pakistan and votes can be influenced by the troops over there. Therefore, conducting a plebiscite with PoK would be biased towards Pakistan. Also, that Kashmir, due to high risk of terrorism, is taken care by the army and not the police. According to UNHRC (United Nations Human Rights Council), some fundamental rights of the citizens of Kashmir are violated. Also to maintain security and peace, the troops in Kashmir have the right to violate the rights of the citizens of Kashmir. This is another reason why the citizens of Kashmir are against India and Indians and hence, the plebiscite would be biased. Another problem to this Kashmir plebiscite is that a lot of Kashmiri pandits migrated to different places in India. To conduct an unbiased plebiscite, the opinion of the original residents of Kashmir i.e. the Kashmiri pandits is very precious and it is practically impossible to get them together once again.  
Therefore, India would conduct the plebiscite only when Pakistan clears PoK. But since then, Pakistan has not cleared PoK. India, since then, puts forward this problem in every UN meeting but a solution still seems a distant hope! 

Nehruji and his witty decision 
Talking about History, "Congress' haters" say it was a mere mistake to make an agreement with Kashmir. but when I turn back and look at it, it looks as if the wittiest decision because Kashmir is a major tourist attraction in India !ncredible India. Kashmir makes India an exporter of fruits which otherwise would have been an importer. Numerable reasons are stated above and still if the "Congress' haters" say NO then that's highly unethical and that comes straight from the pen of a person who isn't a Congress supporter nor a BJP supporter but someone who supports his (my) ethics and morals.
People say, Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru was foolish to go the UN when he didn't want to make this matter, a matter of global interference. A pretty strong debate, however, could there have been any progress in the Kashmir problem if would not have gone to the UN. What he dreamt of was a peaceful and safe India and not of a disputed and unsafe India. And that comes from the same pen!!!            
Even after 68 years of our Independence, a solution still remains a distant dream. In my hunt to find the best solution for this problem, I found some sensible enough to be shared. The best solution which I could find is that Kashmir's territory has to remain with India but the residents of Kashmir will be given the choice to opt for either migrating to Pakistan or staying in India. Though this seems right but would never be agreed by Pakistan who is greedy of land (and why not). Second, the Arms Act should be removed and then, further proceeding should take place. Third, the current boundaries should be made international boundaries and PoK should be given to Pakistan. Though this too seems right but India would never agree and why should India agree? It would be like declaring robbery legal! In a hunt to find solutions, above all these solutions was one single solution called COMPROMISE ! But that seems so unethical ;-)