Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Kashmir V: On Plebiscite

1. What is a plebiscite?

A plebiscite can be defined as "vote in which a population exercises the right of national self determination".

2. Who promised the people of Jammu & Kashmir a plebiscite?

Jawaharlal Nehru, the Prime Minister of India, and Lord Mountbatten, Governor General of India, promised a plebiscite to the Raja Hari Singh, and to the people of Jammu & Kashmir, and it was accepted by India as a part of UN resolution of 1948.

3. Did India ever implement a plebiscite in Jammu & Kashmir?

No.

4. What is a ‘disputed territory’ during the time of Partition?

In 1947, when India and Pakistan were carved out of Indian sub-continent, Radcliffe divided the ‘British controlled India’ into India and Pakistan. Outside British controlled India, there were 565 princely states in India at that time. Lord Mountbatten and British Parliament with consent from Queen of England offered these princely states to join India or Pakistan. Independence was not assured; request to join British Empire was declined; but no explicit mandate was given to any of these princely states to join India or Pakistan. It was up to these two newly formed countries- Pakistan and India, to coax, or persuade each princely state to join either country; and Lord Mountbatten was assigned to help these two countries secure these dominions. A ‘disputed territory’, as they are usually referred to during the time of Independence and Partition, is a region to which both Pakistan and India laid a claim. When it comes to most of the kingdoms it was a logical conclusion whether it would join India or Pakistan – and each country went about pursuing and coaxing the Princes to join their country. However, there were three disputed regions at that point of time- Junagarh, Hyderabad, and Kashmir. The Kings of Junagarh and Hyderabad were both Muslim and wanted to join Pakistan but their kingdoms were predominantly Hindu. Moreover, their kingdoms were not contiguous to Pakistan and were actually lying inside India. Land-locked kingdoms were not given an option to join non-contiguous countries. Geographical separation was as much required in addition to the opinion of majority of population. King of Jammu & Kashmir was a Hindu and didn’t want to join India or Pakistan. His kingdom was predominantly Muslim. Though it was tacitly agreed by India that Kashmir would go to Pakistan owing to its Muslim majority and it being contiguous to Pakistan (and India as well), it laid claim to this kingdom when they realized that that King of Jammu & Kashmir was not joining Pakistan despite many attempts by Pakistan to coax him into signing accession.

5. Did India ever implement a plebiscite in any other disputed territory?

Yes, in Junagarh. But it was done in a haphazard way. Very few voted and hence India ignored its results and went onto occupy it. Pakistan did not protest much though the Nawab of Junagarh had already acceded to Pakistan. It was generally agreed by everyone (both India and Pakistan) that it could not have joined Pakistan without a contiguous border.

6. Did India send its troops into any of the disputed regions?

Yes, to all the three regions. To Junagarh and Hyderabad, India sent its troops against the wishes of the King. These forced accession were rationalized because India had a massive support from local population who were predominantly Hindu. To Kashmir, India sent its troops at the behest of the King of Jammu & Kashmir only after he signed accession to India (when he faced aggression from tribal people of Pakistan).

7. What was the rational for annexing Junagarh and Hyderabad to Indian Union?

They were predominantly Hindu, while the Kings were Moslem. Though the kings wished to join Pakistan, the people wished otherwise. A referendum or the opinion of the people and not that of King was the prevailing logic that was applied to rationalize all accessions. India conducted a plebiscite in Junagarh, but In Hyderabad, the massive support of population after the infamous or glorified armed ousting of Nizam did not make it necessary to justify the accession. Both Junagarh and Hyderabad did not have a contiguous border with Pakistan.

8. Was the same rationale applied to Kashmir?

No. Kashmir was predominantly Muslim and had a contiguous border with both India and Pakistan. King of Jammu and Kashmir acceded to India against the claims of Pakistan to its Muslim population. If the same rationale had been applied to Jammu and Kashmir, the state would have acceded to Pakistan, and its Hindu and Buddhist population would have migrated to India (as it happened in case of Punjab or Bengal).

9. How did Kashmir become a legal entity in Indian Union?

In 1947, Maharaja Hari Singh signed the Treaty of Accession by which the state became a part of India. But the people of that state were promised a plebiscite. No referendum or plebiscite took place. Later in 1952, Constituent Assembly of Kashmir, consisting of leaders of that state ratified the Accession, but retained autonomous powers. Subsequently these autonomous powers were slowly reduced. In 1974, Kashmir Accord made Jammu & Kashmir an integral part of India overthrowing these autonomous powers completely (but retained Article 370).

10. Is the ratification of Constituent Assembly same as plebiscite?

No. The UN resolution asks for mandate from the people, not the elected leaders.


12 comments:

  1. Hi Sujai,
    Congratulations on a very well-researched post. In addition to the three you mention, India also sent in its army to Goa and no plebiscite was held there.

    BTW, I'm interested to know if you have a personal judgement on whether the Kashmir accension was correct - legally and ethically.

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  2. Dear Dweep:
    Yes, India indeed sent troops to Goa.

    But this was much later in 1961 and not directly linked with Independence from British. What I mean is - the independence of 1947 involved princely states (who were subjects of the Queen of England) and British controlled India (and not necessarily Portuguese controlled regions).

    Coming to my opinion on accession of Kashmir, I thought I will write another blog to address this.
    Sujai

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  3. I moderate comments because once in a while some people unnecessarily resort to using filthy and obscene language. I do not mind being criticized on my blogs, but definitely I would like to keep insults, foul language and swear words out of my blog. You can think of it as a parental control, or a TV show where in swear words are BEEEPED out.
    Thank you,
    Sujai

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  4. Hi Sujai,
    Thks for exposing the truth behind India,Indian media..and kashmiri independence movement.Can u plspaste a copy of UN Resolution on Kashmir which was never fulfilled by India?

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  5. this site has a list of UN resolutions on Kashmir:
    http://www.kashmiri-cc.ca/un/index.htm

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  6. Thanks Sujai... for the link on UN resolutions.I went through the link n have made following observations on the non filfillment by India on the promise of plebiste to the kashmiris.Your valuable inputs will be highly appreciated.


    Just for readers sake I will paste the resolution

    RESOLUTION ADOPTED BY THE UNITED NATIONS COMMISSION FOR INDIA AND PAKISTAN ON 13 AUGUST 1948. (DOCUMENT NO. S/1100, PARA 75, DATED THE 9TH NOVEMBER, 1948)


    TRUCE AGREEMENT

    Simultaneously with the acceptance of the proposal for the immediate cessation of hostilities as outlined in Part I, both Governments accept the following principles as a basis for the formulation of a truce agreement, the details of which shall be worked out in discussion between their Representatives and the Commission.

    A.(l) As the presence of troops of Pakistan in the territory of the State of Jammu and Kashmir constitutes a material change in the situation since it was represented by the Government of Pakistan before the Security Council, the Government of Pakistan agrees to withdraw its troops from that State.


    (2)The Government of Pakistan will use its best endeavor to secure the withdrawal from the State of Jammu and Kashmir of tribesmen and Pakistan nationals not normally resident therein who have entered the State for the purpose of fighting.


    (3) Pending a final solution the territory evacuated by the Pakistan troops will be administered by the local authorities under the surveillance of the Commission.

    B.(1) When the Commission shall have notified the Government of India that the tribesmen and Pakistan nationals referred to in Part II A 2 hereof have withdrawn, thereby terminating the situation which was represented by the Government of India to the Security Council as having occasioned the presence of Indian forces in the State of Jammu and Kashmir, and further, that the Pakistan forces are being withdrawn from the State of Jammu and Kashmir, the Government of India agrees to begin to withdraw the bulk of their forces from the State in stages to be agreed upon with the Commission.


    Pending the acceptance of the conditions for a final settlement of the situation in the State of Jammu and Kashmir, the Indian Government will maintain within the lines existing at the moment of cease-fire the minimum strength of its forces which in agreement with the Commission are considered necessary to assist local authorities in the observance of law and order. The Commission will have observers stationed where it deems necessary.

    (3) The Government of India will undertake to ensure that the Government of the State of Jammu and Kashmir will take all measures within their power to make it publicly known that peace, law and order will be safeguarded and that all human and political rights will be guaranteed.

    C.(1) Upon signature, the full text of the Truce Agreement or communiqué containing the principles thereof as agreed upon between the two Governments and the Commission, will be made public.

    The resolution cleasrly states


    1.....The presence of troops of Pakistan in the territory of the State of Jammu and Kashmir constitutes a material change in the situation and the Government of Pakistan agrees to withdraw its troops from that State....

    Question1.Did the Government of Pakistan removed its forces from the State of Kashmir as per UN Resolution of 1948?

    2.....The Government of Pakistan will use its best endeavor to secure the withdrawal from the State of Jammu and Kashmir of tribesmen and Pakistan nationals ..............

    Question 2.So The UN agreed that pashtun tribals who were not a part of kashmir were fighting along with army regulars.Do u agree?


    3.Pending a final solution the territory evacuated by the Pakistan troops will be administered by the local authorities under the surveillance of the Commission........ the Indian Government will maintain within the lines existing at the moment of cease-fire the minimum strength of its forces which in agreement with the Commission are considered necessary to assist local authorities in the observance of law and order.

    Question 3.When the UN commission decided that Indian forces are to be kept to maintain minimum law and order did Pakistan vacate POK or Azad Kashmir as per insrtuctions of the United Nations?

    4..When the Commission shall have notified the Government of India that the tribesmen and Pakistan nationals referred to in Part II A 2 hereof have withdrawn......

    Question4 Has Pakistan notified the UN or party to dispute( India) about tribseman and Pakistani natinals withdrawing from Kashmir?


    After going through this ...I really wonder if India made a false promise n can be hold responsible.

    Reference-http://www.kashmiri-cc.ca/un/sc13aug48.htm.

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  7. Abishek:

    You ask:
    Question1.Did the Government of Pakistan removed its forces from the State of Kashmir as per UN Resolution of 1948?

    Pakistan never removed its forces from State of Kashmir. But the problem is not that simple. Pakistan has 'indicated' many a times that it was ready to abide by UN resolution 1948 provided India will hold plebiscite. That never took off. Indians may say that Pakistan should first remove forces, but then Pakistanis do not trust Indians enough to believe that Indian will hold plebiscite after that. This is a stalemate.

    You ask:
    Question 2.So The UN agreed that pashtun tribals who were not a part of kashmir were fighting along with army regulars.Do u agree?

    I do agree. I believe that Pakistan and Pashtuns invaded Kashmir. Even some British officers were involved though they tried to portray that they were being impartial.


    You ask:
    Question 3.When the UN commission decided that Indian forces are to be kept to maintain minimum law and order did Pakistan vacate POK or Azad Kashmir as per insrtuctions of the United Nations?

    No, it did not. While Indian Kashmir is a democratic (in certain sense), POK is not. It is directly ruled by an appointed puppet straight from the center.

    You ask:
    Question4 Has Pakistan notified the UN or party to dispute( India) about tribseman and Pakistani natinals withdrawing from Kashmir?

    I don't think this was ever taken up. Pakistan always denies its presence or involvement in all affairs. Either it is 1965 war or Kargil or terrorism or talibanization of Afghanistan.

    You ask:
    After going through this ...I really wonder if India made a false promise n can be hold responsible.

    I look at Kashmir affair differently. I look at Kashmir without putting too much emphasis on what Pakistan did or will do. I believe it is our relationship with Kashmiri people without bringing in Pakistan each time. What responsibility do we have towards them? Do you think we need to do something to them on our own?

    Enmity between Pakistan and India has caused too much sufferings to these people. I don't think we should keep a score against Paksitan and see if they were better than us.

    If you go by rules, there are many things that are right and wrong. I agree that accession of Kashmir is legal. But then, is that good enough?

    What about our committment? Just because the neighbor is not the nicest guy, we become the same?

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  8. So What do u suggest as a solution?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Abhishek:
    I have posted my version of the solution at Kashmir I.

    However, I got a chance to speak to some of my Kashmiri Pandit friends lately. He believes that such a solution is impractical since no political leadership would commit to such a solution. Its true. I knew this, but I proposed anyway.

    A realistic solution, I believe, and which my friend suggest is this:
    Go back to pre-1953 conditions. Where J&K enjoyed autonomous powers. Where they had their own constitution, prime minister, etc. No other actions less than that may appease the community there.

    This however has its own problems. How does one take care of Ladakh and Jammu?

    One of the ways to go about it is first divide that region into three states (or union territories). And confer this status to Kashmir alone.

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  10. If religion was the basis of partition (though Im a atheist), Kashmir should have gone to Pakistan.

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  11. Sujai,
    I feel really satisfied reading this excerpt. For long I argued with my friends that it is in no way benefitting India or Pakistan by holding on Kashmir. As you can easily figure out, overwhelmed by national pride and patriotism none of my pals agreed with me ever.
    Ofcourse the wholereason I thought was that it is better to kill the issue rather than keep it alive and create more hostilities.
    Many argued that if Indian stance is changed Pakistan would claim more regions in India which I could not entirely deny with out any rationale.
    I think the information you provided is what I think I was not knowing then.

    ReplyDelete

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