Kashmir is a picturesque region straddled by the boundaries of India, China, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. It has seen a lot of turmoil in the last 30 years. Moreover, Pakistan and India have engaged in multiple wars and skirmishes over the territory. The history of Kashmir can be traced back to the transfer of territory to the Hindu Maharaja in the Treaty of Amritsar in 1849. Local resistance was subdued through colonial-era autocratic mechanisms. The rule of Gulab Singh’s successors was seen as one labeled as “post-autocratic fiscality.” Politico-legal instruments were thereafter leveraged to marginalize the majority Muslim community in Kashmir and resulted in an unfair system. In 1947, riots started after the 3 June Mountbatten Plan was announced. This led to the migration of population from one region to the other. There was no clear demarcation of boundaries by the colonial regime. This was delayed after the announcement of independence of the two nation-states of Pakistan and India. The postponed Radcliffe Award and the unclear nature of the Instrument of Accession of Princely States caused a horrid situation that resulted in turmoil.
Moreover, contrary to what Dalbir Ahlawat and Satish Malik have stated, the colonial regime coined the term Kashmiriyat, which is an empty signifier that disregards the ground realities. In violation of international law, India’s unilateral abrogation of Article 370 and 35-A show that New Delhi is taking steps that are detrimental to regional peace and stability. Furthermore, India has made Kashmir one of the most militarized zones in the world, with a ratio of security personnel to local population of 1:8. Due to the imminent threat of a conflict between nuclear-armed neighbors, the oppression and subjugation of the Kashmiris makes regional stability and peace precarious. The obduracy of India’s successive governments over the years to resolve the dispute is causing concern for policy makers around the world. The issue should be resolved through pacific settlement of disputes as enunciated in Article 33 of the UN Charter. The International Religious Freedom Report has categorically stated that India’s use of intimidation tactics against its minorities is akin to state terrorism.
Conclusively, this article argues that the right to self-determination, which is an integral part of any international covenant, including but not restricted to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR); the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR); and most importantly United Nations Declaration on Human Rights (UNDHR), should be upheld and the conditions of Kashmiris ought to be bettered as a fundamental human right.
Research Article Available on: