While Muslims all over the world celebrate Eid al-Adha, the region of Kashmir remains silent. With television, internet, and general media all cut off from the people of Kashmir, it seems that outsiders are more aware of the conflict rather than Kashmiris themselves. In 1947, the British made the decision to split the region of India into two countries, Pakistan and India, to prevent further violence between Muslims and Hindus. Although this partition was eventually accepted, the question remained—​ w​ho would claim Kashmir? With Kashmir being a stunning Himalyan region, covering around 86,000 square miles, it was no surprise that Pakistan and India would both want to claim it. India’s ruler at the time, Maharaja Hari Singh, was neutral regarding this conflict​—h​e had both Pakistani and Indian supporters and felt it was best to remain fair​— but in late 1947, he decided to allow Kashmir to join India. This move was not well received by Pakistan;​ ​a war quickly erupted and the UN was asked to intervene. After a second war and some brief conflict, it was decided by both countries ​that Delhi and Islamabad would claim and control parts of Kashmir with territories identified as ‘Indian-administered Kashmir’ and ‘Pakistan-administered Kashmir.’ This acted as a temporary solution while the countries pended the implantation of UN resolution asking for a referendum for the Kashmiri people to decide who they want to join. ​But for the last 70 years, no further decision was made on this matter.

Due to a clause in the constitution known as Article 370, Indian-administered Kashmir was to have a separate flag, independence, and constitution. But in early August 2019, India abruptly revoked the seven-decade-long status, as a result of India’s governing party repeatedly expressing their dislike of Article 370 and promising to revoke the status in the 2019 election. India declared their part of Kashmir as an integral part of India unilaterally. Pakistan swiftly called them out, considering this a violation of UN resolution.

On August 5th, 2019, internet and television services were cut off and curfews were imposed on the Kashmiris. With that, their citizens were isolated from the world, unaware of what would happen next. Tourists were rushed out and India sent in tens of thousands of troops, rapidly overpowering the already small region. Pakistan quickly expressed outrage over the move and vowed to “exercise all possible options” against what they call the “illegal steps” India has taken. Pakistan quickly suspended all trades with India, and the conflict greatly damaged India-Pakistan’s diplomatic ties. Despite this, India stood by their decision, expressing that their move on Kashmir was an internal matter.

With India-administered Kashmir already presenting high unemployment rates and human rights issues, the people of Kashmir feel as though they are not being heard. Some advocate for complete Indian rule, while others are siding with Pakistan.

Religion is also a huge component of this conflict. Former chief minister of India Mehbooba Mufti spoke to BBC stating, “T​ hey just want to occupy our land and want to make this Muslim-majority state like any other state and reduce us to a minority and disempower us totally.”

Although sentiments between Pakistan and India were thought to have warmed after a ceasefire was agreed on in 2003, it doesn’t seem that both parties are on the same page in 2019. Following bloody street protests in ‘Indian-administered Kashmir’ and further conflicts in 2018 after Delhi decided to control all of Kashmir, tensions were extremely high between India and Pakistan.

After 40 Indian soldiers lost their lives on the 14th of February, 2019, India was quick to point fingers at Pakistan-based militant groups, and any hope of future peace died immediately. Following the bombing, India was ready to take swift action and a massive step towards finally seizing all of Kashmir under its control, stating that India would ensure “complete isolation” of Pakistan from the international community.

As stories of injured, lost, and financially unstable Kashmiris surface, it is clear that they are the true victims of this immensely lengthy rivalry. With India showing no signs of backing down, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has promised to take the issue to the International Criminal Court expressing, “If the world does not act today… (if) the developed world does not uphold its own laws, then things will go to a place that we will not be responsible for.” With this statement Imran Khan was hinting at the possibility of eruption of full flash war between two countries equipped with nuclear weapons.

With conflict showing no indication of resolution, only time will tell whose hands the future of Kashmir will exist in.

About The Author

Related Posts