The Kashmir Referendum For Freedom.
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In 1947, at the time of India and Pakistan’s independence from Great Britain, Kashmir was free to accede to either country. The province was mostly Muslim but ruled by a Hindu king. Though he wanted to stay independent, he was convinced to join India. Since then, India and Pakistan have fought two wars (1947-48 and 1965) over the disputed territory. Both countries have been involved in major border skirmishes, including the most recent after a terrorist attack in New Delhi. Kashmir is divided by a Line of Control (LOC) established by the Simla Agreement in 1972 when both sides agreed to respect its course until a final negotiated solution could be found.
Under the Simla Pact ceasefire, the line was changed into line of control. It does not say Kashmir dispute is solved or self-determination kept on hold. A further clause of Simla agreement says - That the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations shall govern the relations between India and Pakistan . This keeps UN resolutions on Kashmir live.
India administers 2/3 of Kashmir as part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan controls the remaining 1/3, though China also has a small claim in the area. Pakistan’s position is that Kashmir should be part of Pakistan and, at the very least, there should be a plebiscite to decide the issue. India argues that the issue was decided in 1947. Alternatively, the 1972 Simla Agreement has decided the issue and the LOC should become an international border.
In 1948, the United Nations Security Council decided that the issue of Kashmir’s future should be determined by a plebiscite. That resolution states that Pakistani forces must withdraw from the province and, upon the withdrawal, Kashmiris could decide whether to accede to India or Pakistan. UN Security Council resolutions are international law and, as this resolution has not been withdrawn, Kashmir’s future should be decided by its terms.
Kashmir's right of self-determination and is intact ,genuine and legal in the eyes of international law. There is striking resemblance between UN Resolutions of 13 August 1948 and in Text of Mountbatten's conditional acceptance of doubtful instrument of Accession of Hari Singh.
Resolution of 13th August 1948 said that the "future status of the state shall be determined in accordance with the will of the people. The letter of Mountbatten dated 26 October says - special circumstances mentioned by your Highness my Government have decided to accept the accession of Kashmir State to the Dominion of India. Consistently with their policy that in the case of any State where the issue of accession has been the subject of dispute, the question if accession should be decided in accordance with the wishes of the people of the State.
The autonomy provisions in India’s Constitution are a sham. India has refused to discuss any real autonomy, always citing renewed violence as its excuse for direct rule from Delhi. In June 2000, the state assembly adopted a call for pre-1953 status. Though Indian Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee suggested such status was possible, he was opposed by members of his own party, the BJP. In addition to being Hindu fundamentalists (and thus critical of autonomy for India’s only Muslim-majority state), the BJP fears that autonomy in Kashmir will bring calls for a similar devolution in Punjab, Nagaland and Orissa.
The more likely outcome is that Kashmir will become independent, if this option is available. In a recent poll, almost 75% of Kashmiris, including Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists, favoured independence. There is no reason why Kashmir, like India before it, could not opt for secularism, thus protecting all three religions equally.
It is for all these reasons, the Kashmir people deserve a referendum. The people of Kashmir have made it obvious that they want freedom. There have been daily protests resulting in the loss of many lives. In order to stop the bloodshed, a robust political solution is required. They should have the right to vote on their own independence and freedom.
The petition to the United Nations to investigate the Human Rights Violations in Kashmir has gained more than 8000+signatures. These people have supported a right to self determination.
This petition will be delivered through to the Indian Parliament via the public application procedure here.
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Fatalities So Far
Jan. 1989 to March 31, 2016
Total Killings 94,332
Custodial Killings 7,043
Civilians Arrested 133,387
Structures Arsoned/Destroyed 106,063
Women Widowed 22,810
Children Orphaned 107,556
Women gang-raped / Molested 10,176
Enforced Disappearances 10,000 +
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