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Kashmir Dispute

The state of Jammu and Kashmir (J& K), a landlocked territory, lies in north-western part of Indian Subcontinent. It became a disputed territory after the partition of the Indian subcontinent in August 1947. Bounded on northeast by the Uygur Autonomous Region of Sinkiang and Tibet (both parts of the Peoples Republic of China), it is surrounded by the Indian states of Himachel Pradesh and Punjab on the South, on the northwest by Afghanistan and on the west by Pakistan.

The territory’s total area is 85,806 square miles (222,236 square km), of which 31, 643 square miles (81, 954 square km) is controlled by India. The modern state of J& K evolved from the Dogra heartland in Jammu, as the home of many different ethnic groups and a diverse set of cultures In 1834, Ladakh was conquered and incorporated into the state. Baltistan was conquered and annexed by the Dogras in 1840. The Valley of Kashmir joined in 1846, when the British sold it to the Sikh ruler Gulab Singh for 7.5 million rupees. In 1935, Gilgit was leased to the British for 60 years. The British terminated the lease in 1947. Aksai Chin came under the Chinese control in 1962 following the Sino-Indian War that year. Poonch joined the state in 1936, as the result of a judicial settlement.

Population Groups in Kashmir

The Kashmir Valley’s inhabitants were predominantly Muslims, with a small community of Sikhs and Kashmiri Pandits; Jammu had a Dogra Hindu majority with a significant Muslim component; the western strip from Muzaffarabad to Mirpur had a majority of Punjabi Muslims; Gilgit, Skardu, and Kargil were also inhabited by Muslims; and a majority of Ladakh’s residents were Lamaistic Buddhists.

At the time of the partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947, the State of Jammu and Kashmir was one of the 564 princely states that faced the choice of either joining India or Pakistan in accordance with the twin principles of geographical contiguity and self- determination following the lapse of British paramountcy. Although J & K had a Muslim majority (77% in the census of 1941), and shared a long border with the new state 0! Pakistan, the Maharaja refused to opt for Pakistan.

His reticence stemmed both from his desire to remain independent and from agitation by his predominantly Muslim subjects against his brutal rule. Faced with the armed revolt by Muslims from Poonch in June 1947, the Maharaja retaliated with brutal force against them. The revolt then spread to the other areas of Jammu and Kashmir. To stabilised the situation, the Maharaja signed a standstill agreement with the new state of Pakistan. The situation deteriorated during August and September of 1947, as the Kashmiri Muslims openly revolted. By late October, 1947, the tribesmen-led rebellion succeeded in capturing several towns, massacred large number of civilians, and advanced within four miles of the capital, Srinagar.

Map

To forestall his imminent overthrow by the advancing rebel troops, the Maharaja requested military aid from India, and decided to accede to India on October 26, 1947. The Indian Government accepted Maharaja’s accession, while stipulating that it should ultimately be ratified by popular consultation. India’s military intervention on behalf of the besieged Maharaja led to the first India-Pakistan war over Kashmir. India aired the dispute before the United Nations, calling for international intervention in the matter.

After their first war over Kashmir in 1947-48, India and Pakistan signed a cease-fire agreement on January 1, 1949. India and Pakistan went to war over Kashmir again in 1965, and the resulting line of control divided old Jammu and Kashmir into four political units:

  1. Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir Valley (Indian administered Kashmir)
  2. Azad Kashmir (Pakistan- administered Kashmir)
  3. Northern Area (administered by Pakistan)
  4. Aksai Chin, (controlled by China)

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