An Issue from the Past
Since 1947, India and Pakistan have been violently battling over Kashmir, a region located between both countries, but in recent years has been considered a part of Northern India. The ongoing battle stems from the time of British rule when both countries were united under the name of India. During this time, Britain divided India into 565 princely states, one of which was Jammu and Kashmir.
Independence from Britain created two separate countries, India and Pakistan. During the separation process, each of the aforementioned princely states had the option of choosing which they would prefer to be a part of. One unique case was presented in Kashmir, as the ruler Maharaja Hari Singh was conflicted about what to choose due to the division within his state. Ultimately, he decided to accede to India due to the Hindu majority after receiving threats from the Pakistani militants. Once it joined India, Article 370, which granted “near-autonomous authority to the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K),” was created for persuasion reasons. However, shortly after the decision was made, Pakistan began to fight to get Kashmir, of which 67% of people are Muslim, on its side. In response to Pakistan's actions, India strengthened its rule and took many other measures to which there has been almost a “tug of war” situation in the area.
Kashmir, a beautiful Himalayan region abundant in green valleys, has been continually fought over by India and Pakistan for many years now. Currently, India has removed the provisions of Article 370, which had allowed Jammu and Kashmir Assembly to enact laws and prevent outsiders to settle and own land in the territory. But what does this really mean? To the Kashmiris, it seems that “Article 370 was their only link with India and it was broken without even consulting them.” The feelings of the Kashmiris show that they feel as if their right to freely govern themselves has been taken away. India’s decision to take away Article 370 came from Home Minister Amit Shah, who tweeted that the decision was made to pay tribute to all the fallen soldiers.
The true significance lies in the fact that Kashmir was promised its autonomy since India and Pakistan have never been able to truly settle which country or what rules Kashmir has to follow. India taking away the Article signifies that it is using its absolute control and has decided to pursue Modi’s Hindu nationalist agenda by forcing Kashmir a part of India.
Tweet by Amit Shah, Home Minister of India
In addition to taking away Article 370, India has implemented a strong military presence in Kashmir. On August 5, 2019, India made the announcement to revoke Article 370, effectively splitting Kashmir into two regions and increasing regulation and military presence in the area. Having hundreds of thousands of soldiers in the area, India has recently imposed a military lockdown and cut off communication in Kashmir. The people of Kashmir believe that “it is a majoritarian India trampling down on [their] rights and freedoms.”