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Weekly Session 11 - Kashmir

Secretary Mon, 03/04/2019 - 23:40



The Kashmir region is one of the most controversial regions in the world, contested by India, Pakistan, China as well as non-state actors.

Come and join us this Thursday 28th February at Parkinson to debate. Afterwards, we'll be heading to the Jazz Bar Domino. 

-----Study Guide-----

Kashmir is a contested region in Asia, which has a lot of controversy surrounding it throughout the 20th century. This region is highly contested between Pakistan, India, and China. This area has often been a symbolic area for religion, with the main city is this area, Srinagar, founded on top of the ruins of the historic Shrinagari, linked with the strength of Buddhism in the ancient era. The Shah Mir dynasty became the first Muslim ruler of Kashmir, which was followed by a mass conversion of Kashmiris to Islam, ending as most of the population had been converted by the late 1400s. 

The Sikhs took over under Ranjit Singh in 1819, however this turned out to be a more oppressive rule, with aspects of Muslim culture having been banned, such as their call to prayer, along with anti-muslim laws, such as death sentences for slaughtering cows. In 1845, the Sikhs went to war with the British, with the Kashmir valley coming under sovereignty of the British crown in 1857. The 1941 regional census showed a large Muslim majority of 77%, Hindu with 20% and Buddhists and Sikhs combining to make 3%. It was also made clear that this Muslim majority was highly impoverished, leading to mass migration to the Punjab region.

1947 and 1948 were pivotal years in this region, due to the partition of the British Empire into India and Pakistan. Once again this brought division, as the Hindus, Sikhs, and Buddhists were in favour of joining India, whilst the Muslims in some districts such as the Frontier Districts Province wanted to join Pakistan. A war broke out in this region between rebel in the western districts, with arms made available by the Pakistan Army, eventually joining the war in May 1948, against National Conference fighters and the Indian National Army. 

A ceasefire was agreed in April 1948, to go into effect in January 1949. Both sides failed in to come to agreement over demilitarisation. Another war broke out in 1962, this time between China and India, in territory claimed by both. China won and the land called Aksai Chin has remained under China sovereignty since. Pakistan has been the main opponent against India in Kashmir with more wars taking place in 1965 and 1971.

Kashmiri nationalism has grown over the years with multiple nationalists, with some violent, such as Maqbool Bhat and Hashim Qureshi forming the National Liberation Front, though others have advocated against the carrying out of violence: such as Prem Nath Bazaz. 

In modern times, to summarise, these are the current views held by the each of the governments:
• India still says that Kashmir is a part of India but have said that a referendum could be available to determine what the people would want to happen.
• Pakistan still maintains that Kashmir is a “currently disputed territory” of which the status should be decided by the public
• China still holds that Aksai Chin is part of China and don’t think it should be returned as part of Kashmir.
• Some citizens of Kashmir believe they not ruled by their own since 1586 and would want to be in control of themselves.
The UN has received recent appeals from Pakistan about human right violations in Kashmir, and the UN Chief Antonio Guterres called on tensions to defuse, with a recent suicide bombing killing over 40 Indian Paramilitary police, with Pakistan also warning of military retaliation if India take action. 

Can the UN stop this violence for the first time in decades before it gets worse?