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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Kashmir and the Indian Empire

August 19, 2008

Kashmir is undergoing a fresh impetus in resistance to Indian occupation ::
by Iqbal Jassat
Media Monitors Network
August 17, 2008

"The dispute over Kashmir derives from the defective geopolitical
process of Partition in 1947, which saw the old British Empire split
up into India and Pakistan. It is symbolic of the type of legacy of
Britain's imperial achievements in India as indeed in other conflicts
such as Israel/Palestine, to bequeath perpetual strife."

Kashmir is undergoing a fresh impetus in resistance to Indian
occupation. Following a controversial transfer of land to a Hindu
shrine trust, a renewed revolt by Kashmiris has once again catapulted
their freedom struggle into the living rooms of a worldwide
television audience.

This new spotlight on Kashmir has resulted in many questions.
Foremost seems to be the puzzling paradox of India: a country freed
from the yoke of British colonialism yet itself remaining in
occupation of another. It is remarkable that six decades into the
post-colonial era, the formerly colonized would employ medieval
repressive tactics to enforce their own version of colonial
practices. Successive Indian governments have retained many
characteristics of the old and current British imperial policy to
subjugate Kashmir without any regard for International Conventions.
Besides merely disregarding its obligations as a member-state of the
United Nations, India has deliberately frustrated numerous "crisis
solving" efforts, thus contributing to what analysts term as
"diplomatic failure".

Such failure would naturally leave Occupied Kashmir at the mercy of
India. And records of brutality documented by human rights
organizations reveal that India's military control of the territory
has been anything but "merciful".

This does not suggest that Kashmiri territory under Pakistani control
-- known as Azad Kashmir -- has been free. These inhabitants' freedom
hinges on the political expediency of the current leaders in
Islamabad, as indeed their fortunes have been tied to all the former
military dictators – whether in civilian dress or not – in the past
six decades. Azad Kashmir remains subject to the political designs
fabricated in Pakistan and heavily influenced as studies indicate, by
foreign Western advisors.

The dispute over Kashmir derives from the defective geopolitical
process of Partition in 1947, which saw the old British Empire split
up into India and Pakistan. It is symbolic of the type of legacy of
Britain's imperial achievements in India as indeed in other conflicts
such as Israel/Palestine, to bequeath perpetual strife. In his book
'Incomplete Partition – The Genesis of the Kashmir Dispute
1947-1948', Alastair Lamb admits as much: "The British Indian Empire
was just that, an empire like other empires, an assemblage of diverse
territories and peoples joined together through British military
might, diplomacy and duplicity over many years and then maintained in
being by means of the continued forcible application of British
control over non-British peoples."

India's repressive policies against insurgents in Kashmir received a
boost following 9/11. According to award-winning journalist Phil
Rees, any hesitation over the use of 'terrorism' by the Indian
establishment disappeared after 2001. Whereas throughout the 1990s,
the Hindu nationalist government was seeking Western sympathy and
support for its conflict in Kashmir, after 9/11 it was expedient to
jump headlong onto the 'war on terror' bandwagon. Thus it served
Indian interests to define the Kashmiri freedom struggle as
"terrorist" and to lump its fighters with Osama bin Laden.

In this misty haze, new myths have been created to hide the fact that
Kashmir is a victim as Rees asserts, of the disputed division of
British India during the transfer of colonial power in 1947. He
explains that a border was created on religious lines and states with
a Muslim majority formed the newly created Pakistan alongside a
predominantly Hindu India. "When India and Pakistan became
independent, it was generally assumed that Jammu and Kashmir, with
its 80 per cent Muslim population, would accede to Pakistan, but
Kashmir was one of 565 princely states whose rulers had given their
loyalty to Britain but preserved their royal titles. The partition
plan, negotiated by the last viceroy, Lord Mountbatten, excluded
these princely states, which were granted independence [albeit
without the power to express it]. Of the 565 princely states, 552
agreed to become part of India but the remainder posed problems:
Hyderabad and Junagadh had Muslim rulers but Hindu majorities and
were surrounded by Indian territory. Indian troops occupied the
states and overthrew the Muslim rulers. In Kashmir a Hindu nobleman,
Sir Hari Singh, was the maharaja, or governor. Two months after the
independence of India and Pakistan, he was still unable to make up his mind."

The strategic geographical location of Kashmir bordering Afghanistan
and China remains an important consideration for the Indian
authorities. The irony though is that amongst the two regions in
China bordering Kashmir, Tibet's political crisis is articulated
regularly in the Western media while Xinjiang's story is largely
unknown. China, like India, views the Muslim majority region of
Xinjiang's struggle for greater autonomy as "terrorist". A glance at
the map of Kashmir will explain that its pivotal position will remain
a factor influencing India and allies such as Britain and America not
to grant Kashmir its overdue independence.

UN Resolutions or not; previous agreements on plebiscite or not; India's empire
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