What are the roots of the Kashmir conflict? Why did accession of Kashmir become a contentious issue?
What are the roots of the Kashmir conflict? Why did accession of Kashmir become a contentious issue?(Photo: Erum Gour/The Quint)
  • 1. The Beginning: A Princely State Called Jammu and Kashmir
  • 2. Independence and the Rise of Sheikh Abdullah
  • 3. Pakistan’s Armed Interference Rocks the Boat
  • 4. A Trip to the United Nations
  • 5. J&K Incorporated to India With Article 370
A Princely State & A New Country: What’s the History of Kashmir?

On 5 August 2019, Home Minister Amit Shah rose in Rajya Sabha to announce that Article 370 has been effectively revoked by a Presidential Order, taking back the special status conferred on the state of Jammu and Kashmir. In one stroke, the government has struck at the foundation of the relationship between J&K and the Union of India, without the consent of the people of J&K. But what are the roots of the Kashmir conflict? What happened at the time of Independence? Why did accession of Kashmir become such a contentious issue? Why was Article 370 put into place? Here’s a breakdown of the history of Kashmir’s accession.

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  • 1. The Beginning: A Princely State Called Jammu and Kashmir

    It’s 1946. India is about to be free from British rule, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel is integrating more than 500 princely states, and the state of Jammu and Kashmir is ruled by Maharaja Hari Singh.

    Jammu and Kashmir was not always one state though. Its five regions – Jammu, the Valley, Ladakh, Gilgit, and Baltistan – came together in the 19th century under the Dogra Rajputs. A Muslim-majority state overall, J&K had a Hindu majority in Jammu, while Muslims dominated the Valley.

    The state shared borders with both newly partitioned India and Pakistan. As a Muslim-majority state, it could go to Pakistan, but Hari Singh was uncomfortable with being a Hindu ruler in a Muslim-majority state. And as contemporary accounts show, the Maharaja didn’t like the Congress, which was sure to form the Central government in India. There was only one question on everyone’s lips: Whom would the state accede to?

    No one.

    In July 1946, Hari Singh stated that people would “work out our own destiny without dictation from any quarter which is not an integral part of the State,” writes Ramachandra Guha in his book ‘India After Gandhi’. Singh famously wanted J&K to be the ‘Switzerland of the East’; effectively a neutral territory between India and Pakistan. As India became independent on 15 August 1947, Jammu and Kashmir hadn’t gone to either India or Pakistan.

    But things were just beginning to get stormy.

    Also Read : Connectivity still disrupted in Kashmir; B-Town, netizens react

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