How Can India Resolve The Kashmir Issue?(Part II)


Much has been written on this subject by many authors, including the question of worth of  India fighting for Pakistan Occupied Kashmir at the cost of lives of so many of our Jawans.Rather, I agree with  the view of M D Nalapat and of some others who concur with him, that without any delay, Jammu and Ladakh of Indian Administered Kashmir should be absorbed into the Indian Union as a regular State and Union Territory respectively, as per the appeal of their citizens, by removal of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution in respect of the above two provinces of  J&K State, to mitigate the state of tense unrest in the Kashmir Valley and some districts of Jammu.

Earlier, some BJP Leaders including L.K.Advani had also expressed the same opinion, with the addition of the need to (A) Bifurcate the J&K state into (1) the Kashmir Valley to be kept under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, and (2)Jammu plus Ladakh division to be converted into a regular State of the Indian Union by scrapping the Article 370 in the two provinces. (B) The other alternative is to Trifurcate the State provincewise into three parts- Jammu, Ladakh and the Kashmir valley, and make Anantnag District of the Valley, which houses the Amarnath Shrine, a Union Territory  of India alongwith Ladakh, while Jammu can be given the status of a regular State of India. The rest of the Kashmir valley will remain under the Article 370.
I feel that besides Jammu and Ladakh Provinces and Anantnag District of the Kashmir Valley, the Ganderbal district (which was earlier a tehsil of Srinagar district), especially the Tulmula Tehsil harbouring the Kheer Bhavani temple, the Manasbal lake, as well as Baltal and Sonamarg, which are on one of the routes to the Amarnath Shrine, as also the Awantipura town of Pulwama district, adjacent to the Southern border  of Srinagar, which is of religious significance for the  Kashmiri Pandits, should also be added to the region earlier recommended as required to be absorbed by India into its Union as Union Territory, namely, the Anantnag District and Ladakh. 

At least making the Anantnag district of the Valley a Union Territory of India, alongwith the Ganderbal district comprising the Tulmula Tehsil housing the Kheer Bhavani Temple and Manasbal lake as well as Baltal-Sonamarg IS A MUST, (as a right or share and request of the Kashmiri Pandits, and also for the other hitherto non-Muslim domiciles of  the Kashmir Valley, viz. Dogras, Sikhs, some Buddhists,Christians, as well as for those among the Ahmediya and Shia Kashmiri Muslims who wish to stay with India. I do not know why the fight for the right of Kashmiri Hindus to inhabit Kashmir valley is seen only as the Kashmiri Pandits’ issue). The natives of Ladakh also want it to be made a Union Territory. This request also is as valid as Plebiscite. So there is no need for two separate UT, but  there can be one UT comprising Ladakh and the adjacent districts of Anantnag and Ganderbal, with the Capital at Leh.

Jammu should be made a regular State of India, as opted for by its citizens, but the Chief Minister of Jammu could also be the CM for the remaining Kashmir Valley, and have both the Jammu Capital and the Srinagar Capital under her or him.There can be a Deputy CM too for the Kashmir valley, elected from the Valley’s residents.

It is read that in the 2011 Poll conducted in the Kashmir Valley, about 25% of the residents were in favour of joining India. 50% wanted Independence, and 25% voted in favour of joining Pakistan. (These 25% who voted for Kashmir to join Pakistan should be expatriated and ordered to go and live in the Azad Jammu Kashmir of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir).    The Total area of the Valley is 15, 948 Sq.Kms, I.e.around 16000 sq.kms.Hence those 25% are entitled to 3987, I.e.nearly 4000 sq.kms of the valley. Anantnag Dist covers an area of 2913 sq.kms, and the Ganderbal Dist housing the Kheer Bhavani Temple, Manasbal lake, Gangbal,Baltal and Sonamarg is of  259 sq.Kms. Altogether the two districts on the eastern part of the Jhelum valley together occupy an area of 3172 sq.kms(20% of total valley area) which can be converted into a Union Territory under India,(and if possible, Baramulla and Sopore tehsils of Baramulla with the Wular lake) as asked for by the Kashmiri Pandits. (Srinagar being the Capital of the Kashmir Valley, of which the majority of people are against being under India, it should not  be included in the UT of Anantnag and Ganderbal districts or in the Jammu state, but should be a special district headquarter for control of the Valley by the Jammu and Kashmir   Government, and the Summer Capital of the combined J&K State). 

At the minimum, the PAHALGAM tehsil of the Anantnag district, that contains the Amarnath Cave with the Shrine, which is an important pilgrimage place for all Hindus and one of the two routes to it, as well as BALTAL with the base camp for the other route of the Amarnath Yatra and SONAMARG  in addition to the TULMULLA tehsil of the Ganderbal district housing the Kheer Bhavani temple which is also important to the Kashmiri Pandits and the MANASBAL LAKE nearby where devotees take a dip, should be absorbed in the Indian Union along with Jammu and Ladakh.

However, the said districts of the Valley CANNOT  be converted into a UT only for Kashmiri Pandits, but for all the nonMuslim domiciles like Dogras and Sikhs, and also those Muslim natives who wish to become citizens of India, for it will be difficult to ask them to leave, as many of them are involved in supply of provisions for the pilgrimage to the Amarnath Shrine. The area should be annexed to Ladakh, for which too there is a request to make a UT. 

Optimally, the two districts of East Kashmir, and Ladakh opting to separate from the state of J&K and wanting Article 370 to be scrapped should be merged with the immediately adjacent Himachal Pradesh, in view of the fact that its second Capital Dharamshala is the haven of refuge for the exiled Tibetans and the Dalai Lama, who are ethnically related to the people of Ladakh. The Environment and Climate of HP too is favourable for both the Ladakhis and Kashmiris to adapt to!

The other Seven districts of the Kashmir Valley, and Srinagar as the Capital of the Valley, may be allowed to remain under Article 370, with the Army removed from all but the Srinagar Capital and along the Line of Control, depending on the behavior and cooperativeness of the Separatists , that is, if they agree to stop the Stonepelting and bringing in the Pak Terrorists. The Army  will be required to be retained in the Srinagar Capital and the Anantnag plus Ganderbal districts, unless or until the unrest subsides.    The rest of the Valley can be guarded by the Cops of the Central Reserve Police Force of    the Valley. The Army should be brought in only in the event of suspicion of Terrorist infiltration and terrorist attacks, not installed there all the time.

 It is said that the force of the Separatists of Kashmir is mostly in FIVE out of the ten districts of the Valley, namely, Srinagar, Baramulla, Pulwama, Kulgam and Anantnag,      the last of which is an important pilgrimage centre for all Hindus besides the ones of Kashmir.As such, at least Anantnag district should be made a Union Territory alongwith Ladakh, to protect it from the destructiveness of the Separatists and Pak Terrorists,     while the Jammu Province can be converted into a regular state of the Indian Union,                by abolishing the Article 370 in Jammu, Ladakh and Anantnag district. As for the KashmiriMuslims not wanting to come out of the Article 370, they would still have       Eight unmerged districts(Srinagar, Baramulla, Bandipora, Kupwara,Budgam,Pulwama, Kulgam and Shopiyan) remaining in the valley, even if Anantnag and Ganderbal(which is only an earlier tehsil of Srinagar district, separated to form an independent District), are included in the proposed Union Territory with Ladakh.

Actually, the original Kashmir consisted only of the districts in the Indian Administered Kashmir Valley, and the districts of the Muzaffarabad block viz.Muzaffarabad district,      the Jhelum Valley, and the Neelam Valley , that are now in Azad Kashmir.       

Gilgit and Baltistan were Not a part of the original Kashmir, Nor the districts of Jammu that have been captured by Pakistan after driving out the Hindus and made a part of the Azad Jammu-Kashmir that is occupied by Pakistan, namely, the Poonch block.

The Indian Government has rightly planned to seal the border between India and Pakistan as well as along the Bangladesh border. It should also contemplate  on the feasibility and desirability as also the pros and cons of fighting for retrieving PakistanOccupied Kashmir!


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