Kashmir is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places on Earth. The native people themselves are astoundingly peaceful as well. Unfortunately, for the last 72 years this beautiful land has been caught in a violent struggle between India and Pakistan. The region itself has a majority Muslim population. Recently, there has been a lot of headlines surrounding Kashmir due to the Indian government’s decision to revoke Article 370 of the Indian constitution. Indian occupied Kashmir was essentially an autonomous region within the Indian state, however due to the revocation India now has full authority to do whatever they want in Indian occupied Kashmir. Revoking this special status will now enable Indians from other states to settle in Indian occupied Kashmir. It’s worth noting that the revocation of Article 370 goes against all UN laws and charters. This is occurring in the world’s so called largest democracy in the world. This may not seem like a huge deal, however this will gradually change the demographic of Indian occupied Kashmir. Before I delve into that, the history of the conflict needs to be examined.
After the independence of India and Pakistan, Kashmir emerged as a disputed region. Half of the territory ended up in India, and half ended up in Pakistan. The UN agreed that a plebiscite vote should be held to determine the permanent status of Kashmir. A plebiscite vote would allow Kashmiris to decide their own fate. Of course, being a Muslim majority region, the vote would have been to either accede to Pakistan or be independent. A majority Muslim region would never opt to join India. Fast forward to today, and Article 370’s revocation will now allow Indian citizens from all over the country to settle and purchase property in the disputed region. Majority of Indian citizens who would be settling in the region would be Hindu. Now, that brings me to the point of how the demographic shift will occur. The right wing extremist Hindu nationalist government of India will do whatever it can to turn the region into a Hindu majority area. Once the area becomes a Hindu majority area, the plebiscite vote will be held, and at that time the majority of Kashmiri voters would have now been Hindu, hence accession to India. This is the horrendous plan of the Indian government.
People might be asking why Kashmir is so important? For Pakistan, Kashmir is an important lifeline. Many of Pakistan’s rivers start high up in the mountains of Kashmir. A region controlled by India will pose a severe danger to Pakistan’s development and survival. Kashmiri’s do not want to join India due to the fact that freedom of religion will be severely reduced. May Allah (swt) make it easy for the people of Kashmir.