Brussels, July 19 (KMS): The European Parliament has issued a fresh document on Kashmir that contains history of 70-year-old dispute, its damaging impact on development in South Asia, UN resolutions, struggle of Kashmiri people against the Indian rule and human rights violations by Indian troops in occupied Kashmir.

The document titled ‘Kashmir: 70 years of disputes’ was published by European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS). The document, authored by Enrico D’Ambrogio, member EPRS, provides an overview of the current situation in Kashmir highlighting the militarization of Indian occupied Kashmir and outlining the issues that have been vividly described in the recent report of the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights.

The document says that Kashmir, located between China, India and Pakistan, has been at the heart of a complex, 70-year dispute between Delhi and Islamabad, which has strained bilateral relations and impeded the development of stronger ties in the whole of South Asia.

The European Parliament’s document, while referring to the history of the Kashmir dispute, says that when in mid-August 1947 the UK’s administration of India, and the British Raj, ended, the subcontinent’s princely states were given the choice to join the predominantly Hindu India or Muslim Pakistan. It says that being a Hindu king of a largely Muslim population, the Maharaja of Kashmir, Hari Singh, signed a conditional accession of Jammu and Kashmir to be confirmed by a referendum. It says that in January 1948, the UN Security Council adopted resolutions 38 and 39 (1948), establishing the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) to investigate and mediate the dispute. “In June, by resolution 47 (1948), the UN enlarged the UNCIP, imposed a ceasefire that took effect in January 1949, and established the conditions for a plebiscite. With the July 1949 Karachi Agreement, India and Pakistan agreed that military observers would supervise the ceasefire line; accordingly, these constituted the nucleus of the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), still operational today,” it adds. It further says that the UN resolution 47 (1948) laid out the steps for holding a plebiscite but the plebiscite was never held.

The document says that Jammu and Kashmir gained special status under Article 370 of Indian constitution. It points out that in 1972, following the Indo-Pak war, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Pakistani President Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto signed the Simla Agreement, with which they established the principle of resolving their differences ‘through bilateral negotiations or by any other peaceful means mutually agreed upon’. Since then, Delhi has maintained that the Kashmir issue has to be resolved bilaterally, while Islamabad has upheld the UN Security Council resolutions of 1948 and 1949, it says, adding that the Simla Agreement also elevated the status of the ceasefire line to a Line of Control (LoC), which serves as a de facto border between the two countries in the region.

The European Parliament’s document maintains that in 1984, the Indian army occupied the Siachen glacier, a glaciated, inhospitable and un-demarcated area in north of the LoC; this prompted another conflict with Pakistan and a ceasefire was signed in 2003. “The strategic and economic significance of the Siachen glacier has been called into question: a large majority of the casualties among the two sides in the area are due to medical reasons related to the harsh terrain and climate conditions, and the cost of maintaining an army presence is unreasonably high,” it adds.

The document says that since 1989, an uprising against Delhi’s rule has been running in occupied Kashmir, a region characterised by high unemployment and by the presence of over 700,000 soldiers, who forcefully control a population of 8 million. “In 1999, another limited border conflict – the Kargil war – took place. In 2005, a cross-LoC bus service was launched, followed by cross-LoC trade in 2008. Human rights workers found about 1000 unmarked graves near the LoC in 2008,” it adds.

The European Parliament’s document says that in June 2018, the UN in its first-ever human rights report on Kashmir called for establishing a commission of inquiry into the human rights violations in Kashmir. “UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein called to curb excessive use of force by the Indian security forces, which has led to unlawful killings and a very high number of injuries. The Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act 1990 (AFSPA) and the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act 1978 (PSA) give security forces virtual immunity against prosecution for any kind of human rights violations, including enforced or involuntary disappearances and rape,” it says. It also maintains that since 2016, hundreds of Kashmiri protesters have been blinded by shotgun pellets used by Indian troops as a crowd control measure.


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