India is of course celebrating its 67th Republic Day to honor its Constitution that became enforceable on January 26 in 1950.But the worlds largest democracy had no such democratic intentions for Kashmir.It was just two years earlier that the United Nations Security Council had been adopted, creating the Ceasefire Line, which was to end the war, stave off further conflict between India and Pakistan and pave the way for conditions in which a plebiscite could be held in which the people of Jammu and Kashmir could decide for themselves whether they wished to be an integral part of India, join Pakistan, or be free to chart their own course as an independent state.
India certainly has the right to celebrate this historic day within its legal boundary.But according to all recognized UN resolutions and other policies adopted by foreign states,Kashmir remains a disputed territory. Therefore, India persists in allying itself with a position that has no legal, moral or constitutional authority to celebrate the Republic Day in Kashmir which is not the integral part of its territory. Its advocacy of this is no doubt the prime cause of continued suffering in Kashmir and persistent violations at the Ceasefire Line, sustaining the potential for more all-out war between the two countries.
All available evidence shows that India has occupied the territory with its military might on October 27, 1947 and that horrendous act took place against the wishes and will of the people of Jammu & Kashmir. Hari Singh, the Maharaja, of course fled the Valley immediately following this crime, raising obvious questions as the legitimacy of his authority as a representative and spokesperson for the country he supposedly handed over to this undemocratic democracy. For Kashmiris, this is not a day to celebrate but a day of mourning, a day of catastrophe, when their power of self-determination was taken from them by occupiers.
Mahatma Gandhi has said that Kashmirs real rulers were its people and not its Maharajas. If the people of Kashmir are in favor of opting for Pakistan, no power on earth can stop them from doing so. But they should be left free to decide for themselves. (Gandhis Passion by Professor Stanley Wolpert, Page 247)
It will be better if India accepts the ground realities that the resolution of Kashmir will guarantee peace and stability not only in India and Pakistan but also in the whole region of South Asia and beyond. But that resolution needs to be explored by all parties concerned _ Governments of India & Pakistan and the leadership of the people of Jammu & Kashmir.
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