Monday, January 30, 2012

Jammu and Kashmir: Injustices and Myths

The first image that comes to most minds when they hear the 'K' word for Kashmir, is the lack of peace. Depending upon which side of the opinion fence they are sitting, they will also visualize injustice, refugees, myths, oppression, terrorism and so on. There are plenty of movies made, documentaries presented, numerous propaganda material over the internet and innumerable government material in India, Pakistan, China, Britain, US and other countries, not to mention the UN Security Council.

This blog is not to focus in depth the issues that most people are already talking about. The attempt of this blog is to list some of the "not so famous" injustices and a few myths involving Jammu and Kashmir state. Most of the information is collected from people with first hand knowledge of Jammu region and Kashmir valley or those who have spent a good deal of time methodically researching the related material. All kind of comments, corrections and opinions are welcome, as long as they are not obscene or attacking a commentator writing comment.

So here we go without any further delay, listing 9 Injustices:

1. Injustice to refugees in general: There are close to 19,00,000 refugees in Jammu region of the state, among a population of 55,00,000. That's close to 35% of the population in some kind of refugee status or shelter. Very few people actually talk about them.
A refuge camp for displaced Kashmiris. {Source: kashmir-information}
Out of these 19,00,000 refugees, 4,00,000 are the Hindu Pandits cleansed from Kashmir valley since 1990, 4,00,000 are descendants of non Jammu and Kashmir state refugees who came from Pakistan during the bloody 1947 partition, and 10,00,000 are the descendants of Jammu and Kashmir state refugees who are technically "internally" displaced as they came from Kashmir parts which are now under China or Pakistan's occupation. These technically internal refugees ran to Jammu region of India during 1947 when Pakistani raiders and communal elements forced out the non-Muslim population. The last group of refugees are the 1,00,000 people of Jammu hills who moved to safer places due to recent waves of terrorism. It's also natural that many of these either already sending their children to Delhi, Mumbai or other cities for job, or planning to send, considering the pathetic living conditions in refugee camps or settlements.
Islamic Terrorism caused Kashmir Refugees. {Source: thekashmir}

Very few people ever talk about these refugees, their victim-hood and the pathetic conditions in which most are living.  

2. Injustice to Other Backward Castes (OBC): Jammu and Kashmir is probably the only state in India where there is no reservation for OBCs.The state constitution is silent on OBCs and so is the state administration. There is no count also done like in other Indian states. It's surprising that the champions of backward castes in India are silent when it comes to Jammu and Kashmir OBCs.

3. Injustice to Scheduled Tribes (STs):  Anywhere from 10-18% of Jammu and Kashmir population is STs. A 10 year old Government of India census data shows 10.9%, but actual numbers today may be higher per those with first hand knowledge. Out of the refugees in Jammu, who moved from Pakistan, nearly 75% are SCs or STs. Indian constitution guarantees affirmative action and political reservation for SC/STs. But in Jammu and Kashmir, this is not the case! Contrast this with Uttar Pradesh, where less than 1% of the population is ST, but they have political reservation. These refugee STs have no voting rights, no property, no admission to colleges. No human rights for them? If they had any clue of how badly they would be treated in Jammu and Kashmir, who knows, they would have migrated to some other state in India during 1947-48 carnage that happened in the Pakistan region. For instance, nearly 48,000 Hindus and Sikhs got killed just around Mirpur and Muzaffarabad areas of Jammu and Kashmir within Pakistan now. These people are descendants of those who ran away just to save their lives, with least botheration about legal implications of their intended settlement area.

Even for Scheduled Castes of Jammu and Kashmir, there was no political reservation as recently as 2007 in the state. It took a Supreme Court ruling to tell the government in Srinagar to correct this grave mistake. We need to wait and see how this is really implemented.

4. Injustice to grass-root governance (Panchayati Raj): Jammu and Kashmir has seen probably the lowest number of grass root elections, or Panchayat elections in India. They were held in 1964, 1971 and 1978, before being resumed in 2011. They might have been held in 1959 too, but we are not sure. Every other state in India sees Panchayat elections once every 5 years, so this has historically been a big blow to democracy at grass root level. Local governance is always the best governance. 

5. Injustice to Jammu and Ladakh Regions: Jammu and Ladakh continue to be given second-class treatment in Jammu and Kashmir state. Even though Jammu has 27,000 of area and 32,00,000 voters, it gets only 37 seats' representation in the State assembly. But Kashmir valley that has 15,000 of area with 28,00,000 voters, gets 44 seats, plus potential 2 nominations! In Jammu region, 15-20% of land, government jobs and businesses are owned by Kashmir valley Muslims. But the reverse is not found in the Kashmir valley. Sparingly populated Ladakh on the other hand has always expressed interest to become a separate state or Union territory in India. It's area of 59,000 is much bigger than states like Manipur and Nagaland. But its voices are ignored and it is lumped with Kashmir valley and being treated as second class within the state.
Jammu, the land of temples. {Source: Destination360}
It is not fashionable to present Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists or Muslims of these two regions in TV debates, so most people don't even know their real problems.

Except Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is half Kashmiri and half Jammuite, no other Chief Minister of the state has hailed from  Jammu or Ladakh regions in nearly 6 decades!

Ladakh region does not have any university with access to professional education. It had only one degree college till a few years back. When you look at the 59,000 of rugged, hilly area, you can imagine how much access the sparsely populated districts had to higher education.

6. Injustice to villagers close to international border: The villagers within 20-30 KM of Pakistan border face repeated refugee status. They were evacuated for reasons understandable, during 1948, 1965, 1971 and 1999 wars with Pakistan. These 2 to 3,00,000 people will have to wait for years to get back to their villages after the war. Some times it could take up to 7 years after a war to de-mine their fields. There is very little help for their lives that get periodically uprooted.

7. Injustice to 1947-48 Refugees from today's Pakistan area:
Lakhs of refugees don't have state subject certificates. This means, they can't buy property, can't get government jobs or cast their vote in Jammu and Kashmir elections! And.. these are third or fourth generation citizens of India who were unfortunately uprooted from their grand fathers' villages/towns, which are today in Pakistan. How many places on this planet can you show people who are born and brought up in the state, but not treated as state subjects when it comes to jobs, voting or residency?

Check this video for details of what we are talking about:

Who will listen to the problems of the refugees, who were mostly Hindus migrating from Sialkot which is in today's Pakistan (and as a coincidence, from where Indian PM Manmohan Singh's family migrated from too, but luckily to a different state) to Jammu and Kashmir after partition? Their unfulfilled promises and betrayal is very well captured in these videos.

No one talks for these mostly Scheduled Caste (SC - Dalit) victims:

62 years of human rights violation and still going on:

It is very apparent that the second class treatment is meted out to these, because they are non Muslims.For instance, a small group of Muslims who moved in from Tibet in late 1950s were given Jammu and Kashmir state subject status and citizenship, and were settled in Hariparbat area of Srinagar. These 8 to 10,000 Tibetans had no connection what-so-ever with Jammu and Kashmir, but still given special privilege, most likey due to their religion.  

8. Injustice to Kashmiris being ruled by Pakistan and/or China: The areas under Pakistan's control are Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) and Gilgit-Baltistan. China controls the Aksai Chin and some parts of Gilgit. Neither Pakistan, nor China, ever had any accession legal document signed in favour of them by Jammu and Kashmir's administration at the time of 1947-48. So their entire occupation is illegal and understandably, the Kashmiris living under their rule totally oppose their rule. In fact, in 1994, Pakistan's Supreme Court upheld the Muzaffarabad High Court decision that Northern Areas (Gilgit and Baltistan) are NOT a part of Pakistan, but a part of State of Jammu and Kashmir. If one opens Pakistan's constitution, it technically rules out PoK (termed as Azad Kashmir in Pakistan) and Northern Areas as parts of Pakistan.

PoK essentially contains Mirpur, Muzaffarabad, Rawlakot, Neelam, Kotli, Poonch (Pak part) and Bagh areas, which are more linked culturally & ethnically to Jammu region. Their language is similar to Dogri, Pahadi and Punjabi. Kashmiri speaking people are very limited or non-existent in most of these areas today. Baltistan was a western district of Ladakh before illegally occupied by Pakistan in 1948.

The police chief, state chief, the intelligence chiefs of PoK are selected by the Pakistan federal government. Kashmiris have no say on these important selections. So much for "azadi" of freedom/self-determination! Nothing exposes the hypocrisy of Pakistan in claiming "azad" or "free" status for these illegally occupied areas, than the United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR, declaring PoK as NOT FREE at all, in 2008!

Unlike India, there is no Article 370 kind of exclusive rights to Jammu and Kashmir state subjects in Pakistan. A huge difference!

Listen to a leader of NSF, from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir talking about how badly they are treated in Pakistan: 

Truth about PoK: Video depicts the problems of Kashmiris under Pakistan's control like those in Muzaffarabad, who struggle for jobs & human rights. Their alienation is well depicted here. In fact 70% are daily wage labourers and 75% are food-insecure.Unlike the pampered Kashmiris of Srinagar in India, these unfortunate Kashmiris stuck in Pakistan have 35-40% below poverty population as this video explains:

To make all these worse, a part of Hunza-Gilgit called Raskam and the Shaksgam Valley of Baltistan region, was ceded by Pakistan to the China in 1963. This illegally ceded area of Jammu and Kashmir, measuring 1000s of, is also known as the Trans-Karakoram Tract. This was a complete betrayal on the people of Jammu and Kashmir as without any consent from them or government of India which legally has accession of the entire state, a large chunk was illegally given to China by Pakistan. China holds the areas ceded by Pakistan on Trans Karakoram track and also an uninhabited part towards the east called Aksai Chin. Here is some information on China's discreet hold on Pakistan's Northern Borderlands today.
"a simmering rebellion against Pakistani rule and the influx of an estimated 7,000 to 11,000 soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army."
9. Injustice to Indians as a whole - The Article 370: No constitutional article has spawned so much debate in India since 1950s as the infamous Article 370 from 1954. Originally, this was supposed to be a procedural mechanism or an interim arrangement during war time and also during a time when UN was involved. Just a few lines drafted in here by Jawaharlal Nehru and Gopalaswami Iyengar has caused immense damage to Kashmiris as well as non-Kashmiri Indians. Neither of them were constitutional experts, legal experts or constitution authors. In gist, this article was supposed to say - "Jammu and Kashmir constitution would be extended with Jammu and Kashmir Assembly's consultation, concurrence and recommendation". But the way it was drafted was not legal, as the key legal authority was Maharajah Hari Singh, the ruler of the princely Jammu and Kashmir kingdom. If there is ONE blunder that has sustained lots of dimensions to this "problem", it is Article 370. No wonder almost everyone we have talked to, say this article must go. It is good to hear that at least recently a 99 year lease proposal is extended to everyone in India to invest in land in Jammu and Kashmir for job creation purpose. This is a good step in removing alienation of Kashmiris from rest of India, which was made up of 600 odd such kingdoms or provinces in 1947.

Here is a thought provoking analysis of why Article 370 is the REAL Kashmir Problem.

Article 370 is frankly neither a Hindu-Muslim thing, nor a Congress-BJP kind of political thing. It's pure discrimination legalized to benefit mostly a very small minority of Muslims of India who happen to be Kashmiris.Even the rest of Indian Muslims, whose number is easily 18-20 times bigger than Jammu and Kashmir's Muslim population, don't benefit from this illogical clause in the constitution.

Here is a view, of course backed by solid facts, demonstrating a highly pampering aspect of this exclusivity granted to a small percentage of Indian population, via Article 370. It is also worth noting that Article 370 has been used to keep many progressive laws out of Jammu and Kashmir.

Let's also examine a couple of myths that you will hear the moment you talk of Kashmir.

Myth 1: Accession, Autonomy and Plebiscite:

This is a very involved topic. This itself will need a long blog post to do justice to all parts. But since this keeps coming in all Kashmir related discussions, let's provide a few real scholarly links which would quench the knowledge thirst of any serious reader. For starters, 26th October 1947 was the date when Jammu and Kashmir princely state's maharajah, Hari Singh, signed a legal accession document to bring the state as a part of India.

a) V.K. Krishna Menon's marathon speech at UN lasting over 8 hours, on 23rd January 1957 is the ultimate place to figure all answers to misconceptions being floated in the plebiscite aspect.
b) A book by Jagmohan, former Governor of Jammu and Kashmir during the most turbulent times - My Frozen Turbulence

c) The Origins of a Dispute book by Prem Shankar Jha.

d) The Secular Agenda book by Arun Shourie.

e) Speech by Mahomedali Currim Chagla at the United Nations Security Council on 5th and 10th February 1964, exposing the Plebiscite hollow argument from Pakistan.

f) Autonomy: Nuts and Bolts of Operational  Reality.

g) Vision of India and Kashmir's place in that vision.

h) Kashmir: Illusion and Reality

Myth 2: Kashmir Valley Muslim Victimization:

This is "Kashmir" that media talks about. {Source:}
Two maps would illustrate most of the things we want to convey on this  important sub topic. Here is the tiny valley that everyone focus on as "Kashmir problem".

However, the image below is the reality of Jammu and Kashmir entire state, including the parts illegally occupied by Pakistan and China.

Entire Jammu and Kashmir {Source:}
Thus "Kashmir" that media portrays is about 7% in area of undivided Jammu and Kashmir, or about 15% of Jammu and Kashmir state within India today. Ladakh, about 59,000 in area, which is 58% Buddhist, plus has a Muslim region of Kargil, has no "problem". Jammu, about 27,000 in area, which is about 70% Hindu ha no "problem". So essentially, 86,000 of Jammu and Kashmir which is under Indian control today, has no alienation or "problem".

Now over to some poverty analysis: Anywhere from 32 to 40% of India as a whole is BPL or Below Poverty Line today. That's a massive number of people as well as percentage in a 1.2 billion country. During the last comprehensive listing of states, Jammu and Kashmir was shown as having just around 5% BPL population. Even if you adjust to the ever changing BPL criteria, the total BPL population in the entire state would be in single digits, far smaller than most of India. And here is the most interesting thing. Almost all this BPL is in Jammu and Ladakh region, and not in the Kashmir valley. So the so called "oppressed" valley is better off in terms of income levels, than most parts, if not all parts of India! Those familiar with Srinagar and surrounding areas tell about the quality of rice in public distribution system, the quality of houses, heating system during winter etc. No wonder when 100s die in rest of north Indian states closer during each cold wave during winters, no major casualties get reported from the Kashmir valley.

Coming  to jobs. There are around 4,00,000 government jobs in Kashmir valley alone! That is about 6 to 7% of the entire valley's population employed the government. I don't think there can be another state or division in India where you can find such a high number of population on government pay roll! Let's not get into who might have taken over the 60,000 odd government jobs that Kashmiri Pandits were in, before they were kicked out of the valley by gun totting Jihadis squad.

Land: Jammu and Kashmir was probably the first state in India that reformed land, essentially giving lands to the tiller in late 1940s. Most of the large land owning Kashmiri Pandits lost huge amounts of land overnight.If one looks into the land ownership in Kashmir valley today, almost everything would be owned by Muslims.

If one is serious to learn about learning statistics of how Muslims, particularly Kashmir valley Muslims, are dominating every segment of Jammu and Kashmir administration, check out this highly informative link

So plenty of government jobs, plenty of government package/investments, complete land ownership, lack of poverty compared to rest of India, must tell us that the whole Kashmiri Muslim victimization campaign is quite shaky.

To Conclude:

Let the governments in Srinagar and New Delhi look into the injustices listed seriously, and work to resolve them. Because if there is any "problem" in Jammu and Kashmir today, that is mostly created and nurtured by these two cities. Constantly pampering to a minority even within Jammu and Kashmir state is not the answer, but a holistic approach to correct the injustices is a good step forward.

Further Reading/Viewing Material:

The links provided below by online friends cover a wide variety of topics touched above, as well as those involving security, geography, speech extracts, administration and challenges. They are from a wide variety of authentic sources, and presented in no particular order.
  1. Government acts blind as terrorist roams free: - This and the next few links shared by @rainaamit on Twitter:
  2. Targeting Minorities in Jammu and Kashmir:
  3. The Amarnath Controversy; An In-Depth Analysis:
  4. List of Hindu Temples destroyed by Islamic Terrorists:
  5. The Wandhama massacre:
  6. The recent atrocities on Christians of Jammu and Kashmir. Mission Schools have done tremendous work and their contribution to education is unparalleled in valley. But off late fatwas or calls against Christian schools in Kashmir, are being issued.  
  7. Yasin Malik, now a prominent "voice" in Jammu and Kashmir, admits killing 4 Indian Airforce Personnel - Link shared by @ShKa89 on Twitter.
  8. Interview with Bitta Karate, now roaming freely but after killing dozens of Kashmir Pandits in cold blood.
  9. Kashmir Issue - Arun Jaitley's perspective in 2010: Arun Jaitley talks about the current situation and the Government of India's poor handling of the situation. We included this link as it covers most of the short-comings of the government's handling of the Kashmir issue from a political perspective.This and the next few links shared by @pvaidyaraj on Twitter.
  10. The 2007 Wadhwa committee report on PoK and Refugees: :
  11. The brutal ethnic cleansing of nearly 10,00,000 Kashmiri Hindus, and the world remained silent -
  12. Ethnic Cleansing of Hindu Pandits in Kashmir (Part 1) - and Part 2 -
  13. This video portrays the suffering and victim-hood of Hindus and Sikhs in Jammu and Kashmir under the ugly dance of violent Jihad -
  14. V.K. Krishna Menon's marathon speech at UN lasting over 8 hours, on 23rd January 1957. Part 1 here. - Shared by @KPGanesh on Twitter. 
  15. The ugly world of Kashmir’s online Muslim rebels - - This and the next few links shared by @amsrjn on Twitter.
  16. What ails Kashmir? The Sunni idea of ‘azadi’:
  17. Let's not defame the armed forces:
  18. Whose man is that soldier fighting in Kashmir? :
  19. Omar must know Army is not the enemy:
  20. Kashmir’s Azadi talk — a  lesson in how to destroy the idea of India.:
  21. Kashmiri Shia mourn India patriot:
  22. An entire picture album is presented here of the "peaceful" protestors of Kashmir valley :
  23. Kashmir's economic trauma: 60,000 job lost in 10 weeks:
  24. Khaki enemy? 60000 Kashmiris apply for 3000 police jobs:
  25. Fourth Estate or Part of Anti-India movement?: 
  26. The List of Hindu Temples converted to mosque in Kashmir :
  27. Kashmir Is Too Small For Azadi:
  28. Second exodus from Kashmir - now, it's the Muslims:
  29. Home and Away:
  30. Half stories, half truths about Kashmir: - Shared by @thearvinddhar on Twitter who also helped review the draft to a greater extend.
Special thanks to all those named and those who didn't wish to be named, while contributing to this blog and also reviewing the details.


  1. You have painstakingly put together a lot of facts and dispelled myths. Great work!

  2. My God...what a blog. is there any single point that has not been covered, i guess but still let me share my views -
    J&K is a blatant act of injustice not only on KPs but on the whole of India. i say this because i do not find any other example wherein people of a country can NOT go and live in other part of the SAME country. this has happened in kashmir, thanks to the first PM and his cronies.

    this state again gave us a 'wonderful' (please pardon my sarcasm) example of democracy when its original inhabitants who we know as kashmiri Pandits were, overnight, made to leave their homeland of over 5000 years and our 'democratically' elected government just did nothing. i wonder if the government would have remained a mute spectator had it been the other way round. that is if muslims were 'made' to leave J&K. if this is not injustice, then what is?
    there are so many more - injustice meted out to defence forces, to hindu pilgrims, to Amarnath shrine board, to jagmohan, so many.
    but the bigger problem is the one sided approach of the media people, who officially are supposed to be unbiased but sadly i hardly find them so. many media houses tend to highlight the repercussions /problems of kashmiri muslims but how many of them have bothered to meet displaced KPs, or even army officers (i am not sure if it is allowed) to know the other side. why does media try to glorify abject piece of sick intellectualism in the name of videos like Insha Allah-Kashmir.
    we are indeed living in a very bad time and unless the kashmir problem is resolved, KPs are given back what rightfully belong to them, we will continue to have a complete loss of faith in our so called democracy.

    But yet my message to separatists is very clear - kashmir was [part of India, is part of India and as long as earth remains & human life remains, Kashmir WILL remain an integral part of India and not an inch of land would be ceded away. for this we can an should to go to any imaginable extent including waging a war on the separatists.

  3. and to think that another 'small injustice' is the way Bitta Karate is roaming freely on the streets where he killed more than 20 people.
    streets where on 19th january the slogan of "kashmir me agar rehna hai, aalah hu akbar kehna hai' was made but so quickly forgotten.

    or taking another instance where the state govt blatanty refused to granst some extra land for Amarnath trust. or when they wanted to carry out mining in the land belonging to vaishno Devi trust

    we are in a country which justifies all injustices

  4. This is a splendid data base of so many disturbing information that perhaps is beyond reach to the common man who day in day out hears about the J&K problem not realizing what it intrinsically is! A masterpiece.

    The prevalent attitude of assuming that it is only **Kashmiri Muslims** of the Valley — and that too mostly from a certain political persuasion— who ought to have the right to determine the future of the entire state of J&K has created huge fault lines and murderously hostile camps in the State.

    There is various false propaganda from across the border and within Kashmir who are paid to remain tizzy and sadly, enough believers in India who subscribe to these lamentations.

    Primarily, we owe this painstaking debacle to one among the many series of follies committed by Pandit Nehru. Like when Emperor Nero was dancing when Rome was burning, so was Nehru lost in his fond thoughts of Edwina Mountbatten when on October 26 1947, with the NWFP Raiders at the outskirts of Kashmir. If not for a stern and angry Sardar Patel and an equally dashing young Sam Manekshaw who took decision upon themselves to counter attack, J&K would have but all been lost in its entirety.

    The Congress infatuation with Muslims has reduced our great Nation to the terrible state it has become now. To coax and cajole a percentage population larger than a nation if placed anywhere on the globe is not mere communal but ludicrous. That the predominant majority community has to become refugees in their very homes is just bizarre. If a recourse is not adopted at the earliest, the entire Nation that is called "Bharat" now will become "Islamic Republic of Bharat".

    Keeping Kashmir in mind, let the majority community awake in unity!

    A scintillating blog, Kiran. Kudos to you.

  5. A splendid effort with numerous details and facts. One place of knowledge for anyone who wishes to know about what has been happening in Jammu&Kashmir.

    Sadly, but for the appeasing policies of the Nehru family till date, J&K would have been a peaceful part of our Nation. I am hopeful, I will be able to able to visit there in the future without fearing anything.

    Beautifully written blog.... Thanks Kiran.

  6. good one with lot of information!!!

  7. Real Hard work. Thanks for trying to highlight the truth - Amit Raina

  8. An extremely informative article. A must reading by one and all. Many, many thanks to the blogger.

  9. i have given solution......just talking about problm not going to help.....apply my solution problm will be solved.

  10. Wonderful piece of work, full of real facts, all together in a single span. I very much support the solutions submitted by Sumit with some added suggestions. Let the territory be divided in three- Jammu, Laddakh and the Kashmir Valley. Revoke article 370 immediately. Support the people who want freedom of Sindh and Baluchistan.

  11. This should be an eye opener for all those who keep on crying without knowing the facts. thanks for putting all of it in a right prespective together. hail your efforts.

  12. no words to say, on earth everywhere is same problems, who is fighter is a winner & who is not fighter is a looser. OK, so when there is injustice with so many peoples, we want to fight in a court of law any where, Please writ plea in the supreme court, with proper evidences on fast track.

  13. Beautifully written with detailed information!!

  14. nice stuff dint read entirely bt bookmarked


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