< < <
Date Index
> > >
The Instrument of Accession & The Indian Claims to Kashmir
by Saima Alvi
26 May 2002 10:47 UTC
< < <
Thread Index
> > >
Posted from http://www2.4dcomm.com/farookster30/

India's False Claim on Kashmir

On October 28th 1993, Robin Raphel stated that Washington did not recognise 
the Instrument of Accession to India as meaning that Kashmir is forever 
more an integral part of India. She expressed the view that the whole of 
Kashmir is disputed territory, the future status of which must be 
determined in accordance with the wishes of the people of Kashmir.

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), based in Geneva, recently, 
passed a resolution proclaiming Kashmir's accession to India as bogus and 
null and void. The ICJ went further by condemning the human rights 
violations in Kashmir.

These events serve to highlight the disputed status of Kashmir by focusing 
on the fraudulent nature of the Instrument of Accession which was 'signed' 
by the Mahrajah of Kashmir on 26th October 1947.

The Indians claim that the Instrument of Accession was signed by Mahrajah 
Hari Singh on 26th October 1947, in which the Mahrajah agreed to accede to 
India in return for military assistance to put down the popular rebellion 
against him, seen at that time as an invasion by tribesmen from 
neighbouring Pakistan. The details of the accession were worked out between 
the Kashmiri Prime Minister, MC Mahajan and the Indian official, VP Menon, 
in Dehli. However, there are serious doubts about the signing of the 
document. Alastair Lamb (in his book, Kashmir - A disputed legacy 1846-
1990) points out that the Instrument of Accession could not have been 
signed by the Mahrajah on 26th October as he was travelling by road to 
Jammu (a distance of over 350 Km). There is no evidence to suggest that a 
meeting or communication of any kind took place on 26th October 1947. In 
fact it was on 27th October 1947 that the Mahrajah was informed by his MC 
Mahajan and VP Menon (who had flown into Srinagar), the the Instrument of 
Accession had already been negotiated in Dehli. The Mahrajah did not in 
fact sign the Instrument of Accession, if at all, until 27th October 1947. 
This sheds doubts on the actions of the Indian regime. Some Indian troops 
had already arrived and secured Srinagar airfield during the middle of 
October 1947. On 26th October 1947, a further massive airlift brought 
thousands of Indian troops to Kashmir - BEFORE the signing of the 
Accession. Therefore, this situation begs the question: would the Mahrajah 
have signed the Instrument of Accession had the Indian troops not been on 
Kashmiri soil?

No satisfactory original of the Instrument of Accession has ever been 
produced in an international forum; a published form has always been shown. 
Further, the document was not presented to Pakistan or to the UN. In the 
summer of 1995, the Indian authorities reported the original document as 
lost or stolen. This sheds further doubt on whether the Mahrajah actually 
signed the Instrument of Accession.

The Governor-General of India at the time, Lord Mountbatten, stipulated 
that the permanent accession of Kashmir to the Indian Union will only be 
accepted once the people of Kashmir had been consulted. He noted in a 
letter to the Mahrajah, "the question of the states's accession should be 
settled by a reference to the people". Furthermore, when the Kashmir crisis 
broke out in October 1947, the principle of reference to the people through 
plebiscite was already established as similar disputes in some other states 
had been resolved this way. The Indian Prime Minister J Nehru, accepted 
this principle and reiterated his position in a letter to the British Prime 
Minister on 25th October 1947, "our view, which we have repeatedly made 
public, is that the question of accession in any disputed territory must be 
decided in accordance with the wishes of the people and we adhere to this 
view". Therefore, at the time of the so-called accession, the Indian regime 
accepted the principle of reference to the people. Based on this principle, 
the Instrument of Accession should have been provisional and conditional 
upon the outcome of a plebiscite.

When India took the Kashmir issue to the UN in 1948, it did so under 
article 35 of Chapter VI which outlines the means for a peaceful settlement 
of disputes. It is interesting to note here that India did not present the 
Kashmir case under the UN Chapter VII which relates to acts of aggression 
as India was alleging Pakistan. Therefore, it is evident that by raising 
the issue under Chapter VI, India recognised the Kashmir issue as a 
dispute, thus conceding that the Instrument of Accession had not confirmed 
the state to be an integral part of India. India is still party to all the 
UN resolutions on Kashmir. Moreover, India and Pakistan accepted the UN 
resolutions of January 1948 calling for a plebiscite in Kashmir to exercise 
the right of self-determination of the people of Kashmir. India's 
acceptance of the UN resolutions establishes beyond a doubt, that the 
future of status of Kashmir would be determined by its people. Therefore, 
the Instrument of Accession, even if genuine, is rendered null and void.

In the past, attempts to hold a plebiscite have been met with fierce 
opposition from India. India has known, right from the start, that the 
result of a plebiscite is a foregone conclusion - the population of Kashmir 
would have voted to rid themselves of Indian rule. This has been the case 
from 26th October 1947 to the present day. On the practicality of holding a 
plebiscite, a paper by the US state department, presented to the UN on 2nd 
December 1947, noted , "the dominion of India may attempt to establish the 
extant electoral rolls on the basis for the referendum. As these rolls are 
said to contain less than 7% of the population and were compiled on a basis 
which served the weight to the members of the wealthiest educated Hindu 
majority who would obviously vote for accession to India, it is important 
that the electoral body should in fact be composed on a basis of complete 
adult suffrage in order that the result of the referendum may be 
representative of the actual wishes of the people of Kashmir".

In view of the above arguments, it is clear that the Indian case on Kashmir 
is politically, legally and morally unjustified. The commitment made by 
India and the UN to allow the people of the state to choose their own 
future are neither time bound nor do they provide an escape clause for the 
Indian regime. It is only through fraud and repression that India continues 
to forcefully occupy a large portion of Kashmir.

< < <
Date Index
> > >
World Systems Network List Archives
at CSF
Subscribe to World Systems Network < < <
Thread Index
> > >