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A novel solution to the Kashmir problem
India has done a lot for the Kashmiri people. It has fought four wars to prevent Pakistan from annexing the area by force and sacrificed the lives of more than 5000 soldiers. It has accorded a special status to Jammu & Kashmir and given it more autonomy t
WHAT HAS the Indian government done for the people of Kashmir? I will try to recapitulate what it has done. Please forgive me if miss out anything and point it out.
Fought a war in 1947-48 to save the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir from Pakistani Army and its tribal militia. It was a war in which thousands of Indian soldiers died. The war was inconclusive. The princely state was divided along the Line of Control (LOC) into Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir.

Promulgated Article 370 to give a special status and autonomy to Kashmir. The Indian laws do not apply in Kashmir. The Chief Minister of the state is called “Prime Minister”. Why was this done? Apart for the reason that our first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, was a Kashmiri Pandit himself, and decided to give his native state a special status, I am not aware of any.

Passed a resolution in the Parliament declaring Jammu and Kashmir to be an integral part of India.

Deployed over 100,000 soldiers of the Indian Army and another over 100,000 paramilitary forces to protect its borders and maintain law and order. At least 300 security personnel die in Kashmir every year.

Fought three wars, in 1965, 1971 and 1994 to prevent Pakistan from annexing Kashmir by force and suffered over 5000 casualties.
Spent over Rs 100,000 crores of Indian taxpayer’s money in developing the infrastructure of the area, far more per capita than what the Central Government has spent on any other state.

What did India get in return?
A large segment of the population living in the Kashmir valley demands the right to self determination which means parting of ways with India.

The people of Kashmir valley rewarded the Kashmiri Pandits for Nehru’s favour by throwing them out of their ancestral homes in the Kashmir valley. These refugees still languish in camps in Jammu.

Create law and order problems in the Kashmir valley almost every day. Even the Chief Minister blames the Indian Government for the violence when maintaining law and order is a state subject.
Many Kashmiri’s provide logistic supports and recruits to Kashmiri militants and their Pakistani counterparts.

Demographically and geographically, the Indian part of Jammu and Kashmir can be divided into three parts.

Kashmir Valley:. This area, north of the Pir Panjal range of mountains and West of the Zanskar Mountains (Zojila Pass) and the valley of the Jhelum River has almost 100 % Muslim population. Some of the population is anti India. Almost 90 % of violent incidents occur here.

Jammu Sector. This part of Jammu and Kashmir has a substantial Hindu and Sikh population. This part is peaceful and would happily become a state of India.

The Ladakh Sector. This part has a substantial Buddhist population and is totally pro-India
The Solution
India should declare that it will hold a UN supervised plebiscite and grant full independence to the Kashmir Valley (defense and foreign affairs included) on 1st January 2016 if the majority of the people of the valley vote for it. However, no plebiscite will be held in the Jammu and Ladakh Regions and these areas will be amalgamated into India without any special status as states or Union Territories. No Muslim will be allowed to migrate from the Kashmir Valley to Jammu or Ladakh unless they have property there. In any case they will not be granted refugee status and will not be entitled to financial assistance. However, Muslims of Jammu and Ladakh region will be allowed to migrate to the Valley.
The Plebiscite should be held in November 2010. If the people of the Kashmir Valley opt for independence, the next five years should be used to plan a smooth transition. Some steps will be:
Redrawing of boundaries between Republic of Kashmir and Jammu and Ladakh regions so that the new border along the Pir Panjal Range and Zanskar Range is defensible against Pakistani attack.
The Amarnath Shrine and Poonch should to be a part of India.
Redeployment of Indian Army and BSF from Uri and Dras Sectors and the Valley to new locations along the new border and inside India. For this new permanent defenses and accommodation for the Army and BSF will have to be constructed on priority.
Develop a new road and rail system to improve communication to cater for defense requirements and lateral communications between Jammu, Ladakh and Himachal Pradesh.

A section of population of the Kashmir valley is anti-Indian and has little gratitude for the Indian lives that have been sacrificed to protect them and the Indian money that has been spent to make their lives more livable. Despite the persecution and discrimination against Indian muslim migrants in Pakistan, they still look upon that country as their savior. So if the majority of the people of the valley want independence, let them have it.
A divorce is better than a painful and unworkable marriage. It must also be made clear that India would not intervene if Pakistan attacks The Republic of Kashmir nor will allow refugees to flee into India.
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