Kashmir Conflict – What is the reason behind it and how it all began?

The beautiful valley of Kashmir with snowcapped highest peaks of Himalayas and Karakoram ranges has been under dispute for 71 years. Ever since India and Pakistan were declared as separate and independent countries they have been fighting for Kashmir.

British relinquished their control on the Indian subcontinent in 1947 splitting the subcontinent into two predominant countries, Muslims’ Pakistan and Hindus’ India. At that time Kashmir was free to accede to either nation but its accession to any one of the country became the matter of dispute between the two countries. Since that time India and Pakistan have already fought two major wars on Kashmir in 1947 and 1965. As a result of these wars, Jammu and Kashmir valley remain divided between the two countries and they consequently made claims to Kashmir because of the religious affiliation of the Kashmiri people and on the history of the state.

India, Pakistan, and China the three countries claimed their partial or complete ownership of Kashmir. Pakistan controlled two areas namely Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan that contains total 35% Kashmiri, India controlled one main region Jammu and Kashmir equaling 45% of the Kashmiris and China also controlled some area of Kashmir known as Aksai Chin and Shaksgham valley equaling 20% Kashmiris. India also claims that Pakistan has conceded 3220 square miles of Kashmir in the northeastern part of China.

Kashmir-Map

The borderline of Pakistan and India controlled parts of Kashmir is 435 miles long. The two rivals Pakistan and India always exchange fire across their borders causing the deaths of several innocents. The present conflict is in Indian occupied Kashmir valley where the conflict between the Indian rebels and the Indian Government is tied on the dispute to the local independence and based on the demand for self-government. Self-ruled development was limited in this area until 1988.

Many of the reforms by the Indian Government were overturned and nonviolent channels for expressing discontent were thereafter limited and caused a dramatic increase in the support of insurgents supporting separation in India. The 1987 elections in Kashmir resulted in some of the state judicial assembly members forming an armed insurgents group and in 1988 Kashmir revolution started when the Indian Government was stricken and attacked by its rebels.

However, the conflict became deadly in some recent years. Several Protest movements were created to voice the Kashmir dispute and grieve with the Indian Government. The 2008 elections was declared fair and resulted in the creation of pro-India Jammu and Kashmir national conference to form a government in the state but in 2010 things got worse again when the youth of Kashmir pelted security forces with rocks, burned government offices after the unproven fake encounter of local youth with security forces was reported and at this time India blamed a Pakistan based Militant group for stocking the protest.

India believes that Kashmir is an integral part of India because of various reasons (some are related to their history).

On the other side, Pakistan claims that Kashmir is the jugular vein of Pakistan and its final status must be determined by the people of Kashmir. Pakistan’s claims are also due to various reason and some are the answers to the Indian claims.

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