Written by Ethan Balgemino
Illustration by Vibhu Venkatesh
When the British left South Asia in 1947, they made bad decisions that messed up the whole region. Period.
Under the guidance of lawyer Sir Cyril Radcliffe, Muslim regions of South Asia became the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, while remaining sectors were united as parts of India.
However, this didn’t consider the religious minorities in both states. This meant that the two new countries underwent years of forced migration, armed resistance, and mass rape.
The post-independence situation was especially violent in Kashmir, a contested Himalayan territory known for its freshwater reservoirs.
After a war was fought in the area, Pakistan and India agreed to a “Line of Control”, the boundary between the two nations. The Indian side is known as Jammu & Kashmir, the only Muslim majority subdivision in India.
Under Article 35A, 370 of the Indian constitution, Kashmiris were promised high autonomy, which included exclusive property rights. After almost 70 years of legal commitment, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi revoked the article on August 5th to appease his Hindu nationalist BJP party. This coincided with martial law and Internet restrictions that isolated Kashmiri citizens. Interior Minister Amit Shah supported these measures as necessary evils that limit terrorism and corruption.
In contrast, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the decision and threatened to intervene on behalf of Kashmiris. This poses a huge problem; both nations are nuclear powers with complex international alliances.
Unless a compromise is made, it’s unlikely that South Asia will see peace in the near future.
Sources for more info:
Ansari, Sarah. “How the Partition of India Happened – and Why Its Effects Are Still Felt Today.” The Conversation, 18 May 2019, theconversation.com/how-the-partition-of-india-happened-and-why-its-effects-are-still-felt-today-81766.
“Article 370: What Happened with Kashmir and Why It Matters.” BBC News, BBC, 6 Aug. 2019, www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-49234708.
Hashim, Asad. “Pakistan Summons Indian Envoy on Kashmir, Reaches out to Allies.” News | Al Jazeera, Al Jazeera, 5 Aug. 2019, www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/08/pakistan-terms-india-kashmir-move-irresponsible-irrational-190805063352009.html.
Hume, Tim. “What's Article 370, and Why Its End Could Mean More Violence in Kashmir.” Vice, 6 Aug. 2019, news.vice.com/en_us/article/3kx8mw/whats-article-370-and-why-its-end-could-mean-more-violence-in-kashmir.
Ratcliffe, Rebecca. “Kashmir: Pakistan Will 'Go to Any Extent' to Protect Kashmiris.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 6 Aug. 2019, www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/06/india-kashmir-pakistan-will-go-to-any-extent-to-protect-kashmiris-special-status.
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Ward, Alex. “India's Risky Kashmir Power Grab, Explained.” Vox, Vox, 8 Aug. 2019, www.vox.com/2019/8/5/20754813/india-kashmir-article-370-modi-hindu-muslim.