Tensions escalate over disputed Kashmir region

by Saurav Tewari and Michael Eng

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Ever since the British partition of the Indian Subcontinent in 1947, India and Pakistan have been at odds with each other, whether in athletics or nuclear armaments. However, recently, that historic rivalry has been escalating into actual fighting on the ground.  

“India and Pakistan were never meant to exist the way they currently are,” Arun Sundaresan (12) said. “They are so diverse that they were just a series of ‘princely states’ with a couple of major empires before British rule.”

Fighting broke out because of armed revolts led by militia that India believes to be backed by Pakistan. In February, A Kashmiran suicide bomber killed 40 Indian paramilitary officers and an Indian pilot was shot down by Pakistani forces. Additionally, tensions rose because on Aug. 5, the current governing party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), removed the special status from Kashmir and disbarred Article 370. 

Article 370 is a constitutional provision granting some special rights to Kashmir that was brought in after it became part of India.  It was originally designed to be a temporary provision as a placeholder for a permanent solution but since the Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir, the body that passed the provision, has since been dissolved, no official plans for its repeal were entertained.

R.K. Misra, a non-resident scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, believes that India is completely justified in removing special status from Kashmir. 

This is completely an internal matter of India, within the purview of Indian constitution, and that’s why Pakistan is getting no support from anywhere,” he said.

The two countries have repeatedly fought over control of Kashmir, a region in northern India. At first, Kashmir wanted to be its own state, but their leader eventually decided to join India. India later instilled Article 370, which gave Kashmir its own flag as well as a high level of autonomy. 

Kashmir is also a primarily Muslim region, at about 60 percent, making it the only Muslim majority state in an otherwise predominantly Hindu India. Therefore, many Kashmirians separatists believe that they should merge with Pakistan or create their own state, and believe that the BJP pushing an agenda to make Kashmir more Hindu. Misra disagrees with this idea.

In India, religions are not made based on religion… and Indian Muslims are living in harmony and peace everywhere in the country,” he said.