India Gained Independence on 15 August 1947,After being Partitioned into Dominion of Pakistan and Dominion of India. The Partition and Independence of India was done under India Independence act 1947 and involved only British India.At the time of partition there were close to 568 Princely States that were not a part of British India but had treaties with the British. To manage the Fall out of Partition and Independence of India-Instrument of Accession was drafted for princely states. The instrument of accession was basically revoking of existing treaties with Erstwhile British Empire and Acceding to Either Dominion of India or Pakistan by the erstwhile ruler of the princely Kingdom,main criteria being the contiguity with India/Pakistan.
About 550 states acceded to India without any problem by signing the Instrument of accession. Some states like Kalat (Balauchistan) Umerkot ( Sindh) though wishing to accede to India had to accede to Pakistan due to Geographical Contiguity.
Princely State of Kashmir
At the time of Independence Princely state of Kashmir, ruled by Maharaja Hari Singh was the largest Princely state. The state was unique in 2 ways-1) It had contiguity with both Pakistan and India 2) Was a muslim majority state ruled by a Hindu king. The princely state had borders with Afghanistan and China and was just 25 km from soviet union.
(Black line shows the original area of JK state at time of Independence, yellow shows what India has at present-green-occupied by Pakistan,Red occupied by china) India Independence act 1947 gave the option to princely states for entering into standstill agreement before acceding to either Dominion. Maharaja Hari Singh was being pressurised by Mountbatten to accede to Pakistan but Maharaja Hari Singh was not sure if Hindu, Buddhist, Shia subjects and even Kashmiri Sunnis would be treated well in Pakistan. So Maharaja Hari Singh entered into a stand still arrangement with both Pakistan and India according to which the logistics would come via Muzzaffarabad in Pakistan (traditional route) as winters were approaching. But Jinnah was growing impatient and in the guise of Tribals the Pakistani army attacked Jammu Kashmir. Simultaneously Pakistan blocked logistic supplies to JK. Maharaja Hari Singh appealed to India for armed forces-but Indian army could only enter JK if it was Indian territory. Pakistani army nearly reached Srinagar. On 26 Oct Maharaja Hari Singh signed the letter of accession and Kashmir became an intergal part of India. Indian forces landed in Srinagar, JK was saved but a large part of it remains occupied by Pakistan and many canards about UN resolution and accession are spread by vested Interests. I will attempt to counter these.
At time of Accession this was the area and Map of Jammu Kashmir- 70 years down a large part of it remains occupied by Pakistan and China.
Canards about Accession
1) It was conditional accession – This is a canard spread by vested Interests who want to artificially keep Kashmir as ‘disputed’ and carry on with the canards of self rule,azaadi etc. The letter of accession was the same for all 563+ princely states-with not a comma or full stop added or deleted by Maharaja Hari Singh. Only the ruler of princely state was authorised to sign the instrument of accession,which was countersigned by Governor General Mountbatten.Both these Formalities were carried out. When there is no dispute about the 550+ Princely states which signed the same Instrument of accession then why maintain accession of Jammu Kashmir is conditional?
2) Jammu Kashmir acceded on only 3 issues so state of Jammu Kashmir is a special state – This canard is demolished by the speech of Mountbatten himself when he spoke about the India Independence act 1947 and the need to set up an Instrument of accession for princely state. The Treaties with British Empire were on 3 Issues,these were revoked and entered by princely states with either Dominion as a starting point.All states acceded on three Issues mentioned in Instrument of Accession . Here is the relavant part of Lord Mountbatten’s speech.
This is from his address to a special Full meeting of the chamber of princes on 25 July 1947 “The First step i took was to suggest that in the bill before parliament ..the Indian Independence act ..a clause should be put which would enable certain agreements to continue until renounced by either side…..it gives a small breathing time…Now i say it is no exaggeration to say that most rulers and Dewans were apprehensive as to what be when paramountc lapsed…the draft Instrument of Accession which I have caused to be circulated ….to the representatives of states provided that the states accede to the appropriate Dominion on three subjects only without any Financial liability …’
So this proves all states had initially acceded on three subjects and not particularly J&K.
3) Mountbatten wrote a letter to Maharaja Hari singh to take consent of his subjects and thus accession is conditional – This is another canard thrown about by the separatists and misused in UN as a basis to suggest a plebiscite-another canard often used by Separatists and azadi brigade demanding plebisite .Mountbatten’s constitutional role was limited to counter signing Instrument of accession which he did.
His letter suggesting plebiscite has no legal sanctity or binding. There is no scope anywhere in the India Independence Act 1947 that gives any legal right to Mountbatten to write a letter to Maharaja Hari singh naming the accession as an issue of dispute. The letter states that’ It is my Government’s wish that, as soon as the law and order have been restored … and its soil cleared of the invaders, the question of state’s accession should be settled by a reference to the people.’
Though not legally binding and large areas of Jammu and Kashmir occupied by Pakistan, elections were carried out in 1952. On 14 May 1954 Elected Assembly of JK ratified the accession of Jammu Kashmir into India. The preamble of JK assembly states that JK is an integral part of Union of India. Sec 3 of JK constitution states that “The State of Jammu and Kashmir is and shall be an Integral part of the Union of India”. Further section – 147 of JK constitution lays down no bill or amendment, seeking to make any change in the provisions of Section -147, Sec-3, Sec-5, shall be introduced or moved in either house of the legislature.
Article 1 of the constitution defines the territories of India, that is Bharat and Jammu and Kashmir is in the territory of Bharat. Thus both in Indian Constitution as well as the JK Constitution – there is no dispute that JK is an intergal part of India. For 70 years canards have replaced facts .
Time is to lay canards to rest and engage with the real problems and issues of JK.
Maharaja Hari Singh
Picture Credit and Source- Jammu and Kashmir, accession & events thereafter by Daya sagar ;Jammu Kashmir,an analysis of facts by Ashutosh