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Kashmir History

Kashmir After 1947

During Indian occupation, the people of Kashmir began to wake up to the colossal blunder that their leaders had committed in conditionally accepting the Maharaja’s accession of the state to India. Sheikh Abdullah himself watched with horror Pandit Nehru’s subtle moves to back out of his pledge of plebiscite and merge the state with India. India, knowing well the fate of such plebiscite at that time, did not take any steps to fulfill its obligations under the agreement and continued to hold the territory of the State illegally and forcefully even today. The issue plebiscite was linked with the condition of withdrawal of Indian and Pakistani forces from the state which India never fulfilled, making the resolution absolutely irrelevant. Sheikh Abdullah’s grumblings became audible in early fifties. On the other hand, inside J&K the State Constituent Assembly was constituted in 1951. The Assembly met for the first time in Srinagar on October 31, 1951. The Indian government’s interest in the Constituent Assembly of Kashmir was to obtain a ratification of the accession to the Indian Union, whereas Sheikh Abdullah intended to retain the special autonomous status of Jammu and Kashmir State within the Indian Union. Close on the heels of this, in July 1952, ‘Delhi Agreement’ was signed between the two Prime Ministers of India and Jammu and Kashmir giving special position to the State under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. The Constituent Assembly elected the Yuvraj as the Sadar-I-Riyasat on November 15, 1952, thus bringing to end the 106 year old hereditary rule in Jammu and Kashmir. In July 1953, the working committee of National Conference asked Nehru in writing to honor his pledge of plebiscite in the state as law and order had been restored. The Hindus in Jammu division and India agitated for a complete integration of Kashmir in India. Sheikh Abdullah adopted a tough policy against these demonstrations and ordered arrests of the Hindu protestors. Nehru realized that Abdullah’s role for him and for India was over. The Indian government, showing its displeasure, unconstitutionally dismissed Sheikh Abdullah, who was the elected Prime minister of Jammu and Kashmir and arrested him on August 9, 1953, replacing him by Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad. This lead to an unprecedented upheaval in the history of Kashmir. The whole life was paralyzed. Men, women and children, all came out on the streets demanding the freedom of their motherland and braving the Indian bullets over 1100 people were butchered in few days, but the storm did not subside. With Bakshi in power, the state drifted steadily into the Indian orbit. In February 1954 the puppet regime of Bakshi passed legislation in state Assembly to make the state an integral part of India. People unanimously rejected this and “Plebiscite Front” was formed by Mirza Afzal Beg on August 9, 1955 demanding Kashmiri’s right of self determination. The UN Security Council in its Resolution 122 of January 24, 1957, declared that any action that Assembly may have taken or might attempt to take to determine the future shape and affiliating of entire state or any part thereof, or action by the parties concerned in support of any such action by the Assembly, would not constitute a disposition of the State in accordance with the its principle. Thus, India was not able to get UN approval for its constitutional dabbling to incorporate the State in the Indian Union. However, the Constitution came into operation on January 26, 1957. It provided that the ‘State is and shall be an integral part of the Union of India.’

However, Sheikh Abdullah, then in prison, protested against the decision of the Constituent Assembly. The Plebiscite Front advocated plebiscite under the UN supervision. When Sheikh Abdullah was released in January 1958, he supported the Plebiscite Front and vehemently criticised the decision of the Constituently Assembly. As a result Abdullah was again imprisoned in April 1958. Meanwhile, the Indian government, as part of its designs to integrate the State, systematically eradicated traces of substantive autonomy from Kashmir by the mid-1960s. As an another step to illegally incorporate the State into the Indian Union, and also to undermine the special status of the State accorded under Article 370 the Indian government managed to hold elections for a State Assembly and the Lok Sabha in Indian Occupied Kashmir in 1951.

The freedom struggle continued under the banner of plebiscite front. On December 27, 1963, the holy Relic of Prophet Mohammad (SAW) at the Hazratbal mosque mysteriously disappeared. This led to yet another upheaval, perhaps the greatest after the upheavals of 1931 and 1953. The whole population of Kashmir rose as one man demanding not only the restoration of the Holy Relic but also the withdrawal of Indian occupation forces from the state. Scores of young men were brutally short dead but so strong was the wave of enthusiasm that nothing could control the storm. Ultimately the relic was restored but not before it had turned the whole setup upside down. Bakshi was replaced by Shamsuddin and then G M Sadiq. Sheikh Abdullah was released and cases against him were unilaterally withdrawn. The liberation movement continued under the leadership of Sheikh Abdullah and Plebiscite Front. But now side by side with the Front, new and more organized forces were emerging. These were Awami Action Committee, Ittihadul Muslimeen, Al Fatah and other Muslim movements. After the 1967 elections, the central government invited Karan Singh, then Sadar-i-Riyasat, to join the cabinet as Minister for Tourism. He immediately resigned as Sadar-i-Riyasat and the central government appointed an acting Governor to the State. Thus, the central government was able to abolish the office of Sadar-i-Riyasat and in its place establish the office of Governor, which appeared, at least on the surface, to bring it into line with the structure of the rest of the Indian States. Later, frequent impositions of Governor and President’s Rule (1990-96) have practically eroded the principle of full autonomy supposedly accorded through Article 370, by allowing greater central interventions.

The breakup of Pakistan in 1971 brought about a radical change in Abdullah’s thinking who now entered into a dialogue with Mrs Gandhi to acquire power on Indian terms. While the people of the state continued their struggle for the right of self determination, India and Pakistan fought two wars on Kashmir in 1965 and 1971. Shimla Agreement between India and Pakistan was signed on July 3, 1972, in which the two countries undertook to resolve all differences including Kashmir bilaterally and peacefully. The ignominious Indira-Sheikh accord brought Sheikh Abdullah back to power in 1975 but he was now just like any other chief minister of an Indian state. The plebiscite front was wound up and Sheikh Abdullah revived his National Conference. There was uproar throughout the state against this criminal breach of trust by the sheikh. The stage of the liberation struggle, however, did not remain vacant. Maulana Abbas Ansari (Ittihadul Muslimeen), Peer Said-ud-din (Jamati Islami), Molvi Farooq (awami Action Committee) and Sofi Mohammad Akbar (Mahazi Azadi) opposed this accord tooth and nail and described it as unacceptable to the people of Kashmir. A united platform of liberation forces namely “Peoples United Front” (P.U.F) was created under the leadership of Maulana Mohammad Abbas Ansari to work against the accord. The then Pakistan Prime minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto gave a call for strike on February 28 to protest against the accord. Due to the hard efforts of P.U.F. the strike was total and telling. Sheikh Abdullah’s reign was marked by repression and rapacity, thousands were jailed and hundreds killed and resistance leaders were imprisoned. Sheikh died on September 8, 1982 and his son Farooq Abdullah became chief minister. He was overthrown by India and governor Jagmohan took charge of government in 1984. On November 7, 1986 president’s rule in Kashmir was revoked after Rajiv-Farooq Accord and National Conference-Congress alliance Government took over the reins of administration.  At this juncture, Maulana Abbas Ansari once again assembled Muslim politicians, scholars and parties from all sects and sections on a single platform named “Muslim United Front” (M.U.F). Its stance on Kashmir was clear and unambiguous; that it has been occupied by fraud and brute force and its people had yet to exercise their right of self determination. Maulana Ansari was elected its convenor and in no time Front appeared on the political scenario of Kashmir as a force to reckon with. In 1987 accepting the challenge of then chief minister, Farooq Abdullah, Front fought elections of the state legislative assembly to show the world that Kashmiris does not consider themselves to be a part of India emotionally. Although free and fair elections have never been held in Kashmir and ruling regime have massively rigged the elections, Front fought elections. This election was the proverbial last straw for the people of Kashmir. It surpassed all records of fraud and high handedness. India’s official combine, the National Conference and Congress alliance was defeated in almost all constituencies by M.U.F but the Indian election commission shamelessly declared the defeated candidates of alliance as having won and the winning candidates of Front as having lost. Moreover, the Front candidates, their election agents and supporters were ruthlessly persecuted, tortured and jailed. This was the turning point in the history of Kashmir which culminated in armed rebellion against Indian authority. The entire political and religious leadership was arrested in order to subvert any move that would organize and provide leadership to the movement.

After two years of detention Maulana Abbas along with his political companions like Abdul Gani Lone, Prof.Abdul Gani, Shabir Shah, Syed Ali Geelani and Qazi Nisar Ahmed was released. Soon after their release these leaders tried to give the right direction to the independence movement. They started organizing different political, religious, social and humanitarian organizations and "All Parties Hurriyet (Liberation) Conference (APHC)" was founded in 1993 to unite various political parties of Jammu & Kashmir demanding the right of self-determination. This forum provides a common platform and guidance to the ongoing freedom movement under a collectively and unanimous political leadership. Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was elected first chairman of APHC.

The All Parties Hurriyat Conference kept up its campaign for a just solution to the Kashmir issue, and continued, at every level, to discharge its duty of guiding the Kashmiri people and articulating their aspirations. The ruling clique, perceiving the historic alliance as a threat, was always on the lookout for a chance to break it and crush all efforts aimed at resolving the Kashmir issue. Putting these plans into practice, the entire frontline leadership of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference was arrested once again in September 1999.

History Of Kashmir

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Copyright 2008-Ittihadul Muslimeen, Karanagar,Srinagar,Kashmir,190010