In Jammu and Kashmir, according to a report by KMS, around 100,000 civilians including 894 children have been killed so far in the volatile region.
A report released by the Research Section of Kashmir Media Service (KMS) on the occasion of the Universal Children Day revealed that 894 children were among the 95,469 civilians to have died in in the region since January 01, 1989.
The report said that the killing of so many people rendered 107,780 children orphaned in the volatile region of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Kashmir Dispute
The Kashmir dispute has its roots from the year 1947. The partition of the nation along religious lines resulted in the formation of India and Pakistan. However, there remained the issue of over 650 states, run by princes, existing within the two newly independent countries. Basically, these states had the option of choosing which country to join, or of remaining independent.
The people were already fighting for freedom from British rule, and with their struggle about the end, they were not willing to let the princes fill the vacuum. Although many princes wanted to be “independent”, which meant no democracy for the people, they had to surrender to their people’s protests which turned violent in many areas.
Because of its location, Kashmir had the option to choose India or Pakistan. Maharaja Hari Singh, the ruler of Kashmir at that time, was a Hindu. He was unable to take any decision and opted to remain neutral.
But his hopes of being independent got drained in October 1947, as Pakistan sent in Muslim tribesmen who were knocking at the gates of the capital Srinagar. Hari Singh requested the Indian government for military assistance.
He signed the Instrument of Accession, surrendering Kashmir to India on October 26. Indian and Pakistani forces thus fought their first war over Kashmir in 1947-48. India highlighted the dispute to the United Nations on 1 January. In an agreement dated August 13, 1948, the UN asked Pakistan to take away its forces, after which India was also asked to withdraw the bulk of its forces.
Once this happened, a “free and fair” election was supposed to be held to allow the Kashmiri people to decide their future. India, having taken the issue to the UN, was confident of winning the referendum, since the most influential Kashmiri mass leader, Sheikh Abdullah, was firmly on its side.
An emergency government was formed on October 30, 1948, with Sheikh Abdullah as the Prime Minister.
Pakistan ignored the UN mandate and continued fighting, holding onto the portion of Kashmir under its control. On January 1, 1949, a ceasefire was agreed, with 65 per cent of the territory under Indian control and the remainder with Pakistan.
In 1957, Kashmir was formally incorporated into the Indian Union. Fighting broke out again in 1965, but a ceasefire was established in September. And Tashkent agreement was signed by both the countries on January 1, 1966. They resolved to try to end the dispute, but the death of then Indian PM Lal Bahadur Shastri and the rise of Gen Yahya Khan in Pakistan resulted in a stalemate.