WASHINGTON: De-annexation of Kashmir from India is inevitable as Muslims living there have never accepted the Indian occupation and would eventually accomplish their goal of self-determination, says a former senior advisor to the UN Secretary General.
Ambassador Yusuf Buch, in a meeting with the Secretary General of the US-based World Kashmir Awareness Forum, Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, said had there been a popular support in Kashmir for joining India, the dispute over the region would have resolved long ago.
"The situation in Kashmir has nothing to do with passivity or docility in the Kashmiri character; that myth has been shattered now," said Ambassador Buch, according to a statement issued by the KWF in Washington.
He said that Kashmiris hardly showed themselves as resigned to Indian occupation and never felt itself to be part of India before 1947, and feels even less so after its forcible seizure by the Indian troops.
"The de-annexation process is inevitable in the post-colonial age. The only question is whether it is accomplished by armed struggle, resulting in a spiral of violence and counter-violence, or through negotiations, and or other means of peaceful settlement," Ambassador Buch remarked, adding that "The choice always lies with the occupying power".
Ambassador Buch, who is a living encyclopedia on Kashmir, observed that Kashmiri Pandits regarded Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah as a Muslim chauvinist and Muslims suspected that he had struck some kind of deal with the Dogra regime despite its practice of open discrimination against the Muslims.
However, he said that as early as 1934, a streak of opportunism in Sheikh Abdullah made it clear that Sheikh Abdullah was losing his political position and his popularity began to wane.
Responding to a question, Ambassador Buch said two things affected Sheikh Abdullah's public standing. First, he betrayed strong-arm methods in bullying his opponents and , secondly, he veered more and more towards cooperation with the Maharaja's autocratic regime.
Ambassador Buch reminded that because of his cooperation Sheikh Abdullah was granted "royal clemency" and released from jail in return for colluding with the Maharaja in maneuvering accession to India.
He flew immediately to Delhi to confer with the Indian leaders as did the Maharaja's courtiers.
"Later when doubts began to grow in Delhi whether Sheikh Abdullah's presumed popularity would swing the vote in India's favor, India began to wriggle out of its pledge to a plebiscite," he said and added that doubts about success turned to certainty of defeat when Abdullah had to be ousted as prime minister and jailed in 1953.
From that time, Indian policy was set dead against any ascertainment of the wishes of the people of Kashmir as the outcome was not in any dispute, Buch maintained.
Ambassador Buch argued that had there been any support within Kashmir for living with India, the struggle for freedom by the Muslims Kashmiris would have lasted a year and so and the disputed would have ended a long time ago.