The Bucher Papers

On 27th October 1947 India forcibly landed its troops in Srinagar and continues to illegally occupy the region ever since. The situation in IIOJK has worsened since August 5, 2019, when the fascist Indian regime revoked the special status of IIOJK by abrogating article 370 of the Indian constitution. It also abrogated article 35-A, the permanent resident law prohibiting non-permanent residents from a settlement in the state and acquiring properties and government jobs.
Since 1947 the occupation forces are committing gross human rights violations in IIOJK which include extrajudicial killings, summary executions, indiscriminate firing on protestors, rape and destruction of property. The use of pellet-firing shotguns is also another instrument of blinding Kashmiri Muslims doing protests. The aim is to create fear among the masses to remain indoors away from protests and protestors.
Recently The Guardian published a story about Bucher Papers on Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK). The Bucher Papers are about communication between General Sir Francis Robert Roy Bucher, the commander in chief of the Indian army between 1948 to 1949, with government officials and Nehru. According to the article, the special status to IIOJK was given by Nehru on the recommendations of General Bucher.
According to the newspaper “Roy Bucher suggested a political approach to solve the escalating situation given the military fatigue faced by Indian troops due to months of military deployment including taking the matter before the United Nations”. According to the report Nehru was under pressure and asked Bucher to go for a ceasefire. According to Bucher, a personal message was sent to General Gracey, the commander in chief of the Pakistan army for the ceasefire as the message was vetted by Nehru.
The Bucher Papers also explain how the IIOJK was given a separate flag, a constitution and autonomy on all matters except for foreign affairs, defence, and communication. Nehru made several statements in favour of Kashmiris’ right to self-determination. On November 3, 1947, a broadcast to the nation said “we have decided that the fate of Kashmir is ultimate to be decided by the people”.
In 1952 Nehru made a statement in the Lok Sabha that Kashmiris are free to decide about their future and India will not impose its will on Kashmiris at the gunpoint. The Indian regime is trying to prevent the declassification of papers fearing that it will have effects on its Kashmir policy and may bring embarrassment besides political and international implications if published. Nehru and Gandhi both promised a just solution to the Kashmir issue according to the wishes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
In the past, different recommendations and proposals were made. Some of the details are given in the Bucher papers which were followed by Owen Dixon’s plan. Owen was an Australian and the UN representative on Kashmir who planned a region-wise plebiscite. The Chenab formula was made in 1960 which recommended the distribution of the Kashmir on Chenab river lines. In the recent past, there was an understanding between Jaswant Singh and Sartaj Aziz and later between Musharraf and Manmohan Singh.
With the present fascist regime’s decision to revoke the special status of IIOJK by abrogating article 370, the regime is in the process of mass settlement of millions of Hindus/non-Kashmiris in IIOJK to create a demographic imbalance. The IIOJK is predominantly a Muslim-majority region. The Kashmir valley has a population of 6.7 million of which 98 percent of the population is Muslims. In the Jammu region, the population is 5.3 million where 60 percent population is Hindu and 40 percent Muslim. To marginalise Muslims and convert the Muslim majority into a minority, the Indian regime is issuing domicile certificates to non-Kashmiris and millions of certificates have been issued so far which include bureaucrats and military men. New electoral rolls and new electoral boundaries are being created. Nine more seats have been added to the Jammu region to all 90 member assembly of IIOJK as it will boost BJP power. This is how the BJP-RSS-led regime is bulldozing the system to get control of IIOJK by marginalising Muslim-majority regions.
Efforts are in hand to allow more settlement of Hindus in IIOJK and also by allowing the purchase of land and property to create a demographic imbalance. Kashmiris since 1947, after their occupation by Indian security forces are rendering untold sacrifices generation after generation. The international community has to play its role in a just and lasting solution to the Kashmir issue. For peace and stability in South Asia, the right of self-determination has to be given to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

The writer is a retired brigadier and freelance columnist. He tweets @MasudAKhan6.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt