Cultural and religious beliefs influence many aspects related to the governance of society and are often key to the development of political movements. Many researchers consider culture and religion to be integral and inseparable components. There are many definitions of religion concerning political and social matters. First, religion has the ability to undermine or bolster the legitimacy of political movements and governments. Secondly, religion is regarded as a source of identity that enables individuals to develop a secure identity for a particular group or society. Third, religion serves as a means of organizing political movements and fostering political mobilization. It has its strengths and weaknesses in enhancing unity and mobilization in a multicultural society. In Asian countries, religious and cultural homogeneity has had a great impact on ensuring unity and harmonization among communities and nations. But it has also been the main cause of conflict in the divided state of Kashmir, along the borders of India and Pakistan.
For most of its history, Kashmir, situated in a breathtakingly beautiful valley, had stood for intellectual advancement, peaceful contemplation, and religious diversity coexistence in the majority of the region that enhanced the atmosphere of tolerance. In the same diverse, modern geopolitical area, with the blend of Buddhism, Sikhism, Hinduism, and Islam in the state, become a center of warfare due to cultural conflict. It has become a great challenge in social, economic and political development (Lederach, 1995). In the 1980s, an uprising in the state threatened to tear Kashmir apart in the form of social and religious war. Kashmir as a divided state is controlled by both Pakistan and India. India controls three regions (Jammu, the Kashmir Valley, and Ladakh) while Pakistan controls two (Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan). However, both countries claim control over the entire region of Kashmir. The general population of Kashmir has been seeking independence and self-sufficiency from their ethnic culture. The implications of revolt and cultural conflict are both interstate and intrastate in nature (Rothkop, 1997).
The various populace of Kashmir includes various religious movements that represent several language groups, castes, and ethnicities with diverse loyalties. Likewise, Muslims, who constitute the majority in the state, are completely separated among those who want to join Pakistan, the individuals who want to remain in India and those wishing to become an independent country. The cultural conflict has played a major role in the continuity of interstate war with the aim of maintaining political influence in the area. The issue has been the wellspring of numerous assaults, political verbal confrontations, and wars by insurgents on civilians. Regardless of the huge consideration paid by human rights organizations to the district, the current studies on Kashmir lack sociological measurements. This document will provide an extensive analysis concerning the history and development of cultural conflicts in Kashmir, the reasons for the insurgency, and factors that influence terror attacks and war in the region. It will explore the origins and developments of various movements, current political debates, and the proposed solutions to the cultural conflicts in Kashmir (Avruch, 1998).
Origin and Development of Cultural Conflicts in Kashmir
The origin of cultural and political conflict in Kashmir between Pakistan and India dates back to the end of the British colonial period. After World War II, the British Empire exerted control over the country using the divide and rule policy. There were five regions in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, which were governed by a single administrator from 1846 until 1952. Jammu and Kashmir were the largest among the 562 princely states. Kashmir was perceived by the British as a homogeneous unit, however, it was in fact very diverse in terms of ethnicity, culture, language, and religion. The British plan to divide the empire into two independent states (India and Pakistan) affected the policies that governed the princely states. The princely states were allowed to choose which country they wanted to join. However, the region of Kashmir was not in favor of joining either of the two independent states. Kashmir’s Maharaja during the period, Hari Singh, decided to seek avenues to independence that were opposed by both Pakistan and India. The Maharaja sought military help from Indian troops after the Pakistan intervention that became the source of war and terror that would eventually engulf the Kashmir region (Avruch, 2012).
The autonomy that was enjoyed by the general population of Kashmir became a problem for the government. In 1953, the Kashmiri autonomy was drastically limited due to the removal of the region’s Prime Minister by Indian authority and whittling down of Article 370. The people of Kashmir were discontent with the transfer of leadership to the Indian Central Leadership, who were mistreating and oppressing them. Resentment began to fester. Aside from the dissatisfaction of the people of Kashmir, the Indian government also faced great opposition from the Pakistani government concerning their rule over Kashmir. Since the partition, tension has been mounting between the two states in light of the fact that they both wish to exert control over Kashmir (Hofstede, Hofstede & Minkov, 2010).
The development of the conflict over the valley of Kashmir suggests that both countries claimed possession of the region due to their nation-building strategies. The newly independent India believed that the possibility of the majority of the Muslims living and prospering within the Hindu state of Kashmir was a symbol of secular state-building and nationalism. The idea of unity and prosperity as a nation was supported fully by the first Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru whose main goal was to enhance harmony and understanding between the countries. However, the leaders of Pakistan believed that Islam was the defining characteristics of Pakistan and felt that Kashmir did not represent the secular nationalism as it was perceived in the region. Therefore, they argued that the nation of Kashmir and its Muslim community needed to be part of the Islamic society (Assefa & Wahrhaftig, 1990). The vision of nationalists fragmented along the lines of secularism and religion. Some Muslim leaders leaned towards the Indian government believing that post-colonial Indian democracy could guarantee the security of Jammu and Kashmir and recognize its independent status as a country. Also, they believed India could provide military protection from the tribesmen of Pakistan. However, other Muslim leaders aimed at retaining the identity of India and remain to be part of secular India (Lederach, 1995).
The interstate and intrastate conflict concerning ownership and regional governance have left Muslims living in Jammu and Kashmir with the undertaking of completing their dreams of patriotism in the country that is seeking autonomy. Not all Muslims in Kashmir identify themselves as either Pakistani or Indian regardless of being residents of either nation. Most of the Muslims living in this area have relatives within the line-of-control of both India and Pakistan, however, their dreams concerning independence do not harmonize with the military and political limits that have been set by either state. Muslims that are against integration with India are directly attracted to join the Islamic rhetoric of Pakistan nationalism. The militant groups in the region exploit the affinity of the Islamic community in Pakistan while secessionist groups of pro-Pakistani use the opportunity to mass social solidarity among the ethnic groups of the Islamic society in Kashmir and Jammu (Puri, 1981).
Ethnic heterogeneity has encouraged various leaders including militants and activists to organize their violent struggles and protests around religious ideas. Its aim is to promote hegemony in their Islamic religion in their attempt to ensure a unilateral voice regarding their problems and when coming up with possible solutions. The actors in the organizations are classified into various factions including those termed freedom fighters by people of Kashmir and Jammu due to their fight for an independent state (Lubeck, 1998). Some political movements and political activists aim to promote peace in the region regardless of their political stand. Also, certain groups are categorized by Indians as militants due to their renowned violence against civilians. Despite militant groups not being united and having different leaders, the objective of each group is to achieve fundamentalist hegemony by ensuring the Indian troops are deployed to their state (Rothkop, 1997).
Considering that the militant groups possess a common objective, the factions have unresolved conflicts. Also, the Sufi practices encourage tolerance of other religious groups. However, the people of Kashmir have suffered violence and threats by Islamist factions that originate in Pakistan. Research reveals that not all civilians and Muslim leaders in Jammu and Kashmir support the factions and militant organizations that aim for a separate state. The extreme groups have been destroying Muslim mausoleums that recognize prominent saints that are worshiped by both the Muslims and Hindus. The aim of the fanatic organizations is to break the influence of both the Hindu traditions and Sufi practices in Jammu and Kashmir. The militant and fanatic groups that enhance intolerance of cultural practice identify their aims and causes as jihad to garner support from Pakistan. Sumantra Bose, a political scientist, argues that the original secession movement in Jammu and Kashmir was not based on religion. The radicals use their religion and practices as the major way of divorcing the Kashmir region from secular Indian nationalism and modern Sufism (Puri, 1981).
The Tenuous Status Quo
The separatist movements in the Kashmir region express their dissatisfaction with the territorial definitions that exist in the state. Therefore, they use force in their religious groups and organizations under their practices to reorganize the existing territories. The analysis of the development of the nation-state ideology is essential to understanding the movements that enhanced national separatism. The development of the Kashmir separatist movements was enhanced by the issues concerning the historical partitioning of the Indian subcontinent into several countries including Pakistan and India. The main founders of India and other Indian patriots supported building a national personality of India that was unique in relation to its past history of kingdoms and lack of industrialization (Avruch, 1998).
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The Indian government’s main objective was to implement the vision of secularism, an idea that was opposed by various groups in Kashmir nation-state. The majority of the Muslims living in the region opposed the static phenomenon of secularism and aimed for more freedom as far as the advancement of different religious dependability in spite of the definitive administration from the Indian government. The sociologist David Brown suggests that the growth and prosperity of the Kashmir separatist movement are due to the development of the civil organ of the state that cannot support the multicultural and ethnic ambitions of its citizens (Raghunath, 2006).
In Kashmir, India has embraced an ideological stance that aims at maintaining the political status quo while distorting the social reality. Muslim society in the region has accused the Indian government of embracing religious intolerance and denying the Muslim separatist struggles legitimacy in Jammu and Kashmir. In addition, a utopian conception of nationalism is embraced by the desire of Pakistan to obtain a larger share of Kashmir that distorts reality. To enhance social change, Pakistan has been trying to alter the social reality by demanding the integration of Muslims from Jammu and Kashmir who did not migrate in the late 1940s. Pakistan’s government claims that they have unfinished business with Kashmir since they believe it should have been a part of Pakistani territory amid the partitioning of the region between India and Pakistan. Meanwhile, the Hindu-dominated Indians are not ready to give up Jammu and Kashmir, the only Muslim-majority state in their country, since Indians have built their establishments on the statutes of multicultural and secularism cohesion compared to the religious hegemony of Pakistan (Crawford, 2012).
The area of Kashmir serves as a troublesome test in light of the fact that Pakistani and Indian national talk especially includes the sensitivities of religious, political and social contrasts that exist between the nations. Master Pakistan gatherings rule the militancy on the Indian side of Kashmir. The gathering has supported the mainstream development with better associations and financing of remote bases and other related gatherings that are arranged in Pakistan. The expert freedom hall of Jammu and Kashmir neglect to comprehend the outlandish possibility of the accomplishment of its goal. First, Pakistan is intense and is exceptionally unrealistic to forsake its vital position in Baltistan and Gilgit or surrender its standard of Azad Kashmir.
Secondly, the Indian government trust that the accession of Jammu and Kashmir into the territory of India in 1947 was final and non-negotiable. However, some Muslims remain in the middle in the belief that they are neither under the governance of Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir nor concede to Pakistan or Indian control of the region (Lubeck, 1998).
The interaction of regional political effects from India and Pakistan have enclosed the varied perceptions of the emergence and destiny of Jammu and Kashmir by various groups in the Muslim ethnic community. The plans and targets of the changing collisions among key players involved in the separatist developments experience steady changes to suit the new political heads in the district. The political pioneers of Pakistan and India and the groups in Jammu and Kashmir have looked for, but they have not come up with a unanimous coherent narrative concerning the territorial and regional divert, international pressure, and religious polarization. The political scientist Walker Connor claims that powerful ethnic attachments are built from myths that originate from a common ancestry rather than community forms. However, Muslims in Kashmir do not share a common ancestry since it is home to many Muslim groups that include the Gujar, Dard, Bakkarwal, and Kashmiri. Therefore, they lack single historical support that can embrace all nationalist ideas (Assefa & Wahrhaftig, 1990).
The secular nationalism founder in Jammu and Kashmir, Sheik Abdullah, offered an interpretation of the region history that was likely to be accepted by the authorities of India. The narrative illustrates the way the people of Jammu and Kashmir, who possess distinctive cultures, have been oppressed and enslaved by neighboring powers for several centuries. It narrates how local people in the region have been struggling against the powers of self-determination and justice. Nationalists from Kashmir and Jammu stress the progression of diverse religious and philosophical influences that formed the rich cultural heritage of their people (Crawford, 2012).
The presentation of Buddhism in the fourth century, followed by the indigenous Hindu Shaivism and their Hindu Vaishnavite, and lastly the Muslims in the 14th century made the area a transcendent place for expressions and learning. To represent the proof of the long history of enslavement and persecution of the general population of Jammu and Kashmir, the antiquarians that bolster patriots demonstrate the loss of opportunity under Sikh guideline, Afghan, and Mughal. The final ruler before the partition in 1947 is analyzed as a usurper who was imposed by the leadership of the region by the British imperialists. He was guilty of greed, vanity, and indifference of the people of Kashmir. The rulers were anti-Muslims despite the majority of their subjects being Muslims (Sadowski, 1998). The Muslim group considered the Hindu Brahmin world-class as narrow-minded and dissension colleagues of the Dogra court that helped to perpetuate oppression and injustice, especially to the Muslim society. Therefore, the concept of imperialist exploitation and class conflict has influenced the nationalist discourse (Raghunath, 2006).
In the Kashmir region, the current separatist developments speak to the demographic larger part of Muslims. The multiple cultural identities of the Muslim community have been ignored by the neighboring rulers to constitute a unified Islamic majority. However, the attempt has propagated fundamentalism and factionalism that undermine the efforts of the Islamic movements to be universally perceived as a quiet and durable movement looking for freedom. Rather, global associations and the world, when all is said in done, see an issue in the Kashmir area and term it as the unsettling domain in the middle of Pakistan and India. Different groups in the area that claim to be fighting on behalf of the Muslims continue to manipulate cultural conflicts among the groups (Crawford, 2012).
Spiraling of Cultural conflicts in Kashmir
The cultural conflicts and insurgencies in Kashmir have been witnessed for more than half a century. During this period, there have been tides as well as ebbs in the tension among the parties. Also, there have been numerous events and conflicts that have made the conflict spiral with time. The Indians that reside in Kashmir have encouraged the procedure of preparing individuals who occupy their region as Muslims. The people that had based their identity on culture and language were drawn into various relative communities as per religion and neighboring cultures that stretched on the border of conflict (Lederach, 1995).
Also, the fight by Pakistan over Kashmir has legitimized draconian hostile to fear laws and military autocracy in the nation restricting the position against India. Then again, India has implemented anti-terrorism laws that aim at discriminating against Muslim society. Without parliamentary oversight, the Indian government suspended the constitution in the conflicted territories making Kashmiris feel more desperate and alienated. The consequences of the situation have pushed the region to the identified as a Muslim society so that the people can seek respite. The young people in the area are drawn towards Islamic militancy as the most fitting venue for tending to their grievances and needs in light of the fact that they neglect to accomplish any type of response that can tackle their political disappointment ( Assefa & Wahrhaftig, 1990).
The election practices in 1987 increased the intensity of the dispute. The political will of the people of Kashmir has been repeatedly thwarted by the central government, alienating the common people. The focal government is pushing the general population of Kashmir away, abandoning them with withdrawal as the main alternative for peace, equity and congruity. The behavior of the contention is bringing about propagation. Low-power clashes and activist assaults are intended to constrain the legislature of India to acknowledge an answer that is favorable to the Pakistan government. However, the situation and the factions make India more rigid to accede to any form of the legal treaty until Pakistan stops the military attacks and stops sponsoring the militant groups.
In 2005, the government of India stationed over 700,000 soldiers in Kashmir. Considering that the number of inhabitants in Kashmir is roughly 13 million, it is the highest ratio of troop-to-populace in the world. The insignificant utilization of deadly constrain is repaid by expanded labor, the kind of fighting that is all the more scary and pervasive (Crawford, 2012).
The enormous violations caused by the army enhance entrenched contempt and distrust for the government of India. The operation of the internal war is aimed at isolating the conflict zone from any form of external material assistance to ensure full utilization of the army resources. The effects of the restrictions are aimed at controlling the population and enhancing the implementation of their policies, but the result is that it fuels resentment among the communities in the region. As they claim to fight insurgents, Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir are forced to hound outside the boundaries since traveling within the state makes them feel vulnerable (Raghunath, 2006).
The occupation of land is highly disproportioned leading to the majority of the Hindu society to occupying large portions of land compared to the Muslims and other social groups. The security forces from both states occupy more than 100,000 acres of orchard land and farm and 2,000 buildings and still the desire for land by various organizations and authorities continues to grow. Since 2000, 70,000 have been detained, 8,000 have disappeared mysteriously, 80,000 people have died, and 25,000 have been tortured (Avruch, 1998). Therefore, the resentment is building up, and tension is spilling over into various communities that are overcome with fear due to a large number of security forces. There is an unclear distinction concerning the fighting tactics used by the Indian forces between fighting their people and fighting the enemy. Despite the increased resentment, there has been the aspect of consolidation by the separatist sentiment due to the ownership of public land by military troops, and economic blockade enhanced by the Jammu agitation. Also, they were concerned with the transferred land and fertile farms to the Amarnath board (Assefa & Wahrhaftig, 1990).
External events and actors have influenced the development and continuity of conflicts in the region. For instance, the Islamic and violent fundamentalist aspect of terror attacks was reinforced by the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Palestinian Intifada’s success that encouraged the Mujahedeen to continue fighting. In 1956, the U.S. promised to provide military support to Pakistan that created doubts among the government of India over the mediation of the UN Commission. During the Cold War, Washington supported Pakistan while Moscow supported India, causing the countries to harden their stances concerning the region of Kashmir (Raghunath, 2006). It limited the ability of UN to resolve the disputes between the two countries and the valley of Kashmir. Western countries have enhanced war on terror attacks and international bodies have increased international talks, but the implications have hardened Pakistani and Indian stances due to the availability of nuclear weapons in both countries. Pakistan feels it has the responsibility of supporting its military groups in Kashmir due to limited support from Western countries. Also, India believes that Pakistan is creating terrorist problems in the region hence strengthening its position in Kashmir insignificant in enhancing regional control (Sadowski, 1998).
Factors Escalating the Cultural Conflict
Stereotyping has introduced false expectations and perceptions that place Pakistan and India at opposite ends of the spectrum and standing on firm stances that greatly limit the chances of coming up with a common solution. Hindu fundamentalists control territories using revolutionary movements as the excuse for performing prejudiced actions. For instance, they use Amarnath Yatra as religious structures that promote religious tourism in the region, but in reality, they use the opportunity to promote nationalism and acquire civilian land (Lubeck, 1998).
Extremists such as Shiv Sena and political parties continue to demonize Pakistan and Muslims, creating a strong enmity between the countries and the public in general. Both countries have implemented strict rules when obtaining visa and passport documents hence limiting and even preventing travel between the countries. Also, very little contact and communication are encouraged between people of the two countries and those from Kashmir. The restrictions greatly reduce the possibilities that aim at enhancing dialog across the conflict lines hence impinging transformation (Assefa & Wahrhaftig, 1990).
The process of negotiation and public views are greatly limited. Talks between India and Pakistan continue to exclude the people of Kashmir from the table. Kashmiris have a clear role to play during the time spent compromise and peace-production in the region. Therefore, the process of peacebuilding that excludes the Kashmir people continues to be viewed as illegitimate since it does not address the issue concerning the presence of hostile security troops among the civilians. Also, the people of Kashmir need clear administration among themselves. Thus, there is no coordinated political exertion that can improve parity against the Pakistani and Indian governments. In spite of the general population of Kashmir being the victims of terrorist activities inside their borders, there are a couple of political or legitimate choices that are accessible to them. Moreover, discussions concerning peacebuilding and reconciliation are restricted between elites and government officials disregarding suggestions that are made by grassroots middle-level teams altogether (Avruch, 2012).
The situation among the Kashmiris is that the problems and grievances are not solved constructively leaving them to grow and fester into bitterness and desperation. The administrative and legal systems are incompetent restricting the implementation of justice in the region. Lack of transparency by the government breeds frustration and suspicion. Considering that the insurgents are non-state performers, the abuse that they cause to the regular civilians go unchecked. The Indian security strengths are given invulnerability by the administration frustrating them from being in charge of their activities. Additionally, India is not a party to the Geneva Protocol 3 (Rothkop, 1997). Therefore, the majority of their dealings are not evaluated by international organizations. Also, both India and Pakistan understand the cost-benefit analysis that favors the inertia of the various actions. Resolving the issue is expensive considering the amount of time, effort and resources that are required compared with letting the situation continue but being controlled by a certain level. India is complacent, and it takes advantage of the presence of the militancy groups since they strengthen authority by the central government over Kashmir. Also, since the militants continue to enhance violent resistance in the region, the Indian government continues to justify the presence of security forces in Kashmir. Therefore, the continuation of violent activities encourages the central government to continue exerting control over the region (Raghunath, 2006).
There are various factors that make the conflict in Kashmir complicated. The conflict has stretched beyond the region of Kashmir, India, and Pakistan, and has become the central cause of the Muslim community. In recent years, Islamic fundamentalists have occupied many regions in the world with the aim of promoting the spread of Islamism. Therefore, the increasing number of militants in Kashmir are neither Pakistani nor Indian but consist of Islamic societies from different countries in the world (Lederach, 1995). It has expanded the conflict in the region and increased violence since the fighters have introduced tenets of Jihadi warfare. However, they not accountable for the majority of the actions against the civilians since they are non-state actors. Also, many regions of Pakistan are vulnerable to activities that are related to radical militant groups. Despite the central government being reliant to military troops to ease pressure from the groups, the intelligence agency, and Pakistan military have close collaboration with the majority of the groups. These facts make it hard for the government and concerned groups to curb militant and terror activities in the region of Kashmir (Assefa & Wahrhaftig, 1990).
Influence from external communities is often associated with intrusion and destruction due to various organizations that have self-interest policies taking advantage of the tension in the region to achieve their goals. For instance, China is exploiting the enmity of India and Pakistan. The government of China is aligned with Pakistan, and they provide military support to Pakistan aimed at enhancing economic and strategic investments inserting pressure on the Indian government. China understands India as its economic competitor and major strategic rival in the region. Hence, any form of manipulation of the conflict in Kashmir is effective in enhancing its own strategic and economic goals. Also, the government of China is alarmed by U.S. talks of using the state of India as its counterweight, increasing its effort to limit any form of Indian advancements (Raghunath, 2006).
The U.S has been nearly non-committal as an active partner in resolving the conflicts in Kashmir. The interest of the U.S concerning the conflicts of Kashmir goes beyond the interests of Kashmir itself. Washington is worried about containing the Taliban, nuclear proliferation and peace in the middle of India and Pakistan. The mediating role of the U.S concerning the conflict in Kashmir is highly limited due to the importance of both states: India being a major trade partner while Pakistan is an important military ally to the U.S (Crawford, 2012). Therefore, Kashmir presents a significant dilemma to international community unity. There is a lack of concrete international mediation that aims at ensuring India upholds democratic principles as it relates to the people of Kashmir and enhances peacemaking solutions. The Kashmiris deserve a democratic, peaceful and transparent mediation to promote peace and ensure the achievement of self-governance leadership from its people (Avruch, 2012).
Avenues for Change
The length of the cultural conflict in Kashmir continues to haunt the relations and contentious history of Pakistan and India. Since Kashmir plays a crucial role in the national identity of the two countries, historical conflict in the region is resilient to change. The relationship between the population of Kashmir and the Indian central government is deeply broken, and the Kashmiris do not see the rule as legitimate. Therefore, as the government continues to exert control over the people of the region, it only increases resistance and resentment. Political allegiances are complex and diverse in the Kashmir region. The population is divided into the communities that support the Indian government, those that support Pakistan’s rule and those that strive for independence (Hofstede, Hofstede & Minkov, 2010). Therefore, to arrive at a single solution is extremely cumbersome.
A process of change can be achieved if appropriate goals are utilized. Long-term efforts at reconciliation have always involved negotiations between governments that result in substantial peace agreements. To enhance productivity in finding a solution, diplomacy must create an entirely multifaceted dialog that involves a variety of actors. Different tracks of diplomacy that are combined with various theories of change can introduce a dynamic process of regional transformation. To achieve the goal of autonomy, the involvement of various governments and political elites must be embraced to enhance change in perception of interest (Avruch, 1998). Considering that the concrete progress of reconciliation is far from complete, the two countries have realized the need to come up with a resolution for their national self-interest hence there is an opportunity for situational change. The aspiration for India to become a global power due to its growing economy and democratic identity has been reduced due to fights in Kashmir. It has resulted in diplomatic embarrassment and exhaustion of financial and human resources that support the conflict. For, Pakistan it has continually become difficult to support insurgencies in the region due to its involvement in the war against terror in cooperation with the U.S. (Puri, 1981).
The countries seem ready to consider negotiations that are aimed at ending the cultural conflict in the region. They should use essential tools that institute autonomy. The representatives should come from all regions that include Pakistan, India and the affected region Kashmir. However, Pakistan may not be willing to allow Jammu and Kashmir to remain part of India. The people of Kashmir may not satisfied with autonomy due to enormous political affiliations in the region. India will be reluctant to give up control of the Kashmir region. Therefore, no party will be completely happy with the changes. However, the short-term solution may solve part of the problem. For India, Kashmir should remain within the Indian territory to acquire India’s secular identity. Kashmir could be granted more autonomy to counterbalance the central government and take control of the majority of state control. For Pakistan, despite the region being controlled by India, they would be able to enhance cooperation across the border and the Islamic forces in the region will be weakened. Therefore, decreased violence in the region could promote economic growth, social and political stabilization.
Upholding human and socio-economic rights presents a complex objective by both countries and the militants in the region of Kashmir. It may involve conflict resolution specialists and the representatives from both governments, but it is also important to incorporate civil society that will help as advocates of the local population. It could require transitional and social justice mechanisms. Social justice could address issues that are related to water and land in terms of their distribution and access, also, act on the effects and implications of environmental degradation. The issues are essential and must be solved or else they will result in new conflicts in the region (Rothkop, 1997).
Transitional justice could address issues that are related to abuses of human rights. In Kashmir, it is a huge problem considering a large number of individuals who are tortured, disappear, and are detained and killed due to enormous conflict especially from the Muslim militants. Immunity is awarded to Indian troops hence punishment that is given to the soldiers is usually lessened or completely non-existent. Similarly, the administrative and incompetent legal systems make the legal systems weak and very hard to enhance justice to the population of Kashmir. More than 400 cases concerning the abuses done by the militants are pending, and the judges in various legislative positions are hesitant to rule. The judges fear the authorities since their appointments are politically motivated hence transfer issues can be easily implemented against them (Lubeck, 1998). Also, the non-state militants make the matter more complicated since they are not under the law, and their abuses are not accounted for in the region making it unfair to the population of Kashmir. In the case of legal avenues, individuals are held accountable while the group is left to continue their conflicts without resistance from the central government. Hence, the group is not affected nor weakened by punishment to individual actors. Indeed, it is strengthened by the publicity it is given (Avruch, 2012).
Public awareness concerning the conflict in the region is essential in promoting public confidence and reconciliation with concerned parties. Prejudice is deeply rooted in the societies and problems would persist unless a change is made on the issue of identity since it’s a major factor that enhances the conflict. Therefore, the purpose of research, education, and training play a significant role as well as communication through public opinion via the media. Education is an essential element that can promote reconciliation since it’s a long term investment. Efforts should be made to ensure children are educated on the means of approaching conflicts such as the long-term conflict in Kashmir so that they are able to understand the importance of achieving immediate resolutions to dangerous conflicts (Lubeck, 1998).
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The region should enhance the involvement of the international community. It is likely to involve other parties involved in diplomacy, mediation, and funding. The involvement should be indirect and should be influential in promoting the peace process. Considering that India is a democratic state with a large market economy, the application of international treaties and agreements can be effective in obtaining an everlasting solution (Lederach, 1995). Also, considering that the conflict that affected both interstate and intrastate population, India has a great responsibility in enhancing a peaceful transition. Pakistan should avoid exploitation of the militant groups and focus on trade and economic prosperity that will be beneficial to the people of Kashmir (Assefa & Wahrhaftig, 1990).
The cultural conflict of Kashmir is complex since it involves numerous identities and groups from various cultures with differing self-interests. After 70 years, with highly volatile situations and little progress, a resolution to the problems has not been achieved. However, the transformation is noticeable. Both Pakistan and India are concerned with coming up with a peaceful way to encounter the dispute and realize the importance of having a region that understands the importance of living in a peaceful manner. The people of Kashmir are tired of the situation and are longing for better and peaceful times. They are seeking legal avenues that can weather their grievances despite the long-term disappointment. The situation is ripe and promising. Numerous incremental goals should be set and implemented rather than depending on the ultimate goal of peace that may not be static. The process of peacebuilding may become more manageable and realistic. Therefore, to solve the conflicts in Kashmir, important tools, reconciliation, and peacebuilding should be embraced by the two countries and the people of Kashmir.