ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Kashmir: Autonomy Demand

Kashmir: Autonomy Demand SAMAR ABBAS The recent article

The recent article ‘Autonomy Demand: Kashmir at Crossroads’ by Rekha Chowdhary (July 22-28, 2000) rightly emphasises the real possibility of an upcoming trifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir. However, the author unfortunately takes a negative view of such developments, terming them as ‘alarming’ and ‘reactionary’. In fact, the peaceful partition of a region beset by ethnic-based conflicts can actually prevent much unnecessary blood-shed, and provide a lasting solution to age-old historical disputes. The trifurcation of the state is thus a development which, given the total communal polarisation at the ground level, may be the only alternative to civil war.

Territorial partition on ethnic lines involving population transfers has been the solution applied by international mediators to resolve complex ethnic conflicts in several parts of the world. The effective partition of multi-ethnic Yugoslavia into Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia was the prime reason for the end to the bloody civil war there. In addition, where the political leadership possessed foresight and agreed to the partition of multi-ethnic states prior to the outbreak of hostilities, conflicts have been prevented altogether. Thus, Czechoslovakia was amicably partitioned into the Czech and Slovak republics, averting a possible civil war. The peaceful break-up of the Soviet Union may also be similarly explained. In Kashmir, while it is true that what may be termed as ‘reactionary forces’ are supporting the concept of a trifurcation, yet at the same time an international think-tank, the Kashmir Study Group, has also supported the idea. East Timor and Eritrea are some other examples where larger states have been broken up to settle religious and ethnic conflicts.

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