The Kashmir Conflict: India’s Forced Conversion

I. Brief Overview

The Kashmir Conflict began in 1947, when India and Pakistan became independent from Britain.[1] Kashmir leaders were instructed by Britain to unite with Pakistan or India.[2] Originally, Kashmir’s maharaja, or leader, Hari Singh, desired to be an independent state.[3]  At the time, 80% of Kashmir’s population was Muslim.[4] Because of this, the Muslim community desired to join Pakistan, as the two countries border each other.[5] However, Kashmir’s maharaja anticipated a revolution and agreed to join India by signing  the Instrument of Accession, signaling the accession of Kashmir with India. This signing led to a war between India and Pakistan, and India ultimately sought help from the United Nations in 1948.[7] As a result, a ceasefire was enforced, and the Line of Control went into effect.[8] The Line of Control is a military controlled line dividing “the disputed Indian and Pakistani governed parts of Kashmir into two.”[9] Splitting the state created an unequal divide for Pakistan. Although they were given territory that was Muslim populated, that land was “thinly populated, relatively inaccessible, and economically underdeveloped.”[10] Half the population of Kashmir, and the “largest Muslim group,” was divided into India’s controlled territory.[11]

The Line of Control was intended to be a temporary solution.[12] However, the Line has been in effect for over 69 years.[13] The conflict continues as both countries infiltrate past the Line of Control.[14] Today, both India and Pakistan governments claim Kashmir as their own, even though they may only control parts of the state.[15] Pakistan’s government strives for peace with India, exercising restraint with India’s consistent provocations.[16] But India’s government continues to aggressively seek control.

II. Article 370’s

Article 370 of the Indian Constitution allowed Kashmir “autonomy, including its own constitution, a separate flag, and independence over all matters except foreign affairs, defense, and communications.” This autonomy protected Kashmir’s demographics, and provided benefits, like employment, to its citizens.[18] In 2019, India revoked Article 370.[19] Prior to this point, autonomous status had been in effect for more than seven decades.[20] When the status was revoked, Kashmiris feared that, as India’s only Muslim majority state, their demographics would begin to shift.[21] Days leading up to the shift in status, tourists were told to leave out of fear of terrorism. Kashmiris’ phones and internet access were cut off, “public gatherings were banned, and tens of thousands of troops were sent in” to Kashmir.[22] The Indian government knew their decision would infuriate Kashmiris, and this is clear by the precautionary measure to send military troops into the state.[23]

The Indian government refers to this decision as a “’final solution’ for Kashmir.”[24] With 900,000 troops in the state, there were massive amounts of killings, abductions, destruction, and punishments for protestors.[25] For every eight Kashmiri, there was one Indian solider. [26] Since 2019, Kashmir has been under extreme censorship, and many human rights activists and journalists are consistently harassed, abused “accused of ‘terrorism.’”[27]

III. Law Violations

’s government claimed the revocation of Article 370 was “.’”[28] Shubhankar Dam, a law professor and published author of a book about the executive powers of India, agrees that the revocation was unlawful.[29] It creates ethnic cleansing, as  India’s decision may be driven by the desire to increase the Hindu population in Kashmir.[30]By increasing the Hindu population, India’s general population is diluting the Muslim population and shifting the culture of Kashmiris.[31] Kashmir is the only Indian state with a majority Muslim population.[32] is also motivated by Hindutva, or the “ethnic supremacy of Hindus and hate against Muslims.”[33] Led by the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Indian government strategically elected officials that advocated for Hindutva.[34] Muslim religious sites are consistent targets of destruction, specifically mosques.[35] They have even banned Friday prayers at community mosques.[36] India is also enforcing “’domicile rules,’” creating over four million fake domicile certificates for Hindus.[37] The domicile rules allows for a person who has resided in Kashmir for at least 15 years to apply for domicile- claiming Kashmir as their permanent home.

From 2019 to present day, India has violated international law, and its actions are “null and void,” according to DD News. This is because of the clear language of Resolution 122, adopted by the Security Council of the UN, which states that Kashmir will operate under the “democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite conducted under the auspices of the United Nations.”[41] This was adopted in 1957, but the Resolution did not affect India’s treatment towards They continue to control Kashmir and its laws. Since India retracted Article 370, Kashmir has been prevented from operating as its own state. Therefore, India has explicitly violated Resolution 122.[43]

In a further attempt to convert Kashmir into a majority Hindu state, India’s government “initiated illegal demographic changes in the occupied territory, grossly violating international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention.”[44] Common Article 3 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states that:

(1) Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, color, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.

(a) violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture; (b) taking of hostages; (c) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment; (d) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of
executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.

(2) The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for.[45]

This means that a person’s life must be treated humanely, especially innocent lives. This provision is clearly violated because Indian troops have raped, blinded, assaulted, and abducted innocent Kashmiris. Indian troops especially target women.[47] Troops are also known to plant evidence and plan their abductions with their superiors Further, Indian troops have hidden bodies of over 100 rebels to skew statistics.[49] Soldiers have been reported, but the cases are presented before military courts, therefore justice is rarely reached.[50]

India is also suppressing free speech, a clear international human right under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (“UDHR”). Article 19 of the UDHR states: “everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”[51] India has fully enforced information control since 2019, abusing and incarcerating those speaking out about human rights violations.[52] However, it has encouraged censorship for decades through surveillance.[53] By deliberately restricting Kashmiri voices, India’s government is choosing to violate the human rights of its “citizens.”

India continues to protect their soldiers through the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act. Initially enacted in 1958, it grants forces “’a license to kill,’ as well as “use [any] such force as may be necessary.”[54] With this Act, Indian soldiers are constantly committing human rights violations, such as sprinkling chili powder on private areas as a form of torture or destroying civilian homes without cause.[55]

IV. Current Events

The latest known attacks in Kashmir were in December 2023.[56] In one instance, Indian soldiers were killed, and others ambushed, by Jaish-e-Muhammad, a Pakistan-based group.[57] Since 2021, a Jammu security official explained that the mountainous forest regions of Kashmir have been a target, as enemies can “conceal themselves to outfox the security dragnet.”[58] Towards the end of December 2023, innocent civilians were held hostage and “a video of [Indian] army men sprinkling chili powder on the private parts of civilians lying on the floor surfaced on social media.”[59]

V. Conclusion

The Kashmir Conflict is the “oldest unresolved international conflict in the world today.”[60] While Pakistan yearns for peace with India, India continues to uphold conditions of violence.[61] India is enforcing a Hindutva state, as they not only have replaced all Muslim political representatives with Hindus but have banned Friday prayer at  historic mosques.[62] India’s motivation is clear, however its acts of violence and human rights violations are not justified and must cease immediately. If India’s government truly believes its actions are correct, then freedom of expression should be implemented. However, because of the active disregard for human rights, journalists and social media are unable to “observe worsening human rights situation on the ground.” Unfortunately, violence is normalized in Kashmir. But with continuous critiques from the media and human rights organizations, as well as the lack of support to India, India could be influenced to honor international agreements again.

[1] Kashmir: Why India and Pakistan Fight Over it (Aug. 8, 2019),

[2] Hamid Nasir Chattha, The Kashmir Issue at a Glance, National Assembly of Pakistan, (last visited Feb. 3, 2024).

[3] Center for Preventive Action, Conflict Between India and Pakistan, Global Conflict Tracker, (last updated June 28, 2023).

[4]  Supra note 2 at ¶5.

[5] Id.

[6] Adam Augustyn, the Kashmir Problem, Britannica, (last visited Jan. 3, 2024).

[7] Supra note 2 at ¶5

[8] Id at ¶6.

[9] Karen Deep Singh, What is the Line of Control- the Short Answer, The Wall Street Journal (Sept. 30, 2016),

[10] Supra note 6 at ¶2.

[11] Id at ¶2.

[12] Supra note 9 at ¶4.

[13] Id.

[14] Supra note 6 at ¶6.

[15] Supra note 1 at ¶9.

[16] Munir Akram, What’s Going on in Kashmir is Not Normal, PassBlue (Aug. 3, 2023)

[17] Supra note 1 at ¶13.

[18] Article 35A:Why a Special Law on Kashmir is Controversial (Aug. 4, 2019),

[19] Id at ¶14.

[20] Id.

[21] Supra note 18.

[22] Id at ¶15.

[23] Id.

[24] Supra note 16.

[25] Id at ¶4.

[26] Id.

[27] Id at ¶6.

[28] Supra note 1 at ¶18.

[29] Vindu Goel, What is Article 370 and Why Does it Matter in Kashmir, (last updated Aug. 5, 2019).

[30] Pakistan Vows to Fight India’s ‘Illegal’ Kashmir Move, BBC (Aug. 7, 2019),

[31] Id.

[32] Id at ¶21.

[33] Supra note 23 at ¶5.

[34] The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica, Bharativa Janata Party, Britannica, (last updated Feb. 18, 2024).

[35] Id at ¶8.

[36] Keeping Kashmir on the Radar, International Crisis Group (Jan. 27, 2022).

[37] Id at ¶9.

[38] Centre Expands Domicile Rule for J&K Includes People Living in UT for 15 Years, DD News (Jan. 4, 2020),,by%20the%20Centre%20on%20Tuesday.

[39] Id.

[40] Id at ¶10.

[41] S.C. Res. 122 (Jan. 24, 1957).

[42] Muhammad Hanif, Indian SC’s Decisions on IIOJ&K Violate UNSC Resolutions, (last visited April 23, 2024).

[43] Id.

[44] Supra note 41.

[45] Human Rights Watch, Behind the Kashmir Conflict Abused by Indian Security Forces and Militant Groups Continue, (last visited Jan. 3, 2023).

[46] Supra note 23 at ¶7.

[47] Id.

[48] Supra note 3.

[49] Rifat Fareed, Outrage After Indian Army Accused of ‘Staged Kashmir Killing’ (Jan. 4, 2021),

[50] Id.

[51] G.A. Res. 217 A (Dec. 10, 1948).

[52] Supra note 23 at ¶6.

[53] Id.

[54] The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, Human Rights Watch, (last visited Jan. 3, 2024).

[55] Id at ¶3.

[56] Four Indian Soldiers Killed in Kashmir Amid Uptick in Attacks on Troops, AlJazeera (Dec. 22, 2023)

[57] Id.

[58] Id at ¶15.

[59] Anger in Kashmir After Indian Army Accused of Killing Civilians in Custody, AlJazeera (Dec. 24, 2023)

[60] Kashmir- the History, Pakistan Mission to the United Nations, (last visited Jan. 3, 2024).

[61] Supra note 16.

[62] Supra note 34.

[63] Supra note 23 at ¶13.