The India Chapter


When the British withdrew from India, granting it independence, there were significant repercussions. Britain’s historical “divide and rule” policy had a profound impact on many countries, and India was the worst example. The R&A articles dated May 1 and May 2, details how British colonialism is responsible for the four of the major wars today.

India has fought four wars with Pakistan over Kashmir, resulting in over one million deaths of soldiers and civilians.

Kashmir is the only state in the world that is claimed by three different countries. 55% India, 30% Pakistan, 15 % China.

Table of Contents

1. Background: The Partition and Kashmir
2. The Withdrawal of Article 370
3. The Kashmir Genocide: Leave, Convert, or Die
4. The Reign of Terror and Exodus
5. “The Kashmir Files”: Truth or Propaganda
6. Modi’s Decision on Article 370: Perspectives on Kashmir’s Special Status


Background: The Partition and Kashmir

During the partition, when India was divided into India and Pakistan, the status of Kashmir became a volatile issue. The British divide of India is generally considered by neutrals as careless and haphazard, but the gist was that Muslim majority areas would become Pakistan and Hindu majority areas would remain as India.

Kashmir had a Muslim majority, so technically according to British edicts and decorum, it should have become Pakistan. However, its Hindu ruler, the King of Kashmir, Hari Singh, desired it to remain a Hindu state and be part of India. But he opted for an independent state whilst weighing up his options, due to sectarian hostilities.

According to TOI, “Muslim tribesman from Pakistan committed large scale attacks of violence on non-Muslims, which resulted in the rape and massacre of thousands of Hindus and Sikhs.” Singh then sought help from the deputy prime minister, Sardar Patel (nicknamed the “Iron man of India” and commemorated by the world’s largest statue).


How the statue of the “Iron man of India” compares with the other largest statues in the world.

Patel agreed, but only at the behest that Kashmir would become a part of India, as it had been for thousands of years before the partition by the British, which Singh agreed to.

The First Kashmiri War broke out soon after partition and ended in 1949 with a United Nations-mediated ceasefire that divided Kashmir into Pakistani- and Indian-administered regions.

However, after the 1948 war between India and Pakistan (the first of four Indo-Pakistan wars), Kashmir was divided into:

  • Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), which included Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Kashmir and
  • Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK), which included Jammu and Kashmir.

These are the titles referred to by neutrals. IoK is called Kashmir by Indians and will be referred to as Kashmir for the remainder of the article.

Kashmir remains the only Muslim-majority region to join India at partition.

India granted Jammu and Kashmir special status through Article 370, allowing it to have its constitution and flag distinct from India’s as well as form it’s own laws. Despite being under Indian occupation, it essentially functioned as an independent state.


What is Article 370?

Article 370 is an constitutional provision that allowed Kashmir autonomy – its own constitution, a separate flag and freedom to make laws. Foreign affairs, defence and notably communications remained the preserve of the Indian government.

PoK on the other hand, ran by Pakistan’s laws, time zone and used Pakistani currency.

Article 35A, a further provision added to Article 370 in 1954, empowered state lawmakers to ensure special rights and privileges for permanent residents of the state.

As a result, Jammu and Kashmir could make its own rules relating to permanent residency, ownership of property and fundamental rights. It also barred Indians from outside the state from purchasing property or settling there, meaning Indians couldn’t technically buy property in their own country.

With the removal of Article 370, Article 35A was also scrapped, allowing non-Kashmiris to buy property and land in the region and raising fears that India is trying to engineer a “demographic shift” in the Muslim-majority region by re-introducing non-kashmiris there.

In 2019, Prime minster Modi also divided Kashmir into two regions – Jammu and Kashmir in the west and Ladakh in the east.

Why did the government remove Article 370?

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had long opposed Article 370 and overturning it was in the party’s 2019 election manifesto.

They argued it needed to be cancelled to integrate Kashmir and put it on equal footing with the rest of India. After winning a landslide in the 2019 general elections, the government wasted no time in acting on its promise.

This is also in line with their uniform civil code (UCC), which proposes the same code for all religions in India and moving towards removing the current code of one law for Muslims and one for all other religions.

Another two reasons, less to do with legislation and more connected to safety and security was due to the genocide and the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack where 165 people were executed by LeT, a terrorist group based in Kashmir.

The BJP decided to take action to safeguard the security of Indian citizens, as Kashmir had become a hotbed of terrorism.

Conversely, unlike Pakistan, although India has retaliated against Pakistan as rebuttals to state sponsored terrorist attacks in India, there has never been any state sponsored terrorism or otherwise by India towards PoK.

What changed in Kashmir after 370 removal?

Kashmir will no longer have a separate constitution, flag or laws, but will have to abide by the Indian constitution like every other Indian state.

All Indian laws will be automatically applicable to Kashmiris, and people from outside the state will be able to buy property there. The government says this will bring development to the region.

“I want to tell the people of Jammu and Kashmir what damage Articles 370 and 35A did to the state,” India’s home minister Amit Shah, told parliament. “It’s because of these sections that democracy was never fully implemented, corruption increased in the state, no development could take place.”

P Chidambaram, a senior leader in the opposition Congress Party described the decision as a “catastrophic step” and warned that it could have serious consequences.

Is the cancellation of 370 illegal?

According to the constitution, Article 370 could only be modified with the agreement of the “state government”. But according to the BBC, “There hasn’t been much of a state government in Jammu and Kashmir for over a year now.” In 2018, India imposed federal rule after the government of then chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti, was reduced to a minority. This meant the federal government only had to seek the consent of the governor, who actually imposes its rule.

The government says it is well within its rights to bring in the changes and that similar decisions have been taken by federal governments in the past.

There was much controversy as to why Modi did this and the manner in which he did it. As at the beginning, there was media and internet blackouts and social media was also banned.

However, a report by the United Nations High Commission on human rights (OHCHR) “Found that human rights violations in Pakistan-held Kashmir, included restrictions on the right to freedom of expression and association, institutional discrimination against minority groups, and misuse of anti-terrorism laws to target political opponents and activists. It noted threats against journalists for doing their work. The UN also expressed concern over enforced disappearances of people from Pakistan-held Kashmir, noting that victim groups alleged that Pakistani intelligence agencies were responsible for the disappearances.”

One constitutional expert, Subhash Kashyap, told news agency ANI that the order was “Constitutionally sound” and that “No legal and constitutional fault can be found in it”.

However another constitutional expert, AG Noorani, told BBC Hindi, it was “An illegal decision, akin to committing fraud” that could be challenged in the Supreme Court.

However, the supreme court upheld the decision of withdrawing 370 after an appeal, in 2023.

The Kashmir Genocide: “Leave, Convert, or Die”

Between 1948 and 2019, there were four wars between Pakistan and India, three over Kashmir. Due to corruption and terrorist activities by Pakistan-occupied Kashmir groups, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided to nullify Article 370. One of the main reasons though, was the forgotten genocide that occurred.

Genocide and ethnic cleansing of minority religions unfortunately persist in various parts of the world. The amount depending on which country to believe. However, the Kashmir genocide is unique. Unlike most genocides, which target minorities, this one was specifically aimed at the religious majority within a country and is the only genocide where the religious majority in a country, were targeted for extermination.


Kashmiri pandits protesting for recognition of the Indian Hindu holocaust and for January 19th 1990 to be officially categorised as a holocaust and exodus day in India.

Background: The 77 year Conflict between Hindus and Muslims in Kashmir

Since 1947, affirmative action and positive discrimination by Kashmir’s first prime minister, Sheikh Abdullah, attempted to empower Muslims by ensuring their representation in top government positions. Despite these efforts, the Kashmiri Hindu Brahmin community in Kashmir, commonly referred to as Kashmiri Pandits, continued to hold significant offices, leading to growing animosity among the Muslim population.

In 1986, the status quo changed dramatically when pro-independence Muslim separatists and pro-Pakistan guerrillas intensified their activities in the Indian Kashmir valley. India claimed that these infiltrators were trained and armed by Pakistan, based in “Azad Kashmir” (part of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir), and supported by Afghan and other foreign mercenaries. Pakistan, on the other hand, maintained that these individuals were freedom fighters from Kashmir, and their cause received only moral support.

The Reign of Terror

The Muslim separatists unleashed a reign of terror, driving out almost all the Kashmiri Pandits from the valley. After the Indian National Congress (INC) lost the 1989 election, the Indian army, mobilized and moved in to address the situation. Meanwhile, Indian and Pakistani troops engaged in regular border skirmishes. However, the separatists were already settled in and once the INC won the general election again in 1991, the exodus and genocide were already complete. By 1991, according to government figures and author Ramesh Bhan, an estimated “400,000 Kashmiri Pandit Hindus had either fled or been killed.”

This body count remains the second worst in India’s history. First are the four million who died in the Bengal famine, when Winston Churchill diverted food away from India to keep in storage for Europe. Remarkably, it is the only genocide in history to target the majority population of a country. India has experienced two major genocides, unprecedented in that both aimed at wiping out the majority Hindu population—first by Christians and later by Muslims.

An International Perspective

To put this into context, imagine Muslims in Dearborn, Michigan (the only Muslim-majority town in America), telling Christians in the state, to leave, convert, or face death.

Similarly, in the UK, Muslims in the city of Bradford (where they constitute 25% of the population) urging Christians to leave would be a comparable situation.

Controversial US congressman Ilhan Omar visited Pakistan against the wishes of the US government to publicise the abrogation of 370 and her perceived persecution of Muslims living in Kashmir.

This went against US policy, for a congresswoman to visit an enemy and ignore an ally, could be classed as treason. But other questions arise. China, that funds Pakistan or even Russia, could have made her an asset, which would be incredibly dangerous for the US internal security apparatus.

There has been much controversy in and outside India regarding one Mosque that was destroyed in 1990. (The Babri Mosque, which the Ram temple was built over and inaugurated this year). However, there has been no media attention to highlight that in the same year, 480 Hindu temples in Kashmir were destroyed and 50,000 were closed.

Kashmir 2024 Elections

Critics say that due to Modi not campaigning in Kashmir or the BJP not holding a candidate there or contesting the election there, this is an admission that the retraction of article 370 wasn’t successful.

Another idea put forward by Omar Abdullah, (grandson of Sheikh and son of Farooq Abdullah, head of Kashmir during the genocide,) who is campaigning as leader of the Jammu and Kashmir national conference (JKNC). Kashmir Hindus interviewed are shocked he is running as they feel his father should be on trial for genocide crimes. Omar tells Sky news, who refers to him as the “Scion of the first family of Kashmir” his theory. “Being a Muslim-majority area, they would have to field Muslim candidates, which might have affected their narrative in the rest of the country.”

Abdullah subsequently lost to a candidate languishing in prison.

However, Nichol Ghasi, born and raised in Jammu, in Kashmir state during the genocide, but now living in Mumbai, said that for the ruling party, it wasn’t worth fielding a candidate for the national election as there were just five seats, but it was worth contesting for the local elections.


Nichol Ghasi, whose mother’s brother’s family stayed with them in Jammu (South Kashmir) after they fled Srinagar (North Kashmir).

Nichol also accentuated TV news anchor Palki Sharma’s comment about Kashmir today. Saying the standard of living has greatly improved and Kashmir Hindus today don’t live in fear, as they know, if there is a repeat of 1990, unlike the INC then, this time the government will take immediate action and protect the Hindus.

Giving a voice to the Kashmiri Pandits

All Kashmiri interviewees believed the INC knew what was happening, but Rajiv Gandhi ignored requests from Kashmiris as he was on friendly terms with Farooq Abdullah who allowed a genocide to occur on his watch. They strongly felt the INC ignored signs of a violent separatist faction in it’s infancy, the unfolding genocide and the blood soaked aftermath. Although a gradual exodus had been happening since 1986, The separatists pulled the trigger and carried out the full exodus and genocide one month after the INC lost the election in 1989, feeling the new ruling party, the Janata Dal (supported by the BJP) unlike the INC, would mobilise troops and take military action to defend the slaughter of innocent Indians. Without the protection of Gandhi, the Islamic separatists wasted no time in deciding the fate of the 400,000 Kashmiri Hindus and conducting their own unique brand of ethnic cleansing.

Mirroring the circumstances of the Kashmiri Hindus he ignored, Gandhi died almost a year after the genocide by a terrorist attack by a violent separatist movement, ironically, that this time, he announced he would actually stop. A national tragedy for many Indians, but for many Kashmiri Pandits and in a country that is the birthplace of the word “Karma”, a possibly fitting but kismetic end to a life that anthropomorphised the biblical proverb, “Live by the sword, die by the sword.”


A Kashmiri Pandit’s portrayal of the exodus. “Exiles of the Valley”.

“The Kashmir Files”: Truth or Propaganda?

Nadav Lapid, an Israeli director and chair of the International Film Festival of India, ignited controversy by condemning the inclusion of “The Kashmir Files” at the event. Critics argue that the film promotes anti-Muslim propaganda.

A Jewish film maker proclaiming that an Indian film made about a Hindu holocaust by Muslims is propoganda, was a contradiction and inconsistency not lost to Indians. Especially considering there had been so many critically and commercially successful, Oscar winning films about the genocide of Jews by the Nazis, the most recent being 2023’s “The Zone of Interest” that won two oscars including best international film.

A Nazi commander builds a dream life with his wife and five children, in an idyllic house, swimming, fishing and gardening whilst living next door to the sounds of screams and gunshots from the Auschwitz concentration camp he created. “Zone of Interest”. A24, 2023. Amazon Prime.

Lapid described “The Kashmir Files” as “propaganda” and deemed it unsuitable for an artistic competitive section of such a prestigious film festival.

Six of the interviewees, Kashmiri Hindus who were born, raised, and eventually fled or left Kashmir, or have experienced family members that died and are all now living outside Kashmir, shared their perspectives of the highly controversial movie:

  1. Shailza Bhan; who as a 10 year old, fled her four-floor, eight-bedroom house in the middle of the night with only 30 minutes’ notice, with her family, believes that the film severely toned down the actual events.
  2. Sheveeta Hegde spoke to her father, a Kashmir resident, who asserted that significant omissions occurred in the movie and that real life was far worse.
  3. Ramesh Bhan; an international media specialist and author felt that the film depicted only 25% of the true events and verified scenes in the film, such as the teacher returning, or the mass execution, which were accused of being false.
  4. Nichol Ghasi said from what she was told by parents, uncles and aunties, mass atrocities had been left out of the film.
  5. Kamini Pandit said she knew people including a neighbour’s son who had been shot dead and had seen placards where she lived, which read “24 hours, leave or die.”
  6. R.K. felt due to the INC favouring Muslims, the full story and events were hidden from everyday Indians.

When asked about certain scenes, that were alleged to be exaggerated for dramatic effect, such as when the Muslim neighbours gave up their Hindu neighbours, Shailza said that the same thing had happened to them. Their neighbour feigned compassion and even helped her father leave, but she very recently found out that her old house is now under that same neighbour’s name, serving as a painful reminder of what was lost and what was gained.


Yami Gautam plays a counterterrorism, law enforcement agent in Netflix’s Hit Kashmir Political Thriller ‘Article 370’. B62 Studios/Jio Studios

The film’s slogans, both those shown and others not depicted, left a lasting impact. Shailza admitted, “Even when I see the slogans today, I get shivers.”

Unanimously, the interviewees agreed that scenes portraying the forced feeding of rice with blood to a Hindu woman, the chainsaw massacre and the depiction of Hindus lined up to be shot were accurate. However, they emphasized that real-life events were even more harrowing than what the film portrayed.

Sheveeta who left Kashmir and is now settled in Mumbai, recounted the story of how she phoned her cousin who’d fled, after watching the film, in tears, not realising the full trauma and horror that she’d faced and been through. She also added that Hindu girls who were born and raised in Kashmir weren’t allowed to purchase property once they left or married outside the community. This rule has now been reversed after 370. She can also pass property onto her children, enabling her to bequeath the 1000’s year old Pandit history and roots to the next generation, ensuring their identity is kept alive. This couldn’t be done for the first generation of Pandits born after the genocide. Sheveeta is looking forward to finally being able to purchase the land of her homeland.

Nichol spoke of how friends and colleagues spoke to her after watching the film, only then realising the scale of what had occurred, many hadn’t even known the full story or that there had even been an exodus and genocide in the first place. She said the government TV channel in 1990 would show the Gulf war, but not events in Kashmir. She also added that most accounts don’t include that Sikhs also had to flee, or the females in their family were forced to marry and convert to Islam. Or that hundreds who fled, ended up homeless and dying in camps from snake bits and inhumane living conditions. Not appearing on the radar of genocide deaths as they happened years or months afterwards. She feels there is a sense of national pride at how Kashmir has turned out and how well she sees the Hindus that returned are doing and unlike after the genocide, residents don’t feel they need to leave Kashmir to enjoy safety or security and even a high standard of living is now achievable.

Author and media relations specialist, Ramesh Bhan explained “Although Kashmir was Indian occupied, it had Pakistan standard time and Pakistan currency.1986 was the first attempt. Between 1986-89, Muslim students just disappeared for months. But what didn’t make sense was that their parents weren’t worried. They knew that they were in training camps in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). The INC government knew and kept silent. Even when slogans declaring “Leave your women behind” were put up. Jagmohan Malhotra, the governor of Kashmir wrote letters to Rajiv Gandhi, explaining what was happening, but Gandhi was friends with Farooq Abdullah, the head of state, who released 70 terrorists from jail just before the exodus. Kashmiri Hindus are academics by nature. Education, medicine, engineering was all controlled by the Pandits. Once they fled, the education system collapsed and a generation of Kashmiris that were left, missed out on their learning, due to the loss of teachers and professors. They became the stone throwers you see now. Kashmir became a business, high crime such as borrowing a machine gun and then extorting money from hotel owners became the norm.”


“Innocents trapped in the shadow of death”. By Sasha Rai.

Shailza Bhan recounted the harrowing account of how, after her father found out he was on the list of Pandit Hindus to be executed, left his prosperous and thriving business in the middle of the night with her, her sister and her mother.

“Even a few members of my family thought that my father’s early death, when I was 10 years old was due to ill health and unrelated to our exodus. But I knew the truth. He had clients that knew he’d been targeted for extermination, so they kept buying his services knowing they wouldn’t have to pay. Years later, I read his letters to his creditors, an incredibly successful and proud man, begging for the money rightfully owed to him, to pay our bills, just so we could survive. He died a year after we fled. The stress of not being able to provide for us, was a war of attrition on his health. I will never ever forget the pain and helplessness in his eyes when he died. Knowing he would be leaving his two loving daughters, aged 10 and 8 to fend for themselves, not knowing what would happen to us. His loss will not be attributed, included or accounted for in the number of deaths. Like many others, the genocide didn’t take his life, but the heartbreak of leaving behind his home and not knowing whether he could take care of his family did.”

Modi’s Decision on Article 370: Perspectives on Kashmir’s Special Status

The question of whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi was right to withdraw Article 370—the provision granting special status to Indian-occupied Kashmir—elicits strong opinions. The supreme court upheld the stripping of the special status in December 2023. Let’s explore the viewpoints:

  1. Kashmiri Hindu Perspective:
    • Every Kashmiri Hindu interviewed emphasized the importance of Indian-occupied Kashmir remaining part of India rather than joining Pakistan or becoming independant. They feared a recurrence of the 1990 genocide, which had affected Hindus who had either moved to the southernmost tip or returned after three decades.
  2. Unanimous Agreement on Article 370 Withdrawal:
    • All interviewees unanimously and vocally supported the decision to revoke Article 370. They believed it was a necessary step for stability and security.
  3. Tourism, Investment, and Improved Security:
    • Responding to criticism from a Pakistani student at the Oxford Union, India TV news anchor Palki Sharma highlighted positive outcomes post-revocation.
    • Tourism has surged, with a record 16 million tourists visiting in 2022, which increased by 243,000, visiting Kashmir last year.
    • The region received its first-ever foreign direct investment (FDI) from the UAE.
    • Incidents of terrorism have halved.
    • Overall security and the economy have shown improvement.
  4. Gilgit Baltistan’s Aspiration:
    • An additional reason supporting the withdrawal of Article 370 is that Gilgit Baltistan (part of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir) now expresses a desire to become part of India.

But the biggest reason doesn’t just affect India, it affects everyone.

In 1990, Muslim separatists and terrorists killed approximately 4,000 Indian Hindus and forced them to leave their own homes. But in 2019, the land they murdered for, has been taken back by India.

It’s a victory for anyone facing cruelty, brutality and genocide around the world.

Terror and fear lost. Peace and democracy won.

It would be obvious to assume that after the Kashmiri Hindus were thrown out of their homeland, there was a reversal in fortune, but this did not materialise. Thirty years later, Kashmir had become in the words of Bhan, “A generation of stone throwers”, whilst the tormented Hindu Brahmins have made their homes around the world and continued their focus in the fields of journalism, media, science and academia.

1990 saw the depths of depravity. 2023 saw the heights of humanity.