The current array of conflicts over Kashmir cannot be understood or explained without a reference to its historical roots. Briefly, during the British rule there were hundreds of semi-autonomous princely states in India. At the time of partition of India, the Indian Independence Act of 1947 declared that all Indian princely states will be free to join either India or the newly created Pakistan; there was no provision in the Act for the princely states to opt for independence.
Kashmir, Hyderabad, and Junagadh were the three semi-autonomous princely states that did not accede to either India or Pakistan immediately at the time of partition in 1947. Hyderabad and Junagadh were Hindu majority states ruled by Muslim rulers and were located within the territory awarded to India. On the other hand, Kashmir's population was mainly Muslim but ruled by a Hindu. British gave the domain over Kashmir to Dogra Hindu ruler Gulab Singh in 1846, as a reward for helping them against Afghans and Sikhs. Unlike Hyderabad and Junagadh, Kashmir had borders with both the truncated India and the newly carved Pakistan.
The Muslim rulers of Gujarati state of Junagadh and its principalities eventually signed instruments of accession to Pakistan. India overruled and forcibly seized and annexed the state. A unilateral plebiscite was held in Gujarat without the participation of Pakistan, the legal owner of the state, or the United Nations. India's argument was that the Hindu majority states could not join Muslim Pakistan. India asserted that Junagadh accession to Pakistan was contrary to the two-nation theory, the basis for the partition of the country into Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan. When the Nizam of Hyderabad sought to remain independent of India or to become part of Pakistan, the state was forced into the Indian Federation through "police action" in September 1948 on the ground that the right of self-determination of the populace was supreme.
However, when it came to Kashmir, India conveniently departed from the principles it applied to seize Junagadh and Hyderabad - geographical location, communal composition, and the people's right of self-determination. India altogether disregarded Kashmir's Muslim majority, geographical contiguity to Pakistan, and failed to ascertain the wishes of the people of the state through plebiscite. The plebiscite was out of question. The Indian leaders were well aware that the people of Kashmir would have voted to rid themselves of Indian rule and join Pakistan - a foregone conclusion.
Maharaja Hari Singh, the great-grandson of the Maharaja Gulab Singh, presided over Kashmir at the time of the partition. Hari Singh knew too well that the Muslims who constitute majority of the population of his state would never accept accession of the state to Hindu majority India. Therefore, he was hesitant to sign the instrument of accession to India. The people of Kashmir revolted and rebelled against the ruler for his refusal to accede the state to Pakistan. India claims that Maharajah Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession in return for military support to quell the popular uprising against his rule.
However, academicians and historians (Stanley Wolpert, Alister Lamb, Robin Raphel, et al.) seriously doubt that an Instrument of Accession was ever signed and given to India by Maharaja Hari Singh; India never put forward any substantive and credible evidence to back up its claim. The document was never presented to the U.N. or to Pakistan. The issue becomes very dubious and suspicious when one considers that in 1995 the Indian authorities claimed that the original accession document was either stolen or lost. Historical examinations of the events surrounding the accession document lend strong evidence that the document never existed; it was a mere hoax played by India for its hegemonic ambitions. India not only hoodwinked Kashmiris but the whole international community.
That was very briefly how India used political machination and fraud to occupy Kashmir and deprive its people fundamental rights of liberty and justice. The saga of injustice does not end here, the humiliation continues on.