31 OCTOBER 1947, Page 2

The Trouble in Kashmir

The situation in the State of Kashmir, whose ruler, Sir Hari Singh, desires the State to adhere to the Dominion of India, whereas the bulk of the population (which is rather over four millions) are Muslims and prefer Pakistan, is still serious. Pakistan, of course, itself desires the latter solution, and Mr. Jinnah is charged with at any rate some tacit responsibility for the indiscriminate fighting which has been taking place round the capital, Srinagar. Meanwhile two

rather questionable steps have been taken. The Government of India has flown into Kashmir some detachments of Sikhs, who are the inveterate enemies of the Muslims, and the Governor- General, Lord Mountbatten, has accepted the accession of the State to the Indian Union, on the clear understanding that a plebiscite shall be held to determine what the wishes of the popula- tion really are. The normal course would be to hold the plebiscite before adhesion to either Dominion took place ; it remains to be seen whether this departure from the normal will in fact make for peace in the interim. Meanwhile Sir Hari Singh has asked the pro- Congress Sheikh Abdullah, who has for some time been a political prisoner, to form a Cabinet, thus displacing the existing Prime Minister, Mehr Ch. and Mahajan. The usual train of refugees is leaving Kashmir, and unfortunately talks on the whole affair between Mr. Jinnah, Pandit Nehru and Lord Mountbatten have had to be postponed because Pandit Nehru is ill. Apart from the dispute in the trifling State of Junagadh this is the first serious con- tention about the adhesion of a State to a Dominion. Hyderabad is still holding aloof and keeping its powder dry.