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Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy and the Asian Studies Centre, St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford, have launched a series of five panel discussions with leading academics titled, ‘Understanding Kashmir and The Nullification of article 370: Law, History and Politics’. The third panel on ‘Accession and Kashmir’s ‘Unique’ Case’ took place on 16th Nov 2021.

This session took a deep dive into the historical circumstances that led to Kashmir’s accession to the Indian union and the eventual inclusion of Article 370 in the text of the Constitution. While the India Independence Act, which led to the creation of Indian and Pakistan , provided for the partition of the British provinces, the princely states were free to exercise their sovereign choice of going with either of the two new nations or staying independent. Hari Singh, Maharaja of Kashmir, however, did not take an immediate decision and the situation became precarious due to triable interventions from Pakistani territory. Kashmir’s eventual accession to India , complicated by a Muslim majority population and a much-disliked Hindu ruler, became fraught and required a special dispensation under the Constitution. This was Article 370.

SPEAKERS FOR PANEL 3:

  • SHRUTI KAPILA, Associate Professor of History, Fellow, and Director of Studies, Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge
  • ANDREW WHITEHEAD, Historian, Lecturer, and Freelance Journalist with BBC and Honorary Professor at University of Nottingham
  • PRATEEK JOSHI, DPhil Student, University of Oxford

The discussion was moderated by Arghya Sengupta, Founder and Research Director at Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy.