Governor's rule was imposed last week in Indian Held Kashmir (IHK) and its state assembly has been dissolved after the vacuum created by Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad's resignation. The State Governor N N Vohra issued a proclamation and assumed all the functions of the state government with immediate effect and also dissolved the legislative assembly. The imbroglio was caused owing to the IHK government's decision of transferring 40 acres of prime forestland to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board which triggered large-scale protests and violence in the state. The pilgrimage to Amarnath is organised every year by the Jammu and Kashmir government during the months of July and August for devout Hindus to pay homage to Hindu deities, whose idols adorn the Baba Amarnath Holy Cave located at a height of 14,500 feet, 141 kilometres from Srinagar and 44 kilometres from the town of Pahalgam in Jammu and Kashmir; the spiritual journey is known as the Amarnath Yatra. The Indian government has been managing the Amarnath Yatra since 1858, while local Muslim residents have been supporting the Hindu Yatris, by providing them right of way and even extending hospitality. This year, in a breach of local sensitivities, the IHK government, chose to allot land for constructing shelters for the Hindu pilgrims. The move outraged the Kashmiri Muslims, who decided to agitate; however, the IHK government turned a deaf ear to the remonstrations. Ghulam Nabi Azad opted to resign last week instead of facing the no-confidence motion in the state assembly after withdrawal of support by its coalition partner, People's Democratic Party of Mehbooba Mufti in protest against Amarnath land transfer issue. The elections in the state are expected to be held in October this year; thus the state governor consulted with political stakeholders in Indian Held Kashmir but none of the parties took interest in forming the government, since they would face the wrath of the people and diminish their chances of re-election. Massive protests were launched in IHK by Kashmiris led by both factions of All Parties Hurriyat Conference and other Kashmiri leaders to protest against the decision of transfer of land to Amaranth Shrine Board. It is the fourth time that the held territory came under direct rule from the centre in 60 years; it came under governor rule for the first time in 1977, later in 1986 and again in 1990. The Kashmiri leaders see the resignation of Ghulam Nabi Azad as a sign of progress, however, the chairman of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has emphasised that the imposition of governor's rule in the occupied territory as irrelevant as the people of Kashmir were struggling to resolve the Kashmir dispute once for all. Senior Kashmir Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Gilani has expressed similar sentiments. Kashmiri struggle for freedom began in 1931, when 21 Kashmiris made the supreme sacrifice of their valuable lives for the ultimate cause of freedom of Kashmir from the clutches of despotic Dogra rulers. Dogra rule, which extended from1846 to 1947 is considered the darkest period in the history of Kashmir, and is replete with tyrannical and oppressive treatment of Kashmiris by Dogra forces. Unfortunately, Kashmir's agony is far from over; Dogra rule was replaced by a more repressive Indian rule. No less than 70,000 people have laid down their lives for the cause of freedom since 1989 when open rebellion broke out against Indian occupation. To suppress this struggle, New Delhi has deployed more than 700,000 troops in the limited space of Kashmir where, as noted by Amnesty International and other world organisations, wanton human rights violations and atrocities, including burning of villages, mass rape of women, summary executions and torture, are of routine occurrence. All this is a direct result of India's brazen refusal to give the people of Kashmir their right of self-determination. This is not only unjust and immoral, but is contrary to India's own pledges to the United Nations and to the world community to resolve the Kashmir issue with reference to the people's freely expressed wishes; all these from the country which claims to be the world's largest democratic secular state. India and Pakistan agreed to enter into composite dialogue to address all outstanding issues including that of Jammu and Kashmir. Meanwhile, whereas the peace process has inched forward, the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir remains unresolved. It remains our hope that the dialogue process would be result-oriented and progress will be achieved on all issues including the issue of Jammu and Kashmir. The writer is a political and defence analyst