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India Decides to Keep Sensitive Letters on Kashmir from 1947 in Hiding

According to internal government documents obtained by The Guardian, India intends to keep the Bucher files from 1947 locked away at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library.

These documents are reported to include political and military points raised by India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, advocating a truce with Pakistan and the state of Jammu and Kashmir receiving special status.

The files have been kept out of the public eye for decades, and the government’s goal to keep them secret is speculated to be due to their sensitive contents, which might influence diplomatic relations.

In accordance with a recent foreign ministry statement, the files should not be disclosed yet because they involve military operational details, correspondence between top government officials, and sensitive political concerns.

Nevertheless, Indian activist Venkatesh Nayak has filed repeated petitions to declassify the documents, and the Indian Information Commissioner decided it was in the “national interest” in 2021. However, the library has yet to gain formal clearance to declassify the materials for academic research purposes.

The Bucher files are thought to contain information about Nehru’s awareness and understanding of military events in Kashmir, as well as Roy Bucher’s idea of a political solution to the rising crisis caused by military exhaustion among Indian forces.

The Indian government has yet to make a final judgment on the case. However, archive materials are routinely declassified after 25 years. The Guardian has requested a response from the Indian Foreign Ministry and the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library.

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