Contested Secessions addresses concepts of core moral rights and the right of secession, processes of justification, national-self determination, democracy, justice, and pluralism. In particular, Neera Chandhoke brings a political theory perspective to bear on the 'Kashmir Problem'. Sufficient attention has already been paid to the issue of accession, Indo-Pakistan tensions over the state, Kashmir in the United Nations, the rise of militancy and 'cross-border terrorism', and the waylaying of democracy and comparative histories of conflict. This book goes a step further to examine whether the Kashmiri people have the right to secede; if so why, and if not, why?
Chandhoke's analysis draws from several disciplinary perspectives to focus on secession-both consensual and contested-and its legitimacy. This is an area hitherto ignored by Western, liberal theories of secession. She discusses at length the specificities of cases of 'contested secessions' as opposed to the Western theory of 'consensual secessions'. The objective is to develop normative principles which can help map, and sort out vexatious issues in contested secessions which are characterized by extensive violence, third party intervention, and dissenting minorities. The author criticizes the use of state violence in contested secessionist movements and supports her argument by citing examples of secessions across the globe in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. She suggests that the solution to secession could come by recourse to political autonomy through the establishment of self-governing institutions.