07 September, 2011
Should we be thankful to god for giving us our daily dose of difficult times and challenges so that we may know who is a friend and who is not and test our inner core values too? And doesn't such a tough time also give us an opportunity to gauge our patience to listen to the moralist preachers whose feet betray their clay?
Kashmir faces this irony. The nation gets to know the friends of the nationhood and also the foes at such a time. We look politically divided on it and the moralist preachers - called interlocutors sometime tell us to put the clock back and arrive in 1953 from 2011 rather than moving ahead to 2020.
If pre-1953 status serves Kashmir better than why not try pre-1947 status to have it serve India better? Memory loss is one trait that often hurts India’s cause in Kashmir.
The 1953 status that interlocutors have spoken about was confronted head on by Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee, the then President of Janasangh. There was a permit system to enter J&K, for all Indians, two flags, head of the state was known as sadr-e- riyasat meaning President and political chief executive of the state was called vazire-azam, i.e. Prime Minister. Mookerjee’s courageous defiance to enter state without a permit and later his mysterious death in Srinagar jail, declared a ‘murder’ by Jana Sangh then, forced Nehru government to end permit system, rechristen posts of sadr-e- riyasat and vazir-e- azam as governor and chief minister respectively and gradually extend the jurisdiction of the supreme court, election commission and the Indian Administrative and Police Services. Still the two flag system continued, as was the provision of constitution’s article 370.
Soon,Sheikh Abdullah, who was known as Prime Minister of Kashmir then had to be arrested as was ordered by Nehru for his seditious demands and actions. He was released eleven years later. A person who was jailed for eleven years was entrusted the task to go to Pakistan and have talks with its President Gen. Ayub Khan, to find ways to 'solve' Kashmir problem!! This is how Congress was tackling Kashmir issue. We had already lost 83 thousand sq kms of Kashmir to Pakistan in 1947, when Pakistani army in the disguise of tribal raiders attacked Kashmir. Lt. Gen SK Sinha (retd) says Indian troops were ready to push Pakistanis back and reclaim the lost land but were stopped by Pt Nehru at the insistence of Sheikh Abdullah in October 1947. Prime Minister Nehru having declared a unilateral ceasefire and an assurance for a plebiscite filed a complaint with the UN Security Council. As if this was not enough to harm Indian interests, Sheikh Abdullah was coronated as J&K’s Prime Minister, who would later be jailed by the same government of Pt Nehru.
Again after Nehru’s demise in 1964, Sheikh became more vocal in demanding independence for Kashmir and he had to be interned from 1965 to 1968 and was exiled from Kashmir in 1971 for 18 months. Inspite of such a record of Sheikh saheb, playing a strange game Indira Gandhi signed an agreement with him in 1974 paving way for him to become the chief minister.He remained in power till his death in 1984.
I am mentioning these facts to stress the point that Congress was never encouraging patriotic forces in the valley and kept the rest of the two and equally important parts of the state completely ignored. Instead of forming a Kashmir policy on the basis of patriotic and nationalist population, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and Sikhs, the entire J&K was seen through the myopic view of the valley alone.
Out of 2,22,236 sq kms of the J&K state, Jammu has 26,293 sq kms and Ladakh 1,38,942 sq kms. It must be remembered that 78,114 sq kms of the state is under illegal occupation of Pakistan, 37,555 sq kms under illegal occupation of China and 5,180 sq kms have been illegally handed over to China by Pakistan. While Ladakh constitutes 69.60 % of the state's total land area, Kashmir valley, the most turbulent and vocal one is just 11.48 % and Jammu 18.92 %. Within Ladakh, Buddhist majority district Leh has 45,110 sq kms and Shia Muslim majority district Kargil has 13,000 sq kms.
Have we ever found the voices of these two regions as sincerely heard in Delhi as it listens to the third part, i.e. the valley? Have we shown equal concern and seriousness to find ways to get back parts of Kashmir under Pakistan’s illegal occupation? On 7th August 1952, while speaking in Loksabha, Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee had asked about these parts of Kashmir, “Is there any possibility of our getting back this territory? We shall not get it through the efforts of the United Nations: we shall not get it through peaceful methods, by negotiating with Pakistan. That means we lose it unless we use force and the Prime Minister is unwilling to do so. Let us face facts-are we prepared to lose it?”
Today, 59 years down the line, instead of getting back lost Kashmir, we are proposing to lose Kashmir that we have with us. Moreover, there is absolutely no concern for more than five lakh Kashmiri Hindus who were forced to flee from valley.
It’s to be noted that after Maharaja of Kashmir signing the instrument of accession with India’s then governor general, there remains no ambiguity in relation with Kashmir’s status. The document of accession, which describes Maharaja Hari Singh as also the King of Tibet, says -
Whereas the Indian Independence Act, 1947, provides that as from the fifteenth day of August, 1947, there shall be set up an independent Dominion known as INDIA, and that the Government of India Act 1935, shall with such omissions, additions, adaptations and modifications as the Governor General may by order specify, be applicable to the Dominion of India.
And whereas the Government of India Act, 1935, as so adapted by the Governor General, provides that an Indian State may accede to the Dominion of India by an Instrument of Accession executed by the Ruler thereof.
Now, therefore, I Shriman Inder Mahinder Rajrajeswar Maharajadhiraj Shri Hari Singhji, Jammu & Kashmir Naresh Tatha Tibbet adi Deshadhipati, Ruler of Jammu & Kashmir State, in the exercise of my Sovereignty in and over my said State do hereby execute this my Instrument of Accession and
1. I hereby declare that I accede to the Dominion of India with the intent that the Governor General of India, the Dominion Legislature, the Federal Court and any other Dominion authority established for the purposes of the Dominion shall by virtue of this my Instrument of Accession but subject always to the terms thereof, and for the purposes only of the Dominion, exercise in relation to the State of Jammu & Kashmir (hereinafter referred to as "this State") such functions as may be vested in them by or under the Government of India Act, 1935, as in force in the Dominion of India, on the 15th day of August 1947, (which Act as so in force is hereafter referred to as "the Act').
Later, on 22nd February 1994, India parliament unanimously passed a resolution in regard to Kashmir. Please allow me to quote it fully, because I feel this resolution must find a place in every school, office and home, reminding every Indian about the unfinished task of taking back parts of Kashmir under illegal occupation of Pakistan. The resolution says -
Notes with deep concern Pakistan's role in imparting training to the terrorists in camps located in Pakistan and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, the supply of weapons and funds, assistance in infiltration of trained militants, including foreign mercenaries into Jammu and Kashmir with the avowed purpose of creating disorder, disharmony and subversion: reiterates that the militants trained in Pakistan are indulging in murder, loot and other heinous crimes against the people, taking them hostage and creating an atmosphere of terror; Condemns strongly the continued support and encouragement Pakistan is extending to subversive and terrorist activities in the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir; Calls upon Pakistan to stop forthwith its support to terrorism, which is in violation of the Simla Agreement and the internationally accepted norms of inter-State conduct and is the root cause of tension between the two countries reiterates that the Indian political and democratic structures and the Constitution provide for firm guarantees for the promotion and protection of human rights of all its citizens; regard Pakistan's anti-India campaign of calumny and falsehood as unacceptable and deplorable. notes with deep concern the highly provocative statements emanating from Pakistan urges Pakistan to refrain from making statements which vitiate the atmosphere and incite public opinion; expresses regret and concern at the pitiable conditions and violations of human rights and denial of democratic freedoms of the people in those areas of the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir, which are under the illegal occupation of Pakistan;
On behalf of the People of India, Firmly declares that - (a) The State of Jammu & Kashmir has been, is and shall be an integral part of India and any attempts to separate it from the rest of the country will be resisted by all necessary means; (b) India has the will and capacity to firmly counter all designs against its unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity; and demands that - (c) Pakistan must vacate the areas of the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir, which they have occupied through aggression; and resolves that -(d) all attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of India will be met resolutely." The Resolution was unanimously adopted.
Mr. Speaker: The Resolution is unanimously passed. February 22, 1994.
Please analyze, whether the interlocutors, who were appointed by the Government of India have acted on behalf of the people of India, or have they reflected the spirit of Indian Parliament’s resolution regarding Kashmir? Yielding to the demands of a miniscule minority of secessionists in the valley, have they not ended up pleasing the pro-Pakistani elements?