October 31st, 2010 11:24 EST
Merger and Integration of J&K Interlocutors Must Learn ABC's of Kashmir
The three musketeers which were dispatched to Kashmir as interlocutors have created more political pollution than the ISI and other agencies had added confusion. The interlocutors took briefing from the Union Home Minister whose immediate agenda was to provide oxygen for the political survival of the Chief Minister. The Union Home Minister supported the so-called doctrine propounded by the Chief Minister that J&K was never an integral part of India.
To create further confusion the Home Minister briefed the interlocutors to go to Kashmir to create a political climate in favour of the Chief Minister by defining the Kashmir situation as `Kashmir Dispute` and supporting `Azadi`. Interestingly, one of the interlocutors Mr. Ansari, who disagreed with the proposition deserted his `co-musketeers` and returned to Delhi. Credit goes to him for keeping silent throughout even after his disagreement with other interlocutors.
The Prime Minister may do good by recalling these interlocutors who have violated the conduct and discipline which was essential element for an interlocutor to observe. The Prime Minister should have take steps for the implementation of the recommendations of four Working Groups who were appointed by him and had done a comprehensive exercise on all issues including the basic issues relating to regional discrimination and reorganization of the State. Working Group-V failed to conclude its work for reasons unknown. The Prime Minister may do good by reconstituting Working Group-V which was supposed to prepare a comprehensive report on the State-Centre relations. Autonomy, self-rule and reorganization need to be discussed in depth.
The interlocutors had no role at all. The Prime Minister had provided ample opportunity to all sections of the society in J&K, to the civil societies and all shades of political opinions. Those political elements sponsored by those who intend to destabilize the country did not choose to accept the invitation of the Prime Minister who visited Kashmir half a dozen times to meet anybody and everybody. After Prime Minister`s personal hearing of the public opinion, there is no scope of any interlocutor except diluting the gains from Prime Minister`s direction and personal initiative taken.
The interlocutors have done more form to the national interest and security by making highly objectionable and seditious remarks in public than made by the ISI agents. The background of the present crisis and confusion can be traced from the anti-national and seditious remarks made by the Chief Minister of J&K on the floors of the Assembly on 6th October, 2010.
The Chief Minister of J&K failed to hide his hidden agenda he conceived during his visit to Pakistan in 2007 though he had lot of time on his side to take up the same. His utterances on the floor of the Legislative Assembly in Srinagar last month proved counter-productive though he chose the venue because a Legislator enjoys immunity from a criminal action for the words used inside the Legislature. This is the immunity which is not enjoyed by a legislator in SAARC countries except Sri Lanka. The statement of the Chief Minister deserved a serious attention of those who claimed to be experts on J&K affairs. The Chief Minister made several irresponsible and offensive observations in his hate-India speech which challenged the mandate and authority of the Constitution.
It invited lot of wrath from different circles. Firstly, he declared in high pitch that J&K acceded conditionally to India and was not integral part of the Union. One part of his speech referred to his intention to revive `Anglo-American Dixon Plan` without naming. His reference to creation of so-called sub regions of Rajouri-Poonch and Doda Districts Jammu province by granting them regional autonomy deserved a careful analysis of his latent intentions which were recited by his grandfather in 1953.
The proposal was recommended by Justice Owen Dixon in his report to dissect Muslim majority Districts from Jammu province to establish a so-called Greater Kashmir. Owen Dixon was sent as a special UN observer to J&K in 1950 when Pakistan refused to withdraw from occupied areas of J&K as per UNCIP direction in its resolution dated 13th August, 1948. To bail out Pakistan, he recommended creation of `Greater Kashmir` to divide the State on communal lines which the people had opposed in 1947. This proposal was sponsored by Anglo-American Bloc.
Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, for a change, rejected this Dixon Plan right in 1950. Grandson of Abdullah in his first opportunity vomited his family`s hidden agenda out of frustration least realizing that half a century has elapsed since Anglo-American Axis tried to sell out this plan through Sheikh Abdullah in 1953. Sheikh Abdullah`s support to the Dixon Plan earned wrath of Pt. Nehru resulting in Abdullah`s dismissal and arrest. He also declared that J&K was not integral part of India that might have created unbearable embarrassment to the coalition partner, the Congress. Several noted columnists, well-known writers and journalists have poured thousands of words in the print media in support of Omar Abdullah`s lost-doctrine that J&K was not integral part of India nor it had merged with the Union. He has opened a Pandora`s Box nor for himself but for the Congress too which has provided crutches to the Chief Minister to stand.
Experts on J&K affairs are aware that the Ruler of the state was the only competent authority to accede which he did on 26th October, 1947. The Governor-General of India accepted the Accession the next day. The same day the Indian Army landed at Srinagar Airport. It launched an aggressive counter against the enemy to drive them out of the Valley. The `format` of the Instrument of Accession for all the states was similar. All the princes had acceded in respect of Defence, Foreign Affairs and Communication at the first stage. After the acceptance of their offers the States naturally merged with the Union.
True, the Maharaja had introduced some conditions at the time of Accession by retaining some of the municipal powers for himself. On 20th August, 1952 the Constituent Assembly under the leadership of Sheikh Abdullah unanimously adopted a resolution piloted by Mr. D.P. Dhar terminating the monarchy in the State. With the abolition of Monarchy by the Constituent Assembly, all or any condition attached by the Monarch for himself stood discharged resulting into constitutional merger of the State, the same day. The status of the Raj Pramukh (the Regent) was switched over to an elected Sadar-e-Riyasat.
The Accession was ratified by the Constituent Assembly. The Constitution of J&K was launched formally on 26th January, 1957. Section 3 of the Constitution unequivocally states that "J&K is integral part and shall remain integral part of India". This provision clearly provides in the First Schedule, item no.15 of Article-1 of the Constitution of India which includes J&K as one of the States of the Union of India. How unfortunate, several notables have been defending J&K Chief Minister`s statement that J&K is not integral part of India. Even the Foreign Minister and the Union Home Minister have extended solidarity with this philosophy. Undoubtedly, J&K is as good integral part of India as State of Mysore which now is renamed as `Karnataka` or any other state is concerned.
The Chief Minister, it seems is adamant to continue his advocacy for his lost cause out of frustration and mental agony. His father is a member of the Council of Ministers in the Centre besides being head of National Conference. His silence on his son and party Chief Minister is intriguing. If he does not accept J&K an integral part of India what right he has to sit in the Union Cabinet. One wonders how Dr. Farooq Abdullah is still a Cabinet Minister in the Central government when his son does not believe that the state is integral part of the Union. Mr. Omar Abdullah himself served as a Minister in the Central Govt. in the government of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee. One may ask him in how he took oath of allegiance to the Constitution of India.
What he had been doing for two years in the South Block, simply spying for his hidden masters? Ali Shah Geelani, a Jamaat leader of Kashmir which does not enjoy more than 6% of support of the Kashmiri Muslims has been exploiting the failures, corruption and inefficiency of the ruling `NC` got an opportunity to raise the burning issue which touched the nerves of the oppresses masses. He got elected twice as a Legislator in J&K and since has been drawing full pension for his services as MLA. His recent visit to Delhi on the invitation of `undesirable elements` and his hate shouting for the speech wit others has unfortunately generated a kind of communal tension in the capital and other places. The Union Home Minister may be the first Union Minister in the country who described J&K situation as a `political dispute` and Accession as `unique`. This leads to believe that Mr. P. Chidambaram is online with Mr. Ali Shah Geelani and Mr. Omar Abdullah.
The three musketeers dispatched from Delhi as interlocutors may gather fragrance of Kashmir for the echelons of power in Delhi. They have started reciting the so-called `Kashmir dispute` which Geelani has been insisting to be accepted. The interlocutors have crossed the limit of basic norms and harping for a dialogue with Pakistan was that in their agendas. There is a forceful belief that interlocutors have been dispatched with full freedom to recite the irresponsible utterances of the Chief Minister to justify him. This is being done to prolong the life line of his tenure as Chief Minister.
What has happened to the eight point declaration of the Union Home Secretary in Srinagar which was meant to rescue the Chief Minister and which the latter described as a `trespass` into his domain? The Chief interlocutor has surprised his admirers with his statement in Srinagar that the problem `dispute` as he called it, cannot be resolved without taking Pakistan into confidence. Are three musketeers (interlocutors) building their new bridges for their entry to Pakistan? Shall they represent MEA also besides Union Home Ministry?
The immediate remedy to restore peace in Kashmir lies in relieving the Chief Minister of his job which he has miserably failed to perform in accordance with the Constitution and to the satisfaction of the people. A short spell of Governor Rule can help restore peace and rebuild confidence of the people. The Chief Minister has lost credibility and acceptance both. Any delay in his exit may prove security risk. Fresh Assembly elections may be unavoidable to address the aspirations and wishes of the people who desire freedom from corruption, inefficient and biased government. That may open the door of democracy for all including the angry Kashmir leaders.
This message has to go to every Kashmiri as well as to every citizen of India that J&K is as good integral part of India as Delhi, Punjab or Mysore is. Had J&K not merged constitutionally, Indian Parliament could not have interfered by introducing Article 370. Moreover, after Sheikh Abdullah the author of `Quit Kashmir` movement and principle actor of abolition of monarchy had himself signed an Accord with Mrs. Indira Gandhi in 1975 accepting entire constitutional arrangement with the Union.
The National Conference cannot be allowed to question the integration or the mandate of the Constitution. Describing such `absurd` issues as `dispute` only to save their power-caps the NC leaders shall not be allowed to exploit the innocent people any more. J&K merged through Accession with the Union thus formed its integral part. Any challenge to its status needs to be dealt with according to the law of the land. 27th day of October is for the people of J&K, what 15th August is for the people of the entire country.
By Prof. Bhim Singh
(The Author is Chairman of J&K National Panthers Party with an experience in the State affairs for the past 50 years)