Hindu Vivek Kendra
«« Back
Facing the realities in J&K region

Facing the realities in J&K region

Author: M.V. Kamath
Publication: The Free Press Journal
Date: September 5, 2002
URL: http://www.samachar.com/features/050902-fpj.html

Hasn't the time come for all of us to face some facts? And the `all' refers not only to the political parties in Kashmir but to the United States and Britain as well. The United States especially. Washington needs to be reminded that had it played fair with India when it first took the so-called Kashmir issue to the U. N. Security Council, there would have been no Kashmir problem today. The fact is that Pakistan did have a hand in attacking Jammu & Kashmir after the Jammu & Kashmir ruler had acceded legally to India. So far as the ruler was concerned there were no ifs and buts. The accession was com-plete.

Were the United States and its partner the United Kingdom fair and honest, the Security Council would have summarily asked Pakistan to vacate its aggression and behave itself. And the matter would have been resolved then and there.

But that did not suit the Western powers. Instead of dispensing with justice, the western powers (and they include France as well) sought to blaspheme India and put it on the defensive. Believing that it had the western world solidly behind it, Pakistan waged three wars only to lose all three of them. Having learnt that it can never take India head-on militarily, Pakistan did what came easily to it: it took to terrorism and in the last ten years it had been responsible for the death of over 60,000 Kashmiri civilians and that number includes women and children. The Western world maintained a discreet silence when this murder and mayhem went on, not willing to lift its little finger to admonish its client. It was only after the September 11 assault on its own citadel that the United States woke up to the fact that terrorism needs to be fought.

Let this be plainly stated: Pakistan has no `locus standi' in the matter of Kashmir. There is no reason why India should hold talks with Pakistan, `even if it halts cross-border terrorism.' Whatever talks India needs to hold, that will be with the people of Jammu & Kashmir. It is a point that the Hurriyat leaders should come to under- stand.

And the west must also be firmly told that its continued backing to the Musharraf regime is not being appreciated in Delhi. What that backing shows is that the United States is interested only in its own welfare and not that of India. Even as Armitage was holding talks with Musharraf and his gang, a band of murderers had mowed down some innocent shepherds, on the Indian side of the Line of Control. The United States, besides, knows fully well that bin Laden is alive and kicking and is living somewhere within the boundaries of Pakistan.

But then what does Washington do? On 23 August the United States signed an agreement with Pakistan for re-scheduling of its debt to the tune of $ 3 billion! Of this lot $ 2.3 billion was construed as Official Development Assistance (ODA) to be repaid in 38 years. The remaining $ 700 million has been treated as non- offi-cial development assistance to be repaid over 23 years. It may safely be presumed that neither lot will ever be repaid.

Washington is not fooling anybody. What is sickening is the fact that Washington continues to treat Musharraf as a democrat when the man is worse than Iraq's Saddam Hussain. Musharraf has become a virtual dictator. There is nothing that he cannot do, from sacking his Prime Minister, dismissing the Parliament and laying down the law for every citizen.

From Washington there is not a whisper of protest, against this wholesale murder of democracy.

For all that, Musharraf is a man scared of his own people. He did not even dare to address a public rally on Pakistan's Independence Day. A visibly terror-strick-en president shifted the venue of his address to a heavily- guarded hall where only a selected audience comprising of ministers, high officials, diplomats and their wives and children were permitted.

There have been three attempts on his life in the past six months. If the Baluchis and the members of the MQM had their way Baluchistan and Sind will be independent tomorrow. Everyone knows that Musharraf's writ does not run in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP). And it is this man who wants to be given the right to speak for his `brethren' in Jammu & Kashmir. Has he forgotten how Pakistan treated his ``brethren'' in Bangladesh where Pakistani forces killed over 3 million Bengalis and raped countless Bengali Muslim women? Has he for-gotten the thousands of Baluchis who were killed between 1962 and 1975? Whom does Musharraf represent except a handful of Army officers thirsting for revenge at their defeat at Indian hands in three major wars? That is only one aspect of the Jammu & Kashmir issue.

The other is the role of the Hurriyat leaders. They represent no one but themselves. Their importance is strictly confined to the Kashmir Valley. They do not and cannot speak for all of Jammu & Kashmir. In all these fifty odd years the two most neglected parts of the old state are Jammu & Ladakh. Jammu has more voters than has Kashmir but Kashmir provides more members to the Legislative Assembly (46) than Jammu (37).

At the secretarial level Kashmiris hold more positions (31) than people from Jammu (4). Ninety per cent of the employees in the Civil Secretariat are Kashmiris. Both the people of Jammu and Ladakh have many such grievances but the media talks of Jammu & Kashmir as if neither Jammu nor Ladakh exists. Most of the economic assistance given by the Centre to the state is hogged by Kashmir and the voice of Jammu & Ladakh is seldom heard.

If, as the word goes, Kashmir wants ``autonomy'' why shouldn't the peo-ple of Jammu and Ladakh also have the right to say that they do not want autono-my under Kashmir, but full and unabridged association with the rest of India? The Ladakh Buddhist Association representing the majority Buddhists in the region long ago had requested for central rule. Similarly the Jammu Praja Parishad had demanded statehood way back in 1948.

If the Hurriyat wants autonomy, then the voice of the Ladakh and Jammu parties also needs to be heeded. And consider this: over 4 lakh Kashmiri Pandits have been driven out of Kashmir and live in conditions worse than that of the Muslims in the camps in and around Ahmedabad.

What is going to be their fate? It is all very well to say that Kashmiris should not be alienated. Neither should the people of Jammu and Ladakh. They should get their place of honour in Srinagar. Under no circumstances should Jammu & Kashmir be equated with the Hurriyat. That would be the greatest crime committed against the people of that unfortunate state.

Under autonomy, the state would have its own constitution; its administrative set up would be independent of the IAS and IPS. It would have its own legal structure. Only Defence, External Affairs and Communication and related ancillary matters would be wie their own constitution and in South Africa too, provinces are permitted to have their own constitutions.

What is forgotten is that the people of the United States are all Christian and there is no division among them along religious lines. Such a division exists in Kashmir.

There is much to be said for the trifurcation of Jammu & Kashmir. May it be remembered that the old states of Mysore and Hyderabad had lost their identity. Old Mysore was linked with districts from Bombay and Madras provinces and what constituted old Mysore lost its distinct identity. What is today Andhra Pradesh has little to do with the Hyderabad of the Nizam.

If Mysore and Hyderabad can lose their distinctive identities, why shouldn't Jammu & Kashmir? Talk of Kashmiriat is so much hogwash. The people who drove the Kashmiri Pandits out of their homes were Kashmiris themselves. What happened to their Kashmiriat? Of course, it would be nice if Jammu & Kashmir remains one unit; it would be nicer if the Hurriyat participatesriat. But is the Hurriyat listening?

Presently the Hurriyat is showing itself subservient to Pakistan, a role not acceptable to Delhi. It wants Pakistan to be a party to any serious talks on the future of Jammu & Kashmir. How can India accept that silly demand? In all this one m he will come to realise it some day. But it had better be soon in his own interests as in the larger interest of peace in south Asia.

Back                          Top

«« Back
  Search Articles
  Special Annoucements