Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Delhi Agreement, 1952

The Delhi Agreement, 1952

After the Constituent Assembly of the State had taken important decisions referred to immediately above, it was deemed necessary to receive the concurrence of the Indian Government. Accordingly, the representatives of Kashmir Government conferred with the representatives of Indian Government and arrived at an agreement. This arrangement was later on known as the "Delhi Agreement, 1952". 

The main features of this agreement were:    

in view of the uniform and consistent stand taken up by the Jammu and Kashmir Constituent Assembly that sovereignty in all matters other than those specified in the Instrument of Accession continues to reside in the State, the Government of India agreed that, while the residuary powers of legislature vested in the Centre in respect of all states other than Jammu and Kashmir, in the case of the latter they vested in the State itself;     

  1. it was agreed between the two Governments that in accordance with Article 5 of the Indian Constitution, persons who have their domicile in Jammu and Kashmir shall be regarded as citizens of India, but the State legislature was given power to make laws for conferring special rights and privileges on the ‘state subjects’ in view of the ‘State Subject Notifications of 1927 and 1932: the State legislature was also empowered to make laws for the ‘State Subjects’ who had gone to Pakistan on account of the communal disturbances of 1947, in the event of their return to Kashmir;    

as the President of India commands the same respect in the State as he does in other Units of India, Articles 52 to 62 of the Constitution relating to him should be applicable to the State. It was further agreed that the power to grant reprieves, pardons and remission of sentences etc; would also vest in the President of India' the Union Government agreed that the State should have its own flag in addition to the Union flag, but it was agreed by the State Government that the State flag would not be a rival of the Union flag; it was also recognised that the Union flag should have the same status and position in Jammu and Kashmir as in the rest of India, but for historical reasons connected with the freedom struggle in the State, the need for continuance of the State flag was recognised there was complete agreement with regard to the position of the Sadar-i-Riyasat; though the Sadar-i-Riyasat was to be elected by the State Legislature, he had to be recognised by the President of India before his installation as such; in other Indian States the Head of the State was appointed by the President and was as such his nominee but the person to be appointed as the Head, had to be a person acceptable to the Government of that State; no person who is not acceptable to the State Government can be thrust on the State as the Head. The difference in the case of Kashmir lies only in the fact that Sadar-i-Riyasat will in the first place be elected by the State legislature itself instead of being a nominee of the Government and the President of India. With regard to the powers and functions of the Sadar-i-Riyasat the following argument was mutually agreed upon

  • the Head of the State shall be a person recognised by the President of the Union on the recommendations of the Legislature of the State;
  • he shall hold office during the pleasure of the President;    
  • he may, by writing under his hand addressed to the President, resign his office;    

subject to the foregoing provisions, the Head of the State shall hold office for a term of five years from the date he enters upon his office;  
provided that he shall, notwithstanding the expiration of his term, continue to hold the office until his successor enters upon his office"
with regard to the fundamental rights, some basic principles agreed between the parties were enunciated; it was accepted that the people of the State were to have fundamental rights. But in the view of the peculiar position in which the State was placed, the whole chapter relating to ‘Fundamental Rights’ of the Indian Constitution could not be made applicable to the State, the question which remained to be determined was whether the chapter on fundamental rights should form a part of the State Constitution of the Constitution of India as applicable to the State;    
with regard to the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of India, it was accepted that for the time being, owing to the existence of the Board of Judicial Advisers in the State, which was the highest judicial authority in the State, the Supreme Court should have only appellate jurisdiction;    
.there was a great deal of discussion with regard to the "Emergency Powers"; the Government of India insisted on the application of Article 352, empowering the President to proclaim a general emergency in the State; the State Government argued that in the exercise of its powers over defence (Item 1 on the Union List), in the event of war or external aggression, the Government of India would have full authority to take steps and proclaim emergency but the State delegation was, however, averse to the President exercising the power to proclaim a general emergency on account of internal disturbance.
In order to meet the viewpoint of the State’s delegation, the Government of India agreed to the modification of Article 352 in its application to Kashmir by the addition of the following words:    

"but in regard to internal disturbance at the request or with the concurrence of the Government of the State."

At the end of clause (1)    

Both the parties agreed that the application of Article 356, dealing with suspension of the State Constitution and 360, dealing with financial emergency, was not necessary.

The facts analysed above make it clear that the State of Jammu and Kashmir enjoys a special position in the Union of India, and this position of the State has been permitted by Article 2 of the Constitution itself. " In arriving at this arrangement", declared Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, the then Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, "the main consideration before our Government was to secure a position for the State which would be consistent with the requirements of maximum autonomy for the local organs of the State power which are the ultimate source of authority in the State while discharging obligations as a Unit of the federation".    

The Jammu and Kashmir Constituent Assembly discussed this arrangement and finally adopted a motion of approach on August 21, 1952.    

The agreement was discussed in the Union Parliament on August 7, 1952 and accepted.    

But inspite of all these discussions and decisions in the Kashmir Constituent Assembly, the implementation of the agreement was not forthcoming. This aroused suspicion in the minds of the public about the intentions of the leaders of the Government. In the working committee of the National Conference there was sharp criticism of the Government’s policy. There was a serious rift in the Cabinet itself. The difference of opinion reached a peak when Sheikh Abdullah, instead of implementing the agreement, started advocating secession, which would make Kashmir an ‘independent State’. The people of the State were quick to perceive the danger of such a course for they had seen that the tribal attack in 1947 which had caused much devastation was a direct consequence of Kashmir’s isolated position. There were ‘inflammatory rumours that United States was backing the Kashmir’s independence". Sheikh Abdullah was accused both by his colleagues in the Cabinet and by the public outside of trying to create a State for himself. In fact, three members of the Cabinet submitted a memorandum to Sheikh Abdullah accusing him of various charges. It soon became obvious that the capacity of the Administration to function efficiently was doubtful. The whole matter was spotlighted

when the Sadar-i-Riyasat, who, taking cognisance of the situation, on August 8, 1953, dismissed Sheikh Abdullah from the post of Prime Minister of Kashmir and dissolved the Cabinet.

Wrote Sadar-i Riyasat, to Sheikh Abdullah:    
"This conflict within the Cabinet has for a considerable time been causing great confusion and apprehension in the minds of the people of the State.... . I have been forced to the conclusion that the present Cabinet cannot continue in office any longer and hence I regret to inform you that I have dissolved the Council of Ministers headed by you."

The relevant portion of the order of dismissal read:    

"I, Karan Singh, Sadar-i-Riyasat, functioning in the interests of the people of the State, who have reposed the responsibility and authority of the Headship of the State in me, do here dismiss Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, from the Prime Ministership of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, and consequently the council of Ministers headed by him is dissolved forthwith."

On the same day in order to "avoid a political and administrative vacuum", the Sadar-i-Riyasat invited Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed, the erstwhile Deputy Prime Minister, to form the new Cabinet.    

On 9th August, 1953, Sheikh Abdullah was arrested at "Gulmarg", a health resort about twenty-eight miles from Srinagar valley, under the State Preventive Detention Act. He was released four years later in 1958 but was shortly re-arrested on a charge of "Conspiracy to overthrow the Government". His followers and well wishers including the then Revenue Minister were arrested with him. A case against him and a few others was tried in the Court of Special Magistrate in Jammu.    

A lot of confusion arose on account of Sheikh Abdullah’s dismissal, since there had not been any ‘No Confidence’ motion in the Kashmir Assembly. It is true that a Chief Minister is not generally dismissed, if he enjoys the confidence of the House, but it has also to be accepted that the head of the State is obliged to ensure the continuance of a stable government and if he has reasonable grounds to believe that the Chief Minister has lost the confidence of the people, or if he is engaged intreasonable activities he must replace him. 

At the time when Sheikh Abdullah was dismissed and arrested, the Assembly was not in session, so a ‘No Confidence’ motion could not have been discussed. But it was important that the new ministry should have a vote of confidence from the Assembly in the first session. Accordingly, the Sadar-i-Riyasat wrote to Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad when inviting him to form the new Cabinet, "the continuance in office of the new Cabinet will depend upon its securing a vote of confidence from the Legislative Assembly during its coming session." The State legislature met on October 5,1953, and passed a unanimous vote of confidence in the new Cabinet.

The National Confernece had earlier approved the change of Government. A Convention of about 400 delegates from the National Conference throughout the State met in Srinagar from September 13-15, 1953 and approved the change of Government as ‘inevitable in the interest of the country and the national movement,’ and expressed complete confidence in the new government, promising their fullest co-operation.    

In spite of this some friends of Sheikh Abdullah kept on criticising the new Government. Miss Sarabhai criticised the Government of India for its indifference to the events in Kashmir. The present writer submits that since the internal autonomy of the State had been recognised, therefore, the Government of India could not interfere. Moreover, since the Article 256 of the Indian Constitution, which empowers the Union Government to issue directions to the State Government for the running of the administration in the State was not applicable to Kashmir, the Government of India could not intervene in the matter. "This was an internal matter and we did not wish to interfere" replied Mr. Nehru to a question in the Lok Sabha.    

In Pakistan, however, the events in Kashmir provoked a wave of indignation. There were accusations against India of having overthrown Sheikh Abdullah, "until then a quisling in the opinion of the Pakistanis but who, now, through a twist of history not without its" comical aspects had become a martyr in the struggle of Kashmiris. But this propaganda in Pakistan was met with sharp criticism in Kashmir. In the September Convention of the National Conference the members opposed association with the ‘ruling clique of Pakistan’ and regretted their behaviour.    

Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad immediately upon taking the oath of office, went before the microphone to make a policy statement. In his statement he bitterly deplored the idea of an ‘independent Kashmir’ under the patronage of the United States of America, which he said "would be a threat to the freedom and independence of Indian and Pakistani people. He praised India with which Kashmir had entered into "indissoluble links".    

With his coming into power, the formulation of Constitutional relations between Kashmir and India entered a new phase. The work of the Constituent Assembly started afresh with renewed phase. The work of the Constituent Assembly started afresh with renewed vigour. ‘Advisory Committee on Fundamental Rights and Citizenship’ and "Basic Principles Committee" were set up on 20th October, 1953.    

The Assembly met on February 6th, 1954, and adopted the reports of the "Basic Principles Committee on Fundamental Rights," thereby fulfilling one of the major tasks with which it had been charged.    

The ‘Drafting Committee’ presented its report on February 12th, 1954, and the report was adopted on February 15th, 1954. The adoption of this report embodied the ratification of the State’s Accession to India.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Kiran's Thoughts.. As Is: Jammu and Kashmir: Injustices and Myths

Kiran's Thoughts.. As Is: Jammu and Kashmir: Injustices and Myths: The first image that comes to most minds when they hear the 'K' word for Kashmir, is the lack of peace. Depending upon which side of...

Monday, January 14, 2013

Nehru, Abdullah betrayed Maharaja Hari Singh By Sandhya Jain

Nehru, Abdullah betrayed Maharaja Hari Singh

By Sandhya Jain on January 13, 2013

Tags: Jammu and Kashmir, Jawaharlal Nehru, indian history, louis mountbatten

The duplicitous games played with the only monarch who embraced Indian nationalism long before freedom could be seen on the horizon, whose accession retained India’s civilisational and geographical link with the land of sage Kashyap, is best gauged from his anguished letter to President Rajendra Prasad on 16-17 August 1952, three days before the monarch was abruptly abolished.

The 9000-odd word missive details the treachery of the Delhi durbar, choreographed by Jawaharlal Nehru and Sheikh Abdullah; Louis Mountbatten had moved on after initiating the State’s ruination. That such an important historical document is untraceable in the collected works of Indian statesmen is a telling commentary on how State-funded historians have fiddled with the history and memory of the Indian people. The integrity of such collections can be restored only by making every letter public, so that the nation can assess the heroes, villains and knaves for itself.

Writing from exile in Poona, Hari Singh informed the President that since his accession to the throne in 1925, the British had strengthened their hold on the State due to its great strategic importance. Hari Singh incurred their wrath as he tried to curtail their domination.

They instigated a religious rebellion in 1931 with slogans like ‘Down with Hindu Raj’ and ‘Islam in danger’; its key leaders like Chaudhary Ghulam Abbas and Maulvi Yusuf Shah received official posts in ‘Azad’ Kashmir. Within the kingdom, the leaders gained Congress cooperation by calling themselves ‘National Conference’. In 1947, Mountbatten hinted that the Maharaja join Pakistan, while the Government of India’s attitude was desultory.

In September 1947, Hari Singh was asked to appoint Mehr Chand Mahajan as Prime Minister; the latter was briefed by Sardar Patel and promised full cooperation. But on October 21, 1947, Patel wrote to MC Mahajan saying that Sheikh Abdullah (released from prison) was anxious to help the State deal with the troubles and wanted his hands strengthened. Nehru penned a similar letter to Mahajan, urging formation of a provincial government headed by Abdullah, the “most popular person in Kashmir”. Nehru urged withholding accession to India till such Interim Government was installed in the State. (Accession finally happened on October 26-27 in well-known circumstances).

Nehru again pressed Hari Singh for Abdullah’s elevation on November 13, 1947. On December 9, 1947, Minister without Portfolio, N Gopalaswami Ayyangar, urged immediate changes in the State’s constitutional and administrative set up, and sent a draft Proclamation approved by Abdullah, for Hari Singh to issue. Gopalaswami insisted on the matter on March 1, 1948, claiming Sheikh was vital to India’s case in the Security Council. Nudged by Nehru, Abdullah made some polite noises and on March 5, 1948, the Maharaja issued the Proclamation referred to in Article 370 of the Indian Constitution.

Between March 1948 and April 1949 when he was forced to quit the State, Hari Singh complained that Sheikh Abdullah and his party assumed total control, ignoring the king and directly securing the consent of the Government of India for whatever they wished. Sheikh objected when the Maharaja and his wife began touring the State to interact with the people and got Delhi to make the Maharaja quit the State ‘for a few months’.

The Yuvraj was appointed Regent, but reduced to a figurehead. The Proclamation of March 1948 stipulated appointment of a Dewan and reserved subjects, yet Abdullah subverted this repeatedly with Nehru’s backing. Hari Singh’s record of this constitutional sabotage makes painful reading even today as the nation reels in shock at the brutal mutilation of its brave jawans defending its difficult borders.

After the king’s eviction, Sheikh Abdullah aspired for absolute control. In a frontal attack on the Maharaja, he began interfering with his private properties, including administration of the Dharmarth Trust created by the dynasty of which Hari Singh was sole Trustee. Charities and institutions maintained from Trust revenues were starved of funds, costs of Puja in temples and Devasthans denied, and the Jammu branch of the Imperial Bank of India ordered to deny the Trustee the amounts of the fixed deposits of the Trust and to transfer the deposits to its Bombay Office! This single episode is the best instance of how Nehruvian secularism would unravel in independent India. Even now, there should be an inquiry into whose orders made the bank act in this manner.

By far the worst was Sheikh Abdullah’s slander – repeated by Nehru in an exceedingly rude letter to the Maharaja – that Hari Singh ran away to Jammu when the invasion began, when the truth is that he left on October 25 at the urging of VP Menon and in the larger interests of the State as the raiders were already at Baramulla. It was Sheikh Abdullah who fled from Srinagar for Delhi (and Nehru’s home) and did not return till Indian troops started landing in Srinagar.

In November 1950, Vishnu Sahay urged the Maharaja to set up a Constituent Assembly for the State, as foreshadowed in the March 1948 Proclamation, and now demanded by the National Conference. A draft Proclamation was sent for the Maharaja’s comments.

Hari Singh objected to this manner of setting up the Constituent Assembly as he was the properly constituted authority in law to promulgate the Proclamation, and not the Regent (Yuvraj). He felt the powers and functions of the Constituent Assembly should be express, well-defined and accurately worded and exclude from its purview matters not expressly entrusted to it. It should report to the authority that constitutes it, i.e. the ruler who shall seek the advice of the Parliament of India in the matter. But ultimately, the Maharaja was forced to permit the Yuvraj to set up the Constituent Assembly.

Warning the President of the dangers ahead, the Maharaja said the Indian Government had failed to appreciate the legal position; Nehru was taking it for granted that the relevant Articles, particularly Article 370, of the Indian Constitution can be altered and/or amended to suit Sheikh Abdullah. But Article 370 refers specifically to the Maharaja’s Proclamation of March 5, 1948. That is the law which governs the State of Jammu and Kashmir until a new Constitution is framed, approved and adopted not only by the Constituent Assembly of the State but also approved by the King and then by the President of India. But Nehru asked the Yuvraj (who is acting only as Regent) to become the elected Head of State with immediate effort, even before the State Constitution was framed, let alone approved and adopted. He thus deposed the king and the dynasty.

How, the aggrieved king asked the President, could the Government of India take all these steps over the head of the person on whose authority they entered the State and are continuing there and who was the Chief Author of the Proclamation on which is based the future construction of political set up in the country? Despite acting in good faith on the advice of the Indian Government, Mountbatten, Nehru, Patel and Gopalaswami, and despite Abdullah’s promises and assurances, he was eliminated by a process which was neither fair nor honourable. “Only history and posterity will be able to do justice to our respective points of view,” Hari Singh concluded. Perhaps the time for this has arrived.

Friday, May 25, 2012

M Yusuf Buch, a Pakistani expert involved in the Kashmir dispute right from the start has dubbed his country's stand as "unsound" stressing that these resolutions have "no importance at all."

M Yusuf Buch, a Pakistani expert involved in the Kashmir dispute right from the start has  dubbed his country's stand as "unsound" stressing that these resolutions have "no importance at all."

3 June 2000

From Jal Khambata

NEW DELHI: In a stunning blow to Pakistan always relying on the two UN Security Council resolutions on plebiscite in Kashmir as the bedrock of its case, a Pakistani expert involved in the Kashmir dispute right from the start has dubbed his country's stand as "unsound" stressing that these resolutions have "no importance at all."

The expert is 74-year old M Yusuf Buch, whose opinion gains an immediate relevance in the context of Pakistan angrily reacting to External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh's assertion in a CNN interview on  May 31 that the UN resolutions required Pakistan to withdraw all its troops from Jammu and Kashmir for other "necessary actions" to follow.

The News, an independent English daily of Pakistan, says: "For those who may not know or may have forgotten, there is no greater authority on Kashmir than M Yusuf Buch who has been involved in it from the very start. Since 1953, barring the five years that he was in Pakistan as Zulfiqar Ali Bhotto's special assistant, he has been at the UN. Every major speech made on Kashmir from the '50s through the '70s (from Pakistan side) has had an input by Buch, if not entirely his work. His knowledge of Kashmir at the UN is encyclopaedic and his insights original. It is, therefore, important to know what his thoughts on Kashmir today are. Buch is just 24 years older than the Kashmir dispute."

Buch was asked where do the Security Council resolutions on Kashmir stand today? His reply:

"The UN Security Council resolutions have no importance at all. To date, the counsil has accepted 1,100 resolutions, out of which only two are important, both passed under Chapter 7, while Kashmir and the rest of the 1,100 were passed under Chapter 6 which does not oblige the council to take action."

When reminded that Pakistan's entire stand consists of the Security Council resolutions being implemented, Buch remarked: "This demand is unsound. When we make this demand, we are told that the Security Council has passed 1,100 resolutions. What is so special about those involving Kashmir. ...As for the resolutions, they are no more than non-binding recommendations."

Buch was referring to the two Security Council resolutions passed under Chapter 7 of the UN charter, resulting in the UN's intervention in case of the liberation of the island of East Timor from Indonesia and in another dispute between Yugoslavia and Italy settled in favour of Italy through a referendum.

He went on to explain: "The real thing is not these (Kashmir) resolutions but the international agreement which formed the basis of these resolutions. Not all Security Council resolutions were passed with the consent of the contending parties. The resolutions on Kashmir were passed with the consent of India and Pakistan and thus they are in the nature of an international agreement."

Pakistan's Foreign Office has dug out a report submitted to the UN Security Council by Sir Owen Dixon, the UN representative for India and Pakistan on September 15, 1950 to assert that it were India and not Pakistan that had derailed the UN resolutions for solution to the Kashmir dispute.

The Dixon report had concluded: "In the end, I became convinced that India's agreement would never be obtained to demilitarization in any form or to provisions governing the period of plebiscite of any such character as would, in my opinion, permit the plebiscite being conducted in conditions sufficiently guarding against intimidation and other forms of influence and abuse by which the freedom and fairness of the plebiscite might be imperilled."

While Pakistan's Foreign Office asserts that the Security Council resolution adopted on December 23, 1952 did not call for complete demilitarisation as it provided for "between 3,000-6,000 armed forces remaining on the Pakistani side and 12,000-18,000 remaining on the Indian side of the ceasefire line," Buch points out that the plebiscite was derailed by Pakistan itself by objecting to India being allowed to station more troops than Pakistan and did not agree to the suggestion of Graham, who was to conduct the exercise as the UN administrator, that this question could be taken up after all arrangements for a plebiscite were in place."

Moreover, Pakistan lost its case for plebiscite soon thereafter by joining the US security pacts and then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was quick in asserting that these alignments had changed the situation. Buch says: "Nehru found a lot of world support for this stand, in the same way as Nawaz Sharif found it for his agreement with Vajpayee. Pakistan's Prime Minister Muhammad Ali Bogra called Nehru his elder brother and Nehru took advantage of this and Kashmir was consigned to the cold storage."

Buch also points out how Pakistan blundered again in 1965. "If we had taken advantage of the Chinese ultimatum and continued the war for some time, perhaps in six months a plebiscite in Kashmir could have taken place."

His particular stress on treating the two toothless UN Security Council resolutions of 1949 and 1952 as "international agreements" shows how they got superseded once India and Pakistan signed fresh agreements. He is particularly critical of the Tashkent accord which he is convinced should not have been signed because while the 1965 war was in progress, France initiated a move in the Security Council that after cessation of hostilities, an effort should get underway to settle all disputes between India and Pakistan. "Tashkent overtook that initiative which remained stillborn," says Buch.

Going by his argument, the latest agreement that superseded all previous agreements is the Simla agreement signed between Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Indira Gandhi and if Pakistan wants to modify its position, it should enter into negotiations with India, the other party. So far, both India and Pakistan vow to abide by the Simla agreement which prohibits any third party intervention and as such Pakistan has been only breaching this agreement by words and deeds by repeatedly harping on the UN resolutions which are now deadwood and calling for the third party intervention to resolve the Kashmir dispute.

Buch also blames Pakistan for sabotaging the "freedom movement" of Kashmiris. He blames Ziaul Haq for having placed the Jamaat Islami at the head of the Kashmir resistance movement, whereas it was the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front which had really fought for freedom. Buch's regret is that "the Jamaat liquidated leading JKLF figures, men who were legends in Kashmir."

While India has allowed the ban on JKLF to lapse early this year, the JKLF's supreme commander Amanulla Khan was lying under detention in a Pakistan prison since last year after he advocated an end to militancy by transfer of both Jammu and Kashmir and the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir to the UN trusteeship for 15 years and India and Pakistan jointly taking care of the region with regards to defence, currency and external affairs for these many years before conducting a plebiscite to decide the fate of Kashmiris.

Amanullah Khan, who is out of the Pakistan jail after long detention, continues to criticise Pakistan for sabotaging what he describes as Kashmiris' "liberation movement." He was quoted by The News stating that "Pakistan-based militant organisations are a big threat to the identity of Kashmir and have damaged the ongoing liberation movement." Regretting that the presence of foreign militants in Kashmir has projected the Kashmir movement as a terrorist movement, he said only Kashmiris can resolve the present crisis in the valley.

In a related article in another Pakistani daily, Nation, Brig. (retd) A R Siddiqui has quoted from an out-of-print book "Danger in Kashmir" written by Josef Korbel, the then Chairman of the UN Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP). Korbel, an ethnic Czech who had immigrated to the United States in the late '50s, is father of the US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. The book shows how Korbel got frustrated in his efforts to the extent that he had even ruled out the possibility of the plebiscite ever. In his book, Korbel writes: "...the Commission reluctantly not only abandoned the prospect of any immediate ceasefire arrangement, but alas and even more discouraging, began to doubt the possibility of ever being able to arrange an impartial plebiscite." END

Thursday, May 24, 2012

National Panthers Party reject the report of the Union Home Minister released today in the name of Interlocutors.

National Panthers Party

New Delhi, 24th May, 2012
Press Release
                 Prof. Bhim Singh, Chairman-NPP and Member-NIC described the report of three-Musketeers (the so-called Interlocutors) as another fraud by the Home Minister of India with the nationalist, secular and oppressed people in J&K. This report has been made public to divert the attention of the people and the press from the rising anger of the people against the Price Hike of Petrol.
                 Three-Musketeers were sent to Kashmir in a conspiracy to sterilize the ground situation in Kashmir to save Omar Abdullah from the wrath of school going stone pelters who were fed up with his computers fiddling. It is shocking that over 50 crores of rupees were wasted for the pleasures of three-musketeers only to develop eyewash blinding powder which they failed to do.
                   NPP Chief said that the report submitted by the Interlocutors has insulted and disgraced the souls of Sheikh Mohd. Abdullah, Afzal Beg and another who signed the final documents with the Govt. of Ms. Indira Gandhi which dumped the autonomy demand into the graveyard and Sheikh Abdullah gladly reconciled to be the Chief Minister. That was the end of the so-called autonomy jargon. The Interlocutors attempt to please Chidambaram and Abdullahs in demanding to constitute a special Constituent Committee to consider all the post 1953 laws promulgated in J&K is a challenge to the integrity of J&K as part of the Union.
              The so-called report is loaded with anti-Jammu and anti-Ladakh bias and full of discrimination against the people of Jammu Pradesh and Ladakh. In other words the report is anti-Jammu Pradesh, anti-Ladakh, anti-Pakistani refugees, anti-POK refugees, anti-refugees of 1965 from Chhamb and that of 1971. It is anti-Jammu migrants from Poonch, Rajouri, Doda, Reasi, Kathua who have been languishing in the stinking and starving camps in spite of the judgments of the Supreme Court to provide them adequate relief. NPP Chief said the report is coloured in communal bias prompted by NC as it willfully chose word, ‘pluralism’ instead of ‘secularism’. This is for the knowledge of the national leaders that word’ ‘secularism’ has been omitted deliberately in the J&K Constitution.
               The NPP Chief described the recommendation of three-musketeers to set-up regional councils in Ladakh, Kashmir and Jammu Pradesh as another gimmick with the people. NPP Chief regretted that the Interlocutors had completely ignored the most popular and acceptable demand for Reorganisation of J&K.
               The Interlocutors had deliberately avoided the word, ‘occupation’ vis-a-is POK and described occupied J&K as Pak-administered areas. This was done to please the ISI, the Union Home Minister and Abdullahs.
               In a video conference with the NPP legislators, M/s. Harsh Dev Singh, Balwant Singh Mankotia, Yashpaul Kundal and Syed Mohd. Rafiq Shah and other members of the secretariat Prof. Bhim Singh, the Chairman appreciated unanimous stand taken by JKNPP to reject the report of the Union Home Minister released today in the name of Interlocutors.

Sudesh Dogra, Political Secretary

Monday, April 16, 2012

What ails Kashmir? The Sunni idea of ‘azadi’

What ails Kashmir? The Sunni idea of ‘azadi’
The discomfort Kashmiris feel is about which laws self-rule must be under, and Hurriyat rejects a secular constitution

We know what Hurriyat Conference wants: azadi, freedom. But freedom from what? Freedom from Indian rule. Doesn’t an elected Kashmiri, Omar Abdullah, rule from Srinagar?

Yes, but Hurriyat rejects elections. Why? Because ballots have no azadi option.But why can’t the azadi demand be made by democratically elected leaders? Because elections are rigged through the Indian Army. Why is the Indian Army out in Srinagar and not in Surat? Because Kashmiris want azadi.

Let’s try that again.

What do Kashmiris want freedom from? India’s Constitution.

What is offensive about India’s Constitution? It is not Islamic. This is the issue, let us be clear.

The violence in Srinagar isn’t for democratic self-rule because Kashmiris have that. The discomfort Kashmiris feel is about which laws self-rule must be under, and Hurriyat rejects a secular constitution.

Hurriyat deceives the world by using a universal word, azadi, to push a narrow, religious demand. Kashmiris have no confusion about what azadi means: It means Shariah. Friday holidays, amputating thieves’ hands, abolishing interest, prohibiting alcohol (and kite-flying), stoning adulterers, lynching apostates and all the rest of it that comprises the ideal Sunni state.

Also Read Aakar’s previous Lounge columns

Not one Shia gang terrorizes India; terrorism on the subcontinent is a Sunni monopoly.

There is a token Shia among the Hurriyat’s bearded warriors, but it is essentially a Sunni group pursuing Sunni Shariah. Its most important figure is Umar Farooq. He’s called mirwaiz, meaning head of preachers (waiz), but he inherited his title at 17 and actually is no Islamic scholar. He is English-educated, but his base is Srinagar’s sullen neighbourhood of Maisuma, at the front of the stone-pelting. His following is conservative and, since he has little scholarship, he is unable to bend his constituents to his view.

Hurriyat’s modernists are led by Sopore’s 80-year-old Ali Geelani of Jamaat-e-Islami. Jamaat was founded in 1941 by a brilliant man from Maharashtra called Maududi, who invented the structure of the modern Islamic state along the lines of a Communist one. Maududi opposed Jinnah’s tribal raid in Kashmir, which led to the Line of Control, saying jihad could only be prosecuted formally by a Muslim state, and not informally by militias. This wisdom was discarded later, and Hizb al-Mujahideen, starring Syed Salahuddin of cap and beard fame, is a Jamaat unit. Maududi was ecumenical, meaning that he unified the four Sunni groups of thought. He always excluded Shias, as heretics.

The Kashmiri separatist movement is actually inseparable from Sunni fundamentalism. Those on the Hurriyat’s fringes who say they are Gandhians, like Yasin Malik, are carried along by the others in the group so long as the immediate task of resisting India is in common. But the Hurriyat and its aims are ultimately poisonous, even for Muslims.

The Hurriyat Conference’s idea of freedom unfolds from a religious instinct, not a secular sentiment. This instinct is sectarian, and all the pro-azadi groups are Shia-killers. In promoting their hatred, the groups plead for the support of other Muslims by leaning on the name of the Prophet Muhammad.

Hafiz is a title and means memorizer of the Quran. Mohammed Saeed’s Lashkar Tayyaba means army of Tyeb (“the good”), one of the Prophet’s names. This is incorrectly spelled and pronounced by our journalists as “Taiba” or “Toiba”, but Muslims can place the name. Lashkar rejects all law from sources other than the recorded sayings and actions of Muhammad. This is called being Wahhabi, and Wahhabis detest the Shia.

Jaish Muhammad (Muhammad’s army) was founded in a Karachi mosque, and it is linked to the Shia-killing Sipah Sahaba (Army of Muhammad’s First Followers) in Pakistan’s Seraiki-speaking southern Punjab. The group follows a narrow, anti-Shia doctrine developed in Deoband.

Decades of non-interference by the Pakistani state in the business of Kashmiri separatism has led to a loss of internal sovereignty in Pakistan. The state is no longer able to convince its citizens that it should act against these groups. Though their own Shia are regularly butchered, a poll shows that a quarter of Pakistanis think Lashkar Tayyaba does good work. We think Indian Muslims are different from Pakistanis and less susceptible to fanaticism. It is interesting that within Pakistan, the only group openly and violently opposed to Taliban and terrorism are UP and Bihar migrants who form Karachi’s secular Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) party.

So what do the separatist groups want? It is wrong to see them as being only terrorist groups. They operate in an intellectual framework, and there is a higher idea that drives the violence. This is a perfect state with an executive who is pious, male and Sunni. Such a state, where all is done according to the book, will get God to shower his blessings on the citizens, who will all be Sunnis.

There are three types of Sunnis in Kashmir. Unionists, separatists, and neutrals. Unionists, like Omar Abdullah, are secular and likely to be repelled by separatism because they have seen the damage caused by political Islam in Pakistan. They might not be in love with Indians, but they see the beauty of the Indian Constitution. Neutrals, like Mehbooba Mufti, are pragmatic and will accept the Indian Constitution when in power, though they show defiance when out of it. This is fine, because they respond to a Muslim constituency that is uncertain, but isn’t totally alienated. The longer these two groups participate in democracy in Kashmir, the weaker the separatists become. The current violence is a result of this. Given their boycott of politics, the Hurriyat must rally its base by urging them to violence and most of it happens in Maisuma and Sopore. The violence should also clarify the problem in the minds of neutrals: If Kashmiri rule does not solve the azadi problem, what will?

India’s liberals are defensive when debating Kashmir because of our unfulfilled promise on plebiscite. But they shouldn’t be. There is really no option to secular democracy, whether one chooses it through a plebiscite or whether it is imposed. It is a universal idea and there is no second form of government in any culture or religion that works. The Islamic state is utopian and it never arrives. Since it is driven by belief, however, the search becomes quite desperate.

India has a constitution; Pakistan has editions. These are the various Pakistani constitutions: 1935 (secular), 1956 (federal), 1962 (dictatorial), 1973 (parliamentary), 1979 (Islamic), 1999 (presidential), 2008 (parliamentary). Why do they keep changing and searching? Muslims keep trying to hammer in Islamic bits into a set of laws that is actually quite complete. This is the Government of India Act of 1935, gifted to us by the British.

Kashmiris have it, and perhaps at some point they will learn to appreciate its beauty.

Aakar Patel will take a break from his column to write a book. He will return early next year.

Send your feedback to

Jammu Kashmir & Laddakh

Popular Posts

Search This Blog