Leaders from Kashmir Valley must work for winning the confidence of the people from other regions
The Indian Cabinet rejected the J&K State Autonomy Committee Report on 4thJuly 2000. Immediately after that Mr. P .L. Handoo, Law Minister of J&K, had said “Kashmir (he did not say J&K) will get the Autonomy come what may. Efforts for restoration of Autonomy will continue.” The National Conference leadership should not feel shy in clearly telling the people of what they mean by Autonomy that they want to get “ RESTORED”. National Conference has been questioned for its having any real interest in the “ RESTORATION” of Autonomy of “ their” “dreams” . So far the recommendations of State Autonomy Committee Report have been introduced to a Common Kashmiri and the innocent people from Jammu and Ladakh Regions as moving to pre-1953 position. Hence intentions and purpose will have to be explained only with this (pre1953) as the prime reference point. Some have even accused National Conference of simple gimmicks to misguide the innocent Kashmiri Muslims through exploitation of their sentiments.
The question of restoration of some thing comes only after it has been stripped off. Surely the Autonomy they are talking about for “Restoration”(as has been eroded allegedly by Indian Parliament) is not resting simply in devolution of more administrative and financial powers to the States. Mr. V. P. Singh had opposed the Autonomy Resolution of J&K Assembly on 1-7-2000 but he was quoted on 3-7-2000 from New Delhi to have denied having made any such statement. Even a clear quote from on board P. M’s special Aircraft (30-6-2000) appeared in the media on 1-7-2000 that J&K Assembly Resolution as they demand is within the Indian Constitution. It was also quoted by K.V. Krishna Rao ,ex-governor of J&K, in a reported press interview on 3-7-2000 . But the Prime Minister’s Office made a “big” correction stating that infact Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee had said that it would be considered in accordance with the Constitution of India. No one has ever tried to settle the issues once for all.
Alleging that the so called “Hindu” outfits and RSS had created pressure for unanimous rejection of the J&K Assembly Resolution of 26th June2000 by Union Cabinet would not be wise. It would surely divide the people of J&K. What we need is a very strong social matrix.
How will the Autonomy Resolution as passed by the J&K Legislature if endorsed by Indian Parliament free J&K of the blood shed, as of rampant corruption, repair the cracks in the communal matrix and make the soil of J&K free of insurgents has not been clearly answered. Rather it has not been referred by the promoters of Autonomy.
The leadership of Hurriyat Conference has been openly saying that proposals some thing like as rest in moving to the Pre-1953 position through J&K Assembly Resolution 2000 are no where in their Agenda. Hurriyat has some banned organisations as it’s members ( including JKLF).. Even Atal Behari Vajpayeejee had said that efforts with Hurriyat would continue. The so called unofficial Kashmir Committee led by Ram Jethmalani was questioned by Farooq Abdullah. Dr. Abdullah was requesting Vajpayee to spell out what Jethmalani was going to discuss with groups like Hurriyat. Is it Azaadi for Kashmiries or option for handing over Kashmir to Pakistan ?. An in case issues being taken up with Hurriyat Conference are not these then what government of India has there to discuss with Jeelani or Moulvi Farooq who have caused enough humiliation to GOI by staying away from the invitations even from Prime Minister’s the Round Table Conferences. As is under stood so far the Government of India does not find it in national interest to discuss / debate the Autonomy Proposals of National Conference.
Dr. Farooq Abdullah is being accused for having rushed through the Autonomy Resolution to steal the show from Hurriyat Conference by trumpeting restoration of rights and identity of Kashmiries in pre-1953 position. He must silence those questioning. Slogans of Greater Autonomy and J&K Assembly Resolution had been sounded in August 2001. It had surely some relation with the 2002 elections to J&K Assembly. But after 2002 Assembly Elections National Conference leadership and cadres have done nothing to carry the concept of Greater Autonomy for J&K with in Constitution of India particularly to those who plead for total integration with Constitution of India by dismantling the article 370 Bridge.
Sole Right of Kashmiri on J&K has started diluting now in the eyes of those who are interested in J&K affairs. Even Government of India appears to have felt some pressures, though small, to listen to the people from Ladakh and Jammu Regions. The people from Jammu and Ladakh Regions had been under rated till early 2000.
Pakistani leaders have over the years only talked of distrust towards India and Hindu ;and are not in a position to reverse the clock over night. Some leaders of J&K too have always talked to common simple Kashmiri masses that India has betrayed the Kashmiri of some commitments made in 1947. But no one has disclosed the text of the official commitments claimed to have been made by Government of India. The dents of such propaganda have grown firm over the years. Hence for survival the leadership have to still talk of some thing of the type as otherwise the insurgent , anti India groups and even parties like BJP could pose some challenges during the elections even in Kashmir valley.
Some vocal Kashmiri leaders if trace for what they have said over the years it would even surprise them. Media quotes of many leaders both from Jammu and Kashmir Regions are being debated and refuted so frequently. Even those who had never disputed the 1947 Accession of J&K with India are today criticizing the Kashmir Valley leadership for having done injustice to Jammu region. But some have started such criticism only when they were denied a share in the power seat by the Congress lead PDP government . Those who had celebrated in July 2006 the occasion of Ghulam Nabi Azad government creating 4 new districts each in Jammu and Kashmir Divisions are now in November 2007 criticising the same Ghulam Nabi government of having not given to Jammu region Districts and Tehsils as recommended by Wazir Commission. Surely they were hoping to get some share in Ghulam Nabi Azad Government and when they could not get the same, there attitude changed.
Why can not the Nationalistic Kashmiri Leadership talk of Internal Autonomy or what Sarkaria Commission has said. Why can not the National Conference talk of Autonomy without making any reference to irritants like pre-1953 Position and Delhi Agreement 1952??? Although it will be difficult to cover up the wrong propaganda as done over last six decades but surely the over all advantage would be great for National Conference as regards J&K as a whole..
J&K today is in real trouble. Demands for trifurcation of J&K too have reached the ears of people of other Indian States for the first time after 1990. The organizations like Panun Kashmir Movement are even now demanding another Union Territory in the name of Panun Kashmir. In J&K mutual trust amongst the regions appear to be falling . It is bad. It does not matter in case Jammu, Ladakh and Kashmir regions fall apart in the matters of local governance. But falling apart socially will not be good. Responsibility now rest more on the leaders who belong to Kashmir Valley for winning the confidence of the people from Jammu and Ladakh Regions for keeping the regional bonds intact. The birth of States of Uttranchal, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, Hayana and Himachal Pradesh on reorganization has done no damage to any individual. Section 147 of J&K Constitution could also be invoked in case reorganization of J&K State becomes must.
(*Daya Sagar is a social activist and leading coloumnist on J&K Affairs)