Kashmiri leaders meeting with Modi
THE 24th June meeting of Kashmiri leaders represented in the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) and others outside PAGD with the Prime Minister of India, in principle if used as a challenge to Indian action of 5 August 2019, a challenge to the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35-A and used to defend the UN template on Kashmir deserved support and guidance.
Articles 1 & 2of Gupkar Declaration of 4 August 2019 remain reassuring:
1. “That all the parties would be united in their resolve to protect and defend identity, autonomy and special status of the JK State against all attacks and onslaughts whatsoever.
2. The modification, abrogation of Articles 35A, 370, trifurcation of the State or unconstitutional delimitation would be an aggression against the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh Kashmiri leaders who met the Indian Prime Minister, have made a public declaration.
According to this there has been an “attack”, “an onslaught” and “an aggression against the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh”. So there need not be any second thoughts or confusion on the manner of engagement with the Prime Minister of India or opposition in India.
It is important to point out that the two political parties namely National Conference and PDP have accrued a historical wrong against the people.
National Conference remains directly responsible for the admission and stay of Indian army in Kashmir and PDP has wronged the politics of Kashmir by facilitating the entry of BJP.
Dr Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti remain at the centre of all wrongs done by the army and all wrongs done by the BJP.
However, in times of a crisis, as we are faced today, if the two parties make amends and atone their sins committed against the people and the habitat, there is a need to give them a chance. After all like any other they are real people and have a vote under the UN template.
Unfortunately, leaders who met the Prime Minister have been once again a back to back disappointment. The hidden desire of a return to a ‘negotiated’ power sharing in Jammu and Kashmir has remained a serious problem with the leaders, especially, from the Valley.
The history of power politics in the IIOJK and Azad Kashmir has not been promising in any manner. In IIOJK the ruling arrangement has remained in the hands of Indian IB.
RAW chief AS Dulat writes at page 205 in his book “Kashmir the Vajpayee Years”, – “The IB had a sinister reputation in the Kashmiri mind.
Part of it was because since Independence, the IB had basically been running Kashmir, advising the Home Ministry and reporting directly to the Prime Minister on whatever happened there”. This is the core merit of Valley politics.
IB or the power structure in Delhi prevails and defeats the leadership in Kashmir. It has been successfully manipulating the parties and the individuals.
It could not defeat or manipulate them, if our leaders from Valley, Jammu and Ladakh prepared themselves according to the jurisprudence of Kashmir case. IB or Delhi’s power base does not have the jurisprudence of Kashmir case on their side.
If one has a look at the various variables who participated in the 24 June meeting, it becomes clear that a majority of them has not studied their case and advocated it, beyond their party needs.
It is a weak argument that Kashmiris or non-Kashmiris at the meeting could not discuss Articles 370 and 35-A because the matter was sub-judice.
There was no need to make any reference to the Supreme Court of India. The first and foremost question involved was “how could Government of Indian confer upon itself a power, that did not exist, to take action of 5 August 2019”.
How could it disturb a State which has its own constitution, flag, national anthem and language and that UN Resolution of 30 March 1951 does not allow the Kashmiri leadership or Indian Government to take any action of this kind.
PDP does not need to advocate the case of Pakistan. It is a bad politics and does not help. It creates a space for other parties to play to the Indian gallery. Pakistan is a recognised party in Kashmir dispute and India knows that it has a strong constituency in Kashmir.
India has submitted at the UN Security Council, “We hope to be able to convince the Security Council that once we have dealt with the Kashmir question, there will probably not be anything of substance which will divide India and Pakistan to the extent of endangering international peace and security”. (230th meeting of SC held on 20 January 1948).
It would have been a politics of public interest, if PAGD and others outside it, had pointed out that the people of Kashmir have supported Hurriet and a generation has been killed during the armed resistance.
People of Kashmir have not supported individuals in Huuriet or individuals in armed resistance. They have supported a constitutional discipline which was adopted on 31 July 1993.
It is unfair if PAGD enjoys a right to expression and assembly and the same is denied to Hurriet and others outside Hurriet, who are asking India to comply with UN template on Kashmir.
Mehbooba Mufti Government remains responsible for the amendment in PSA law, referenced in OHCHR Report of June 2018, which allowed a Kashmiri to be taken out of the State to any other prison in India. Tihar jail and many other jails across India are full of Kashmiris.
Para 14 of UN SC Resolution 47 has specifically directed Government of India to “ensure that the Government of the State releases all political prisoners”. It is clear that Delhi could not take Kashmiris as prisoners.
It is a shame that Kashmiris engaged Delhi in a discussion and failed to remember other Kashmiris languishing, next door in Tihar jail.
Unless and until, the Kashmiri leadership on both sides of ceasefire line, update themselves with the variables of Kashmir case and the UN template on Kashmir and exchange trust and faith, Indian invitation would always be a back to back failure and disappointment.— To be continued
—The author is President of London based Jammu and Kashmir Council for Human Rights – NGO in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations.