Published On: Mon, Nov 9th, 2015

‘Victory of principles over moneybags’

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By Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani –

Self-respect over the ages has been defined according to the scale of acculturation of human beings at various stages of human history. There has never been a compromise on it and the elders have led their people from the front to hold on to it. Its latest surge could be seen in Bihar elections where JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav said, “It was a very difficult fight. On the one hand were moneybags and on the other were principles. It is a victory of principles over moneybags. We will win over 150 seats.”

BJP has been defeated in Bihar polls and the self-respect has prevailed. Around 1167 miles away from Gaya, Bihar in Srinagar, Kashmir self-respect failed its test on 7 November 2015. It was traded for a promise of moneybags. PDP chief and his party had no reason to place the Kashmiri leadership under house arrest, lodged in police stations and clamp down curfew-like situation on the inhabitants of Srinagar. PDP sinned against common conscience when it decided to rent an audience for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, brought from outside Srinagar.

It made up the number by forcing the government employees and trusted migrant labourers from Bihar and Punjab to be in the audience. The credibility of the event fell off the Stadium fence when the ruling party for some dreaded reasons decided not to invite its two members of parliament, Muzaffar Hussain Beig and Tariq Karra to the event.

PDP chief has played many successful political innings and could match up to any situation. Was it a filial interest or a chronic erring habit of Kashmiri politics that he failed to keep his own self-respect and traded the occasion so cheap? Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid no heed to chief minister’s welcome address and did not respond to various salient features in the address.

A due regard and response to the important issues raised by Mufti Sayeed would have been in keeping with the principles that govern such occasions and it would have helped the chief minister to keep his self-respect and sell the narrative day after. It did not happen and Prime Minister Modi was in no mood to listen to him to “do a Vajpayee on Kashmir”.

It is not March 1846 but November 2015. We have graduated through 169-years of all manner of adversity. One could let go the lack of courage shown by our elders in the distant past in March 1846 and acquiesce to be sold for a price of Rs75,00000, but to accept a trade-off in November 2015 for Rs 80000 crore has no merit. If the announcement of this economic package is the Vajpayee way of Insaniyat, Jamuhuriyat and Kashmiriyat, it is likely to be rejected with a disdain by a conscientious Kashmiri when he decides to brood over the issue of self-respect. If the people of Kashmir fail to reject the ‘moneybag’ and the wisdom of the chief minister, Walter Lawrence would be turning in his grave to note that his Kashmiri of 1887 has not changed.

Chief Minister Sayeed would be decked in history for bringing BJP into Government in 2013/2014, in the same manner as Sheikh Abdullah is being blamed for precipitating the admission of Indian security forces into Kashmir in October 1947. Sheikh Abdullah defended the Indian security forces at the UN Security Council, hoping that these forces would keep to the four duties stated in the terms of admission.

There is no way to convey to Sheikh sahib in his grave that the current number of Indian armed forces in Kashmir is around 700,000 and remains highest military concentration in any conflict zone in the world. Indian Government had agreed (S/PV.570/ Corr.1 dated 29 January 1952) at the UN that it would bring down the number of Indian and State armed forces to 21,000 (exclusive of the State Militia of 6,000), a total reduction of “over 75% of the number of Indian and State armed forces present in the State at the time of the cease-fire on 1 January 1949.”

Prime Minister Modi failed to listen to chief minister to play Vajpayee. His references to Pakistan and Hurriyat were brushed aside as one does brush aside a thin layer of snow on the collar of overcoat. Kashmir is not Bihar, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh or any other Indian State fighting a class struggle. The people of Jammu and Kashmir are a subject of the determination of their right of self-determination at the UN Security Council.

Indian Government has a provisional bilateral agreement with the government of Jammu and Kashmir and the agreement is pending a final vote of the people under the auspices of the United Nations. Pakistan is a party in the dispute and the Kashmiri leadership which was placed under house arrest or lodged in various police stations represents the common sentiment. It does not matter if succeeding Indian leaderships do not walk the Vajpayee way and disregard his doctrine of Insaniyat, Jamuhuriyat and Kashmiriyat. This doctrine was accepted as a compromise to make a headway on a dialogue between the parties. It blunted the sting of differing approaches and more than Kashmiris and Pakistan it favoured India, as a face saver.

No leader in India since October 1947 and no ‘moneybag’ since March 1846 could either turn his back on the Kashmir question or buy the scope of right of self-determination. Prime Minister Modi is no exception. He has made a serious mistake by hanging the ‘moneybag’ in the air at the stadium and returning to Delhi without addressing the obligations that India has accepted in bilateral agreements with the governments of Kashmir and governments of Pakistan and in the international agreements made on Kashmir at the United Nations.

Omar Abdullah should be fully appreciated for his views on Modi’s visit and for describing it as a failure. He has gone public and made it clear that Prime Minister Narendra Modi buried the legacy of former premier Atal Bihari Vajpayee and said Kashmir issue cannot be addressed with the money. He has adequately summed up that “A lot was being said about PM’s visit. We were being prepared for something historic. But what we saw today was totally disappointing. Package was announced. It is nice but the problem of Kashmir cannot be solved with money.”

Skipping Pakistan and Hurriyat during the address has no merit. It reveals lack of confidence and coercive influence of a communal mind-set. Pakistan and Hurriyat are integral part of the Kashmir dispute. Pakistan has overcome its earlier hesitation and has marshalled a four- point formula at the 70th session of UN General Assembly for engagement with India. Any run away by Indian leadership would not succeed.

It should not surprise anyone that Delhi has created proxy pockets in both communities, in particular the Kashmiri Pandits. These are used as agent provocateurs to colour and distort a situation. Kashmiri Pandit organization Panun Kashmir has also described Modi visit to Srinagar as a failure. However, it has further added that there should be a separate Jammu State and UT status for Ladakh. Kashmiri Pandits could not risk burning their boats in India and such a demand could not be made without a secret hand in Delhi.

Prime Minister Modi is surrounded by forces, utterly communal and some of who have used all means to hurt and humble the people and habitat in Kashmir. Without any prejudice to their stand Hurriyat constituents (as on 31 July 1993) and the civil society made up of all disciplines, should invite Omar Abdullah, Muzaffar Hussain Beig and Tariq Karra, the trio, and Saifuddin Soz who have registered their statement of dissent on Modi’s visit and seriously examine the situation.

Hurriyat needs to query Omar Abdullah on the status of ‘The State Autonomy Report’ and AFSPA in terms of Sheikh Abdullah’s reference to Indian security forces at the UN Security Council. There should be a demand to have an interim representative government at Srinagar as envisaged in the UN Security Council Resolutions to carry out the outsourced work in the preparation and conduct of a free and fair plebiscite under the supervision of the United Nations. Moneybags should not prevail and voter should question chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, in regard to not keeping the trust of the people and locking them up on 7 November 2015.

Author is Secretary General of London based  NGO-JKCHR, in Special Consultative Status with the UN.  He could be reached at dr-nazirgilani@jkchr.com


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