Published On: Mon, Jan 25th, 2016

“Giving up Kashmir is surrendering”?

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By Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani –

“Surrendering Kashmir would be surrendering my right as Indian Muslim”, this is what  Muslim, BJP MP, M J Akbar said on Saturday 23 January 2016 in his address delivered at the R N Kao memorial lecture on “The Romance of Regression: Caliphate Versus Modernity”. M J Akbar is a highly respected and credible voice in India and abroad. Therefore, his opinion at this juncture of Kashmir dispute carries an influence within and outside India.

It is a pleasant coincidence that M J Akbar is a Muslim (Indian) and R K Rao a Hindu (Kashmiri). The two represent two very different disciplines of life. Akbar lays his opinions bare in public for appreciation and the Rao introduced the art of espionage. Therefore all of Rao’s work has remained a secret and very little has surfaced. One can’t judge at this point in regard to his secret work on the people and habitat of Kashmir. He was a trusted Kashmiri Pandit and Nehru family (Ghandi) allowed him freedom of action.

What has emerged of RAW and IB very recently does not merit any compliment from a Kashmiri Muslim. It has transpired that IB and RAW have continued to rule Kashmir and have never been fair and kind to a Kashmiri Muslim. Kashmiri Pandit too has been exposed as someone trusted by Delhi through these institutions to keep a vigil on Kashmiri Muslim.

Since M J Akbar is a non-Kashmiri Indian Muslim and that R K Rao a Kashmiri Pandit (Pandits do not like to be called Hindus), there is very little in the lecture for a Kashmiri Muslim. I have high regards for the journalistic authority of M J Akbar. It would continue unabated even though he has aggrieved me and other Kashmiri Muslims in his lecture. His claim that “Surrendering Kashmir would be surrendering my right as Indian Muslim”, has no merit in law and in theory. M J Akbar as a non-State Subject does not have any such rights in any part of Kashmir. The State Subject law of April 1927, when he would have been a British Indian, does not recognise him in Kashmir. This law is common for all and it does not discriminate on the basis of religion. Rao had all rights in the Muslim majority State of Jammu and Kashmir and Akbar has none. Therefore, when you do not have a right you have no grievance either.

Inalienable part of India

The statement that “Kashmir is an inalienable part of India and because it is a Muslim state, giving it up will amount to surrendering the right of Muslims”, is equally not supported by any one in Jammu and Kashmir. There is no dispute that at one point in October 1947 Maharaja requested for Indian support (provisional) and granted temporary admission to Indian security forces, as a subordinate supplement, to defend the territory, protect life, property and honour of the people of Kashmir. Indian security forces landed in Kashmir and the Government of India assumed restrained authority on Defence, External Affairs and Communications.

Indian position in respect of Kashmir has to be reconciled with the decision of the Government of Kashmir in entering into a Stand Still Agreement with the Government of Pakistan in August 1947. Under the terms of the Stand Still Agreement among other responsibilities, Government of Pakistan took over the administration of Post and Telegraph services in Kashmir.  Other responsibilities would have been the same as the State of Kashmir had with British Crown. One could safely argue that Pakistan is the first sovereign country that established diplomatic relationship with the Government of Kashmir and assumed responsibilities that fell under the Stand Still Agreement.  Therefore, the Indian entry into the State in October 1947 is faced with a challenge of Pakistan’s presence there since August 1947.

A free and fair discussion on Kashmir or Hyderabad does not have any holds barred. The question of Indian entrance into the State is resisted by the people (in particular Muslims) not on the basis of any ideology but on the agreement made in the provisional terms of accession, that the final decision would be put to a free and fair vote of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. It was an agreement between the Government of India and the Government of Kashmir. The new sovereign State of Pakistan and Muslims  of United India who have been sympathetic to the plight of Kashmiri Muslims, thought that an accession with India would be ‘signing a death warrant’ for the Muslims of Kashmir.

India to appear a pacifist country decided to raise the ceiling of its promise made to the people of Kashmir. It took the matter to the United Nations and asked the UN Security Council to arrange a free and fair plebiscite, to put the provisional accession to the free vote of the people. India has agreed to provide law and order and assist the Government of Jammu and Kashmir in the preparation of the plebiscite under the supervision of United Nations and to the full participation of Kashmiris living in the two other administrations on the Pakistani side of Kashmir, the diaspora and the full satisfaction of the Government of Pakistan. Pakistan slated itself as a genuine party and the international community assumed a responsibility on behalf of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan has assumed responsibilities in PaK and GB under UNCIP Resolutions and Article 257 of the constitution of Pakistan ensures that the people of Kashmir are able to exercise their right of self-determination.

Muslims and Hindus of united India

The terms of the provisional agreement with the Government of Kashmir (representing only a part of Kashmir), UN mechanism to hold a Plebiscite, The State Autonomy Committee Report adopted by the two houses of J & K Legislature and published in July 2000 and the political arrangements of Government of Pakistan with Muzaffarabad and GB, all stand to dismiss M J Akbar’s claim that Indian Muslims have any rights or say in Kashmir. Muslims of Kashmir are grateful to the support given to them by the Muslims of united India and this support had its down side, when the Hindus of united India (RSS in particular) organised volunteers and other militant support for the Hindu Maharaja of Kashmir, to perpetuate the slavery of Kashmiri Muslims.

M J Akbar is a strong and credible Muslim voice in India. His views of any manner need a serious examination and need to be politely questioned. The fundamental question that a Kashmiri needs to raise and seek to be reassured is that whether M J Akbar has studied Kashmir through BJP literature and if his understanding of Kashmir is the same as contained in A4 size files prepared by IB and RAW all this time.  The IB view is carried by ex-RAW chief A S Dulat in his book,”Kashmir The Vajpayee Years” in particular at page 205.

Dulat writes, “The IB had a sinister reputation in the Kashmiri mind. Part of it was because since Independence, the IB had basically been running Kashmir…”. Or whether he shares the same philosophy as attributed to DIB, M K Narayanan by Dulat in the book at page 202. Dulat writes, “I went ahead with my transfer to Srinagar. While I was going, the DIB, M K Narayanan, called me in and said: Please make sure that Dr. Farooq is kept in good humour, that our relationship with him is okay and that he’s on our side. Please see to that”.

What are Akbar’s views when Dulat points out about Kashmiri Pandits that, “The IB, in J & K, had a fair amount of Kashmiri Pandits. One should not forget that when Sheikh Abdullah was arrested a conspiracy case was filed against him. It was put together by the IB….There was a feeling that these IB guys were up to no good. Sheikh Saheb even said once, I will see to it that these guys are packed off from here”.

Clues

No one has been able to pack them off since 1947 to date. Their narrative credits and discredits a Kashmiri Muslim like the curse of Albatross. Akbar needs to be asked to consider the difference between a Kashmiri and an Indian. The first clue lies in Section 18 of Indian Penal Code.  It states, “India” means the territory of India excluding the State of Jammu and Kashmir”. He needs to be updated about the manner in which Delhi struck deals with its conduits in Srinagar and successfully got the law requiring an Indian citizen to have an entry permit to enter into Kashmir (visa) scrapped with effect from 01 April 1959. Until that all Indians required a permit to visit Kashmir.

The second clue is the UN Resolution of 30 March 1951. It cautions the Constituent Assembly of 1954 and the Srinagar based Assembly that it is elected from only a part of the State and can’t take a decision violative of the right of self-determination.

The third clue are the issues settled by the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir in its judgement in the case of Magher Singh v Principal Secretary, J & K Government (A I R 1953 J & K 25 Vol 40, C.N.17 decided by Janki Nath Wazir chief justice and Shahmiri judge on 25.3.1953 and very recently by the High Court of J & K in October 2015 in the case of Ashok Kumar and others versus State of J&K and others by Justice Hasnain Massodi, Judge and Justice Janak Raj Kotwal, Judge.

The fourth clue is in the memorandum prepared by the Office of the Legal Advisor of the State Department, (US Foreign Relations Papers of 1950) which concludes that the Maharaja’s signing the instrument of accession did not settle the accession issue. The officials have held that a resolution of the Kashmir issue was essential to South Asian peace and security and considered Indian intransigence primarily responsible for delaying a settlement. The McGhee-Hickerson memorandum also noted the British position on the accession. “It is the view of the United Kingdom Attorney General and Foreign Office legal advisers that the Maharajah’s execution of the Instrument of Accession to India was inconsistent with Kashmir’s obligations to Pakistan, and for that reason perhaps invalid.”

M J Akbar is right to state that “Indian Constitution does not discriminate on the basis of religion” but it is not so when it came to dealing with Muslims in Kashmir. If it were true, a non-State and non-Muslim army would not have shared the death of a generation of Kashmiri Muslims and Kashmir would have been still a heaven on earth.


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