Published On: Mon, Sep 5th, 2016

Angry Rajnath Singh and our Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman

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Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani

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Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh and chairman Kashmir Committee in the Parliament of Pakistan Maulana Fazal-ur-Rahman are the two most important people in the Indian and Pakistani narratives on Kashmir. Rajnath has put the people of Indian occupied part of Kashmir through a 59 day curfew and has allowed the use of lethal pellet guns to maim, blind and kill the dissenting people in the valley of Kashmir.
Images of Kashmiri youth blinded and their bodies riddled with pellets, have beamed across the world. Even the public opinion in India wishes to dissociate from this brutality committed against men, women, children, young and old in the Indian side of Kashmir. Rajnath Singh is at work to find another alternative to Pellet Guns and has favoured ‘PAVA shells’ as an alternative to pellet guns. He has recommended that the Tear Smoke Unit (TSU) of the BSF in Gwalior should be tasked with bulk production of the shells “immediately”, with the first lot not of less than 50,000 rounds.
It is reported that The ‘PAVA shells’, were under trial for over a year at the Indian Institute of Toxicology Research, a Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) laboratory in Lucknow, and its full development has come at a time when Kashmir is on the boil. ‘PAVA’ , that is, Pelargonic Acid Vanillyl Amide, also called Nonivamide, and is an organic compound found characteristically in natural chilli pepper. It will severely irritate and paralyse humans, but temporarily. It may not kill or blind the Kashmiris on the streets but who knows how it would impact him or her after being immobilised.
Rajnath Singh and his all party delegation of MPs are not happy with the kind of cold shoulder shown to them by Kashmiris during their visit on 04 September 2016. He is bitter and has given vent to his bitterness, stating at the press conference that “Shunning delegation members who had come for talks shows Hurriyat members do not believe in democracy. The behaviour of Hurriyat leaders with delegation members was neither ‘Kashmiriyat’ nor ‘insaniyat.”
Rajnath Singh has said that “government is ready to go to any extent to discuss the situation with the Separatists and not only doors but ventilators are also open for talk with them”. People of Kashmir have heard a lot from Delhi over a period of time. India has made a promise to the people of Kashmir, it has made a promise at the United Nations to the people of Kashmir, to Pakistan and to the international community represented at the UN, it has made direct promises to Pakistan under Tashkent Declaration and Shimla Agreement and in the recent past former Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao made a promise that “sky is the limit”. It offered a cease fire to Kashmiri fighters to give peace a chance and use the instrument of dialogue. India orchestrated a civil society co-operation with civil society in Pakistan in November 2000 to find a way forward in Kashmir.
The aggregate list of broken promises and promises used as a tactic by the Indian establishment to deceive the people of Kashmir make Rajnath Singh no different to others in his line of duty who would be talked about less favourably by the future generations in Kashmir. Now he has ‘PAVA shells’ to immobilise the people in the Valley of Kashmir.
Hurriyat leadership as a collective has done the right thing not to be trapped into a fourth time repeat of all party delegation visiting them, to show compassion. Members of the delegation remain Honourable of course but forcing themselves on Syed Ali Shah Geelani, to test the ‘social grace of Kashmiriat’ is invading the privacy of a person under detention since 2010. Why should a person who has no freedom to offer Friday prayers, no freedom to attend funeral of his youth killed by Indian security forces and no freedom to visit the mourning families, allow you the licence of invading his privacy and hosting you with ‘social grace of Kashmiriat’.
Haseeb Drabu of PDP has gone over the top in criticising Syed Ali Shah Geelani for shutting his doors on the all-party delegation which tried to meet him first time since 2010 and first time during the past 59 days of curfew. Haseeb’s interpretation of ‘social grace of Kashmiriat’ has no merit and putting a self-serving interpretation to ‘social grace of Kashmiriat’ has not helped him either. For the time being he is Rajnath Singh’s cousin in politics.
National Conference (NC) Working President and former chief minister, Omar Abdullah on the other hand has begun to express his remorse on his political legacy and on bringing the Indian terror into Kashmir. Omar has cautioned Government of India, saying, “You can’t tire out the agitators and crush the agitation.”
Omar Abdullah has been honest to tell the visiting delegation that all efforts like the All Party delegations had lost credibility in Kashmir due to the absence of any follow-up after previous such visits. “What happened to the 2010 All Party delegation, which was never followed up.” “So the parliamentarians who have come here have a mammoth task at their hands to revive the faith in this process.” He said that when things cool down in Kashmir there is no progress on the issue, the former chief minister said this had been true with all the previous delegations since 1990s. He referred to former Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao’s promise that “sky is the limit” and said that Government of India had failed to fulfil all such promises.
National Conference Working President made a valid point that Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti should decide whether she wanted to be the Chief Minister or the Leader of Opposition.
“On one hand she says talks should be held with the Hurriyat on the other hand, she puts them under arrest.” Omar did not agree with the CM’s statement that only 5 percent people were unhappy and very rightly asked her “By what stretch of imagination, she has arrived at this figure and I don’t agree to it at all.” The NC Working President told the delegation that such was the situation in Kashmir that his workers were pressurising him not to attend the meeting.
So why should Haseeb Drabu and Rajnath Singh be angry? Both should read paras 3, 7 and 8 in particular of the memorandum submitted by National Conference at the meeting with All Party Delegation.
Para 8 reads, “We cannot shy away from the fact that the Kashmir Issue has both internal as well as external dimensions. A tit-for-tat diplomatic policy of one-upmanship between New Delhi and Islamabad will change precious little as far as restoring peace and stability in Kashmir is concerned. Pakistan, by the very nature of this political issue and the fact that a large part of J&K’s territory is administered by Islamabad, is a party to the issue. Any serious, meaningful process of finding a lasting solution to the Kashmir Issue has to not only include an engagement with stakeholders of various opinions within J&K but also with the Pakistani establishment”.
Government of India is faced with two arguments on Kashmir. One argument is advanced by political parties, generally called Mainstream political parties (or pro-India) and the other argument is advanced by Hurriyat and non Hurriyat, commonly called as separatists. It is important to note that both the Mainstream political parties and the dissenting school of Hurriyat and non Hurriyat called separatists share one common factor that is, accepting Pakistan as a party to the dispute and its immediate role in the resolution of the case of self-determination. No one can deny that Pakistan has a strong constituency in Jammu and Kashmir.
Indian Government does not have a way out and killing the people of Kashmir is no solution, unless India has decided to be listed for future trial for war crimes committed against a people given temporarily into the charge of Government of India and Government of Kashmir. The Jammu and Kashmir Government constituted a State Autonomy Committee in November 1996. It reported in 2000 that “Accession of J & K State was limited only to three subjects of Defence, External Affairs and the Communication”. The State has not merged into the Union of India. Autonomy Resolution was passed by the J&K Legislative Assembly in 2000 with a two-thirds majority. National Conference has set out its case in the Document submitted by it to the visiting All Parties’ Delegation in Srinagar on 4 September 2016.
Para 3 of the NC document reads, “Historically, the genesis of the political issue in Kashmir lies in the erosion of the State’s Internal Autonomy and a number of broken promises that violated good-faith agreements between the leadership of the State and successive Central Governments in New Delhi. The dismissal of a popular, elected Government in 1953 and the incarceration of J&K’s Prime Minister, Late Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah was the first blow that demolished the bond of good faith between Kashmir and New Delhi”.
Para 7 goes on to read “…Similarly, the then Central Government refused to even acknowledge the Autonomy Resolution passed by the J&K Legislative Assembly in 2000 with a two-thirds majority. These glaring failures have provoked violence and instability in Kashmir”.
Indian dilemma number 2 is that Hurriyat and non Hurriyat parties and Pakistan on the other hand genuinely argue that the temporary accession with India has no merit any more. It is pending adjudication at the UN Security Council through a UN supervised free vote of the People of Kashmir. Indian Government has been vainly arguing that People of Jammu and Kashmir have endorsed the accession through elections held in the Indian occupied part of Kashmir.
Indian position is disputed by mainstream political parties and has been categorically rejected by the United Nations resolution of 30 March 1951, which has reminded the National Conference (also India) that this assembly is not a representative assembly because it is elected from only a part of the whole State. Two administrations are on the Pakistani side of the cease fire line and Pakistan has assumed duties in respect of these territories under UNCIP Resolutions.
UN has also cautioned the National Conference and the locally elected assembly that it can’t take any decision on the future of the State and no such decision would be accepted as a substitute to a UN supervised referendum in Kashmir. All that India could do and is currently doing – is drag Hurriyat and Pakistan into an unending process of dialogue, in an effort to distance away from the codified results of a detailed dialogue that has taken place at the United Nations.
The dialogue at the UN has crystallised into a package for the resolution of the question of self-determination. Hurriyat and other parties like JKLF (which was part of Hurriyat on 31 July 1993) do not have expertise in the art of dialogue but have been engaging in a dialogue with India. This one size fits all approach needs to be looked at as a priority.
Kashmiris should have no issue with a dialogue with India, provided that, they are assisted by the experts from the United Nations and experts in the Government of Pakistan. Kashmiri leadership should make a formal request to UN and Government of Pakistan for assistance in any future dialogue with the Government of India. Kashmiri leadership has a right to seek assistance from experts in Azad Kashmir, Gilgit and Baltistan and the Kashmiri Diaspora during any interaction with Indian government. They have to flag the character and dignity of the Kashmir Case.
Indian government would like to create confusion and would try to distance away from the jurisprudence of Kashmir Case as it rests at the UN. Our duty is to hold India in her tracks. Government of Pakistan has its own role as party to the dispute and as a member nation of the UN. On these two counts it should continue to offer political, diplomatic and moral support to the people of Kashmir.
It may be too late but better late than never. We need to inform chairman Kashmir Committee in the Parliament Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman that Pellets Guns are going to be replaced by ‘PAVA shells’ in Kashmir. Tear Smoke Unit (TSU) of the BSF in Gwalior has been tasked by Rajnath Singh with bulk production of the shells “immediately”, with the first lot not of less than 50,000 rounds.

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