Published On: Fri, Jan 16th, 2015

JKCHR’s open Letter To Chief Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)

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14 January 2015

Dear Mufti Sahib,

As-salamu alaykum. I wish to take this opportunity to wish you, all your colleagues and the people of the State a Happy New Year.

I am writing this letter to remain part of a growing constituency of concern expressed on the failure of main stream political parties in the formation of a government and the handing over the State to a direct Delhi control through article 92 of Jammu and Kashmir Constitution. Valley in particular has voted according to its endured historical experience and advice given to its voter by the State based political parties, including PDP. Muslims in particular have explained their vote before voting.

The main stream and the separatist narratives of politics, explained and defended as short term and long term approaches to any resolution, have failed to serve the best interests of the people living on the Indian side of cease fire line. Common man and woman voted for your party in the Parliament and Assembly elections. It would not go well in history for a party that would err to repaint its horses post elections and try to convince the voter that it was necessary to carry the sack load of salt through a swollen stream.

Separatist narrative has not helped the people either. We have suffered the death of a generation, violation of human rights never witnessed in the history of Kashmir and face a political cul de sac. The main stream political narratives have continued to abuse the trust of the voter citizen since 1947.

National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) of the Union Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation has revealed that the poverty rate in the state of Jammu and Kashmir rose from 9.4 per cent in 2009-2010 to 10.35 per cent in 2011-12, mainly due to an increase in the number living below the poverty line (BPL) in rural areas. The number of households living below poverty line in Jammu and Kashmir has risen to 4.17 lakhs. Out of these 3.71 lakh households live in rural areas of the state. Kupwara and Baramulla districts lead in poverty.

Development, reconciliation and healing are archaic and meaningless expressions in Kashmir politics. It is the Muslim majority that has continued to have a grievance against the rulers since March 1846 to date. Prime Minister Albion Mukerjee refused to reconcile with the poor plight of Muslims and resigned. He is a non-Muslim and non-Kashmiri witness to highlight the Muslim grievance and recorded that, Jammu and Kashmir State is labouring under many disadvantages, with a large Mohammedan population absolutely illiterate, labouring under poverty and very low economic conditions of living in the villages, and particularly governed like dumb driven cattle”. National Sample Survey Office report after 86 years does not make it any better.

We want that Jammu and Kashmir Government on the Indian side is able to engage a Government in Delhi, so that Delhi does not force it to recycle the Maharaja like manner of rule in Kashmir and authorise its security forces with “Powers to arrest turbulent persons”. Even Maharaja could hardly endure this brute force against the Muslims beyond 24 September – 05 October 1931.

A non-Muslim Maharaja described Muslims in the valley as “Turbulent” persons in 1931 and in 2014 Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti a BJP leader in the Government in Delhi has come close to describing Muslims as “Haramzadas”.  Indian Muslims have the number and resources to deflect any such abuse but the people in the Valley have either very scarce or no resource to defend the Muslim majority character of the State.

We would like a Srinagar based Government to understand that it is elected from only a part of the State, it has duties under UN Resolutions, submits to a caution on its representative imperfection, understands limitation and duties under article 48 of the Constitution and the manner in which it has to engage with UN, India, Pakistan and people living under two other administrations at Muzaffarabad and Gilgit. It should be able to engage with the people of India and in particular with a Government in Delhi which, is historically and legally educated to accept that:

  1. That the Government of India has sought at the UN SC, that, “The question of the future status of Kashmir vis a vis her neighbours and the world at large, and a further question, namely, whether she should withdraw from her accession to India, and either accede to Pakistan or remain independent, with a right to claim admission as a member of the United Nations – all this we have recognized to be a matter for unfettered decision by the people of Kashmir, after normal life is restored to them”,
  1. That the people of this habitat are “People of legend, song and story, associated with snow-capped mountains, beautiful valleys and life giving waters – a people worthy of their own self-determination, through a free, secure and impartial plebiscite” as reported by Dr. P Graham in his report to the UN Security Council in January 1952.
  1. That a Government in Delhi which remembers its submission made at the UN, item 3 of document S/AC.12/46 in August 1948 that “The sovereignty of the State of Jammu and Kashmir should not be affected”.
  1. A Government in Delhi which admits that J & K assembly is elected from only a part of the State and is under caution of UN SC Resolution of 30 March 1951.
  1. That Indian security forces are a supplement and sub-ordinate force to J & K Government. These forces have entered the State to perform 4 duties, namely, defend ‘territory’, protect ‘life’, ‘property’ and ‘honour’ of the people.
  1. That Indian security forces have agreed to honour 3 UN conditions on their number, behaviour and location during their stationing in Kashmir.
  1. The principal duty of Indian security forces in Kashmir is to provide law and order. Sheikh Abdullah has informed the UN SC that “There need be no fear, since the Indian Army is there, that this army will interfere in the exercise of a free vote. After all, a commission of the Security Council will be there in order to watch. The Indian Army does not have to go into every village. It will be stationed at certain strategic points, so that in the event of danger from any border, the army will be there to protect that border”.

Your party is understood to be negotiating with BJP an agenda, viz resumption of dialogue with Pakistan and separatists, keeping Article 370 off the table, strengthening cross LoC CBM’s and withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from certain areas. One can hope that a structured dialogue with BJP would be going on well. It is too tall an order for any Government in Srinagar and to achieve any success the Srinagar based Governments have to follow the true build of a specific bilateral, trilateral and international jurisprudence on the question of Jammu and Kashmir.

PDP may have all noble reasons to engage BJP and keep away from other offers in the formation of a government but it would be misdirecting itself, if, it hopes to redesign the anti-Muslim (any Valley) hidden reflexes of governments sitting in Delhi. The various tiers of Delhi presence in the Valley are too domineering and surreptitious to let it happen in this manner.

PDP should not concern itself with a suspension or resumption of Indian dialogue with Pakistan or vice versa as part of seeking a six year stay in power. India and Pakistan have intra-State and UN Charter obligations to remain in dialogue. They have accepted that they shall remain in dialogue on Kashmir, in co-operation with and under the supervision of UN Security Council.

India has further elaborated on the question of engagement on Kashmir with Pakistan and others on 23 January 1957.  It is contained in para 3 of the minutes of 762nd meeting of the Security Council. While replying to the complaint of Pakistan made in their letter of 02 January 1957, to the President of the Security Council (S/3767), Indian representative Mr. V. K. Krishna Menon stated, “It is not possible to understand a problem, especially a complex problem which has engaged, in the first instance, the attention of the two countries, and the attention of other parties, including the Security Council, over the years – to which I shall refer later, without having the whole picture so that the significance of documents, arrangements and declarations can become realistic and true to fact”.

If PDP or any other main stream political party in Kashmir wants to make a genuine input in this regard, it shall have to understand the manner of this engagement and further admit the Indian stand that in addition to India, Pakistan and Security Council, there are “other parties” to the Kashmir dispute.

India can’t by pass the fact that it has engaged itself with militant leadership and has continued to engage the separatists over the years. It would not be allowed to betray the protocol of trust and continuity. Indian Government and its army have accrued a criminal liability for the death of 70,000-100,000 people. In fact Indian government has failed on one of the terms which allowed its army into Kashmir, that is protect ‘life’ in Kashmir. Therefore, it does not need a recommendation but it has to talk to Separatist (inclusive) and all Kashmiris in main stream who state that accession is provisional and there is no merger of the State. PDP has no case to bring this issue into any discussion in the formation of a Government. On the contrary all Kashmir Governments in Srinagar continue to share the criminal liability with governments in India for the death of a generation in Kashmir.

PDP is unnecessarily occupying itself with any concern in regard to Article 370. The understanding of the party on this subject is unreliable. PDP has been part of the election narrative which has instilled the fear of a threat to the special status under article 370 if BJP came to power. The fear has no merit. In India BJP may have a choice to hurt Muslims and other minorities but BJP cannot afford a secret or an open kill in Kashmir. The radical elements sitting in secret closets of BJP are mistaken and don’t have an enduring future.

These elements of all manner know that in any such event BJP has to face the people living under three administrations of Kashmir, Kashmiri diaspora, Pakistan and the United Nations. Government of Pakistan can’t use a nuclear weapon against India and vice versa but touching Article 370 in Kashmir in the manner suggested would land BJP Government in a dark crevice of absolute disaster. It may amount to colonization of a people and has the potential of UN considering a military action. It is not 1948 but 2015. Above all every State Subject would be entitled to seek to undo an occupation by the use of all means civil and military. Pakistan has assumed responsibilities under UNCIP Resolutions and India shall have many fronts to face.

PDP need not make withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from certain areas part of its discussion to negotiate power share in Kashmir. AFSPA has no place in Kashmir. It is against the two disciplines governing the presence of Indian army in Kashmir. AFSPA brings Government of India into a breach of the conditions under which these forces were first admitted into Kashmir and is a serious violation of the three principles set out by the United Nations for its stationing in Kashmir. PDP needs to play by the rules of the book and free itself and its cadre from the shackles of known and unknown tiers of control in Kashmir.

PDP is running the risk of being blamed by the voter inside Kashmir, Kashmiris living in two other administration of Kashmir, Kashmiri diaspora, 2.5 million Kashmiri refugees, people in Pakistan and at the UN that it became a reason to bring in BJP through article 92 of the J & K Constitution or through an alliance for its personal political reasons to rule a people that had voted against BJP and have an outstanding grievance at the UN.

Jammu and Kashmir government has to represent all people. But it is untrue that Kashmir politics has been Valley centric. On the contrary Valley Muslim has a historical grievance against the Hindu Ruler (Jammu Dogra). He has taxed the Kashmiri Muslim to pay for the price towards the purchase of Kashmir and has forced Muslim population to keep one pair of trousers for the whole village population to avoid taxes.

It is recoded by Walter Lawrence in State records that in one year 1871-72 Maharaja collected a revenue of Rupees 680,0560 (equal to the price paid) by taxing the Kashmiri Muslim. He taxed Circumcision, Sheep and Goats, Cows and Buffaloes, Mint, Sale of wild fruit, Sale of Chinar leaves, Bakers, Porters and coolies, Masons, Butchers, Blacksmiths, Goldsmiths, Dyers, Prostitutes, Sellers of glass bangles, Comb makers, Menial workers, Soap boilers, Gardeners, Knife makers, Painters, Basket makers, Shoe makers, Grave diggers, Wood cutters, Sellers of fire wood, Cowherds, Friers of grain, Leech sellers, Makers of rice bread and  in all 80 items were taxed in 1871-72. In fact the Hindu ruler has collected from Muslims from 1846-1947 a revenue that he could have purchased 101 more such States.

BJP or any other Indian political party can’t dislodge the manner of evidence that India has presented at the United Nations. Kashmir has a special status without article 370. It has been admitted by India in para 46 of the minutes of same UN Security Council Meeting on 23 January 1957.  Explaining the Indian temporary arrangement with Jammu and Kashmir Indian representative said, “Further in the document it stated: “Let us turn for one moment to the Cabinet Mission Plan of 16 May 1946. In this Plan the proposal was that the States should surrender to the Central Government three subjects – Defence, External Affairs and Communications. That was a plan which, to the best of my belief, every Ruler and every State accepted as reasonable, fair and just.”

PDP has a role beyond the present engagement with BJP. It could help the people to move from a process of life into attaining a quality of life. It can’t be possible unless the J & K Government stakes its claim to that which the Government of India made at the UN in item 3 of document S/AC.12/46 in August 1948 that “The sovereignty of the State of Jammu and Kashmir should not be affected”.

To this challenging end PDP has to address the quality and expertise available in its elected and no elected ranks. PDP has to reach out to all other political parties, separatists, civil society and everyone on its side of Jammu and Kashmir, the two other governments of Kashmir, refugees, diaspora, Pakistan and member nations of the UN as well. It has to be custodian of a State Subject’s title to equality, important for an internal and an external self-determination. Let PDP start with a true empowerment and internal self-determination. In this regard PDP shall have our support at all forums at home, abroad and at other international forums.

Kindly note that JKCHR shall be making the contents of this submission known to UN Secretary General in our documentation that he is likely to receive from us for the 28th Session of UN Human Rights Council starting from 02 March-27 March 2015. I shall also release this letter as a formal concern on the present situation for the interest of common people and other political parties.

Kindly rest assured of my highest regards.

Yours Sincerely

Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani

Secretary General-JKCHR

Cc

JKCHR Kashmir Chapter- Srinagar

JKCHR Pakistan Chapter – Rawalpindi


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