Published On: Mon, Jan 11th, 2016

Merits of Governor Rule and days ahead

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By Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani –

Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed passed away on January 7, 2016. May his soul rest in peace. Although all is forgotten in death and no charges are brought against the dead, yet it is not so when the dead has a case to answer in the history of a people. Kashmiris are a legendary people and do not fail to genuinely pour out their grief. Death of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has been duly mourned and we should not overlook the fact that there is a large constituency in and outside Kashmir (J & K) which has held back from being part of mourning on the death of a State Subject.
It is interesting to note that the State with its legislature intact has been served with a Governor’s Rule under Section 92 (1) of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir. Governor a non-State Subject over-rode the Constitutionality of the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council and the elected Cabinet. The death of Chief Minister could have been addressed and reconciled within the strengths of the legislature. Describing the situation as “Breakdown of Constitutional Machinery” and taking recourse to Governor’s Rule under Section 92 (1) of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir lacks merit.
The intervening period until a new chief minister could have been elected should have been looked after by the Deputy Chief Minister, Speaker or by an arrangement within the Legislature. Under Section 46 of the Constitution Governor is part of the legislature but his intervention at this point is a gross misinterpretation of the existing Constitution.
Local politicians (represented in the Legislature) and the forces in Delhi need to keep in mind that any such constitutional interpretation or short cut, is likely to impact the lives of other State Subjects living in two other administrations on the Pakistani side of the State and of those living as Kashmiri diaspora around the world. It is on this point that United Nations has placed the Kashmir Government under notice in its Resolution of 30 March 1951.  At a time when there are efforts in place to seek a resolution of the Kashmir dispute and settle the question of self-determination, interference through non-State subjects in Kashmir has to be avoided.
Mufti Mohammad Sayeed used the phrase of being an “Indian by conviction” to access the corridors of favour sitting visible or lurking as invisible in Delhi and Srinagar. We have no issue with his claim but when elected through a popular vote, his conviction had to serve the collective conviction of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, as carried forward by them since March 1846 to date. The collective conviction has to be settled in reference to the choice of the people and this has to be ascertained through a free vote under the supervision of the United Nations.
It remains unclear whether Mufti Mohammad Sayeed represented the people of Kashmir in Delhi or acted as a conduit to introduce Delhi advantage in the State. He served as Home Minister in Delhi and as Chief Minister in Srinagar (J&K). He has a case to answer for the grievance caused to the people and habitat during his office as Home Minister of India from 2nd December 1989 to 10 November 1990 and as the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir from 2nd November 2002 to 2nd November 2005 and 5th March 2015 to 6th January 2016.
A good chief minister of J & K would as a start ensure that the sovereignty and dignity of the people of Jammu and Kashmir pleaded by Sheikh Abdullah at the UN is not compromised, until the people exercise their right to vote under the supervision of the United Nations. At the local level (as he is elected from only a part of the State) he makes sure that he remains on the side of his people and does not give away beyond the subjects of Defence, External Affairs and Communications in his day to day dealings with New Delhi. It is equally important that a chief minister represents State in New Delhi and keeps on reminding Delhi that there is a provisional accession on three subjects and there is no merger with the union of India.
A true Kashmiri leader and member of legislature has to discharge his local duties and obligation towards his people. A chief minister by virtue of his chain of command has to remember that the State Government has granted temporary admission to Indian security forces, for a defined duty to defend the territory, protect life, property and honour of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The question of temporary accession and temporary admission now remains subject to a final adjudication under a UN mechanism on Kashmir.
The duties of a State Government at Srinagar have been detailed at the United Nations and the principal one is to prepare the State (all inclusive) for a free and fair plebiscite or in simple terms for a vote to seal its future as an equal people. It is unfortunate that every Prime Minister or Chief Minister elected in Jammu and Kashmir has turned his back on the duties outsourced to the State government by the UN or as pledged by Sheikh Abdullah on behalf of J & K government at the United nations.
Indian security forces are on a temporary admission in the State (only a part of the State) and for no other reason except to assist the State in maintaining law and order in the process. There is no evidence that any chief minister has ever asserted in the interests of the people in the exercise of position in the chain of command. Like any other chief minister Mufti Sayeed has a case to answer for failing in his duties. His role in the appointment of Jagmohan as Governor of Jammu and Kashmir would never earn him any fair comment.
The appointment hurt the people and habitat beyond repair. Jagmohan regime subjected men, women and children (Muslims) to unprecedented violation of human rights and a humiliation of all manner, never witnessed in the history of Kashmir. We have lost a generation and with it have horrific tales to tell. Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), killings, rapes, molestations, torture, disappearances, collective punishments through crackdowns and prolonged curfews in early 1990 would remain associated with his tenure as Home Minister of India.
History has yet to return its verdict,  on his wisdom whether his politics to assist BJP to find a foothold in the State was in the interests of the people of Kashmir or it was part of his ‘conviction’ as an India to bring radical and communal politics in the government. Mufti Sayeed had the choice of NC and Congress to form a government. Unfortunately his anti-BJP narrative during the election campaign proved to be false and it did not take him long to start advocating the benefits of an alliance with BJP.
Mufti Sayeed has been laid to rest but the accrued personal liabilities and others in association with his team remain there. There is a case of human rights violations that shall continue to haunt him and his associates in Srinagar and in Delhi. We need not wait and look into far future for this cause to surface. The latest example is the decision of the British government to investigate nearly 300 British personnel who served in Iraq for alleged war crimes. The Iraq historic allegations team (Ihat), the government-established criminal investigation into claims of murder, abuse and torture during the Iraq war, has written to veterans a week after it warned that some may face prosecution. About 280 veterans have been sent documents telling them they were involved in an incident under investigation by the Ihat.
Those who have been changing faith on Kashmir, and have swung from main stream to separatists or vice versa, need to study Kashmir case. They shall find a Memorandum on the conversation between President Kennedy and Indian Ambassador B K Nehru dated December 17, 1962 when Kennedy told him, “whether we like it or not the question of Kashmir is inescapably linked to what (the United States) can do to assist India militarily”. Before committing US support in Sino-India war in 1962 US made it clear in its telegram 2329 to News Delhi on 25 November 1962 that if Ayub Khan does not interfere in favour of China “we are prepared to tell Nehru that if we give him major military aid he should agree to negotiate at a suitable point on Kashmir”.
Whoever, takes over as next chief minister has to make a choice to be on the side of the people of Kashmir or act as a conduit to siphon Indian advantage into Kashmir. It does not serve the interests of the people if PDP leadership has started sulking that Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not visit Mufti even once during the 15 days he was hospitalized and did not even turn up at AIIMS on January 7 morning when he died. Modi has no reason to mourn the death of Mufti. If there is a grieving heart, it might be a Kashmiri only. Don’t punch holes into a Kashmiri heart.

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