Published On: Mon, Apr 17th, 2006

Two dates changed everything

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By 12 August 1947 the people of Jammu and Kashmir had graduated through their 101 year long struggle and had achieved “State for the State’s People” a “responsible government”, “peoples association”, a constitution” a “regime of rights” guaranteed in the constitution and were still hungry in pursuit of their struggle.

They had courage and faith to roller skate their final demand of “quit Kashmir” and marshal their final call that – “Today the national demand of the people of Kashmir is not merely the establishment of responsible Government, but their right to absolute freedom from autocratic rule. The immensity of the wrong done to our people by the sale deed of 1846 can only be judged by looking into the actual conditions of the people. It is the depth of our torment that has given strength to our protest”.

Unfortunately on two dates, August 12 1947 and October 26 1947 everything changed for them. A one people made an error in judgment and became victims of an ill placed trust. They were lynched and distributed both in person and in habitat. Today they are living as three strange people under three administrations, supervised by India and Pakistan.

Pakistan failed them under 15 August 1947 (proposed on 12 August) agreement and India failed them under 27 October 1947 (proposed on 26 October) agreement.

Today we are driven back to 12 August 1947 situation when the Government of Kashmir proposed a standstill agreement to the Government of Pakistan.  Since Pakistan failed to honour her commitment the Government of Jammu and Kashmir on 26 October 1947 rushed to propose an ‘accession’ to the Government of India.

India did not keep to the terms of the agreement and failed to protect ‘life’, ‘dignity’ and ‘property’. It used a ‘proxy’ and introduced a mechanism of indirect rule. This mechanism has passed its sell-by-date.

Pakistan did not lag far behind either. Its leaders did not have the emotional bond with Kashmir as Nehru had. Its leadership did not brave to challenge the Maharaja’s rule as Nehru did. Nehru was arrested on 18 June 1947 at Domel. Congress had arranged barrister Asif Ali to defend Sheikh Abdullah. Asif Ali argued that “the main question in this case is whether it is the right of a people to demand responsible government even in emphatic terms if necessary”.

Until June 2005 for the last 57 years Pakistan took the people of Valley and Azad Kashmir on a non stop ‘Ferris Wheel’ of promise, that the people of Jammu and Kashmir had a right to self-determination. It further held out for the ‘implementation’ of UNCIP resolutions on Kashmir. Prima facie it embedded a freedom of choice of all the three administrations to join India as well.

Although in just 15 months in April 1949 in respect of Northern Areas Pakistan double stepped on its claim of settlement by implementing UNCIP resolution. It coerced out of the government and leadership of Azad Kashmir, of course behind the back of the people and leadership of Northern Areas, an Agreement to sever the people and geography away from Azad Kashmir, for a primitive and private control. Yet in 1990 Pakistan okayed an option of independent Kashmir in the July 1993 constitution of APHC. It seems to have been a half hearted and self serving tactical nod.

The people and the people’s voices in the Valley have been muted through violence. The people and the people’s voices in Azad Kashmir have been anaesthetized through political and financial favour. The people and the people’s voices in Northern Areas are involuble.

Rights Movement for all the people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir and in particular for people in the Valley and Azad Kashmir is how establishment in Islamabad shapes it in ‘phrase’ and ‘content’. It is no longer a continuation of a Rights Movement as left on 12 August or 26 October 1947.

A new Musharraf and his 9 favourites element has been added to it. President Musharraf is flattered to be larger than life. The 9 adults who travelled on a Srinagar-Muzaffarabad Bus in June 2005 have drunk from General’s cup of ‘flattering elixir’ and they do not rest their 18 feet on the ground.

Although the People of Kashmir are a proud people and one traces their desire for social justice as far back as to 1877. Yet we should not be carried away by a false sense of history too. There is a darker side of us as well. C E Tyndale Biscoe in his book “Kashmir and its Inhabitants” writes – “To call a man ‘Kashmiri’ is a term of abuse, for it stands for a coward and a rogue, and much else of an unpleasant nature”. We have to make individual and collective efforts to prove Biscoe wrong.

We have to take a pro People position and have to have a full look at the Pakistani ‘Ferris Wheel’ of promise and start counting as to how many of us are still left on the ‘Ferris Wheel’ of promise.

What happened to the journey to self-determination and why did Pakistan need to feed the 9 Kashmiri adults in June 2005 with a fresh ‘potion’ of self-rule. What is the difference between 1996 Prime Minister Narasimha’s offer of ‘sky is the limit’ and a self-rule handed over with other essentials to the Kashmiri leaders in June 2005 by President Musharraf.

What cause was mooted for a generation to be annihilated in Kashmir?  Who shall be criminally liable for the death of a generation, for targeted killings, for an unprecedented violence and violation of human rights ever witnessed in the 150 year old struggle, since 1846 and who shall be responsible to rebuild Kashmir?

India is criminally liable for failing to honour its obligations under the instrument of accession. Pakistan is criminally liable for keeping the people on ‘Ferris Wheel’ of promise and for failing to discharge its ‘Trust Obligations’.

APHC is criminally responsible for misleading its people and for taking a generation to grave. Change of horses mid-stream by APHC has exposed it as an enemy within and as a slave to the sovereign reflexes of the establishment in Islamabad.

Pakistan has accrued a higher burden of criminal liability for installing and encouraging a privatized, commercialized, undemocratic, non transparent, unaccountable and a violent culture of politics in the Valley and an anaesthetized and conformist political culture in Azad Kashmir.

India is far behind in running a ‘railway engine’ in Kashmir. Pakistan is far ahead in guarding its embedded water interests in Kashmir. However, both are drenched knee deep in the crime of a shared death of a generation and the destruction of a tranquil and tolerant civil society.

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