J&K: All party delegation brought shame to nation
by Hari Om on 24 Sep 2010 14 Comments

September 20 will be regarded as a black day in the history of the post-independent India. On this inauspicious day, the Indian nation witnessed at least 15 members of the Union Home Minister-led parliamentary delegation, including the Leaders of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, bringing disgrace to the country and virtually ridiculing the supreme sacrifices made by the committed, dedicated and disciplined Army.


These members made a mockery of themselves and the Indian nation by committing an unpardonable crime and by telling the international community that India is a banana republic; India is on sale; anyone can blackmail, browbeat and bleed India and go scot-free; India doesn’t care for its war machine, borders and sovereign interests; India is a country where terrorists, murderers and rebels are accorded red carpet welcome, and where nationalists are dismissed with contempt as part of the problem; and India is a country where some parliamentarians don’t mind harming paramount national interests and allowing anti-India elements to do the same with impunity. This is the India of today.


How else should one interpret the act of political debauchery enacted by these 15-odd parliamentarians on this Black Day in modern Indian history? I refer to their mind-boggling decision to pay obeisance at the residences of Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Yasin Malik, in the Jamia Masjid area, Hyderpora area and Maisuma area, respectively.


So generous and apolitical did these Indian law-makers became that they didn’t mind the snub administered by Geelani, Mirwaiz and Malik to the delegation by throwing the invites into the dustbin and telling the emissaries of the delegation that if the Union Home Minister and his team wished to meet them, they could come to their residences; they were not prepared to visit the venue (Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre) of interaction between the all-party delegation and the Kashmiri deputations.


It may be argued that Sitaram Yechuri (CPI-M), Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI) and Ram Vilas Paswan (Lok Janshakti Party) et al visited the residences of Geelani, Mirwaiz and Malik in their private capacity to ascertain their views. But no one will believe this as the delegates were Indian MPs on an official visit to the state. These MPs went to meet the separatists responsible for the genocide of Kashmiri Hindus and Sikhs as per a well-crafted strategy, and to listen to rabidly anti-India views.


They committed this grave mistake in consultation with the Home Minister who considers Kashmir a “unique problem.” CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechuri said after paying obeisance at the residence of Geelani that they met the separatists on behalf of the all-party delegation, though this was contested by Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah defended the visit to the separatists, saying “it was part of the plan.” [When Sushma Swaraj insisted that the visit to the homes of separatists was not discussed or cleared with the all-party delegation, it was clarified that the concerned members had taken up the matter with P. Chidambaram personally].


By visiting the residences of Geelani, Mirwaiz and Malik, who have only brought death and destruction to the Kashmir Valley and who have been surviving and thriving on the sweat and blood of gullible Kashmiri Muslims, the Indian law-makers accorded a dangerous respectability to the kind of activities the trio has been indulging in to ensure the separation of Jammu & Kashmir from India. They simply emboldened the merchants of death and destruction in Kashmir and those who have been using all kinds of invectives and epithets against the Indian State and Indian Army. These actions of the Indian parliamentarians will go a long way in reversing the process of integration of the state into India.


The issue is not whether the all-party delegation would recommend any political concession to Kashmir to please and appease the separatists and purchase peace in the valley – an unrealizable goal in the sense that Geelani, Mirwaiz and others of their ilk have, with the help of certain elements in the civil and police administration, themselves deliberately disturbed the peace and will continue to do so unless their most cherished dream is realized. Everyone knows that they are Pakistani agents and would rest only after Pakistan absorbs the Indian Jammu & Kashmir or Jammu & Kashmir becomes independent at the least. Besides, everyone knows they hate the Indian political system because they regard it as anti-Islamic and want the establishment of what Geelani proudly and shamelessly calls “Nizam-e-Mustafa” (Islamic rule).        


Reports had suggested that the all-party delegation would visit hospitals, not to see the injured Army and paramilitary forces personnel, but those who attacked the security forces, bunkers, Army camps, police stations and burnt down police stations, government buildings, vehicles and private property and in the process got killed!


There were reports that the all-party parliamentary delegation might meet the families of killed rebels, killed Pakistani agents and the slain followers of Geelani, Mirwaiz, Malik and so on, and share their agony, thus holding the Army and paramilitary forces responsible for the recent killings and sending a message to the security forces to behave or be prepared to face legal action for discharging duties assigned by the civil administration to the best of their ability and capability.  


The reports were true. Members of the delegation visited certain hospitals, including the bone and joint hospital, to meet people injured during clashes with the security forces in 103 days of unrest in the Kashmir Valley, during which 102 lives were lost. They should have visited the Army hospitals to support the injured soldiers and paramilitary forces personnel; but they omitted to do that. Perhaps they thought a visit to the Army hospitals might send a wrong signal and further “alienate” the already “alienated Kashmiri Muslims.”


The delegation also visited Tangmarg, which had witnessed arson on an unprecedented scale following a report that an American pastor had allegedly desecrated the Quran somewhere. The resultant police-crowd clashes left at least three arsonists dead and scores of other hooligans wounded. Yet the delegation visited Tangmarg to express solidarity with the members of these bereaved families – whose members had themselves invited disaster by taking recourse to violence; they had burned down several government buildings, offices and vehicles.


Believe it or not, but Ghulam Hassan Mir, local MLA and Cabinet Minister in Omar Abdullah’s ministry, described the current strife as the immediate fall-out of the Centre’s decision to employ in Kashmir 3,000 Kashmiri Hindu youths and the 2008 decision of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board to extend the yatra period from one month to two months to respect the religious sentiments of Hindus across the world!


Equally unbelievable but true is the fact that the all-party delegation didn’t allow deputations representing the persecuted non-Muslim minorities, including Hindus and Sikhs, to meet it. It rigorously excluded everyone who appeared inconvenient. The grapevine said the Chief Minister and his men made the selections and the Union Home Minister approved the same. The People’s Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti described the whole show as “stage-managed” and accused the Chief Minister of organizing interactions between the all-party delegation and certain selected groups. One cannot but agree.


So who – apart from Geelani, Mirwaiz and Malik – did the all-party delegation meet? It met the National Conference delegation, which reiterated its demand for greater autonomy, saying the people of Jammu and Ladakh also wanted autonomy from India. It talked about the 1996 Assembly elections and said that the National Conference had contested the elections on the slogan of autonomy. Indeed, the first point in the National Conference election manifesto dealt with the issue of autonomy. “You give us votes and we will give you autonomy”, it told media persons after meeting the all-party delegation. It did not speak the truth.


It is true that autonomy was one of the National Conference planks during the 1996 Assembly elections, but it figured in the middle of the manifesto, possibly as item number 23. Besides, as expected, it asserted that “Jammu & Kashmir is a political problem” and accused New Delhi of “eroding the state’s internal autonomy using unconstitutional methods.” It was a scathing attack on New Delhi and the Indian political system. It used different terminology, but the sum and substance was the same: Kashmiri Muslims are alienated from India; the Indian political system threatens the very identity of Kashmiri Muslims. The meaning was clear as crystal. More than that, it publicly said the goal was very near, that autonomy was round the corner. It said so on the basis of certain statements attributed to Union Home Minister P Chidambaram.


The all-party delegation met the 15-member People’s Democratic Party deputation for 15 minutes. Mehbooba Mufti was conspicuous by her absence, keeping herself busy by talking to television channels where she unleashed a relentless attack on the Omar Abdullah-led government and held it responsible for all happenings in Kashmir. Like Mirwaiz, she wanted the delegation to meet the victims of the alleged Indian brutalities; that the delegation should visit hospitals and families of slain militants and other unruly elements killed in clashes with the police and paramilitary forces.


While interacting with the delegation, her men expressed similar views and asking the MPs to realize the gravity of the situation and solve the “political” problem of Jammu & Kashmir.  The PDP’s attack was two-pronged – against Omar Abdullah and against New Delhi. It was calculated to paint Omar Abdullah black and erode the National Conference’s support-base in Kashmir and make New Delhi announce some major political concessions, as per the wishes of Pakistan and Kashmiri separatists, Pakistani agents or otherwise.


The Congress deputation, led by JKPCC president Saif-ud-Din Soz, who till the other day was an ideologue of the National Conference, also met the MPs. He didn’t use words like “out-of-box” solution, but urged the delegation sponsored by the Congress-led UPA, to think in terms of an “unconventional” solution. This means he, like Omar Abdullah and others, believes that “status quo is not the option.” Besides, he said nothing should be done that could jeopardize the unity of the state. He wanted the people of Jammu and Ladakh to endorse the “unconventional” solution which would keep them tied to Kashmiri hegemony! The people of Jammu are the backbone of Kashmir’s economy. Exclusion of Jammu from the “unconventional” solution would mean instant collapse of the Kashmiri economy and turn the Kashmiri leaders and people into paupers in no time.  


The all-party delegation met several other deputations in Srinagar. Those leading these delegations behaved as expected. Like the National Conference, People’s Democratic Party, Congress and separatists, they also condemned the Army and security forces and virtually demanded separation from India. Local CPI-M leaders who the all-party delegation made greater autonomy the cornerstone of their presentation and expressed the view that the Army and AFSPA needed to be withdrawn from certain areas of Kashmir. Their argument was that the situation in Kashmir was quite normal and that the stone-throwers of 2010 could not be compared with the gun-totting militants of 1990. Overall, everyone who met the all-party delegation or certain members of the delegation sang the same anti-India, anti-Army song.


The delegation should have contested these versions and told them that they speeches were nothing more than a manifestation of their communal approach towards India and that what they demanded could not be conceded as it amounted to the negation of India. But the MPs neither contested the Muslim identity politics in Kashmir nor the accusation of Kashmiri leaders that New Delhi had not kept its promises. Instead, some members of the delegation told news channels that they would raise in Parliament the issues that the likes of Geelani mentioned to them.


Jammu leg of trip


The visit of the all-party parliamentary delegation to Kashmir can be legitimately described as a great setback to the nation. But the story does not end here. The all-party delegation, which visited Jammu the next day, crossed all limits and virtually indicated that it had no place in its scheme of things for the people of Jammu province and for the refugees from West Pakistan, Pakistan-occupied-Jammu & Kashmir and from Kashmir Valley, who number more than 1.2 million and have been leading a wretched life for decades.


The all-party delegation had no time for those in Jammu who wanted to meet it and narrate their woeful tales and story of gross neglect and persecution, and inform it that they represented the nationalist constituency in the state and would not allow the powers-that-be in New Delhi to tinker with the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), compromise the Indian position in Jammu & Kashmir, and withdraw from the restive and terrorist-infested Kashmir Valley the Army and the paramilitary forces.


On the contrary, some members of the delegation had the time to meet another Kashmiri rebel Shabir Shah, who has been enjoying official hospitality at the Government Medical College, Jammu, for long. Shah is supposedly booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA), but is actually holidaying at the government hospital as he wants to remain away from disturbed Kashmir!


The delegation met only a few deputations. Yet all deputations, barring the National Conference and PDP deputations, countered the demands put forth by Kashmiri separatists and so-called mainstream leaders, and made it loud and clear that they were for India and would be so for all time to come, come what may, and for the state’s complete integration into India.


Those who couldn’t meet with or who boycotted the all-party delegation protested and registered their anger against the shabby treatment accorded to them by the biased all-party parliamentary delegation. There were demonstrations at a number of places by angry refugees, including refugees from Kashmir, West Pakistan and Pakistan-occupied-Jammu & Kashmir. These were impressive affairs. The police arrested several refugees. The National Panthers Party went to the extent of refusing to recognize the delegation and boycotted it, sending a clear message that it would oppose tooth and nail the demands put forth by the Kashmiri leaders.


The most important aspect of the situation in Jammu was that everyone talked about the need to reorganize the state, confer the status of Union Territory on Ladakh, set up a provincial council for Jammu, create a separate homeland in Kashmir for the internally displaced Kashmiri Hindus, and deal with the Kashmiri separatists effectively and resolutely. Another significant aspect of the situation was that everyone in Jammu identified with the Army and the paramilitary forces!


It must remain a matter of shame that the all-party parliamentary delegation behaved in a most reprehensible manner. It had ample time for those wrecking the Indian State from within and outside, but it had no time for nationalists. It met a few deputations, but reluctantly, citing paucity of time. The delegation had to stay in Jammu for a day because the people of Jammu had created such an environment.


The silver lining is that the people of Jammu and Ladakh and internally displaced Kashmiri Hindus are as tenacious as the Palestinians in the defence of their just cause. They are there to ensure the defeat of the Kashmiri separatists; they are there to defend the national cause; and they are there to teach a right lesson to the powers-that-be in New Delhi.


The author is Chair Professor, Gulab Singh Chair, Jammu University, Jammu

User Comments Post a Comment
Comments are free. However, comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate material will be removed from the site. Readers may report abuse at  editorvijayvaani@gmail.com
Post a Comment

Back to Top