J&K: Aiyar’s suggestion fraught with dangerous ramifications
by Hari Om on 11 Apr 2013 3 Comments

Former minister Mani Shankar Aiyer, known for courting controversies and for his arrogance and uncouth manners, is unhappy with the Congress-dominated UPA Government. He has many grouses, one of which is that it has not accepted and implemented the recommendations of the report submitted by the three interlocutors for Jammu & Kashmir on October 12, 2011. There is, he claims, “lot of alienation (in Kashmir) and (the people in the Valley have) countless grievances”. They “feel that India gives them a different (read shabby) treatment”; Aiyar asserts “they can ask Central Government why it didn’t implement the recommendations of interlocutors?”


Aiyer is either blissfully ignorant about the status Kashmir enjoys within the Union under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, or he willfully withholds the truth in his desperate bid to mislead national opinion. Kashmir is the most privileged region in the entire country in every respect and its people are highly prosperous, leave aside some odd exceptions here and there. Kashmiri leadership manipulates everything in its own favour and in favour of the Valley using all means -- fair and foul. Besides, Jammu and Kashmir is the only State in the country which exercises residuary powers.


The fact of the matter is that it is the people of Jammu and Ladakh who are feeling completely alienated both from Kashmir and New Delhi, owing to the patently Valley-centric approach and policies of the state and central governments. The authorities in the state and at the centre have rendered the people of these two provinces ineffective and unreal for all practical purposes, completely overlooking the fact that they constitute the nation’s most stable and committed – though most ignored and marginalized – constituency in the State.


Jammu and Ladakh get only crumbs. This is unfair treatment. Worse, they contribute more than 75 per cent revenue to the state exchequer every year and constitute over 88 per cent of the State’s land area. Jammu province is exceptionally rich in green-gold and other natural resources, including minerals and precious water, but has no control over them.


It would be no exaggeration to say that Kashmir constitutes a republic within the Indian Republic. How else should one interpret the fact that no central law is automatically applicable to the State of Jammu and Kashmir unlike other States of the Union, despite the fact that the MPs from the State are part of the Indian Parliament which enacts laws and despite the fact that they are party to all such legislations?


Any impartial investigator with a democratic and secular outlook would at once vouch for the fact that the problem in Kashmir is essentially communal and not politico-economic in nature. He/she would also agree that it is the politics of competitive communalism and separatism, including soft secessionism, which is being indulged in and practiced brazenly by the Kashmiri leadership that is the main root cause of all the troubles confronting the nation in the Valley. That is why the RSS, the BJP and similar nationalist organizations want a change in the Indian Constitution to bring Jammu & Kashmir at par with other States of the Union and integrate the State completely into the political and constitutional organization of the country.


Aiyer bemoans the indifferent attitude of the Union Government to the interlocutors’ recommendations. Does he know what the interlocutors have suggested as a solution to the so-called Kashmir problem? The interlocutors in their report have virtually said that Kashmir is an unsettled issue, which is a negation of the parliamentary unanimous resolutions of February 22, 1994 and March 15, 2013. These historic resolutions unambiguously say that Jammu & Kashmir, including territories under illegal occupation of Pakistan, is and shall ever be an integral part of India”. They represent the national will. Jammu & Kashmir had acceded to India as per the constitutional law on the subject (Indian Independence Act of 1947).  


The interlocutors’ report, if accepted and implemented, would not only mean the negation of the national will, but also the appointment of a “constitutional committee” charged with the task of reviewing all Central laws and Articles of the Indian Constitution extended to Jammu & Kashmir after August 9, 1953, when Sheikh Abdullah was dismissed from the office of Wazir-e-Azam and arrested on the charge of “sedition”. It would also mean a drastic amendment calculated to convert temporary Article 370 into a permanent feature of the Indian Constitution, thus sending a message across the globe that New Delhi considers Kashmiri Muslims a race apart and doesn’t consider Jammu & Kashmir an integral part of the Union like other States.


Implementation of the interlocutors’ recommendations would also mean division of Jammu province along the Chenab River on purely communal lines and formation of Great Kashmir comprising the Muslim Valley and Muslim-majority areas of Jammu province and Ladakh region. The interlocutors have made several other suggestions and their implications are the same: setting-in-motion a process that would ultimately culminate in the segregation of Jammu & Kashmir from India and a spectacular victory of those who have been trying for decades to delink the State from India and disintegrate the Indian State.


Aiyar’s suggestion is fraught with dangerous ramifications. The country just cannot afford to accept a suggestion that would unsettle the settled in Kashmir and embolden secessionists in other parts of the country to unleash break-India campaigns with all methods, including terror. Concerned Indians are fully aware of the grave evils which would surely follow on the implementation of the interlocutors’ recommendations. That’s the reason the main opposition BJP and its senior leaders, including party president Rajnath Singh; former Home Minister LK Advani; the Leaders of Opposition in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley; and the RSS, besides the people of Jammu and Ladakh and the internally-displaced Kashmiri Hindus, have rejected out-of-hand the interlocutors’ report. They prescribe instead, the abrogation of Article 370. Both Jaitley and Swaraj toured different parts of the country in 2012 to educate public opinion on the implications of the interlocutors’ report.


Significantly, even the “secular” BSP of Mayawati contemptuously rejected the interlocutors report and demanded the abrogation of Article 370 saying this statute has only added to the woes of the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and similar communities in the State and empowered Kashmir to dominate and exploit the State’s two other regions – Jammu and Ladakh. But Aiyar is made of different stuff; his heart bleeds only for those who hate, bleed, fleece, blackmail and browbeat India. It’s time to call the bluff of Aiyar and his ilk.

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