The mock row between the BJP-dominated Centre and Held Kashmir’s Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah has been ‘intensified’ since Vajpayee’s Independence Day speech, in which he promised that ‘free and fair’ elections would be held in Kashmir. This idea was later echoed by Advani, which ‘provoked’ Chief Minister to threaten a walkout of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA), since these statements do not mention his ‘proposal’ of “full autonomy” for Indian occupied State.
At his urging last year, the held state assembly passed resolution last year to accord Kashmir “full autonomy along the lines of the 1953 pact between Sheikh Abdullah, the present Chief Minister’s father, and India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, with the Centre only retaining finance, defence and communications. This was Farooq Abdullah’s ploy to gain some badly needed credibility with his own people. However, the resolution was rejected outright by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s cabinet, which argued that it was the first step towards the state’s separation from the Indian Union.
If he would demand independence for the territory, New Delhi would brand him a traitor and throw him into prison the way his father was – the great sheikh’s services to India notwithstanding. Farooq Abdullah, therefore, would not speak of independence but would want “full autonomy.”
In a calculated political move, Mr Advani has offered “special powers” to occupied Kashmir’s chief minister. What exactly are the motives behind Farooq Abdullah’s ‘demand for autonomy’ and Advani’s offer of “special powers?”
Home minister made the offer hardly a week after he had ruled out in parliament granting of autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir. The State under article 370 of Indian Constitution has a special status and enjoys many a special power. It is intriguing to understand as to what special powers the home minister is talking about after having rejected the autonomy resolution adopted by the state legislature.
Neither New Delhi nor the ruling National Conference has ever been sincere towards restoring the autonomy of the state. True, in the wake of political developments that followed signing of controversial instrument of accession by the fugitive Dogra ruler the state was given a special status within the union of Indian. Other than defence, communication and external affairs, the state enjoyed absolute autonomy. As has been made amply clear by the recently published Nehru papers, New Delhi has been insincere towards the autonomy of the state from the first day it had been granted.
Demanding autonomy and pretending to be in a state of confrontation with New Delhi are gimmicks to project himself as a champion of the Kashmiri people. For New Delhi, the motive behind the offer is to pose Farooq Abdullah as a counterpoise to the All Parties’ Hurriyat Conference (APHC) and then give him “special powers.” But he is a prisoner in his own home and cannot face the people. Instead, it is the freedom fighters and the APHC who represent the aspirations of the Kashmiri people. Instead of these dilly-dallying moves, New Delhi needs to look at the Jammu and Kashmir problem in its totality and work out a lasting solution.
The people want freedom from Indian bondage and from the tyranny to which Indian occupation has subjected them. This desire for freedom exploded with full fury in the form of an uprising in 1988-89. More than a decade has passed, but this struggle has shown no signs of weakening in spite of the 70,000 dead which the Kashmiris have offered as a price for liberation.
The issue in Kashmir today is not what kind of autonomy would satisfy the historical aspiration of Farooq Abdullah or his late father, nor is it a question of some kind of limited autonomy ensuring the welfare of the people. Had any of these proposals any validity, the special status granted to Held Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution all those years ago would have sufficed. History and the struggle of the Kashmiri people have overtaken resort to such ‘tricks’. It is now too late to attempt to defuse or divert the struggle of the Kashmiri people for the right of self-determination into such byways.
Unless the Indian ruling circles come to grips with reality and seek a just solution of the Kashmir tangle, the struggle will remain a canker in their side. Any solution that bypasses the people of Kashmir would amount to building castles in the air. This will also continue to bedevil relations between India and Pakistan, to the detriment of both countries’ future, and with the risk of a wider conflict escalating, God forbid, into a nuclear holocaust.
Now for a moment, if you compare India’s policies towards Kashmir with Israel’s insane handling of Palestine issue, you will conclude that India and Israel are indeed ‘die’ of the same ‘cast’ and India by all means qualify to be called- Israel of South Asia. Both countries are being led by a class who are strongly committed to Racism- Israel in Zionism and India’s BJP led alliance in Hinduism. Their common victims are Muslims and other minorities including Christians in these countries. Being of the same nature and common objectives, these two evil empires have developed strong diplomatic ties and co-operating each other in all fields ranging from Defence to Agricultural.
The world should boycott relations with these countries, the same way they did to mend South Africa for adopting Apartheidism, to save the humanity from their worst crimes.
Will the blood of Kashmiri and Palestinians martyrs will pave the way to unite the world against these two countries who are posing a joint threat to global peace?