Date: 7/26/2002


Abrogation of Article 370 alone can bring peace (O YES? BUT WHO WILL BELL THE CAT? THERE ISN'T A *MAN* IN PARTITIONED INDIA EXCEPT THE "MUSAL" *MAN*, i.e., a Musalman.)


......Abrogation of Article 370 alone can bring peace

......................By J N Raina

................Source: Free Press Journal

.....................July 27, 2002


New Delhi is caught in a whirlpool of its own making, obviously at a time when the Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir are slated round the corner.

While the Vishwa Hindu Parishad ( VHP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) have in unison raised the trident for division of the beleaguered state into four parts, the seemingly all powerful ruling National Conference (NC) , now headed by India's "most promising " young politician, 32-year-old, Omar Abdullah, has revived the much maligned greater Autonomy demand, which has only served the best interests of the NC parivar, at the cost of underdeveloped regions of Jammu and Ladakh.

Autonomy, granted under Art 370 of the Indian Constitution ( Jammu and Kashmir State has its separate Constitution ) to placate late Kashmir leader Sheikh Abdullah, is actually aimed at perpetuating the dynastic rule in Kashmir- from Sheikh Abdullah to Farooq Abdullah to NC President Omar Abdullah, who is the next Chief Minister in-waiting after October poll.

Late Abdullah had allegedly dreamed of becoming the"Sultan"of Kashmir, but was put behind bars for harbouring such dreams. Little did he realize that the system (of establishing dynastic rule ) will one day be " democratized".

The demand of the VHP-RSS combine has hardly moved the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) stables in New Delhi. The demand has been spurned even by the BJP on the plea that it would "weaken" the so-called Kashmir cause internationally, besides causing a " serious setback " to the secular fabric of the country. Whether secular ethos still pervades in the valley after years of ethnic cleansing, and changing the demographic character, should be a matter of conjecture for the votaries of secularism.

In fact, the statehood demand for Jammu is not new. Ever since Art 370 (guaranteeing special status to Jammu and Kashmir ) was incorporated in the Indian Constitution, amid opposition from some of the framers of the Constitution, including Dr B R Ambedkar, the people of Jammu region had spearheaded an agitation for a separate state, to escape from the " hegemony" of Kashmiri rulers.

The demand cannot be construed as communal, for three (out of six ) districts of Doda, Rajouri and Poonch are dominated by Muslims. It is the regional imbalance which is questionable. Now the foreign mercenaries are making hectic efforts at ethnic cleansing in the three districts.

For several years, there has been a clamour for a union territory-type status for the sprawling Buddhist -dominated Ladakh region. Area wise, it is the biggest district in India, or may be in Asia, but population of the twin districts of Leh and Kargil is not more than two lakh. Kargil district, forming part of the Ladakh region, is inhabited by the Shia sect of Muslims. Once upon a time, Kargil was entirely dominated by Buddhists. Ladakh region over the years has been " vandalized " by the Kashmiri rulers, even during the Dogra regime, politically and economically.

The third novel demand pertains to the carving out of a separate enclave, from within the Kashmir valley, suggested to be named as " Panun Kashmir ", an organisation representing the migrant Hindu Pandit community. Panun Kashmir raised the demand in mid 90s when over 3.5 lakh Kashmiri Hindus were hounded out from their ancestral land of birth at gun point, in the wake of Pakistan-sponsored militancy.

Be as it may, the Centre is in a quandary, and has succumbed to Farooq Abdullah's pressure tactics, who wants restoration of greater Autonomy, as it existed in 1953-when late Sheikh was arrested and deposed. The Centre has agreed to review the demand (a resolution for which has already been passed by the NC, which constitutes two-third majority in the State Assembly ) by appointing the BJP leader and former law Minister Arun Jaitley as New Delhi's interlocutor to sort out the issue.

Surprisingly, New Delhi's review decision came close on the heels of blistering attack by Farooq Abdullah and his son, Minister of State for External Affairs, Omar Abdullah, on the NDA government. The Vajpayee Government has perhaps been dwarfed by the charming personality of the Abdullah duo, who warned India and Pakistan as well, in an equal measure.

"Stop teasing both my party and the people of the valley", maverick Abdullah made an outburst. The nation was dumfounded when Farooq Abdullah ridiculed India : " The NC's fight for Autonomy is akin to India's struggle for freedom" and warned" there can be no peace until greater Autonomy is restored".

Omar Abdullah, believably under his father's influence went a step further: " It is not a matter related to our mind but to our heart ". He did not realise he is still a responsible minister. Going roughshod on a TV channel, he continued his diatribe " The nation did not recognize his father's services in terms of rewards''. He ought to know self- praise is no recommendation and should remember the adage that " first deserve and then desire".

Omar in an interview has said " I am not so hot about Delhi.... How many Muslims from Jammu and Kashmir at that have made it to Prime Minister's chair?". One would like to ask him, how many non-Muslims have made it to the Chief Minister's chair in his state? No doubt, Omar has made a mark and is doing a good job assigned to him, but he should remain away from dirty politics. Even far away from the beaten track. He is a budding politician and need not get embroiled in unhealthy Kashmir politics.

The Abdullahs seem to have gauged the timidity and patience of the Vajpayee government. Otherwise, even the late Sheikh would hesitate to level such charges. One would like to ask Dr Abdullah, where was he when the militants overran the Kashmir valley, killing intellectuals, and his own party activists? Where was he when the armed militants, supported by fundamentalists at home, killed mercilessly Kashmiri Hindus and drove them away .Had he not vowed to protect them ? " No one, not even crores of Hindus and the Indian army will save you ( Kashmiri Hindus). It is only the Muslim majority community which will come to your rescue in time of need", he had been repeatedly asserting in his public speeches. He could not save his own skin and fled away when the valley was burning in 1990.

What compelled the VHP-RSS to raise this demand at this juncture? After all, how long will the alienated Hindu community in Jammu and Kashmir wait for someone to resettle them, 'honourably' in the valley. In whose interest is Art 370, a temporary provision? How long will the two regions of Ladakh and Jammu remain neglected. The demographic character of the valley has been drastically changed. It has happened in Ladakh, where Buddhists have been converted to other faiths, and is happening in Jammu province now. Before partition, the population of the Hindu Pandits was roughly 15 lakh in the valley, which has got reduced to just ten thousand. It is Art 370 which has helped in the steady growth of Muslim fundamentalism.

Should an attempt to resettle the migrant Hindus in the valley be construed as " weakening" the Kashmir cause? Such fears are unjustified. In what manner will such a move strengthen the hands of Pakistan, which has brought worst demographic changes in occupied Kashmir.Did they consult India or the US? Who is asking the Muslims in Jammu region to leave? As there will be Muslims in the Jammu region and Ladakh, there can be Hindus in the Muslim-dominated Kashmir valley. Call it Panun Kashmir or something else.

The division of the state thus suggested is moreover for the matter of governance. Take the example of Haryana, how prosperous it is, which was carved out from Punjab.

According to Koshur Samachar, a leading home journal of the Kashmiri Hindu Pandit community, " A solution based on quadrification would create a separate territory, Panun Kashmir, where the long exiled Kashmiri Pandits would be able to return in safety".

This would be a place " free from Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism. It would be a place where Kashmiri Hindus and other minorities can freely practise their political, cultural, social and religious rights, as charted in the universal declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations" as in the rest of India.

In an article authored by Dr Subodh Atal, Lalit Koul and Sunil Fotedar, Editors of Kashmir News Network, Texas, Koshur Samachar has suggested : " If India shows the resolve and commitment to stand by Kashmir and help it move forward into the 21st century, the inevitable outcome will be rapid weakening of the fundamentalist forces". The opponents feel it will undermine secularism, but they do not understand that it is the status quo which has undermined secularism in the state during the past 50 years.

The pseudo-secularists did not raise their voice when Jamait-e-Tulaba (youth wing of the Jamait-e-Islami ) led by then party chief Tajamul Islam, had publicly announced to wage jehad for establishment of Nizam-e-Mustafa (Islamic way of life ) in the Kashmir valley in 1987. The late Sheikh had just laughed away at the announcement and did not take it seriously. Had the fundamentalist organisation been checkmated in time, secularism would not have been undermined.

By abrogating Art 370, all people in the region can live in peace, without any regional hegemony. The governance should change, and the quality of leadership should also change. Art 370 is not sacrosanct. Farooq Abdullah and his estranged brother-in-law, former chief minister G M Shah, had once told an audience of industrialists in Mumbai that Art 370 was not going to last for ever and it was not going to create hurdles in the setting up of industries in his their state.

Art 370 is just like a wall between Jammu and Kashmir and the rest of India. If it is abrogated, the call for the division of the state will end. India should resolve the differences with Pakistan over Kashmir and subsequently with China (which has grabbed large chunks of POK territory gifted to that country by Pakistan in a border deal.

It will be in the best interests of India and Pakistan to resolve their pending issues, otherwise the imperialists in new avtar are knocking at our door, taking advantage of the existing differences. The day the wall of suspicion between India and Pakistan collapses, things will start moving in the right direction.


Keeping Kashmir divided and "n fire"is part of Congress Party's strategic goal. In the "genetically decomposed sub human and eternally slavish specie of the native HINDUS (and the Sikhs)", dynasty means democracy and the Mohammedan who has East Bengal, Lahore and Nankana Sahib under his foot equals the wretched Hindu in Delhi who is sitting under the Italian made skirt of Sonia Khan.