In less than a decade, this is third ‘Intifada’. Today, when it is the second day of your sojourn in the “salubrious” environs of the Dal Lake, whose waters also have turned carmine with the blood of Kashmiris, the ‘Intifada-III’ has entered into the 58th day.
In the history of the struggle of the sub-continent against the British spreading over decades, there is no parallel to these goriest days. Not only in the history of sub-continent, all over the world where ever people struggled for their fundamental right, the right to self-determination there is not a single instance where children and youth were subjected to what New York Times in a lead story on 28 August described as ‘Dead Eyes’ Epidemic’. In recorded human history, there is no instance about blinding of ten children at an average on a day for expressing their dissent against the powers that be.
On 3rd of September 2016, one day before your flight was to take off for Srinagar, you might have been briefed about the action taken by the Government during past 56 days. That more than 2000 youth and children are arrested, 210 youth and children booked under the draconian Public Safety Act, ten to twelve thousand wounded with pellets, bullets, and hundreds made asthmatic patients with pepper and other toxic gases. You might have been briefed that six hundred youth, and children have been blinded with pellets. You also might have been informed that for stopping people from raising voices of disagreement thousands of additional soldiers of the BSF and Paramilitary sent Kashmir. You might have been apprised about the plans for the introduction of stun grenades that can cause permanent loss of hearing. You might have been told that an additional 6.3 Crore pellets have been rushed in a Special Air Force plane to Srinagar that means six pellets for every citizen of 1.13 Crore population of the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir State. So you might have arrived in Srinagar on a note of satisfaction that the third ‘Intifada’ like the earlier two will be stifled and bottled-up. To quote great Agha Shahid Ali, “they make a desolation and call it peace.”
In ten years, this is your third visit to the State. You visited last during 2010 uprising- that for shooting down of 120 teenagers and children like coots in wetlands was called by the international press as “Intifada-II of Kashmir. The Washington Posts had tilted it “A Cage Called Paradise. Largely, it was the adverse international press for dealing with a mass uprising in Kashmir and many conscientious writers in New Delhi joining the vox populi in Kashmir that had caused your visit to the ghost city of Srinagar. In this column, I am not to comment on the outcome of your earlier visits, or you failing even to make the GOI live up to its commitment, not to people of the state but its team of lawmakers. In Kashmir overwhelming majority strongly believes that even the most sincere amongst you will fail in engaging with the overwhelming majority of the people of the State so far you are asked to abide by the New Delhi’s new 1994- Bible on Kashmir.
In the nineties when millions shouting slogans for ‘freedom’ and right to self-determination stormed streets in the state, the Kashmir dispute once again subtly shot into international prominence for the human rights violations and denial of their fundamental right guaranteed by the comity of nations. Notwithstanding, New Delhi not allowing the international human rights organizations to visit Kashmir the human rights violations in the state and the demand for the right to self-determination started echoing in the United Nations and many important capitals. In the wake of this development, the Indian Parliament on 22 February 2004 during the Congress Government adopted a four-point resolution. The main highlight of which was that “the State of Jammu & Kashmir has been, is and shall be an integral part of India and any attempts to separate it from the rest of the country will be resisted by all necessary means.” All the parliamentarian, non-parliamentarian delegations including some self-appointed “fact-finding teams visiting Kashmir during situations as has been obtaining presently in the state are told this resolution is the bible for any talks about Kashmir.
Has this resolution, overridden the “Instrument of Accession” signed by Maharaja Hari Singh that enabled Indian troops’ to land in Srinagar on October 27, 1947. Lord Mountbatten, the first Governor General of India in accepting the “Instrument”, makes the accession subservient to holding a referendum in the state. Nehru through a telegram commits same to Pakistan and the United Kingdom. Or has this resolution defeated the resolutions passed by the UNSC on the complaint filed by the GOI followed by International Agreement signed by India, Pakistan and United Nation on 29 July 1949? Have the proceedings of the Constituent Assembly about the Article 370 of the Constituent Assembly been expunged by passing this resolution? Explaining the objective behind Article 370, how and why the Constitutional relation between Kashmir was temporary on 17 October 1949, Ayyengar told the Constituent Assembly, “We are still entangled with the United Nations regarding Jammu and Kashmir. This entanglement will end when Kashmir Problem is satisfactorily settled….we are committed to ascertaining the will of people by means of a plebiscite.” (Lakhanpal 310-311) Has this position been changed by any of the agreements signed between India and Pakistan or between Indira Gandhi and Sheikh Abdullah?
Nehru and his daughter instead of working towards the resolution of the Dispute made it more complex by weaving cobwebs of confusion around it. Nehru wanted to see Kashmir part of India as he told Mountbatten and many others for it being the land of his ancestors. There is a need for looking at Kashmir beyond Nehru’s sentimentalism and recognize the historical realities. Moreover, see it amicably settled according to the wishes and aspirations of people of the state for ensuring peace and stability in the South-Asia.