It is for the first time in the history of Kashmir that all main pro-India political parties had a premonition that India might commit aggression against the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. They decided to meet at the Gupkar Residence of Dr. Farooq Abdullah, President Jammu Kashmir National Conference (JKNC) on 4 August 2019 to “deliberate upon the prevailing political situation, triggered by massive deployment of security forces, advisories issued, abandonment of Amarnath Yatra midway and forced removal of tourists from the Valley.” The meeting was attended by 18 leaders from 7 political parties, namely NC, PDP, JKPC, Congress, CPIM, PUF and ANC. The two members of Parliament elected from NC also attended the meeting. After deliberations the parties adopted a “Gupkar Declaration”, which carried the following three demands:
“That all the parties would be united in their resolve to protect and defend identity, autonomy and special status of the JK State against all attacks and onslaughts whatsoever
The modification, abrogation of articles 35A, 370, trifurcation of the State or unconstitutional delimitation would be an aggression against the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.
That the parties participating in the meeting resolved to seek audience with the President and Prime Minister of India and the leaders of other political parties to apprise them of the current situation and make an appeal to them to safeguard the legitimate interests of the people of State with regard to constitutional guarantees given to the State under the constitution of our country
They will also apprise them of the unwholesome consequences bound to follow the unconstitutional violation, if any, of these guarantees
The representatives of the political parties resolved to remain together and stand united in their struggle for safeguarding the identity, autonomy and special status of the State.”
Indian government as anticipated in item 2 of the Gupkar Declaration, committed an “aggression against the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh” and placed leaders under detention and the State under curfew – longest ever witnessed in the history of Kashmir. Gupkar Declaration is a new political dissent against Indian control. It is for the first time that pro-India leadership, which has served Indian interest and co-operated with New Delhi, to control the popular dissent through punishment, has tasted punishment and loss of liberty.
National Conference President Dr. Farooq Abdullah and Awami National Conference Vice President Muzaffar Shah have just been released. Others remain detained under the draconian laws which they used to enforce against other Hurriet and non-Hurriet leaders and militants.
The new alliance created under Gupkar Declaration, has resolved “to remain together and stand united in their struggle for safeguarding the identity, autonomy and special status of the State.” Hurriyet and the militant leadership are fighting for an enlarged cause, broader than “identity, autonomy and special status of the State”, that is, for a UN supervised Plebiscite, to determine the right of self-determination of all people of the State.
Gupkar Declaration is a resolve to seek the ‘internal self-determination’, while as Hurriyet Constitution and the armed struggle, add to internal self-determination, the second component of external self-determination as well. It would be helpful if Hurriyet and other non-Hurriyet leadership backs up the Gupkar Declaration, or remains decently favourable to the understanding scripted in item 2, which explains and warns India against committing an ‘aggression’.
Government of India has committed an aggression as envisaged in item 2 of Gupkar Declaration. Let us encourage and assist the seven political parties in their resolve made in the Declaration. The internal self-determination could easily be roller skated into achieving the external self-determination, by ensuring that India and Pakistan return to UN template to conduct a free, fair, impartial and a secure Plebiscite.
Gupkar Declaration was adopted on 4 August 2019. On 5 August and 31 October 2019 Government of India has done all those sinister and unlawful things that the Declaration had cautioned it not to do. We have described the “aggression” as a re-occupation of the part of the State which is not a part of India. The people distributed under three administrations on both sides of the cease fire line have a title to self-determination.
Participants of Gupkar Declaration, have to live up to their resolve and make a full-fledged united effort to vacate the Indian aggression. They need to be referred and reminded of UN Security Council Resolution of 30 March 1951, which interprets the character of their competence. These people represent or are elected from only a part of the State territory and therefore, suffer from a legal infirmity in their representative character. They do not represent the other two administrations of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan and the Diaspora.
There is no issue with Gupkar Declaration as long as it keeps its resolve to undo the Indian aggression. The issue would be, if these leaders are beguiled and repeat the mistakes made in the past and attempt to hurt the UN template to determine the future of the people of Kashmir. Important of all factors, is the resolve that these seven parties remain together and stand united in their ‘interim’ “struggle for safeguarding the identity, autonomy and special status of the State.”
Although Delhi has perfected the art of deceit in dealing with the people in its administered part of Kashmir, it does not have the sagacity, wisdom and political prudence, to fail or override the combined strength of Dr. Farooq Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti, Muzaffar Hussain Beg, Abdul Rehman Veeri, Muzaffar Shah, Sajjad Ghani Lone, Imran Reza Ansari, Abdul Ghani Vakeel, Taj Mohiuddin, M Y Tarigami, Omar Abdullah, Justice Hassnain Masoodi, Mohammad Akbar Lone, Ali Mohammad Sagar, Nasir Sogami, Shah Faisal, Uzair Ronga, Suhail Bukhari and others. Indian actions of 5 August and 31 October 2019, have revealed the many layered onion like character of Indian politics, more so, the Hindutva face.
Signatories of Gupkar Declaration should emancipate themselves from party prejudices, and listen to Farooq Abdullah’s call for unity. If these leaders fail to each other and betray the people of Kashmir, history would always abhor any reference to them and their children and grandchildren would be misfits in the habitat of Kashmir.
The best starting point would be to examine the terms under which Indian forces were granted a temporary admission into Kashmir. These forces are sub-ordinate and a supplement to the State authorities. It is open to State administration to terminate the terms of admission and have a Kashmir free of Indian army.
Indian army is not a prevailing army and has outlived its purpose and overdone itself by violating all the seven restraints placed on it. There is no danger that Pakistan would invade Kashmir. The cease fire is monitored by the UNMOGIP and Pakistan has agreed to respect the dignity and credibility of a cease fire line, until the people of the State take part in UN supervised vote. Indian army has been acting outside an agreed discipline and it makes it an occupation force.
The second step should be to examine the manner in which Prime Minister of Kashmir, Bakhshi Ghulam Mohammad rescinded the Entry Permit (VISA) requirement, for an Indian citizen to enter into the State on 31 March 1959. He was elected from only a part of the State and could not rescind the requirement like that. He did it soon after the UN Secretary General returned from his two day visit of Srinagar from 20-22 March 1959. Entry Permit law needs to be reinstated in the interests of the ‘identity, autonomy and special status of the JK State.”
The third step should be asking India and Pakistan to allow an independent international commission as recommended by UN June 2018 and July 2019 reports to see the human rights situation on both sides of cease fire line. Indian aggression and re-occupation has provided an opportunity to all the leaders to reclaim their Kashmiriat and reclaim their soul from the LUCIFER.
The author is President of London based Jammu and Kashmir Council for Human Rights – NGO in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations.