Kashmir at the crossroads Where to go from here?

This is the question we all need to find an answer to,J&K state has been in a perpetual turmoil since the partition of India when its status was left undecided by UN resolutions and commitments of Indo-Pak leadership. The future of the state – as suggested – will be decided by a plebiscite through a vote of ballot. Since then India and Pakistan have fought multiple wars and proxy wars leading the state into present day economic distress and anarchy. During the past seventy years different governments that came to power looked at the state through the prisms of their choice consequentially once a peaceful movement has turned into ruthless bloodshed. National Conference and its leadership laid all the trust on Pt; Jawahar Lal Nehru with the result when Sheikh Mohammad Abdula objected to government of India’s blatant interference in Article 370 and sovereignty of the state-his government was overthrown on 9th; August 1953.

He was arrested and sent to Kud jail for twenty two long years. Thereafter half a dozen governments changed hands -interestingly neither India nor Pakistan withdrew from UN forum on their stated commitments of holding a plebiscite nor did UN dismiss the Kashmir issue from its agenda on the basis that the topic had become outdated or redundant to implement. In the meantime Indian government and Plebiscite front leadership in J&K (on this side of cease fire line) thought of relooking at the Kashmir issue afresh resulting in Kashmir accord of 1974. Thereby Maharaja Hari Singh’s accession was once again endorsed-giving the state legal and constitutional guarantees to enjoy an exceptional autonomous status.

Release of Sheikh Sahib and other detunues besides withdrawal of Kashmir Conspiracy case was part of the deal. This change of thoughts led to an NC-Congress coalition government to bring some semblance in JK politics. Unfortunately that exercise also failed when once again the then Congress leadership resorted to its usual tricks and a vote of no-confidence by its legislators resulted in the fall of the coalition headed by Sheikh Sahib. National Conference returned to power in the following elections-J&K legislators unanimously formed a committee initially headed by Mirza Afzal Beg and later by Mr.D.D Thakur to look into the post 1953 laws imposed on the state. Unfortunately after the exit of Mr.Beg from the cabinet the process was torpedoed resulting the resolution to gather dust in the achieves of J&K legislative assembly-for obvious reasons.

The question arises as to where do we go from here. Last thirty years have seen tremendous changes in the psyche of the people of the subcontinent. India and Pakistan have become extremely hostile to each other resulting in bloodshed in J&K- the battle ground of their choice. Governments in power ignoring its political dimensions looked at Kashmir as their money generating kitty. Our present generation irrespective of their gender is resilient to see the dispute to be taken to its logical end-the mood all around looks now or never. That is why we see unending demonstrations with full participation of female folk in our colleges, schools and on our streets. Security forces respond with pellet guns and random shooting resulting in blindness, death and destruction. This psychological metamorphosis has resulted into an imminent nuclear threat in the subcontinent. Tragically the government in power is suggesting that its score of killings does not match with that of previous government-as if governance is a game of cricket or twitter taunting between past and present. Turning a blind eye to the miseries thus resulted the central government is pumping in more bullets and cannon ignoring the shameful human rights violations by its security forces. Looking on the historical events that have been manipulated time and again one need to ponder is there a way other than a ‘dialogue’ to solve this vexed problem of the state.
Dialogue with whom?

Congress governments that were in power for over seventy years in Delhi played varieties of somersaults ranging from a commitment to support the UN resolutions and thereafter being a signatory to ‘Kashmir Accord’, only to gain time erroneously believing that the world community and the people of the state get used to the existing fragile statuesque. BJP’s Atal Bihari Vajpayee offered a solution through ‘Insanyat Kay Dhairay Main’- Interestingly the philosopher- votary of peace- also came up with a nuclear deterrent apparently to brow beat Pakistan its pigmy arch rival. This philosophy led Pakistan to exhibit its own nuclear arm-if not stronger but equally disastrous. Unfortunately the two neighboring countries with the passage of time have also developed deadly short and long range missiles with a capacity of carrying nuclear war heads targeting their thickly populated cities. Under the circumstance the disasters of any mishap can be anybody’s guess.

All said and done – the present unending turmoil in the state and the bloodshed on borders besides the sufferings of our people on ceasefire line need all the relevant stakeholders in J&K besides India and Pakistan to have a relook on the resolutions passed by elected J&K assembly-Tashkent and Simla agreements-Vajpayee Musharaf dialogue, interlocutors reports and last but not the least Maharaja Harising’s tems and conditions of the accession as a road map to move forward. At the same time BJP government in Delhi cannot afford to brush aside the human rights report by UN body that warrants an urgent attention to the ground realities- Lest the present scenario of ‘Kashmir on cross roads’ should lead the subcontinent into a dreadful nuclear whirlpool.
The columnist is the writer of the book ‘Kashmir in search of peace.’ The book is available on amazon.com.