By Brig Anil Gupta
The Modi government has taken a very major decision and that is to find a permanent and lasting solution to the vexed J&K issue, as announced by the Home Minister. It will be pre-mature to celebrate, because it is not going to happen so soon, but the decision needs to be hailed. J&K is very dear to the heart of Modi government. It is the birthplace of the political ideology of the Party. The Party believes that the accession of the state with India and its integration with the rest of the country is non-negotiable. It wants the state to return to its pristine glory. However, cynics continue to criticise and question the decision of the government. Some of them have gone to the extent of demanding a road map and outline of the government’s strategy to find permanent and enduring solution. They know that Rajnath Singh is not a green horn politician nor is he naïve enough to spill the beans beforehand. The cynics are always nitpicking, it is so annoying for the public. There is another extreme viewpoint propagated none other than the mother-son duo of the NehruGandhi dynasty. Both of them in different words have blamed the Modi government for the Kashmir turmoil. I do not think that they both are oblivious of history and do not know the real culprits of the mess in which Kashmir is today. They are only trying to mislead the public for gaining political brownies in the belief that the memory of Indian public is very short lived. The duo fully well knows that none other than the founder of their dynasty Jawahar Lal Nehru and his descendants Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and the Congress Party are responsible for creation of the so-called ‘Kashmir Problem’ and they are the ones who stoked the fire and kept the pot boiling which has led to the current situation in Kashmir. Let me highlight certain glaring acts of the dynasty and the Congress Party for the benefit of the readers and the duo.
The history would have been different had Nehru not rejected the Maharaja’s offer to accede to the Indian Union in September 1947. Despite knowing fully well the communal mindset of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, Nehru patronised him and insisted on he being made the Prime Minister before the accession which was not acceptable to the Maharaja. What followed thereafter is well known to the readers. Contrary to the advice given by the then Home Minister, Sardar Patel, Nehru unilaterally took the decision to go to United Nations Organisation (UNO) and thus internationalised the dispute between two neighbours. UNO under the influence of Anglo-American axis passed a resolution under Chapter 6 of the UN Charter (which is nonenforceable) and failed to ensure that Pakistan vacates the occupied territories of J&K. When the Indian Army was well poised to force The Pak Army to withdraw and liberate the entire state, Nehru once again agreed to a unilateral ceasefire. Thus the territory acceded by the Maharaja to the Indian Dominion was divided into two parts. India also lost the control of the strategic Gilgit.
Nehru did not stop here. He kept questioning the state’s accession and referring to plebiscite in Kashmir both at home and abroad, thus sowing a seed of doubt in the mind of common Kashmiri who had fought the Pak aggression voluntarily alongside the Indian Army. Nehru kept his eyes closed to the machinations of Sheikh Abdullah who had mastered the art of stoking Kashmiri sentiments on communal lines and speak in different tone and language in Delhi & Jammu.
In his broadcast to the nation over All India Radio on 2nd November, 1947, Pandit Nehru said, “We are anxious not to finalise anything in a moment of crisis and without the fullest opportunity to be given to the people of Kashmir to have their say. It is for them ultimately to decide —— And let me make it clear that it has been our policy that where there is a dispute about the accession of a state to either Dominion, the accession must be made by the people of that state. It is in accordance with this policy that we have added a proviso to the Instrument of Accession of Kashmir.” This statement of Nehru was against the spirit and content of Indian Independence Act 1947 which gave absolute power of decision to the ruler and not the people of the state. If Nehru did not recognise the 1947 Act then why did he and the Congress party agree to the partition of the country?
In his press-conference in London on 16th January, 1951,Pandit Nehru stated, “India has repeatedly offered to work with the United Nations reasonable safeguards to enable the people of Kashmir to express their will and is always ready to do so. We have always right from the beginning accepted the idea of the Kashmir people deciding their fate by referendum or plebiscite. In fact, this was our proposal long before the United Nations came into the picture.”
As reported by Amrita Bazar Patrika, Calcutta, on 2nd January, 1952, while replying to Dr.Syama Prasad Mookerjee’s question in the Indian Legislature as to what the Congress Government is going to do about one third of territory still held by Pakistan, Pandit Nehru said, “is not the property of either India or Pakistan. It belongs to the Kashmiri people. When Kashmir acceded to India, we made it clear to the leaders of the Kashmiri people that we would ultimately abide by the verdict of their Plebiscite. If they tell us to walk out, I would have no hesitation in quitting. We have taken the issue to United Nations and given our word of honour for a peaceful solution. As a great nation we cannot go back on it. We have left the question for final solution to the people of Kashmir and we are determined to abide by their decision.”
Nehru continued to complicate the issue by making statements and promises which he failed to fulfil. He also conceded to the insistence of Sheikh and his four member team to not to join the Constituent Assembly of India but to negotiate a special status for the status from outside, a move which was strongly objected by Babasaheb Ambedkar , Sardar Patel and host of all other nationalist leaders. This led to inclusion of Article 370 in the Constitution. Nehru was also instrumental in adding Article 35A to the Constitution through a Presidential Ordinance. The list is endless. Nehru did not support the Praja Parishad movement in Jammu which was launched against the special status of the state. This resulted in widening the rift between the two regions of the state.
Indira-Sheikh Acccord 1975 which paved the way for return to the state of discredited Sheikh Abdullah, who came with a vengeance and continued with his discriminatory policies leading to further rift between the two regions. Sheikh was succeeded by his son Farooq Abdullah, a one-time member of JKLF in London. Continuing the dynastic tradition he also signed an agreement with Rajiv Gandhi. The manipulated elections of 1987, with the support of Congress Party, annoyed the vast sections of Kashmiris who decided to take to arms resulting in formation of HizbulMujahid. Farooq deserted at the crucial movement in 1989 leading to massacre of Kashmiri Pandits and their mass exodus from Valley. It started a new phase ofarmed militancy which soon turned into Pak –sponsored proxy war and cross-border terrorism. Wahabi influence began to grow at a rapid pace. But the Congress governments in the Centre kept their eyes closed to the happenings in Kashmir. Hawala money came in unabated, mosques and Madarsas mushroomed, forced exodus of minorities to change the demography of Valley was allowed without any interference from the Congress led Central government. Pan-Islamic agenda to shift the boundary between Jammu and Kashmir regions from traditional Pir Panjal to North of Chenab was facilitated by NC-Congress combine in the state. Interlocutors were appointed but their report was not even studied by the then Home Minister Chidambaram. I leave it for the readers to decide if what the motherson duo has said is correct.
Modi government is working sincerely towards finding a lasting solution. The first and foremost priority is to bring normalcy back to Kashmir and cleanse South Kashmir from the clutches of terrorists. The government has addressed the issue by squeezing the terror funding and minimising Pak Army backed infiltration of terrorists from Pakistan. The Army has been given a free hand to ensure dominance of the IB and LOC. To teach Pakistan a lesson the strategy has been revised from reactive retaliatory response to proactive, punitive actions with delegation of authority to field commanders. The Congress policy of buying temporary peace through appeasement has been fully suspended. NIA is vigorously pursuing the terror funding cases. Lot of big fish is likely to be netted. Counter-infiltration grid has been strengthened with additional manpower and high-tech gadgetry. The strategy of anti-terror operations has also been changed to include Cordon & Search, Seek & Destroy and Search & Destroy Operations. The results are very encouraging. Once the normalcy is restored the political process is likely to commence that should involve the stake holders from Jammu and Ladakh as well. Any lasting and enduring solution to the vexed J&K issue has to be acceptable to all three regions of the State. “Jammu, Kashmir aur Ladakh-Sab Khush Sabhi Khushaal” is the nation’s expectation from Modi Sarkar.
(The author is a Jammu based political commentator, columnist, defence and strategic analyst. He can be contacted at [email protected] The views expressed are his own)