K N Pandita
For some weeks in the past spotless rumours have been making rounds in Srinagar, Jammy and New Delhi. Everybody is heard saying that something surprising is going to happen in the Union Territory. What that “something” could be remains an enigma. Rumour-mongering is an old habit of slavish nations. Kashmir is not an exception and people have always given more credence to fiction than fact.
The source of a rumour of re-organization of the UT, if I rightly remember, was first hinted at by the Economic Times. The Eurasian Times carried a full column story presuming that the Union Government had a plan of converting the Jammu region into a new State likely to include one district from South Kashmir, and bifurcating the valley into two UTs with the objective of resettlement of nearly five lakh internally displaced Pandits back in Kashmir.
Pakistani newspaper Dawn, taking the cue from different sources, dealt with the subject stridently and gave excerpts of press interviews and speeches of the Pakistan foreign minister in support of its contention. The foreign minister raised a ruckus in the UN accusing India of violation of various rules and commitments including the UNSC resolution. He issued a plethora of warning to the international body that if it did not dissuade India from “unilateral and illegal action in Kashmir, the region would be faced with serious consequences”.
Dawn of 18 June reported as follows:
Pakistan on Monday expressed serious concern over reports of the Indian Government’s purported plans to trigger new “administrative and demographic changes” in Indian-occupied Kashmir.
Commenting on reports of possible “further division, bifurcation and demographic changes” in occupied Kashmir, Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said, “no new instrument of occupation shall have any legal effect.”
The statement comes after a meeting between occupied Kashmir’s Lieutenant-Governor Manoj Sinha and Indian Home Minister Amit Shah and other officials in New Delhi today. Rumours are making rounds about possible new administrative and political changes in occupied Kashmir as reportedly discussed during the meeting, The Economic Times reported.
Reacting to such reports, the FO statement reiterated that India’s unilateral and illegal actions in occupied Kashmir violated international law and the relevant resolutions of the United Nations Security Council.
“India cannot change the disputed status of [occupied Kashmir], as enshrined in the UNSC resolutions, nor can it force Kashmiris and Pakistan to accept illegal outcomes,” it stressed.”
Only a couple of days back, the Dawn gave almost the full text of a letter which the Pakistani foreign minister has written to the Chairman of UN General Assembly in which he has brought a litany of allegations against India focusing on the point that India has unleashed a systematic campaign of repression of the Muslims in India and particularly in Kashmir, where, he alleges, India wants to bring about a big change in the administrative and demographic complexion in Kashmir that will reduce the Muslim majority into a minority. He has been repeating the rhetoric on all available platforms national, regional and international, which shows that the one and only one agenda which the Pakistani foreign office is following is of maligning, denigrating and slandering India.
He wants to pose as the leader and well-wisher of the Muslims world over. However, the world has not forgotten that according to the report of Humudu’r Rahman, the Pakistan army is responsible for the genocide of nearly 3 million Bengalis and rape and molestation of nearly one million Bengali women (mostly Muslims) during the Bangladesh war. The world does not forget that Osama bin Laden was found hiding in a fortified house close to the GHQ. The world does not forget that the Pakistan army killed more than 70,000 freedom fighters in Waziristan under the Zarb-e-azab operation. The world has not forgotten that during the Iran-Iraq war, Pakistan agreed to become the conduit for the supply of Israeli arms to Iran. The war cost huge loss of Muslim lives in Iraq. And if we talk of the Pak army’s treatment of Baluch and Gilgatis, even the reasonable persons in Pakistan will hang their heads in shame.
The first step by the Union government that made Pakistan, as well as China very nervous, was the order of the Lt Governor of Ladakh that only Ladakhis would eligible for employment in the Government service. During the regime of the elected Governments, an effort was steadily made to recruit the valley Muslims to government jobs in Ladakh and thereby not only deprive the Ladakhis of job opportunities but also to effect subtle demographic change.
It is a fact that the Union Government has been assessing the ground situation in Kashmir particularly in the wake of the opposition forming the Gupkar gang and taking a wow of restoring the special status of J&K. This assertion of the Gupkarists speaks volumes about their intransigent, outdated and redundant attitude. They want Kashmir to remain tied to backwardness and subjugated to their hegemony.
The Union Government had a comprehensive programme for the J&K in the aftermath of the Reorganization Act but it was handicapped by the Covid-19. Now knowing that the pandemic is going to become a part of life, the Union Government must have decided to open the Pandora’s Box in Kashmir which has made all anti-national elements in the country and abroad offended and distressed. The Lt Governor and the Chief Secretary were summoned to Delhi maybe for usual meetings like arrangements for Amarnath Yatra or maybe for taking up the thread for fur administrative and geographical changes in the State.
The Union Government needs to take up most seriously the issues coming up in the UT. China is massively building its air power close to the border in Ladakh. Kashmiri leaders and people have lost their identity by hosting terrorists, jihadists and anti-India elements for various countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and some Arabian countries, ISIS, Turkey and now China as well which Dr Farooq openly advocated. A community that has become so reckless and desperate is posing a serious threat to the security of the nation and adequate steps need to be taken to forestall it. The delimitation of constituencies has to be brought to a quick end so that further constitutional steps are taken. And last but not the least, the issue of resettlement of the displaced Pandits from Kashmir cannot be deferred, evaded or ignored anymore because it has taken international dimensions.
Previous regimes deliberately chose to forestall the rehabilitation of the displaced Pandits by bringing about absurd excuses. The Secretary General of National Conference once said that the NC will not allow rehabilitation of the Pandits as they suspect “each returning Pandit will bring three Israelis with him to Kashmir.” Well, if the Muslims of the valley brought thousands of jihadists from various parts of the world to Kashmir and hosted them as “guest mujahids”, why should not the Pandits get Israelis or others who would reinforce their protection against the majoritarian vandalism in the valley where they will resettle? Majoritarianism does not mean monopolization.
There is a compulsion for India to set up high powered independent Commission of Inquiry into the rise of the jihadist movement and insurgency in Kashmir leading to the genocide of the Pandits.
If the Lt. Governor has underplayed the entire narrative and said that the administrative and demographic reorganization of the state is only a rumour, we like to submit politely that rumour or no rumour, this is the ground situation and the Union Government has to act now. Jammu cannot be meted out a foster-child treatment anymore and the Kashmiri Pandits cannot be hoodwinked further. Democracy is a boon for the nationalists but those who have sold their soul to the Mephistopheles and have voluntarily subjected their identity to the diktat of the foreigners who they expect will bring them the promised Mann o Salwa on their platter, well, let them wait for the day to dawn. The Indian nation cannot afford to wait and waste time in Kashmir.
K N Pandita