Dr Syed Nazir Gilani
Jammu and Kashmir has been, is and will always remain an integral part of India. Indian people will no longer tolerate an unholy ‘global gathbandhan’ against our national interest. Either the Gupkar Gang swims along with the national mood or else the people will sink it.” (Amit Shah Union Home Minister, Government of India). On 17 November 2020 Amit Shah MP from Gandhinagar and Indian Home Minister tweeted Indian claim on Jammu and Kashmir. He cautioned any ‘global gathbandhan’ working against Indian national interests and warned the recently formed Gupkar Alliance to “either swim along with the national mood or else the people will sink it.” Peoples Alliance of Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) comprising of “mainstream” political parties formed in October 2020 is the second political alliance after the formation of All Parties Hurriet Conference (APHC) in July 1993. Hurriet Conference had a constitutional discipline and in no time its influence travelled all over the world. Unfortunately it played truant with its constitutional duties and ultimately lost its way. It is nowhere to be seen, felt or heard today in any convincing shape or form. Letterheads do not replace the constitution and the amoebae do not have the reliable shoulders. PAGD has a discipline, in the form of a Gupkar Declaration. Would this alliance shelve the Declaration or these political leaders, who have remained the beneficiaries of Indian stay in Kashmir, are likely to rewrite themselves in the history of Jammu and Kashmir. It is never late and politicians have revised themselves in the best interests of their own people. Let us leave it to the future days and weeks and see whether leaders represented in PAGD stay firm or one fine morning turn up with a new Indian dulcimer in their hands. Amit Shah has made fresh claim on Jammu and Kashmir and has made a reference to ‘global gathbandhan’ that per se, would include every citizen of the State of Jammu and Kashmir and their sympathizers, in Pakistan and all over the world. Asan advocate of that ‘global gathbandhan’ I am prepared to listen to Amit Shah providedhe is able to convince me on the following: Kashmiris have yet to assent to be part of India and only then we could share the Indian national interest. We wish to remind the Minister about Government of India’sword of honour given at the UN. It has said “The people of Kashmir are not mere chattels to be disposed of according to a rigid formula; their future must be decided in their own interests and in accordance with their own desires.” (533rd Meeting of Security Council held on 01 March 1951). The minister has urged Kashmiri leaders to “swim along with the national mood or else the people will sink it”. People of Kashmir are not part of this national mood. It has been documented in the State Autonomy Committee Report published in July 2000. State Autonomy Committee Report finding that the accession is conditional and in respect of three subjects namely, defense, external affairs and communication and there is no merger, has already been confirmed by the government of India’s at the UNSC. India has stated that,“There is a tendency in certain quarters to assume that this is just a dispute between India and Pakistan, and that the views of the lawful government of Kashmir need not be considered. This is a mistaken assumption. As I have already said, the authority of the Government of India over the Government of Kashmir is limited to certain subjects; outside that sphere, it can only advise and cannot impose any decision.”(Para 43 533rd Meeting of Security Council held on 01 March 1951). How could Jammu and Kashmir be an “integral” part of India, when even before going to UN Security Council in January 1948 Government of India has made a written promise to the people of Jammu and Kashmir in October 1947. , “that as soon as law and order have been restored in Kashmir and the soil cleared of the invader the question of State’s accession should be settled by a reference to the people”. Government of India has followed upon this pledge at the UNSC, stating that “We hope to be able to convince the Security Council that once we have dealt with· the Kashmir question, there will probably not be anything of substance which will divide India and Pakistan to the extent of endangering international peace and security”. (230th Meeting of UN Security Council held on 20 January 1948). Indian interest in Kashmir is a consequence of the right of self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Government of India has specified the duties of its army at the time of their temporary admission into Kashmir. Indian Government has made a written confirmation to the Government of Jammu and Kashmir that, “action has been taken today to send troops of Indian Army to Kashmir to help your own forces to defend your territory and to protect the lives, property and honour of your people”. Government of India has proposed the number of its army required in Kashmir. It has said, ““…after careful examina ion and assessment by its experts, the Government of India had come to the conclusion that a minimum force of 28,000 was required to carry out its responsibilities.” Indian representative added, “However, on complete disbandment and disarmament of the Azad Kashmir forces, and as a further contribution towards a settlement, the Government of India is prepared to effect a further reduction of 7,000 to a figure of 21,000 which is absolute and irreducible minimum…. It should further be emphasised that this force will have no supporting arms such as armour or artillery”.(608 meeting of the UN Security Council held on 8 December 1952). On 5 August 2019 you placed the people that you had promised to protect during and through the process of a UN supervised Plebiscite, under siege.You are required to not only reduce your forces to the minimum strength but UN SC Resolution of 21 April 1948 has asked you to station the remaining forces in accordance with the following three principles: That the presence of troops should not afford any intimidation or appearance of intimidation to the inhabitants of the State, (ii) that as small a number as possible should be retained in forward area and (iii) that any reserve of troops which may be included in the total strength should be located within their present base area. Indian Home Minister’s claim on Kashmir and threat to Kashmiris to either “swim with national mood or sink” has no merit. Indian Government should return to its request of keeping 14000 forces without any supporting arms and subject itself to a UN supervised vote.
(-The author is President of London based Jammu and Kashmir Council for Human Rights – NGO in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations.)