BLUNT BUTCHER / ANCHOR
As latest as today, the United Nations has yet again expressed its helplessness in mediating on Kashmir. The UN chief Antonio Guterres minced no words in ruling out any mediation to resolve the Kashmir issue unless all parties agree to it and asked India and Pakistan to address their outstanding issues bilaterally. This is almost ratification of what the UN had stated about one and a half year ago by showing inability of its Military Observer Group in Srinagar.
This being the realisation of the UN, can Narendra Modi led government muster the guts to shut and shunt the United Nations Military Observer Group (UNMOG) in Srinagar?
Actually by issuing a statement, the UN has slapped those in the Valley, both separatists as also soft-secessionists in the so-called mainstream camp, who claim to be the stakeholders and dream about tripartite talks on resolving issues, which according to New Delhi, relates to Pakistan occupied Kashmir.
This is not for the first time when the UN has raised hands and almost endorsed India’s stand of the Jammu and Kashmir being a bilateral issue. However, this fact has not gone well with those who swear by Constitution of India and at the same time talk about self-determination and solution by the UN. In the ongoing Budget Session of the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly an independent member challenged the Indian position by repeating that ‘only way to stop killings is to give people of both sides of Line of Control right to self-determination’. Ironically, the treasury benches, especially the BJP remained mute, as it has been after sitting in the cradle of power with PDP. One wonders whether questioning the accession touches the boundaries of sedition. Such a scenario cannot be ignored as freedom of expression. This fundamental right too has certain limitation, which the governments in Srinagar or New Delhi have never asserted for petty political considerations.
By showing its inability to intervene or mediate, the UN has actually admitted its redundancy in Kashmir. Therefore, the question arises why India should allow the UNMOG to operate from its soil. Its office in Srinagar has actually added to the strife unleashed by Pakistan and her lackeys in the Valley. During the peak of turbulence and violent demonstrations in the wake of terrorist Burhan Wani’s killing, the motivated and paid Pakistani agents created a law and order problem by announcing UN Chalo March. The administration had to clamp curfew on October 7, 2016 to stop the violent protesters proceed towards UNMOG in Sonawar Civil Lines as a preventive measure to avert killings. This has been a routine for decades, especially during the past 28 years to submit memoranda and take processions to UNMOG headquarters in the capital city.
The efficacy of UNMOG in Kashmir has been nil while its nuisance value is immense. The group has been of no use to stop Pakistan from its lunatic activities on the Line of Control where civilians are becoming fodder of Pak Rangers and its sponsored terrorists. Thousands of villagers are living under perpetual fear, some of them abandoning their houses, some unfortunate ones losing life or getting injured. The group cannot prevail upon the rogue nation to stop cross border shelling and cross border terrorism. This has helplessly been acknowledged by the representative of the world body unequivocally in 2016 when in an unusual move, it backtracked from its statement (issued by an official) that it will continue to monitor the situation in Kashmir through its military observer group in India and Pakistan, clarifying that the mission does not have a mandate beyond the LoC. The clarification was issued by the then UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric on August 2, 2016, a day after the UN chief’s deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq had told reporters that the UN will continue to monitor the situation in Kashmir, including through “our monitoring group” UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP).
The UN had clarified that the mandate of the UNMOG was to report on the ceasefire between India and Pakistan along the Line of Control. The UN Mission there does not have a mandate there beyond the Line of Control.” The clarification clearly seemed to imply that the situation and incidents in Kashmir were India’s internal matter and did not come under the control of UNMOG that does not monitor the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. Now the question arises that if the UN is not even competent to take cognisance of the ceasefire violations by Pakistan, what is its utility in the Valley. The time has come for the Narendra Modi led government in New Delhi to bid adieu to UNMOG. By doing so, it will be sending a terse and piercing message to many in the Valley. If such a step is not taken now, then it can’t be taken ever perhaps.
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