By Daya Sagar
A Look Through The Mist
It has been on this 9th June that a junior minister in the Union Government has been quoted as having said while making a reference to talks offer to Kashmiris as made by Union Home Minister that the Hurriyat Conference has been exposed where as Hurriyat leaders have reiterated their demand for India accepting Kashmir as a dispute before the ‘table’ is set for a dialogue.
It was on 24 April 2017 that after meeting the Prime Minister and Home Minister, Mehbooba Mufti while talking to media professed for talks regarding Kashmir issue (political solution to ‘Kashmir” turmoil ) with all stake holders including the Hurriyat Conference (separatists). Whereas , Home Minister Raj Nath Singh had already expressed desire to talk for solution with in the ambit of constitution of India with all the related stake holders to be identified on the advice of J&K Chief Minister and Mehbooba has been regularly naming Hurriyat too in the stake holders (although it has also been mentioned in the BJP-PDP agenda for alliance 1st March 2015) well knowing that Hurriyat leadership has rejected any talks for solution to Kashmir turmoil within the frame work of Indian Constitution). May be PDP finds the Hurriyat demands worth settlement within the ambit of PDP’s Self Rule Frame Work (document made public in a press conference by late Mufti Mohd Sayeed on 25th October 2008 and reported in print media on 26th Oct 2008 ).
Clause-58 says : What sets apart “self-rule” from “autonomy” is the political context in which they are conceived and operate. Self-rule refers to autonomy from the nation-state of India, whereas autonomy connotes relative autonomy from the Government of India.
Clause-59 says : Autonomy refers to empowerment of the Government of Jammu and Kashmir vis-a-vis the Government of India …. Self-rule on the other hand refers to the empowerment of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, vis-a-vis the nation of India.
Clause-60 says : Further, autonomy is for an institution of governance, self-rule is for a region, or geography. Therefore, while autonomy doesn’t have a territorial element to it, the concept of self-rule has an element of territoriality to it.”
It is not out of place to mention here that based on the political understandings that the national parties have shown both Congress ( formed government along with PDP 2002-2008) and BJP ( has formed government with PDP since 1st March 2015 ) appear to have found PDP Self Rule concept no way falling in separatist stream since both the National parties are not known to have even at their party levels discussed the implications of the doctrine laid in J&K PDP Self Rule Framework w.r.t the Constitution of India & the spirit of the 26th October 1947 Accession of the Princely State of J&K with India . And hence in the otherwise also ‘uncontested'( by National leadership) separatist culture getting slowly – slowly cultivated in Kashmir valley over last more than six decades PDP with concepts like that which demand Autonomy for J&K from India Nation State could inflict more blows on National Conference from the point of view of electoral politics. Of course , Azadi slogans or even something like PDPs Self Rule Frame Work are not physically achievable goals for any one since India Government / Indian people are not going to accept any Azadi or a Self rule Frame Work that demands remodeling of the Indian Republic in the normal democratic course. But still such approach could keep the local environment volatile incase Government of India does not set priorities for treating the ‘ideological’ pollution that this day is causing very serious damages to the ‘information bank & understanding’ of the common masses in the Valley.
It is not out of place to mention here that PDP has not routed NC in Kashmir Valley simply with the slogans against AFSPA 1990 or by demanding handing over Power Projects to J&K PDC but has routed NC more with talks of asking Government of India to focus more on “Kashmir Issue” and not issues in Kashmir (Mehbooba very truthfully had made her parties approach known while speaking in Lok Sabha on 16th June 2014 when she demanded government of India to specifically address to “Kashmir issue” than talking of issues in Kashmir ) resting more in questions on 26th October 1947 accession, J&K not being federally a state of India like Punjab, position of J&K w.r.t India, Pakistan & other world.
In the socio- political environment that prevails in Kashmir Valley today (2018) the J&K National Conference leadership of the day (particularly Dr. Farooq Abdullah ) appears to be believing that NC’s Autonomy demands as contained in the State Autonomy Committee Report 1999 cannot provide an alternative to the PDP’s Self Rule doctrine worth politically competing in the electoral games for local governance keeping in view the level to what the ideological adversaries (from Indian point of view) have been made/ allowed to grow ( so particularly after 1996 ) in Kashmir valley. That could be taken as a pressing reason why the National Conference leadership has been turning more and more radical with each passing day suggesting solution to J&K turmoil more resting in talks even with the ‘separatists’/ Hurriyat Conference who have been regularly ‘conveying’ to GOI that India must accept Kashmir as an accession ‘related’ dispute and also dialogue with Pakistan so as to reduce the extraterritorial support to militants as well as the reduce the damage the people living along LOC and IB are since last more than six decades.
The impressions presently being gathered by people in J&K and some observers outside Kashmir Valley about National Conference are that Dr. Farooq Abdullah NC President has started after October 2016 giving a line to his supporters/ followers and common masses in Valley that professes something beyond “Greater Autonomy” , the only way forward . Not only that in recent times he has been apparently describing the “stone pelters” as ‘freedom fighters’/ fighting for ‘nation’ ( of course nation could mean here only Kashmir valley) who had been even ‘shooting’ at the security forces while the forces are fighting the militants in the civilian areas . Whatever may be his ( Dr. Farooq Abdullah’s ) compulsion but such like approach on the part of Dr. Farooq Abdullah has disappointed many of those who had started seeing in his person a senior matured leader who has been seeing no other nationality for ‘his person’ than the Indian . That has also damaged NC’s political prospects in J&K as a whole.
J&K PDP ( Mehbooba Mufti ) and NC must hence examine at their own levels that are the Hurriyat demands/ “separatist” worth settlement with in the ambit of PDP’s Self Rule Frame Work (that seeks autonomy for J&K State from Central Government) and / or within the frame work of NC’s Autonomy ( that seeks autonomy for State Government from Central Government)? And if not then let them at least settle their own case with GOI so that these “mainstream” parties and GOI can handle the separatist elements with a monolithic approach. Government of India must also atleast settle with J&K PDP as well as NC the “Kashmir issue” that exists in the understanding of these two major political parties of J&K.
(* Daya Sagar is a Sr coloumnist of Kashmir affairs and a social activist can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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