By Daya Sagar
Geographically and historically Jammu & Kashmir has been part of India inspite of the fact, Union government has not been truthful in writing off on ground and defeating the opinions that show disregard to constitutional status of J&K or question the totalness of October 1947 accession of J&K with India.
To quote, from Indian point of view, anybody who would seriously go through the contents of Self Rule Framework Document 2008 of Jammu & Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party (J&K PDP) can find that the proposals therein cannot be executed within the frame work of Constitution of India and also the expressions regarding suggested future political / governance setup for erstwhile princely state of Jammu & Kashmir do in a way weaken the accession links between India & Jammu Kashmir if not deny. ‘The Self-Rule Framework for Resolution’ as made public on 25 Oct 2008 by Jammu & Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party under Chapter Economic Integration at para- 9 says ::: “To be more precise, it means, allowing circulation of the Pakistani rupee in the Indian part of J&K and circulation of Indian rupee in the Pakistan administered Kashmir.” It is no different than the expression about J&K that US State Department has used on 26th June 2017 while designating Mohammad Yusuf Shah, also known as (AKA) Syed Salahuddin, as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) under Section 1(b) of Executive Order (E.O.) 13224.
Not only that the J&K Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Self-Rule Framework Doc as released on 25th Oct 2008 and is still carrying the same draft, under Chapter III Self-rule: Concept, Design and Operation: in 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. The two are vastly different in substance and style. The change from “autonomy” to self-rule” — means is a fundamental shift in the terrain of political discourse and the existing status of Kashmir issue” and Clause – 59 it says, “autonomy refers to empowerment of the Government of Jammu and Kashmir vis-a-vis the Government of India. As such it becomes a part of the Centre-state debate in the Indian federal set up. Self-rule on the other hand refers to the empowerment of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, vis-a-vis the Nation of India.”Of course the reference as made to ‘autonomy’ in Clause-58 &59 of Self Rule Framework is to National Conference Greater Autonomy or J&K Assembly Autonomy resolution June 2000.
Indian National Congress has ruled J&K along with PDP from 2002-2008 and BJP is ruling in J&K along with PDP since 1st March 2015. As per the information available in public fora neither Congress nor BJP has so far objected to expressions made in Clauses 58 & 59 of the PDP Self Rule Framework proposals or worked to conceptually bring around PDP for modifying its vision. The message that can flow to common masses and the outside world from expressions made in PDP SR Doc and the approach of the parties like INC&BJP towards that, rather that might have already percolated to some extent, would be like J&K not being total India since had it been so Congress and BJP would have worked to ideologically bring around PDP. But it has not happened so far.
Some more similar descriptions can be found in the PDP’s SRF text. Why did not Congress object to that in 2008 as it had now protested on 28 June 2017 for US (not PDP) using such like terminology even on the day when Prime Minister Modi ji was in US?.
Such like un concernedness can also be noticed in the style and manner in what some consultants / advisers appointed on J&K by the Central government have so far worked. In 2006 Government of India appointed 5 working groups (WG) on J&K (As decided by Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh in the 2nd multi party Round Table Conference held in Srinagar on 24 and 25 May 2006. The First RTC was held on February 25, 2006 in Srinagar and 3rd RTC was held on 24th April 2007 in New Delhi).
One such WG known as PM’s 5th WG was headed by Retired Justice Saghir Ahmed , with sensitive terms of reference like NC’s autonomy, self rule, article 370, issues of refugees and problems of backward areas etc. Ajit Kumar Secretary of the Group had submitted its report on 23rdh December 2009 to Omar Abdullah (in presence of Law & Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ali Mohammad Sagar and the Political Advisor to CM Davinder Singh Rana) , the then J&K Chief Minister who made it further to Prime Minister on 30th December. Even after having spent over two and half years the Chairman of the WG had in a way asked the J&K Chief Minister to study the prime referral issues, work out road maps for the State Assembly and the Government of India for consideration where ever deemed fit or practicable. And as regards PDP’s Self-Rule report says though M. H. Baig explained orally the concept of “Self Rule” but its detailed documented aspects were not provided to the Working Group although promised by PDP. The report too adds that PDP Self-Rule appears to relate to ‘Autonomy’ in a wider context. How funny PDP had loaded the Self Rule Frame Work Document on its website on 25th Oct 2008 and the Saghir Ahmed report presented on 23 December 2009 says that the working group was not aware of the document. The PDP Self Rule Doc too had among other things referred Pakistan Occupied Areas of Jammu Kashmir (PoK) as Pakistan Administered Kashmir (Pak). And still the report recommended that PDP proposal requires to be considered by the Central Government if and when approached with documents containing specific proposals of the “Self Rule”. It is already now nearly 8 years after that and even in 2017 the report is considered live by NC /PDP. GOI has not even after 2014 cared to dispose-off the report, either way.
This shows how casually the J&K affairs have been treated all these years worth pushing the people of J&K into more and confusions & myths. How long those who fall in the class of Permanent of Residents of J&K would be searching and impressing upon “their” own leaderships for a “fair & final” identity? Surely it is not only the armed militancy that has to be fought out in J&K (Kashmir Valley in particular) but more is the need to fight out the ‘ideological militancy’ and that has to be done by the political leadership and not by the security forces.
(Daya Sagar is a senior journalist and a social activist can be reached at email@example.com)
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