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Whom Do They Represent? – The Valley Centric “Mainstream’ Parties Must Introspect

Whom Do They Represent? – The Valley Centric “Mainstream’ Parties Must Introspect

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Daya Sagar                                                          Parties

The Legitimate: The then National Conference candidate for the Anantnag Parliament seat Dr Mehboob Beigh  had been quoted in 2014 as having told a Srinagar based  news agency  < “Whether you like it or not but it is a fact that ‘Freedom Movement’ is going on. Separatists had called for poll boycott and most of the people responded to it.”

To be brief in case what a Sr. NC Leader had then said is true then whom do these main stream political parties represent in Kashmir Valley could be question that Farooq Abdullah and Muftis should answer before claiming that their Greater Autonomy or Self Rule have endorsement of the local masses worth bring an end to separatist and militant pressures ‘extent’ of which even Dr. Mehboob Beg had so plainly talked of in 2014.

The  same Anantnag Parliamentary Constituency is still vacant even in November  2018 even after more than two years of Mehbooba Mufti having resigned on being sworn in as Chief Minister of J&K in 2016 and that  simply puts question mark on  the  grip of the local ‘mainstream’ political leadership over the local masses  from the point of view of  ideological make up since in 2014 PDP had won 11 out of 16 assembly segments out of 16 segments of Anantnag Parliamentary Constituency but the same constituency had remained most disturbed even during the times PDP president Mehbooba Mufti was the Chief minister of PDP- BJP alliance government.

How could Satya Pal Malik, just within a couple of months of his taking over as Governor could even venture into holding Local Bodies as well as Panchayat elections could be so simply asked? Hope he also demonstrates the skills ( shows ‘mirror ) that the so called ‘popular’ could not show by also holding elections to the Anantnag Parliamentary constituency before 2019 Lok Sabha polls..

It was on Oct 26th 2008 that news about the release of the  J&K Peoples Democratic Party’s  “Jammu & Kashmir,

The Self-Rule Framework for Resolution” appeared in the print media. Before that it was the 26th June  2000  that on the  last day of the special session convened from 19th June  to discuss the report of the State Autonomy Committee  -SAC appointed by the  State Government  was tabled on April 13, 1999 ( recommending  changes in Centre-State government relations ) the resolution moved by the Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mr. P. L. Handoo  was passed  with Congress(I), the BJP and the Panthers members staged walking  out and BSP supporting the resolution that said “This House having discussed the report of the SAC, tabled on April 13, 1999, records its approval of the same and its acceptance of the recommendations made and `demands that the Centre and the Government of Jammu and Kashmir take positive and effective steps for implementing the same”.

Dr. Abdullah the Chief Minister had said <“This was a good beginning towards achieving what we promised our people in 1996,  no one, including the National Conference, was ready to take up the challenge of the elections then.

But, we were assured by the people in New Delhi on autonomy so we jumped into the elections at the risk of not only our lives but the lives of lakhs of people.”> Ofcourse the same was rejected by the NDA-I Cabinet in 2000 itself (<The cabinet, therefore, decides not to accept the resolution passed by the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly on the report of the State Autonomy Committee. The Government is of the firm conviction that national integration and devolution of powers to States must go together. > ).

And the  National Conference leadership still  on 2018  professes that  the ultimate medication for the ‘turmoil’ the Indian State of J&K ( Kashmir Valley in particular ) has been suffering from lies in the recommendations as were made in the 1999 report of State Autonomy Committee  that was accepted by the  state legislature in June 2002.

No other article of Constitution of India other than Article-370 has remained the subject of political debates whenever some individuals or groups have been venturing into finding remedies to the miseries that the people of J&K  have been suffering due to inadequacies / questions being raised by some even related to constitutional integrity of Indian state of J&K with the Union.

But in recent years Autonomy Resolution 2000 or greater autonomy have more been used by J&K National Conference while spiriting the ‘slogans’ in the name of protecting the identity, aspirations and exclusiveness of ‘Kashmiries’ (people of J&K).

J&K PDP too has been trying to project itself as savoir of Kashmiri identity, Kashmiri aspirations and holding to the cause of people of J&K.

Even the people of Kashmir valley have been kept lost in more and controversies by local “main stream parties” what talk of the all India political leaderships.

The  low polling percentages in 2008/ 2009, 2014  polls  and they way the bye election  to Anantnag Parliamentary Constituency has been hanging in air  surely speaks   enough of the ( poor ) hold  the  two major  mainstream parties have even in Kashmir Valley but to talk of all the three regions of J&K. .

 The  way ‘Prime’ leadership of National Conference  as well as PDP have been  and is making statements during  election “seasons”  have made even the analyst who had been in the recent past  taking even  leaders like Farooq Abdullah  worth holding  enough of hidden worth that could bring normalcy in ‘Kashmir Valley’ to start thinking  that   even National Conference ( so far recognised by many as representative of people of J&K )  has political lost  grounds even in Kashmir valley region.

And of course PDP too has failed to hold her base back even in the Anantnag Parliamentary Constituency that the party “overwhelmingly” appeared representing after 2014 Lok Sabha and J&K Legislative Assembly elections.

It is time for NC and PDP to introspect that whom do they represent? And of course they must also revisit their Autonomy and Self Rule doctrines while carrying the doctrines enshrined in the Constitution of India.

Why do not NC and PDP bring at least their “Autonomy and Self Rule” at a common platform?

A surprising  development  for ‘many’  had taken place  when  BJP  had  agreed in writing in the Agenda for Alliance with PDP on 1st March2015 that  existing “status” of J&K in the Constitution of India will be maintained ; and ofcourse ‘this’ reference was to Art 370 in which the political parties like NC and PDP see a special status  provided in Constitution of India to J&K.

Some controversy was further added by the BJP lead Union Government when in a written reply to Q 138 (“whether it is a fact that through Article 370, the Constitution gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir”) in Rajya Sabha Government of India said on 11 March 2015 <quote> “In the Constitution of India, there is no mention of ‘Special Status to Jammu and Kashmir’.

Article 370 provides for ‘Temporary provisions with respect to the State of Jammu and Kashmir’ J&K”.<unquote>  and  even after that the references in the Agenda for Alliance were left untouched. With what seriousness the J&K affairs have been handled all these years by Indian leadership could well be ‘read’ from these quotes.

Mufti Mohd Sayeed the then Chief Minister had in 2015 made very alarming claims  as well as accusations on National Conference as he was quoted as having  said on 25th April while addressing a public meeting at Kangan :: <quote>: “There are people in Kashmir, who say that they don’t accept Indian constitution. It is their democratic right and they are free to propagate their ideology as democracy is the battle of ideas.

However, we have a firm belief in Indian Constitution and believe that resolution of Kashmir issue lies within the ambit of Indian constitution,” “Jammu and Kashmir could perhaps land up in a bigger trouble this time if NC is allowed to subvert the democratic institutions and processes, the way it did in 1987.

But with the support of the people, PDP would fight every such move of the NC tooth and nail that is aimed at robbing the state’s people of their democratic rights,” <unquote>. Mufti Sahib did say that he held  firm belief in Indian Constitution and believed that resolution of Kashmir issue lies within the ambit of Indian constitution, but he did not send any indications  for going for a review of the contents of PDP’s 2008 “Self-Rule Framework for Kashmir Resolution”   to see whether fitted with in the frame work of Constitution of India and truthfully hold to J&K being an integral part of India  since  one would ask  that otherwise how could Self Rule proposals like   (i) India and Pakistan having joint control over some affairs of J&K, (ii) currencies of both India & Pakistan remaining legal tenders of common use  in the Indian State of J&K and provisions like (iii)  J&K State on her own deciding the import / export  tariff for two ‘main lands’ and other world  would be described as being  with in ambit of the  Constitution of India ?.

Similarly Dr Farooq Abdullah too had very loudly  carried in 2014  and carries in 2018 also  that it is only the Greater Autonomy that can provide a workable solution to undo the wrongs done in J&K worth return of peace & stability in J&K ( Kashmir valley in particular) .

Does Dr. Farooq Abdullah  intends to suggest that (i) acceptance of 2000 Autonomy Resolution by Union will bring an end to the present turmoil and will neutralize separatist elements in Kashmir Valley , (ii)  it will  make PDP to abandon Self Rule demand (iii)   Greater Autonomy  being within the provisions of Indian Constitution  will also address Huriyat Conference demands  (iv)  it will undo the socio economic damage done to people of J&K after 1953  ( he has yet to quote  data  regarding this )  (v)  it will fulfil the  aspirations of Kashmiries in particular and people of J&K in general ( what are the  aspirations has not been yet spelled out) , (vi) it will economically and administratively more benefit people of Kashmir Valley ( how?), (vii) it will  benefit  J&K  by  moving out of financial integration with Union of India ( how?) and like.

 There is such a large divergence of opinions and poles apart conduct  even of the two Main Stream parties like National Conference & PDP, still they claim to  represent ‘Kashmiri aspirations and cause’, who will  believe their claims?

Has Dr. Farooq Abdullah discussed the ‘Autonomy’ with PDP leadership, could be another question. Because PDP Self Rule Framework 25th October 2008 among other things says::: “Chapter III Self-rule: Concept, Design and Operation Clause 58- ….  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- . 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. 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.”:::   Surely the definitions had not changed even after 6 years when Mr. Haseeb Ahmed Drabu was reported on 10 July   2014 for having said to a Srinagar based  news paper  that < Autonomy is from the Government of India. Self-rule is from the Nation State of India>.

Dr. Farooq Abdullah’s Greater autonomy is not acceptable to even PDP what to talk of other separatists. It will not be wrong to say that PDP could push NC to the wall in less than 3 years since PDP Self Rule Framework 25th October 2008 says :::  “Chapter III Self-rule: Concept, Design and Operation Clause 58- ….  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- . 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.”

Better it would be for NC and PDP to sit together, first arrive at a common understanding and then  approach  the National Leadership  for discussions on the subject ( even if their common draft may not be  endorsed by the people of Jammu & Ladakh regions ( since their aspirations are surely not the same as ‘ Kashmir aspirations’) ?. of course they will have to also ensure that the separatists and those who openly question J&K being  India will have to be handled locally .

Can PDP & NC work to neutralize Separatist ideologies?

Kashmir Valley leaders who have all along held the reigns of the regional mainstream parties in J&K, of course with the support of the leadership of the national parties that have been holding the ‘fort’ at Delhi, have so far done a very little to settle down the myths being cultivated in Kashmir valley as regards the relationship of ‘Kashmir’ with India after 1947 and for countering the challenges that the separatists have been throwing on the trueness of J&K being India.

Instead ‘they’ have been indirectly assisting the anti India elements  whenever they have talked of the Kashmiri aspirations and commitments made  by India with the pre -1947 Kashmiri leaders for giving them special treatment in India in view of their making a Muslim majority  Princely state to join India Dominion instead of Islamic Dominion of Pakistan in 1947.

And the Indian leadership too has done very less to check the myths growing even amongst the educated local masses  and have instead indirectly sent the signals  in a way admitting that “kashmiri’ has not been truthfully treated by India  whenever  there have been  sermons like pledging to treat “Kashmiries” with Insaniyat – Jamhuriyat- Kashmiriyat and Boli se na ke Goli.

One would ask in case the allegations made by the Kashmiries ( even the ‘mainstream’ parties ) that India has been unfairly treating J&K are and true then where comes the need for anyone  to pledge  for to treating “Kashmiries” with Insaniyat – Jamhuriyat- Kashmiriyat and Boli se na ke Goli .

Position had not changed even after 2015   since it was on 10th July 2016 that after a cabinet meeting of the PDP- BJP Government the spokesperson of J&K Government Mr. Nayeem Akhtar had informed the media that the state cabinet had earnestly appealed to the public for restoration of peace in Kashmir Valley   and government had sought help/co-operation from National Conference, Congress, Independent MLAs and Hurriyat Conference for restoration of normalcy.! It was very difficult to digest that the BJP-PDP government was seeking co-operation and help from the a separatist organisation for undoing the  disturbances that had been made to  erupt with  their ideological support  after a militant was killed in an encounter with security forces on 8th July 2016.

Not only that suggestions had started pouring in from many of the Indian leadership  as well as even local prime Kashmiri leaders including some from PDP also that Government of India will have to  ‘win’ the confidence of Kashmiries  and  make  adequate efforts for settling the Kashmir issue.

The local violence ridden protests had been so worrying that Mr. Karan Singh Ji (MP) had gone to the extent of informing the Rajya Sabha on 10th August 2016 that in 2010 only some urban areas were ridden with protests and violence but after July 8th 2016 every village of the Kashmir valley is protest ridden.

What a person like Karan Singh Ji says cannot be brushed aside so easily since at the same time the people handling Kashmir affairs on behalf of GOI have been saying that it is only 2 to 4%  of the locals who questioning the intentions of government / disturbing the environment in Kashmir valley.

The ideological pollution in Kashmir Valley (from Indian point of view) has reached a stage where after having remaining in alliance with BJP from 1 March 2015 to 19th June 2018 Mehbooba Mufti ji is still saying publically that she still holds that government of India will have to settle Kashmir issue and solution lies in her party’s Self Rule Doctrine that demands autonomy from the State of J&K from India Nation State.

How far GoI has succeeded in handling J&K affairs could well be understood from the fact that BJP has not been able to remove the misconceptions about J&K not being ‘total’ India from the minds of even PDP that has remained in its alliance for more than 3 years since Mehbooba ji still wants autonomy for J&K from Indian Nation.

And going by the conditions that prevail  like that  in Anantnag Parliamentary constituency it could be said that it were the doctrines like “Autonomy from Indian Nation” that had enabled PDP to push NC to the wall  , win 11 of the 16 J&K Assembly seats from there  and after PDP forming government in alliance with BJP  her party cadres  felt deceived as PDP Self Rule  Road map would not fit in the frame  work of 1947 accession of J&K with India  as well as the  Constitution of India .( Clause 59- . 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 58 and 60  add more  to distancing notions.

A Minister in PDP-BJP Government Haseeb Drabu  had very truthfully said while talking to media on 10th July 2014   that    < Autonomy is from the Government of India.

Self-rule is from the Nation State of India> but the BJP ally did not find anything serious in that where as such un contested opinions would surely promote separatist ideologies from Indian point of view and that has been the case with J&K  ( Kashmir) affairs even after 2015.

 Whereas the National Conference that talks of ‘Greater Autonomy’ and had succeeded on 26th June 2000 for getting a resolution passed by J&K Legislature approving the Autonomy Committee Report 1999 pleads that Greater Autonomy proposal is not for distancing J&K from Indian Nation state and instead is simply a framework for distribution of authority between the Government at Center and Government in state.

But the NC’s demand so far  has been  understood more  a demand for distancing J&K from India and NC has not so far not gone for any mass   awareness drive  to carry the message of ‘greater autonomy’ to  Indian masses ( particularly in Jammu and Ladakh Regions).

 ‘Kashmir’ today is disturbed not for non implementation of Autonomy resolution 2000 or  the Self Rule Framework of PDP.

The separatist ideologies ( from Indian point of view ) have in a way found some grounds  by the styles in which  PDP & NC have been ( knowingly or unknowingly) raising questions on India while making references like  Kashmiriyat, erosion of autonomy, 1952 Delhi Agreement, 1974 Indira Sheikh accord and 1987 Rajiv Farooq Accord.

This day J&K has landed in a conflict zone where, it is more in Kashmir valley, a need has emerged for ideological reorientation or recasting the information bank built over six decades of mishandling.

All these years common Kashmiri masses have been too simple to understand the rhetoric game plans of their own leaders over the years and now in 2018 they appear having been pushed deep into   muck of anti 1947 accession, anti – India oneness and Bhartiyata vs Kashmiriyat ideological conflicts (no doubt the so called mainstream leadership too itself is caught in the muck).

The ‘Kashmiri’ mainstream leadership so often say that for ‘resolution of issue (s)’ Government of India should take into confidence all stake holders including “local” separatists.

In case PDP  is so loyal to the cause of the people of J&K ( ‘Kashmiries’ )  why does not it first work for an  “alloy” of Greater Autonomy and Self Rule excluding the constitutional controversies  in its ‘vision’ document ? And after that if it can deliberate with the ‘Kashmiri separatist leadership’ do that before starting a meaningful process with GoI.

May be keeping in view the environment in Valley NC National Conference may not find it that ‘lucrative’ to go for such alloying since leadership knows that ideological controversies cultivated over years will not be that easy to settle and if at all they settle then too it will not be that easy to carry the people who are on the day ‘performing on ground’ along unless the mission is taken rising above political gamesmanship.

 Kashmiri leaders   should stop taking refuse under the ‘sermons’ that India and Pakistan should settle the Kashmir (J&K) affairs with due participation of Kashmiries including separatists.

In principle Indian leadership too have been all these years laying priority only on Kashmir Valley centric requirements but that too not that seriously.

So question here is, Can PDP and NC “alloy” Greater Autonomy with Self Rule within provisions of Indian Constitution?  And if they do so will they work on ground to receive endorsement from so called ‘Kashmiri separatists too” or take to neutralizing the local separatists worth sitting with Delhi for settling controversies?  Of course ‘Centre’ too will have to remodel the approach.

(Daya Sagar _ a Sir Columnist on Kashmir affairs and a social activist dayasagr4@yahoo.com 9419796096)

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