Inherent Separatism

Inherent Separatism
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah inspecting the guard of honour inside the Civil Secretariat on his first day in office after taking over the reins of the state. Shehjar photo by Raman Raina
s the haze of terror, violence, gun culture and skepticism is getting thinner, people of the Valley have started to breathe in the fresh air of optimism. However, even though people are experiencing a temporary relief, the disease called separatism is deeply rooted inside the minds of many of those living in the Kashmir valley.

On the one hand Pakistan is pushing rhetoric about Jammu and Kashmir being a disputed territory waging a struggle for self determination and demands intervention of UN on the Kashmir issue. On the other hand, India while acknowledging some issues in the state is in favor of bilateral resolution of Kashmir issue between the two countries. As far as people of the valley are concerned, terms like self determination and autonomy are so ingrained in their minds that they are even averse to looking into facts of the matter. Most of them will hardly know the meaning of self determination, as was first used by Mr. Woodrow Wilson during the American independence struggle and formally appeared in the UN charter in the year 1945. The right of self determination can be supported and accepted only when any community is under colonial and foreign occupation. But in the case of J&K state the situation doesn’t apply as India is not a foreign power in Kashmir. The state’s lawful accession to India has never been doubted internationally. Besides far from being exploited, even the unreasonable rights of Kashmiri majority community have been secured by article 370, which accords a special status to the state.

After the 1972 Shimla agreement, many UN members especially US accepted the bilateral character of Kashmir. Historically as well as constitutionally Kashmir is a closed chapter. Any attempt by any third party to reopen the subject violates the sovereignty of the Indian republic. Pakistan, right from it’s inception till now has always been busy in fooling the international community regarding Kashmir. They claim that as an upholder of Muslim and human rights, it is morally obligated to support the Kashmir cause. Let me ask Pakistan about its moral obligation towards its own occupied Kashmir, which is lockd in a chokehold. The separatists in Kashmir are abusing the noble word of self determination and to a great extent Pakistan has been able to make an issue out of Kashmir’s being a part of India. Support from Pakistan is the big reason why unlike in Punjab, terrorism in Kashmir is still alive even though the democratic process goes alongside.

In the 2008 state elections, NC won the majority of seats and formed a coalition government together with the Congress party. Omar Abdullah was sworn in as the 11th Chief Minister of the state on January 5 2009. During its election campaign, the manifesto of NC also included resolution of the Kashmir issue, thereby touching again the sensitive cords of Valley Muslims. It is sometimes hard to understand how the governments in Pakistan as well as J&K continue to garner support using this plank. While Omar Abdullah is sometimes praised for his secular credentials, he too has promised to facilitate the talks between the government of India and the pro-Pakistan All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC). It means that for a seasoned politician like Omar Abdullah, the separatist element needs pandering to, as was evident from his recent interview with Mr. Prabhu Chawla on a national news channel. While answering some questions he said that he too favors the struggle for self determination and this may even be accepted as his opinion . What was more shocking on his part was that in the same conversation, he firmly propagated the lie that Kashmiri Pandit’s (KP’s) left their homes in the valley on their own, instead of accepting the fact that they were forcibly shunted out from their native places. It was really disheartening and disgusting for those KP’s who have pinned lots of hopes from the new CM. This indefensible attitude from the new Chief Minister does not augur well for the KP’s but of course it has acted as a morale booster for separatist elements in the valley.

In the 2002 state legislative election, the same National Conference headed by the Abdullahs was rejected by the electorate. Omar even lost his own seat to a then unknown PDP leader, but his aversion towards granting land for Amarnath pilgrimage and siding with the APHC, opposing the grant of land to Amarnath shrine board was a well planned and scheming move for paving his way into the hearts of the Muslim majority vote bank. This stand of Omar helped NC in general and the Abdullah’s in particular to come back to power.

Shedding their separatist attitude, various Kashmiri Muslim leaders and leaving their stated positions, national level Indian leaders need to come together to find the best possible solution. The fact remains that self determination voting such as will encourage separatism can not be offered to parts of the Indian republic. If problems are persistent they need to be sorted out, not by violence but by serious dialogue. Moreover Pakistan our so called neighbor should also stop playing havoc with the lives of innocent people by misleading them in the name Jehad. It should first mend its own house which is in dilapidated condition before poking its nose in India’s internal matters. Pakistan needs to behave as a responsible nation with the care of humanity as its topmost priority.

*Rajesh T Bhatt (Yajin) (freelancer), a Kashmir valley resident from Anantnag, Education: Post graduate in computer Science, working with Telecom sector for last 8 years. Father retired from defence services. Presently living in Delhi with his family.

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Comments
Sir,with due respect i will differ from ur views regarding kashmiri people that they r not aware what is RIGHT TO SELF ETERMINATION,AUTONOMY,please pay visit to ur belowed mother land for GOD sake and see ur Brothers are suffering from indian occupation.U r highly educated leave yr biased attitude towards kashmir history and don't saffronise it,present facts as it.Kindly read UN resolutions .
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