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l July 2003 l

A Kashmir Bachao Andolan Publication

l Vol 2, No 3 l

S P O T L I G H T

DATELINE KASHMIR: The Partition Plans 

Romeet K Watt


The purpose of this article is not to focus on what to do tomorrow. It focuses on what to do today – perhaps accept that our rejection of the two-nation theory has been rubbished to the historical dustbin long ago – 14 years to be precise, by an important ingredient of our own pluralistic society – in contemplation – possible give-and-take on Kashmir – of tomorrow. -- RKW


THAT the Kashmiri separatist bandwagon spearheaded by the All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) is leaving no stone unturned in impressing upon the United States (hereafter referred to as You-Know-Who to borrow Harry Potterism) to ‘force’ New Delhi to make ‘concessions’ on Kashmir, clearly indicates their extreme anxiety, at not being able to make much headway with the objectives of their so-called ‘movement’ for what they describe as the right to self determination of the people of Kashmir. Post October 2002 elections in J&K, APHC, it seems, has finally become conscious that the only doable way, perhaps, to stimulate its sagging fortunes would be to petition the most powerful nation -- You-Know-Who – for help out.

There exists a ‘very powerful’ – pro-Musharraf – Kashmiri lobby in Washington, which has been ‘furiously lobbying the Bush White House to “turn screws” on Vajpayee to give a role in the J&K administration to pro-jehadi elements close to APHC.’ And, the “Chenab Plan” – brainchild of Kashmir Study Group headed by Farooq Kathwari – it is reliably learnt, is ‘being backed in private talks by the (You-Know-Who) State Department, who have even designated a “well-regarded” officer as its “Kashmir officer”’

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It is astounding that American Kashmiris have been able to pass-off terrorism in Kashmir as some kind of a freedom struggle. But, what is more intriguing is that You-Know-Who – the so-called leader of the global war against terror – perhaps, seems to be buying the argument. Kashmiri American, Ghulam Nabi Fai – he has been actively raising funds and sending money to Kashmir to fuel militancy -- of the Kashmiri American Council, has well-built Pakistani links and is associated with the fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami. He has been advocating a role for separatist Kashmiri leadership in any future dialogue between India and Pakistan.

Fai is being mentioned in the both political and diplomatic circles, both in New Delhi and Washington with alarming frequency for his extremely pro-active role and is known to have garnered tacit support for various influential Senators, Congressmen, lobbyists, and of course two very influential think-tanks – Centre for Strategic and International Studies and Stimson Center – to name a few, for his sinister plans to bring about partition of J&K on communal lines.

IN THE LAST WEEK OF MAY, this year a high level delegation of the You-Know-Who Embassy, New Delhi comprising of Political Counsellor, Mathew G Boyse, Secretary Political Affairs, William P. Hurd met JKLF leader Yasin Malik for over an hour. The specifics of what exactly transpired is not exactly know, however it is reliably learnt that the discussion widely revolved around the specifics of the “Chenab Plan”. That this was more than a routine meeting assumes significance from the fact that straight away after this not-so-secret meeting, JKLF embarked on a signature campaign to ascertain the wished of the people of Kashmir. Is there a connection?

Overall, emboldened by an overwhelming response from You-Know-Who, APHC has, meanwhile, decided to open its branches in United States and some European countries, Middle East and Far East. It has been reliably learnt that moves are afoot to rope in prominent non-resident Kashmiri leaders who are actively working for the Kashmir cause to head the offices in New York, London, Toronto, Brussels, Kualalumpur, Jeddah, etc.

Did I hear you ask, where the ideologue of the militant outfit, Hizb-ul-Mujahadeen, Syed Ali Shah Geelani is these days? Well, he is certainly not hiding. Geelani has been simply asked by the friends of You-Know-Who to lie low for sometime. He has no role, whatsoever, to play at this stage. Stage I of the act – to arm twist India led by BJP in making maximum concessions on Kashmir – is strictly for those who qualify a peaceniks in the so-called ‘movement’. It will only be after the Stage I is a resounding success – Muslim majority areas of J&K are accorded a quasi-sovereign status – that the services of the likes of Geelani’s are likely to be pressed into service.

Building on the success of Stage I, the role of hawkish elements like Geelani, would involve capitalising on the gains, to launch a radical program, which would pave the way for the integration – yes – of Kashmir with Pakistan. Amen! After all, the integration of a ‘semi-independent’ Kashmir with Pakistan should be cakewalk. There you see Mr. Geelani all smiles. Need I say more?

THAT THESE HECTIC BEHIND the scene parleys may be finally have paid dividends became evident on June 13, 2003 when the India Deputy Prime Minister, L K Advani, in a lecture delivered at Chicago, said that India was ready for a “compromise” on J&K. His give-and-take talk to achieve peace must have surely brought 1000-watt smiles on the faces of APHC and company. And, more importantly the You-Know-Who administration, who, it seems, played an important role in impressing upon him (Advani) the need to give a little more leeway to Pakistan on Kashmir so that they can tone down the jehadi elements in Pakistan. How else can one, otherwise explain the placatory sound-bites of Advani, who is known for his hard-line gospel on Kashmir and has, time and again, advocated the abrogation of article 370, which gives special status to the only Muslim-majority Indian State.

His conciliatory pep talk has made peaceniks very happy, indeed. Not to be left behind, even the warmongers are feeling ‘glad’. President Musharraf – in his own words – is “ very glad that he (Advani) is prepared to make ‘compromises’ on Kashmir.”

In the whole episode it is not difficult to comprehend the ‘give part’ as far as India is concerned. That is easy. But, what is India going to get in return? Probably, peace of mind? Will the Man of Iron, L K Advani – mind you even iron rusts – please care to explain the ‘take part’ to the people of this country.

The groundwork for adopting a more conciliatory approach – in line with the wishes of You-Know-Who – was set rolling as early as March this year, when Advani hinted at some kind of a compromise deal. He said – while referring to the brief of N N Vohra – that he (Vohra) among other things would “explore the option of devolution of greater powers to the state (J&K).” Now, purely from BJP’s point of view, why should you do that; that is if ‘principles’ which you swear to stand by mean anything to you? After all, abrogation of the controversial article 370 is very much on its agenda (at least that is what we are given to understand, and led to believe). You cannot do away with article 370 due to the compulsions of the coalition politics – that is understandable. But, why should BJP undertake an exercise – devolve more powers to J&K – which will make abrogation of article 370 next to impossible, that is, if BJP is sincere about its past commitments.

There is more. Advani in the same statement noted that there was a strong case for devolution of more powers to the states, more so far J&K …… which has (have) a ‘special history’, which must be taken note of. Special history? What special history are we talking about? Even the Nawabs and the Nizams – Advani loves Sardar Patel for cutting them to size – or for that matter even Scindia’s of Gwalior have a ‘special history’. So, what about them? His changed script – at the behest of You-Know-Who – not only belittles his own gospel, but also is a sure-short recipe for disaster, which can only lead to the balkanisation of India. Just because J&K is a Muslim-majority state does in no way mean that it has a ‘special history.’

THE BIG PROBLEM, BOTH for Vajpayee and Advani is that they cannot undo the history of its own party, especially BJP’s predecessor, Bharateeya Jan Sangh, who played an instrumental role in 1952. Teaming up with Praja Parishat, in those days the political front of the Sangh in Jammu & Kashmir, BJS agitated against the special status to the state of J&K; and had to pay a profound price in the death of Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, the founder-president of the party, in Srinagar jail. He died under dubious circumstances, after being incarcerated there for having led a batch of satyagrahis defying the ban on his entry into the State.

It seems – again, purely from BJP’s point of view – that they are willing to forget even the sacrifices of its own founder President – Shyam Babu he was popularly called -- for which I am sure they are not going to earn any brownie points.

MEANWHILE MUSHARRAF IS TURNING out to be a “big pain in the ass” for the Indian establishment, especially the PMO. While I write this, Musharraf has extracted a whopping – five year -- $3 billion package from You-Know-Who, half which goes for the defence (George, are u listening?) matters, for Pakistan’s cooperation in the global war against terror; this is what you call a win-win situation. But that is not the only cause of worry for New Delhi. It is his ‘K’ remark that is making India uneasy.

Musharraf has not only justified Kargil war in the most explicit way, a head of the state can, but even remains non-committal about another Kargil-like invasion, in the near future. Not only that, he even made the threat all the more explicit when he said that ‘its only when peace fails, violence occurs in “any form”’. Any form, mind you! Interesting. (Seema Mustafa of Asian Age will perhaps not agree with my interpretation, which has perhaps, more to do with the fact that she is interacting far too often with Ram Jethmalani, President of the India Chapter of PML – QA)

Talk of Kargil, and this sends our Prime Minister, Vajpayee in frenzy. He just cannot stand the ‘K’ word. Coming this time from the horse’s mouth – Musharraf is considered to be the architect of the Kargil war – Vajpayee lost his cool. And made those famous remarks that Pakistan is preparing for a “fourth defeat”. Fourth defeat? I thought it should have been fifth, that is if one includes the Kargil war. Perhaps, Vajpayee does not consider the outcome – pushing back of Pakistani army onto the LoC – as a victory. How very enlightening! Thanks.

ONE OF THE PROBLEMS FOR the Indian establishment has been its inability to 'define' the Kashmir issue. The specifics and dynamics of the vexed Kashmir issue are far more deep rooted that the usual attempts to define concerns, and the controversies, that are being passed off as realities. Kashmir – as an issue – is fundamentally a symbol of ideological dispute between Indian and Pakistan over the success or failure of the two-nation theory (Muslims and Hindus can not coexist) on the basis of which Pakistan was established as a separate entity for the Muslims of the undivided India.

The separation of the East Pakistan and creation of Bangladesh, over 20-years-ago, did demonstrate that, at times, regionalism could prevail over religious cohesiveness as a binding force. But, India, tends to overemphasise the significance of this more-than-20-year-old event – conveniently, perhaps – to justify the success mantra of her rejection of the two-nation theory, which served as the basis for the establishment of a pluralistic society and polity, with India ending up having more Muslims than Pakistan has (No offence meant).

So whose ideological theory – India’s or Pakistan’s – is right, and will prevail at the end of the day? The answer to his more-than-56-year-old question – unfortunately lies in the resolution of the vexed Kashmir issue. Should J&K – the only Muslim majority state of the Indian union – continue to remain with India, the Indian position is reinforced, ideologically speaking.

However, should it happen that Muslim-majority areas of the state of J&K accede to Pakistan or gain freedom (theoretically the degree of freedom is not of consequence), that is where things start to get tricky, very tricky, not only for the Indian establishment but for a very important component of our pluralistic society – the Indian Muslims. The scenario would mean that the underlying principle, on the basis of which India was founded, would hold no meaning, and hence become null and void. What does that mean? It means that after 56 years India has come around to accept the Pakistan’s ideological stand that Muslims and Hindus cannot coexist.

However, two-nation theory cannot – should not be – be selectively applied (to J&K). And that is where the most painful part comes into play. It would be unfortunate that for the actions of the Kashmiri Muslims (here and hereafter I am generalising for the sake of theoretical simplicity), Indian Muslims will end up paying a price? The price would be that they would lose the right to be a part of the Indian society. And, as such, should India lose J&K because of the Muslim character of the state, Indian Muslims – in 1947 they had choice, whether to remain in India or Pakistan – have no choice but to transport themselves to Pakistan.

In other words, to put it plainly, Pakistan will end up getting what it wanted the most all these years – Kashmir. But it does not come alone. Islamabad will also have to accept Muslims from other parts of India. What we are looking at is second partition? That is what we are looking at should India have to part ways with Kashmir, in any form. The future of the Indian Muslims is very much – whether we like it or not – linked to how events unfold hereafter in J&K; and more importantly, the way the Kashmiri Muslims conduct themselves will have a deep bearing on how Hindu-majority Indian look at their Muslim brethren.

Are some half forgotten lessons of the past becoming relevant again? The above scenario would mean many things (to interpret correctly, I lack both the authority and competence) but the most important would be that the unfinished business of the partition would be finally over.

And, India and Pakistan lived happily ever after?

POSTSCRIPT: Kashmiri Muslims accepted, in principle, the two-nation theory in 1989-90, when in a well-planned and executed pogrom of the minuscule Kashmiri Pundit minority – who lent pluralistic charter to the society and polity in Kashmir – was made to flee the Valley and seek refuge in the “Hindu-majority” parts of India. (JKLF, who these days pose as peaceniks, was instrumental in killing hundreds of KP’s).

Why has India chosen to remain silent over ‘this’ acceptance of the two-nation theory, which rubbishes the ‘principle’ and ‘values’ on which the Republic of India stands? To answer this (question), I again am constrained to say, I lack both authority and competence.



Copyright © 2002-2003 Shyam Lal Watt Foundation

All Rights Reserved


J & K News - June 2003:  Geelani, Hurriyat, rift widens * 13 soldiers killed as militants attack army camp * Army chief visits Jammu, reviews security scenario * Over 94,000 pilgrims registered for Amarnath yatra * JuM claims responsibility for Lone assassination * No mediation on Kashmir, says US * $3 billion US package for Pakistan * Kargil ruined Kashmir peace plan: Nawaz Sharief * Musharraf wants greater US involvement in Kashmir * Don't compromise on Kashmir, Islamists warn Musharraf * Musharraf refuses to rule out another Kargil