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Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, in a speech to the Legislative Assembly on Oct. 6, literally threatened to reopen all issues relating to the State’s Accession to India in 1947, knowing full well that this was signed by the only competent authority of the time, Maharaja Hari Singh. The maharaja’s action was backed by all sections of society, Omar Abdullah’s grandfather, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, the tallest leader of Kashmiri Muslims those days.
Mr. Omar Abdullah told the Legislative Assembly 2010 in Srinagar that J&K’s accession to India was conditional, and that there was no merger with the Union of India. His comparison with Hyderabad and Junagarh cannot be taken lightly because the young Chief Minister seems to be having a hidden agenda not different from that of the anti-India elements. Mr. Omar Abdullah has stressed the resolution of the unresolved issue, forgetting that Parliament of India in its unanimous resolution in 1994 had categorically defined the issue - the liberation of entire POK including Gilgit-Baltistan from the illegal occupation of Pakistan. Omar Abdullah deliberately ignored this.
The Chief Minister also failed to explain that the unconditional Accession of 1947 was ratified by his grandfather in the Constituent Assembly, and it was the Constituent Assembly of India which made J&K an integral part of the Union by putting the State under the cover of Article 370 at its very inception in 1950. Omar Abdullah also failed to appreciate that his grandfather in the Indira-Sheikh Accord in 1975 accepted to work as Chief Minister under the present constitutional arrangements. There remained no question mark on the issue of integration of J&K with the rest of country.
It is shocking that the State Chief Minister has emerged as spokesman of the Jamaat led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani by demanding that an Indo-Pak dialogue should include Kashmiris. What he means by Kashmiris has not been spelled out either. India has already rejected any tripartite talks and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has repeatedly invited Hurriyat leaders for a dialogue within the scope and limits of the Indian Constitution.
The Chief Minister has opened another Pandora’s Box by telling the Union of India that he is not their ‘puppet’ and telling the Centre that development in J&K is not the interest of the people there, forgetting that he regularly comes to Delhi with a ‘begging bowl’ demanding a special package to add to their loot.
The Chief Minister has forgotten the magnanimous Central aid that Dr. Manmohan Singh released in favor of the earthquake victims in Tangdhar region of Kashmir. Recently, the Centre again dispatched Rs.100 crores for the Valley. Omar Abdullah has forgotten that the Kashmir Valley is running on 90% financial aid from the Centre. His rejection of the Rajiv-Farooq and Indira-Sheikh Accords of 1975 and 1987 show the bankruptcy of his thought. Omar Abdullah would not have figured anywhere in the J&K power house if Sheikh Abdullah was not drafted as Chief Minister in 1975 and Farooq Abdullah was not crowned Chief Minister in 1987 by Indira and Rajiv Gandhi, respectively.
The Chief Minister’s exclusive thrust on the so-called ‘autonomy’ for what he called sub-regions of Poonch and Doda smacks of an attempt to revive the ‘Owen Dixon Plan’ to divide the State of J&K on communal lines, a line rejected by the Indian leadership right from Jawaharlal Nehru to Dr. Manmohan Singh. The Dixon formula was presented on American sponsorship to bail out Pakistan from the Resolution of UNCIP, dated 13 August 1948, which had directed Pakistan to withdraw all its civilian settlers and armies from the entire occupied areas, including Gilgit. Dixon suggested in 1951 that the Resolution had become irrelevant and hence J&K should be divided on communal lines as mentioned above. This was why Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had to dismiss Sheikh Abdullah in 1953 and send him to jail.
Omar Abdullah’s speech in the House is intriguing, undesirable, and violative of the constitutional mandate every Chief Minister has to follow. The Chief Minister has taken an oath of allegiance to the Constitution of India, and by declaring that J&K is not an integral part of India, he has violated the law of land, which cannot be ignored by South and North Blocks.
Unfortunately, the Chief Minister also tried to compare the prevailing situation in Manipur and Nagaland with the situation in Kashmir, demanding lifting of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act from the Valley, forgetting that J&K is under the threat of armed infiltrators and terrorists backed and sponsored by ISI, as publicly admitted by General Pervez Musharraf, former President of Pakistan.
Worse, he has leveled serious and uncalled for allegations against the Union Home Secretary saying, “I have a grievance. There have been some instances where people have talked more than needed. The Union Home Secretary (G.K. Pillai) should not have spoken about curfew.” The accusation that the Union Home Secretary tried to undermine the institutions of the State by asking schools to reopen and suggesting lifting of curfew deserves serious attention from New Delhi; it was unbecoming behavior by the Chief Minister.
The Chief Minister has targeted Governor N.N. Vohra; CRPF chief Srivastava who has been dislodged to please him; the Chief Secretary of J&K and the Director General of J&K Police. But changing of Governor will not change the existing situation because the entire anarchy, curfew and bandh culture in the Kashmir Valley draws legitimacy from the Chief Minister. Otherwise why did everything stop, including the stone-pelting in the Kashmir Valley, when the Assembly began last week? Let all who claim to be experts on Kashmir answer if Syed Ali Shah Geelani has found a faithful successor in the Abdullah’s family after all.
Prof. Bhim Singh is Chairman, J&K National Panthers Party & Member, National Integration Council
Editor: The issue of J&K accession to India is raised time and again by India’s opponents both within and outside the country. A pro active Government would come out with a White Paper ie uploaded on its site and distributed at a nominal cost of Rs 21/ at all bookshops countrywide.
The government and media are obsessed with what Indian citizens of the Kashmir Valley say and think ignoring those living in Jammu and Ladakh regions. The Valley hardly contributes any revenue to the state exchequer but accounts for bulk of spending and mind space.
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