Dixon Plan- Moves Afoot To Divide Jammu On Communal Lines

  • By Rustam
  • 20 June 2010
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These are only five  of several such instances which prove there are elements in the Indian  establishment and Islamabad, as also in Indian Kashmir, who are working day and  night to ensure implementation of the Musharraf formula, notwithstanding the  National Assembly assertion of Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi  that Musharraf had damaged the Kashmiri cause and that there was no question of  the Musharraf formula being implemented. These examples vindicate the stand of  the founders of the Forum Against Dixon Plan – Bali Bhagat of BJP, Hari  Om of Congress, Ajay Chrungoo of Panun Kashmir and Ch. Abdul Rouf of Jammu  State Morcha (Progressive) – that moves are afoot to divide Jammu province  along the Chenab River on communal lines.

The outcome of the March 1990 Colombo meeting  between the Indian and Pakistani Foreign Ministers; the May 2, 2009 revelations  by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh regarding the agreement reached with Pakistani  President Pervez Musharraf; the statements by Pervez Musharraf in 2007 and  thereafter in this regard; the April 24, 2010 revelations by former Pakistan  Foreign Minister Kasuri; and what Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and  well-known India-basher and India-based spokesperson of Islamabad and Kashmiri  separatists A.G. Noorani said umpteen times in the past few years, clearly  establish that those who call the shots in India and Pakistan had considered,  and continue to consider, the Dixon Plan as an ideal solution to the “Kashmir  problem”.

Who was Sir Owen Dixon? Who authorized him to  visit India and Pakistan to discuss ways and means with the concerned  authorities in both countries to resolve the “Kashmir issue”? What did Dixon  suggest? What was the attitude of Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to the  Dixon Plan and what exactly did it entail? The answer to the last question first is that  Dixon wanted – apart from several other anti-India steps – division of Jammu  province on purely communal lines in order to help (at the behest of the United  States and other rabidly anti-India countries) Pakistan, the aggressor.

Owen Dixon was an Australian judge appointed  by the United Nations as its representative for India and Pakistan (UNRIP)  after General A.G.L. McNaughton of Canada, who had been appointed as UN  representative for India and Pakistan on December 17, 1949, told the UN on  February 3, 1950 that he had failed to resolve the conflict between the two  nations. Dixon was appointed UNRIP in March 1950. He reached the sub-continent  on May 27, 1950. Immediately after his arrival, he talked to the concerned  Indian and Pakistani officials, but separately. He visited Jammu and Kashmir  for an on-the-spot assessment of the situation. His basic objective was to see  if plebiscite could be organized in the whole State in one go, and if Jammu and  Kashmir could be demilitarized.

Dixon took no time to realize that “the  chances of a plebiscite for the whole state proving successful were much  reduced by the failure of the parties over so long a period of time,  notwithstanding the assistance of the United Nations Commission for India and  Pakistan (UNCIP), to agree upon in practical measures in pursuance of that  course for the solution of the problem…Only if and when I was satisfied that no  such agreement could be brought about and that all real chance of it had ended,  ought I to turn to some form of settlement other than a plebiscite of the whole  state”.

Dixon was fully aware of the difficulties  that beset the problem. The attitude of both India and Pakistan had hardened.  Pakistan had been emboldened by the support it had received from the United  States and a number of Western countries. It was not prepared to relinquish its  gains (Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan). New Delhi felt,  rightly, that the Security Council dominated by Western countries had all  through not only tried to overlook India’s legal, political and moral claims,  but willfully created situations to humiliate it and deprive it of its  legitimate due. New Delhi therefore looked upon the efforts of the Security  Council with misgivings and was not prepared to yield even the smallest ground.

In these circumstances Dixon tried to bring  about an atmosphere of cordiality between India and Pakistan, arranging a  meeting between himself and the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan, at New  Delhi, from July 20 to July 24. At the meeting, neither India nor Pakistan  agreed for demilitarization of the state. The initiative in this direction was  left solely with the UN representative. In his report to the Security Council,  Dixon without branding Pakistan as an aggressor, acknowledged that Pakistan  violated international law twice, first on October 20, 1947, when hostile  forces entered Kashmir, and then in May 1948, when regular Pakistani units moved  into the state.

Thereafter, he  proposed that the “first step in demilitarization should consist of withdrawal  of the Pakistani regular forces commencing on a named day… Then the other  operations on each side of the cease-fire line should take place and as far as  practicable, concurrently.” Dixon also asked for the disarming and disbandment  of the “Azad Kashmir” forces and the Northern Scouts. Pakistan differed from  Dixon’s basic approach, but expressed willingness to accept the “sequence of  demilitarization proposed by him.”

Dixon asked New Delhi to withdraw its Army  and disband the Jammu and Kashmir State forces and State Militia, subject to  the need of (a) assisting the civil power in maintaining law and order, and (b)  guarding the northern approaches to the Valley against possible incursion (an  indirect admission that Jammu and Kashmir was part of India). For the so-called  Azad Kashmir, Dixon’s plan was to attach a UN officer to each district  magistrate of the area for ensuring fair and impartial administration.

Dixon’s suggestions  were not acceptable to New Delhi as the existing district magistrates of the  area had been appointed after the  invasion by Pakistan. As for Gilgit-Baltistan, Dixon’s Plan was to appoint a  political agent or agents of the United Nations in consultation with India and  Pakistan. Such agents were to act through the existing channels of authorities.

Dixon also  suggested several other alternatives. One was forming a coalition government  through meetings of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah and Choudhary Ghulam Abbas. He  intended to place certain portfolios at the disposal of the respective parties.  But his proposals had no taker. Another alternative was the creation of a  set-up consisting of “trusted persons outside politics, holding high judicial  or administrative offices and commanding public confidence.” “The Hindus and  Muslims would be equally represented with a United Nations deputed Chairman.”  His third plan was to have an “administration containing United Nations  representatives.” None of these proposals was acceptable to New Delhi. A  coalition government was not possible in view of widening gulf between the  different parties of the state at that time.

New Delhi found a  contradiction between the position from which Dixon had started and the actual  plan he framed. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru asserted, among other things,  that “India could not ask the state to disband its militia, which was acting as  the police, as it would prejudice the organization of the state, that India  could not countenance for a moment the idea of limiting its forces in the area  because of the presence of the invading elements within its territory.”

As Dixon could not  succeed in obtaining Indian agreement to conditions which, in his opinion,  would ensure a fair and impartial state-wide plebiscite, he tried at a  conference with the India and Pakistan Prime Ministers to ascertain their  reactions to two alternatives: (a) a plan for holding plebiscite by sections or  areas, and the allocation to India or Pakistan of each section or area  according to the result of the vote therein, (b) a plan for allocation of areas  certain to vote for accession to either country, and a plebiscite for the  uncertain area of the Valley of Kashmir. The initial reaction of Pakistan was one  of total opposition, but India agreed to consider this approach.

Convinced there was  no possibility of a “mutual agreement”, Dixon applied himself to the task of  preparing a plan and having it either accepted or rejected or modified by  agreement. He revived the old idea of administration by United Nations  officers, now for the limited plebiscite area. He devised the completely new  formula that this administration would be competent to exclude troops of every  description, or, if they were found necessary, they would ask the parties to  provide them. India emphatically refused to agree to any such provision for it  amounted to equating the aggressed and the aggressor.

Sir Owen Dixon left  the sub-continent on August 23, 1950, thus ending another phase of United  Nations mediation. He filed his report with the Security Council explaining in  detail his negotiations and the failure of his mission.

Prime Minister  Jawaharlal Nehru rejected out-of-hand Dixon’s admixture report immediately  after its publication, on five specific grounds. One, implementation of the  Dixon Plan “would turn Kashmir into an area of communal bigotry, where  plebiscite would be neither fair nor peaceful.” Two, “there could be no  question of India abdicating her constitutional rights in Kashmir.” Three,  “Pakistan could have no standing in the dispute.” Four, “India had a painful  experience of coalition governments – a paralysis results out of an admixture  of incompatibles.” And, fifth, “the United Nations could not be a substitute  for India, so far as the obligation to safeguard the security of the state is  concerned.”

The attitude of the Indian Press to the Dixon  Plan was identical to that of Nehru. According to The Hindu (September 22, 1950), Sir Owen Dixon “had not made it  even of his secondary aims to establish right over might in Kashmir.” The Hindustan Times (August 25, 1950)  described the Dixon Plan “as one more of Alice in the Wonderland developments.”  As per Amrita Bazar Patrika (September 24, 1950), “the diplomat in him had got the better of his  sense of justice.” The National Herald (August 25, 1950) said, “by this amazing final proposal, Dixon has forfeited  the confidence India had in his judicial temper and impartiality.”

It is this archaic  out-and-out anti-India and communal Dixon Plan that certain elements in India  want to implement to end the conflict over Jammu and Kashmir and conciliate  Pakistan and its agents in Kashmir. Obviously, they are oblivious of the grave  evils that would follow implementation of the pernicious Dixon Plan, including  bloodshed and displacement of people, Hindus and Muslims alike, in Jammu  province. It needs to be noted that the immediate fallout of the implementation  of the Dixon Plan would the merger of such areas as parts of Udhampur, Doda,  Reasi and Jammu districts, including Akhnoor, and the whole of Poonch and  Rajouri districts into Pakistan; or their merger with the Muslim Kashmir.     

One can understand  the support being extended by Pakistan and its agents in Kashmir and other  parts of India, including Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and A.G.  Noorani to the Dixon Plan that seeks to divide Jammu province along Chenab  River on purely communal lines. After all, implementation of the Dixon Plan  helps Pakistan establish physical control over the Chenab River and meet the  water needs of Sindh, Baluchistan and North West Frontier Province. Islamabad  believes that physical control over the Chenab alone would help preserve the  unity and integrity of Pakistan. These three provinces are against Punjab and  one reason behind their anger is the water policy the Punjab-dominated  government in Pakistan has evolved and implemented. Implementation of the Dixon  Plan also helps those in Kashmir who are talking in terms of self-rule,  joint-management, supra-state measures, dual currency, demilitarization and  theocratic dispensation.

But one fails to  understand how parties like the BJP which consistently claims it would not  accept any solution that dilutes Indian sovereignty in Jammu and Kashmir, and  that it stands for the State’s total merger with India and abrogation of  Article 370, can consider the Dixon Plan as a solution to the Kashmir issue.  Similarly, one fails to understand why certain elements in the Congress-led UPA  government are thinking in terms of accepting the Dixon Plan as a solution to  the Kashmir problem.

Both BJP and the  UPA government would do well to reject outright any suggestion that divides  Jammu on communal lines; facilitates formation of Greater Kashmir comprising  Muslim Kashmir and the Muslim and non-Muslim-dominated areas of Jammu province and Ladakh region, and that recognizes Islamabad as one of the most important  factors in Indian Jammu and Kashmir. They would do well to remember that  implementation of the 1950 Dixon Plan would not only lead to bloodshed and  displacement of populations in Jammu province and victory of Pakistan and the  Kashmiri communalists, but would also mean no control whatsoever of India over  the northern frontiers. It is good that persons like Bali Bhagat, Hari Om, Ajay  Chrungoo and Abdul Rouf have come forward to educate the public about the  dangerous ramifications of the implementation of the Dixon Plan.

The writer is a resident of Jammu &  Kashmir  
Sourced from www.vijayvaani.com