GOI must draw the line between Mainstream & Separatist Parties in J&K

| Daya Sagar

GOI must opine on Proposals Like PDP’s Self Rule & PC’s Achievable Nationhood  to undo the ‘Myths’!

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Ji and HM Amit Shah ji had taken up the so far considered impossible task of removing the myths, ‘removing the cultivated’ distancing symbols and misrepresentation of Art-35A & Art-370 as far as their use for the good of the people of erstwhile State of J&K was concerned and  have been able to make some meaningful in roads. In the ‘same’ way forward there is utmost need for derecognising in plain words any ideologies or documents that depict even a bit of distancing indicators or concepts admitting opinions that profess directly or indirectly anything like J&K not being ‘India’/ Accession -1947 having some left over agenda ‘items ’/ foreign ‘share holders’. To be brief a very very clear line and opinion has to be expressed by GOI for taking note, by one and all,  of  WHICH is mainstream  and WHICH is Separatist.

The people / groups / ideologies left for taking remedial measures at later date  have been making the innocent people of the J&K State ( particularly Kashmir valley) to get carried in their subconscious minds with the myths stretching away from India nation like some even projecting ‘Kashmiriyat’ like a Nationality and some even surviving with targets like  “achievable nationhood’  carrying  Mainstream tags. Seven decades  have been lost and wisdom at least now  rests in doing plain speaking to save the innocent masses of “J&K” from undue continued emotional / social turmoil. It is only Modi ji who can do it now and hence GOI must not delay drawing a clear line between Mainstream and Separatist Parties/ ideologies in J&K like PDP Self Rule Framework for Resolution and PC’s “Achievable Nationhood” unless the promoters come up with re-articulated  documents publicly.

J&K Peoples Democratic Party – PDP had not routed  NC in Kashmir Valley simply with the slogans like something  against  AFSPA 1990 or by demanding handing over Power Projects to J&K PDC but had routed NC more with talks of asking Government of India to focus more on  “Kashmir Issue” and not issues in Kashmir ( Mehbooba Jee very truthfully had made her parties approach known while speaking in Lok Sabha on 16th June 2014 when she demanded government of India to specifically address to “Kashmir issue” than  talking of issues in Kashmir ) resting more in questions on 26th October 1947 accession, J&K not being federally a state of India like Punjab, constitutional position of J&K w.r.t India, Pakistan & other world. What “ Kashmir issue” and Pakistan w.r.t J&K means to the PDP could be easily understood if one goes through the PDP Self Rule Framework 2008 for Resolution.

PDP’s  J&K Self Rule Framework 2008 Page-18 Chapter II The Contours of Resolution : Setting the stage for Resolution:Jammu & Kashmir Issue: Challenges Clause- 58  says : 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. The two are vastly different in substance and style.The change — from  “autonomy” to self-rule” — means a fundamental shift in the terrain of political discourse and the existing status of the Kashmir issue. ……. Page-19 Chapter II The Contours of Resolution : Setting the stage for Resolution: Jammu & Kashmir Issue: Challenges Clause- 59  says  : Autonomy refers to empowerment of the Government of Jammu and Kashmir vis-a-vis the Government of India. As such it becomes a part of the center-state debate in the Indian federal set up. Self-rule on the other hand refers to the empowerment of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, vis-a-vis the nation of India…….). Central leadership should have no difficulty in understanding what is “Kashmir issue” in the words of J&K PDP and hence must focus on that in case the road to peace and prosperity has to be tread.

Mehbooba Mufti ji as Chief Minister of J&K had said on the floor of the Legislative Assembly in 2017  that PDP Self Rule proposals are well within the constitution of India and those in BJP who disapprove self Rule should go through the document minutely. No response had then come from BJP on that. No doubt it has been late but sooner  the home Minister of India seriously takes up the spirits underlying the contents of the PDP’s “Self Rule Framework for Resolution 2008” document  sooner would be  known what is the “Kashmir issue”  of which  Mehbooba Mufti has made a reference even in the Parliament of India.

Ms Mehbooba Mufti  J&K Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP) Chairperson  while talking to Sr. Journalist Rajdeep for India TV  on 25th June,  after the 24rth June All Party meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when asked in what context she is asking government of India to have talks with  Pakistan when the main issues on the day for consideration were Delimitation of Legislative Assembly of UT of J&K and holding elections to Legislative Assembly thereafter, she could not make a clear reply and tried to rush through suggestions like opening of trade routes with POJK areas. But whatever she said in reply to questions asked in different ways could be taken as her still carrying the  ideologies as contained in  J&K PDP’s Self Rule Framework For Resolution that was released by Late Sh. Mufti Mohd. Sayeed. on 25 Oct 2008.

A common question being asked is why the main  regional party of J&K, the National Conference,  sometimes appears (particularly after 2002) to be  toeing the ‘separatist’ line. A commoner may say that NC is doing so since J&K People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has nearly ended the monopoly of National Conference in Kashmir Valley and  no doubt the answer lies around such an explanation. But what needs to be investigated is what has been the “magic mantra” that Mufti Mohd Sayeed’s PDP used  from 1999 to 2002  to throw so killing  challenge  just  in 3 yrs on a party like National Conference in Kashmir on which not even Indian National Congress had  been able to press on.

The mantra  with what Mufti Mohd Sayeed came in the field with J&K People’s Democratic Party  in 1999 was that of SELF RULE Framework ( of course the Document was released on 25 Oct 2008 – SRFW2008)  that in simple terms professed of something like (i) joint control of India & Pakistan on some affairs concerning the State of Jammu & Kashmir (ii) a Council for Greater Jammu and Kashmir having  5 members each as nominated by India and Pakistan  (iii) Validity of currencies of both India and Pakistan in  two parts of J&K (iii) Greater Jammu & Kashmir to  decide the  import – export tariff  between J&K and two main lands of India and Pakistan and other world  (iv) Self Rule Clause- 59 says: Autonomy refers to empowerment of the Government of Jammu and Kashmir vis-a-vis the Government of India. As such it becomes a part of the centre-state debate in the Indian federal set up. Self-rule on the other hand refers to the empowerment of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, vis-a-vis the Nation of India…….).  Surely the  document referred to Autonomy that the National conference often talked about.

The National Conference had so far not questioned the trueness of Accession 1947 though had reservations on sharing powers / subjects  between Governments in the Centre and Government in the State  as an integral part of Bharat. To be brief in the separatist infested environment in the valley where in  many myths/ questions  on  J&K having become or not become  as good an India as had become Punjab or Hyderabad after 1947 accession  PDP came up with an ideology that appeared even questioning  ‘accession 1947  for its  totalness since its “Self Rule” talked  of even joint control of India and Pakistan in some matters concerning J&K , validity of currencies of Both India and Pakistan in J&K and like.

Not only that first Congress shared (2002) power with J&K PDP and then BJP shared power(2015) with J&K PDP,  with that what otherwise messages  worth putting pressures on NC as a political party ( particularly in Kashmir Valley)could go to innocent common masses about good or bad spirits  of  Self Rule slogans / proposals could be imagined since that way not even any national level party had directly questioned the contents of the SRFW2008.

And this ‘mantra’  ( Self Rule ) surely appears calling  for diluting the totalness of the 1947 accession of J&K with India thereby finding for ‘some’ better acceptability  as compared to Greater Autonomy of National Conference that called for just autonomy for the government of the state from the central government. Ofcourse the  support base fields of NC and the support­base fields of  PDP  are nearly same i.e Kashmir Valley  and both the parties have lesser gravity takes  in Jammu and Ladakh regions since it was only the Kashmir  Valley leaders who had been practicing the politics of resentments for non- fulfilment of ‘some  commitments’  made to Kashmiries  in 1947 by government of India and even ,often talked  of J&K being a muslim majority state, talked of Kashmiri aspirations/ Kashmiri sentiments. And ‘Kashmiriyat’ has often been addressed as a nationality by many  Kashmiries.

Congress formed government  along with PDP (2002-2008) and BJP   have formed ( 2015)  government  with PDP indirectly sending message to common masses that to them  Self Rule concept was no way objectionable thereby benefiting  the separatist culture in Kashmir valley worth inflicting some political  blow on National Conference to the benefit of PDP So  making  NC leadership  to come under the impressions that NC’s Autonomy demands cannot simply provide  an alternative to the PDP’s Self Rule doctrine worth politically  completing the electoral games for local governance in view of the level to what the ideological adversaries from Indian point of view had been ‘allowed’  to grow ( so particularly after 1996 ).That can possibly be  taken as a pressing reason  for the   National Conference leadership appearing becoming  more and more radical with each passing day  suggesting that return of internal peace and end to J&K turmoil  is also  resting in talks with  the ‘separatists’/ Hurriyat Conference& Pakistan too.

And ofcourse it is time for Mehbooba Mufti also to spell out in plain and simple words whether she still carries the spirit of Self Rule Doctrine. And if so the ideology surely falls in separatist clans and GOI has to do plain speaking. In case the contents of the Self Rule Doc are different from what the writer has been able to understand, the wisdoms of the writer are open for correction and Mehbooba Mufti ji can give suitable ‘advise’.

Not only that GOI must also take note of the Contents of the doctrines like  “Achievable Nationhood”  (ANH) of the People Conference to the extent how far it qualifies as mainstream ideology like has been suggested here for PDP’s Self Rule (SR).And Sajjad Lone ji too can correct the understanding.

The NDA government can not justify the continuation of the Kashmir turmoil just by pleading that it has no magic band to correct the damage done by other governments over more than six decades. The issues have to be accepted and corrected.So, it is time now to do plain speaking and the Government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi can very well do that and should hence do that. Leaders like M.H Baig (who started his political career with Peoples Conference, then joined PDP and has now returned to People Conference once again should also make their position clear as regards the ideology contained in the SR and ANH about the “status”  of “Kashmir” in terms of Bharat as a Nation. Similarly Mr. Altaf Bukhari who started his career as a PDP man , worked as minister in PDP-BJP government carrying the flag of PDP Self Rule had never expressed opinions against  the ‘separatist’ like proposals in the SR and has now floated his own party by the name Apni Party and on 8 March 2020 made March 2020 Declaration  where in he has not that vociferously talked of Art-370 / Art-35A restorations but has surely talked of Special Status  / 100% rights of the people of J&K ( domiciles) on the lands and jobs in J&K . No doubt he has talked of his being a Regional Party with National Outlook which is appreciable.

A significant difference that Altaf Bukhari’s Apni Party has shown is that it does not call for total reversal of the J&K Reorganisation Act of 2019, Act 34  and has only demanded status of State for J&K without Ladakh (of course has not called for that before election to Legislative Assembly) which could be indirectly of some help in making the world look India as also beyond Kashmir, i.e. Ladakh to Kanyakumari as Bharat.

Of Course ideologies and convictions do not take turns overnight but still let it be assumed that in the case Bukhari, ’a young politician,’ that could be possible without much difficulty. And his party could be acceptable in both regions of UT of J&K. But it will be in his interest and will also be in the interest of  efforts being made for return of peace in J&K that Mr. Bukhari in plain words totally disowns proposals like PDP Self Rule and PC’s  Achievable Nationhood  so that minutest of the dots of the separatist viewpoints w.r.t India are plainly dismissed.

(Daya Sagar is a Sr Journalist & a known analyst of J&K affairs. The opinions expressed are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of SamvadaWorld)

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