Chapter 12: Conclusions
The State of Jammu
and Kashmir has historically been renowned for its tradition of harmonious
co-existence between Kashmiris of different faiths and religions. A land
of great beauty and a hospitable and cheerful people, it is today in the
grip of violence - a violence garbed in fundamentalist hues alien to its
people. For as long as one looks back in history, the State has remained
free of communal tension. The canker of communalism skirted past the State
even in the worst days of Hindu- Muslim tension that gripped the country
before and after independence. But lately, Pakistan, never tired of creating
problems for India and never for a moment having the welfare of the people
in mind, has been fanning the flames of communalism in this once tranquil
State through its agent provocateurs. It has succeeded to the extent of
driving out most of the Hindu population in the Valley and destroying the
very Kashmiri identity that India has sought to preserve. The deliberate
targeting of the minorities, and any who spoke against terrorism, has led
to an exodus of both Hindus and Muslims from the Valley. Since 1990 nearly
250,000 Hindus and 50,000 Muslims have sought refuge in Jammu, New Delhi
and other parts of the country where they had relatives or had business
interests or means of employment.
Refugee camp for Kashmiri Pandits in Jammu.
One is bound to wonder what has led to this great
tragedy in Kashmir. True, like in any functioning democracy, there have
been genuine grievances of the people of Jammu and Kashmir which may not
have been adequately addressed. Administrative and political lapses and
indifference may have created resentment. But, since Independence, the
Indian polity has reserved a special place for Kashmir enshrined in the
Indian Constitution. Since 1947, successive Governments havoc accorded
priority to developmental activities, set up industries, educational institutions,
hospitals and encouraged the growth of Kashmiri arts and crafts and tourism.
Jammu and Kashmir has been the pride of India and the Kashmiri people reciprocated
this sentiment and in the three wars that Pakistan thrust upon India, they
thwarted Pakistan's designs.
What has led to the violence witnessed in the
State today? Despite Pakistan's protestations to the contrary there is
an irrefutable body of evidence collected by Indian and foreign analysts,
that clearly lays the onus for the violence on Pakistan. Manipulation of
the grievances, perceived or otherwise, and the religious beliefs of a
peoples, to encourage them to undertake an armed insurgency does not conform
to good neighborly behavior and is a blatant flouting of the principles
agreed to by Pakistan when it signed the Shimla Agreement. How would Pakistan
have dealt with similar violence? History shows that Pakistan used its
armed forces to ruthlessly crush any opposition to its rule in Baluchistan.
In Sindh, the Pakistan army is engaged in "Operation Clean Up". A country
that has had a tradition of military dictatorship is ill- placed to talk
about how a secular democracy like India should deal with the aspirations
and problems of its people.
Pakistan's record in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir
has been infinitely worse. The parts of Kashmir it is occupying and has
annexed have been subjected to gross misrule and a total and consistent
denial of democracy. Nearly forty seven years after its creation, Pakistan
has not accorded the right of adult franchise or any representation in
the National Parliament or State Assembly to the peoples of the so-called
Northern Areas. And one can hardly wish away the fact that Pakistan has
ceded a part of Kashmir occupied by it, to China. What moral, legal or
any other right authorized Pakistan to do so? And with what right does
it today claim to be a champion of the Kashmiri people?
VACATION OF TERRITORY BY PAKISTAN
A solution to the ills that plague the State of
Jammu and Kashmir today is imperative. The resolution of the problem does
not lie in the various formulae espoused by different quarters - some well
intentioned, some mischievous. A pre-requisite to ending the turmoil in
the Valley is the cessation of Pakistan's sponsorship of terrorism in Jammu
and Kashmir and the restoration of the democratic secular political process
that has been bequeathed to the Indian polity by its founding fathers.
Pakistan, if it wishes the welfare of the people of Kashmir should vacate
the territory of India that it occupies today and allow the Indian ethos
of co-existence to blossom in the whole State of Jammu and Kashmir. This
would also allow the recommencement of the developmental activities in
the State that have been rudely interrupted by Pakistan sponsored terrorism.
Pakistan needs to rid itself of the delusion that
it can wear down India through its machinations. Pakistan ought to realize
that it cannot achieve through a proxy war what it failed to achieve through
three successive wars: to grab this side of Kashmir as it has done in the
case of the territory it is at present occupying. One ought to keep in
mind that unlike Pakistan, India's presence in Kashmir initially was after
completion of the necessary legal processes which were later sanctified
through the Constituent Assembly and successive elections.
The dignity of the Indian state would never allow
it to compromise with any dilution of its integrity. India has kept the
doors open to a dialogue with Pakistan, despite the latter's obduracy.
But the offer of a dialogue should not in any way lead Pakistan into believing
that India and its people do not have the innate strength and resilience
to confront any territorial ambitions that Pakistan may nurture in Jammu
Pakistan ought to realize that the contours of
a solution in 1994 will necessarily be different than those that were envisaged
in 1948-49 given Pakistan's concept of selective self-determination. Neither
plebiscite nor independence can now be contemplated. It is not beyond the
wit of man to devise a solution which satisfies the aspirations of the
people within the Indian Union, and redresses the wrongs, if any, they
Pakistan would do well to recall the joint statement
issued by the All Parties Conference in New Delhi on March 7, 1990, which
stressed both the "inalienable bond" between the people of Kashmir and
the people in the rest of the country as well as the terms which "guaranteed
complete protection of their cultural and religious identity and full expression
of their aspiration". It added that all the political parties of India
stand by these assurances . This is the will of the people. This is the
will of India.
The UN Resolutions, which Pakistan did nothing
to observe or implement, have thus ruled themselves out as a basis for
any future dialogue between the two countries. The Shimla Agreement by
all accounts offers the only viable basis for the two neighboring countries
to resume any kind of a meaningful discussion of all bilateral problems.
In fact the same spirit of bilateralism largely informs the India-Pakistan
accord signed in Tashkent on January 10, 1966 by Prime Minister Lal Bahadur
Shastri and Field Marshal Ayub Khan, the then military dictator of Pakistan.
Also of interest to the reader should be the constant dialogue which New
Delhi has had with the Kashmiri leaders to review and to strengthen the
ties binding the State with the rest of the Union.