Saturday, June 15, 2024
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Merger and integration of J&K In the mirror of the Constitution

By Prof. Bhim Singh

The Chief Minister of J&K failed to hide his hidden agenda he conceived during his visit to Pakistan in 2007 though he had lot of time on his side to take up the same. His utterances on the floor of the Legislative Assembly in Srinagar last month proved counter-productive though he chose the venue because a Legislator enjoys immunity from a criminal action for the words used inside the Legislature. This is the immunity which is not enjoyed by a legislator in SAARC countries except Sri Lanka. The statement of the Chief Minister deserved a serious attention of those who claimed to be experts on J&K affairs. The Chief Minister made several irresponsible and offensive observations in his hate-India speech which challenged the mandate and authority of the Constitution. It invited lot of wrath from different circles. Firstly, he declared in high pitch that J&K acceded conditionally to India and was not integral part of the Union. One part of his speech referred to his intention to revive ‘Anglo-American Dixon Plan’ without naming. His reference to creation of so-called sub regions of Rajouri-Poonch and Doda Districts Jammu province by granting them regional autonomy deserved a careful analysis of his latent intentions which were recited by his grandfather in 1953. The proposal was recommended by Justice Owen Dixon in his report to dissect Muslim majority Districts from Jammu province to establish a so-called Greater Kashmir. Owen Dixon was sent as a special UN observer to J&K in 1950 when Pakistan refused to withdraw from occupied areas of J&K as per UNCIP direction in its resolution dated 13th August, 1948. To bail out Pakistan, he recommended creation of ‘Greater Kashmir’ to divide the State on communal lines which the people had opposed in 1947. This proposal was sponsored by Anglo-American Bloc. Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, for a change, rejected this Dixon Plan right in 1950. Grandson of Abdullah in his first opportunity vomited his family’s hidden agenda out of frustration least realizing that half a century has elapsed since Anglo-American Axis tried to sell out this plan through Sheikh Abdullah in 1953. Sheikh Abdullah’s support to the Dixon Plan earned wrath of Pt. Nehru resulting in Abdullah’s dismissal and arrest. He also declared that J&K was not integral part of India that might have created unbearable embarrassment to the coalition partner, the Congress.

Several noted columnists, well-known writers and journalists have poured thousands of words in the print media in support of Omar Abdullah’s lost-doctrine that J&K was not integral part of India nor it had merged with the Union. He has opened a Pandora’s Box nor for himself but for the Congress too which has provided crutches to the Chief Minister to stand. Experts on J&K affairs are aware that the Ruler of the state was the only competent authority to accede which he did on 26th October, 1947. The Governor-General of India accepted the Accession the next day. The same day the Indian Army landed at Srinagar Airport. It launched an aggressive counter against the enemy to drive them out of the Valley. The ‘format’ of the Instrument of Accession for all the states was similar. All the princes had acceded in respect of Defence, Foreign Affairs and Communication at the first stage. After the acceptance of their offers the States naturally merged with the Union. True, the Maharaja had introduced some conditions at the time of Accession by retaining some of the municipal powers for himself. On 20th August, 1952 the Constituent Assembly under the leadership of Sheikh Abdullah unanimously adopted a resolution piloted by D.P. Dhar terminating the monarchy in the State. With the abolition of Monarchy by the Constituent Assembly, all or any condition attached by the Monarch for himself stood discharged resulting into constitutional merger of the State, the same day. The status of the Raj Pramukh (the Regent) was switched over to an elected Sadar-e-Riyasat. The Accession was ratified by the Constituent Assembly.

The Constitution of J&K was launched formally on 26th January, 1957. Section 3 of the Constitution unequivocally states that “J&K is integral part and shall remain integral part of India”. This provision clearly provides in the First Schedule, item no.15 of Article-1 of the Constitution of India which includes J&K as one of the States of the Union of India. How unfortunate, several notables have been defending J&K Chief Minister’s statement that J&K is not integral part of India. Even the Foreign Minister and the Union Home Minister have extended solidarity with this philosophy.

Undoubtedly, J&K is as good integral part of India as State of Mysore which now is renamed as ‘Karnataka’ or any other state is concerned. The Chief Minister, it seems is adamant to continue his advocacy for his lost cause out of frustration and mental agony. His father is a member of the Council of Ministers in the Centre besides being head of National Conference. His silence on his son and party Chief Minister is intriguing. If he does not accept J&K an integral part of India what right he has to sit in the Union Cabinet. One wonders how Dr. Farooq Abdullah is still a Cabinet Minister in the Central government when his son does not believe that the state is integral part of the Union. Omar Abdullah himself served as a Minister in the Central Govt. in the government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. One may ask him in how he took oath of allegiance to the Constitution of India. What he had been doing for two years in the South Block, simply spying for his hidden masters?

Ali Shah Geelani, a Jamaat leader of Kashmir which does not enjoy more than 6% of support of the Kashmiri Muslims has been exploiting the failures, corruption and inefficiency of the ruling ‘NC’ got an opportunity to raise the burning issue which touched the nerves of the oppresses masses. He got elected twice as a Legislator in J&K and since has been drawing full pension for his services as MLA. His recent visit to Delhi on the invitation of ‘undesirable elements’ and his hate shouting for the speech wit others has unfortunately generated a kind of communal tension in the capital and other places. The Union Home Minister may be the first Union Minister in the country who described J&K situation as a ‘political dispute’ and Accession as ‘unique’. This leads to believe that P. Chidambaram is online with Ali Shah Geelani and Omar Abdullah. The three musketeers dispatched from Delhi as interlocutors may gather fragrance of Kashmir for the echelons of power in Delhi. They have started reciting the so-called ‘Kashmir dispute’ which Geelani has been insisting to be accepted. The interlocutors have crossed the limit of basic norms and harping for a dialogue with Pakistan was that in their agendas.
There is a forceful belief that interlocutors have been dispatched with full freedom to recite the irresponsible utterances of the Chief Minister to justify him. This is being done to prolong the life line of his tenure as Chief Minister.

What has happened to the eight point declaration of the Union Home Secretary in Srinagar which was meant to rescue the Chief Minister and which the latter described as a ‘trespass’ into his domain? The Chief interlocutor has surprised his admirers with his statement in Srinagar that the problem ‘dispute’ as he called it, cannot be resolved without taking Pakistan into confidence. Are three musketeers (interlocutors) building their new bridges for their entry to Pakistan? Shall they represent MEA also besides Union Home Ministry?
The immediate remedy to restore peace in Kashmir lies in relieving the Chief Minister of his job which he has miserably failed to perform in accordance with the Constitution and to the satisfaction of the people. A short spell of Governor Rule can help restore peace and rebuild confidence of the people. The Chief Minister has lost credibility and acceptance both. Any delay in his exit may prove security risk. Fresh Assembly elections may be unavoidable to address the aspirations and wishes of the people who desire freedom from corruption, inefficient and biased government. That may open the door of democracy for all including the angry Kashmir leaders.

This message has to go to every Kashmiri as well as to every citizen of India that J&K is as good integral part of India as Delhi, Punjab or Mysore is. Had J&K not merged constitutionally, Indian Parliament could not have interfered by introducing Article 370. Moreover, after Sheikh Abdullah the author of ‘Quit Kashmir’ movement and principle actor of abolition of monarchy had himself signed an Accord with s. Indira Gandhi in 1975 accepting entire constitutional arrangement with the Union. The National Conference cannot be allowed to question the integration or the mandate of the Constitution. Describing such ‘absurd’ issues as ‘dispute’ only to save their power-caps the NC leaders shall not be allowed to exploit the innocent people any more. J&K merged through Accession with the Union thus formed its integral part. Any challenge to its status needs to be dealt with according to the law of the land. 27th day of October is for the people of J&K, what 15th August is for the people of the entire country.

(The Author is Chairman of J&K National Panthers Party with an experience in the State affairs for the past 50 years)

(Opinions expressed in writeups/articles/Letters are the sole responsibility of the authors and they may not represent the Scoop News)

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