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Kashmir center for social & Development studies(KCSDS) submitted a memorandum to congress delegation headed by former Prime Minster, Sh. Manmohan Singh,visiting J&K on 16th-17th September 2017.

KCSDS is an Advocacy Centre and the largest civil society formation in the state. It highlights and carries out advocacy on all issues of economic, social, cultural, environmental and political nature It also acts as a watchdog on the govt. In other words it builds opinion on important issues facing the state on the universal principles of justice, human rights, equity and genuine democratic principles.

We the members of Kashmir Centre for Social and Development Studies put before you the following points for your thoughtful consideration, introspection and necessary course correction in your attitude and policy towards Kashmir.

  1. First of all, let us remind you that it was congress Govt in India that pledged Right to self determination to the formerly princely state in UNSC, and promised the same to people of Kashmir in Lal Chowk, in Indian Parliament and through communication channels very emphatically.

It was  Congress Govt to  whom Maharaja Hari Singh as a Sovereign of the state ceded only three areas on which it could make laws to which the Governor General put a rider that in case of dispute, the matter should be referred to people  for the final disposition of the state. It was in view of the conditional accession and UNSC Resolutions on Kashmir passed in 1948 and 1949 that Indian Constituent Assembly ( on the  advocacy of Pt Nehru) included Article 370 as a temporary article in Indian constitution to define the  constitutional \ administrative relationship of Kashmir with the Indian Union till the final settlement  of the dispute.

But you began the relationship  not only by reneging on all your commitments but violating each with impunity. You extended  Act after Act of  your  constitution  to our state to rob us of our residual sovereignty like 356, 357, 355 , changed the nomenclature of prime minister and sadre riyasat, abolished the entry permit system  into Kashmir in 1960, discarded  sadre- Reyasat as a permanent resident of the state, elected by JK Legislature . All that was done by questionable electoral practices.

  1. To begin with you turned a blind eye to the genocide of Muslims in Jammu in 1947 and saw to it that it does not find a mention in the history books. In fact you rewarded some of  the  perpetrators of the carnage.
  2. Your Govts. pandered to the will of RSS and such Hindu extremist groups  from the very beginning in relation to Kashmir and committed the first murder of democracy by  arresting Sheikh Abdullah, the prime minister of Kashmir in 1953 at the behest of the propaganda  launched by  RSS in Jammu and imprisoned him for 13 years on fabricated charges as present Govt is doing to Hurriyat leaders. After that you never looked back but manipulated and prostituted democracy to  engineer puppet govts. in the state to do your bidding.
  3. Congress Govts tried not only to territorialize but hinduize Kashmir through cultural aggression through various institutions and even   by politicizing Amarnath Yatra in recent years at the risk of environmental vandalism and ecological degradation of the fragile eco system in the region. Your regimes let the puppet govts. in the state do havoc with environment  and the forest land. Militarization has  completely  devastated our limited space and desecrated the sacred spaces of environment though-out the length and breadth of the state. In fact it is your tilt toward extreme right from the very inception of the modern Indian state that is responsible for the emergence in a big way of RSS-BJP Juggernaut in your country today. The jinni is  out of bottle and now you find it  extremely difficult to put it back in  its space. They have decimated all opposition including the biggest opposition, your congress party
  1. Your govt. presided  over the genocide of Kashmiris   till 2014 when BJP took over the reins of power to better  the example set by your govt. All the fundamental rights and freedoms and civil liberties were suspended in response to the intensified demand by people to exercise the right to self determination. In 1989-90 the slogan of Azadi not only symbolized popular protest against the denial of democracy but more so for freedom from Indian rule and restoration of dignity which was acutely felt had been violated by the Indian state. As simmering resentment transformed into mass rebellion, central govt  flung Kashmir into virtual military rule- marking its descent into a state of militarization from which it is yet to emerge. Your govt made Kashmir the laboratory for   giving security structure  the supremacy over the democratic govt. so much so that even when your home minister Mr Chidambaram advocated the withdrawal of AFSPA , it was army General who opposed the move and got it derailed by the pressure it build up on your govt.
  2. The transformation of military by your govts. into an agent of domestic repression, arbitrary detention,, extra -judicial killing, torture, rape and sexual abuse constitutes part of the process of militarization. In a context characterized by the elimination of distinction between war and human rights abuse, the military functions as an agent of the state not only not bound by the rules of war, the rule of law but in fact empowered to violate each with impunity. Kashmir exemplifies the intersection between militarization for external defense and use of the military for domestic repression that has transformed  the Indian state  into a source of deep insecurity for its citizens in the state and converted the Indian military into an illegitimate agent of repression. Both, in turn seriously undermined the democratic credentials of the state.
  3. In fact it is your Govt. that obfuscated and mystified the real issue by giving it any name other what it is in reality. It tried to change the whole rightist discourse into a discourse of cross- border terrorism thereby justifying the  highest militarization and securitization of Kashmir. Instead of taking steps to resolve the issue according to universal principles of justice, democratic principles, you gave a free hand to your agencies not only to terrorize us with the use of  brute force but to  intensify divisions  in the state- religious, sectarian and regional to create a blizzard of view points, a babble of voices to stall a just and democratic  solution of Kashmir imbroglio. Over the years you generated a post modernist discourse on Kashmir whereby each voice other than that of  the majority community is privileged  in the state. General Sinha, the Governor actively put in place a psychological war in the state and tried to prolong yatra for at least six months by installing artificial shiv lingum in the cave. Your agencies created the dreaded force of renegades from among Kashmiris to create havoc  as counter insurgency  brutal tactics in the state. Your agencies further tried to fracture the monolithic narrative of Kashmir freedom movement by creating dissension even within our community. Naturally to build consensus in such a  situation you thought is an impossible dream and this way you found an escape route  to wriggle out of the issue altogether. You demonized rising voices against your dirty business in Kashmir from India like Arundhati Roy so that  truth never prevails.

8 You shattered our economy from 1947 through slow poisoning. You never made Kashmir part of the growth trajectory of your country. Till 1947 our trade ratio was to our benefit. you have reduced us to dependent consumer economy and made it possible for NHPC to loot and scramble our water resources; whereas we are plunged into darkness in winters , our power is enjoyed by people in the north. .

  1. Narsima Rao promised “sky is the limit” to resolve the dispute but never moved an inch forward on the resolution. In fact your govts. only moved backwards regressively by using draconian tactics to control the populace.
  2. You appointed  five working groups for recommending CBMS, only to put the recommendations in the dustbin of history.
  3. You appointed interlocutors only to deflect attention of the world from your dirty doings in Kashmir. That is why you did not even care to look at their recommendations.

13.Your special gifts to Kashmir have been extreme repression, militarization of the society, brutality and brutalization, enforced disappearances, the horror of pellet guns, fake encounters, torture, rape, custodial extra judicial killings , murders by invisible hands besides the visible ones and the list is too long to mention here.

14.Your performance in Parliament regarding resolution of Kashmir have been a huge disappointment. You have buried your own principles to appease the right wing anti Kashmir, anti Muslim ideology.

Kashmiris are insulted, humiliated, demonized and ridiculed by the corporate media under a Govt sponsored agenda and your response to this character assassination has been dismal. In fact even your spokespersons join the ‘ heavenly choir’ of RSS-BJP brigade in this war propaganda! But the media as the predator rather than the protector of human rights and dignity started  during your era. Ironically the said media demonizes the victims of repression and lionizes the perpetrators of the crimes against humanity. The prime time slot is used for anti Kashmiri propaganda. Every day since BJP took over but you have never raised a finger against it. You used the hanging of even Afzal Guru as a double edged weapon to pander to the RSS brigade on the one hand and to stall the juggernaut of Modi on the other. But you failed miserably in both. This is what happens when you set aside your own principles for expediency. You could not communicate to people your own glowing achievements in India during your tenure but tried to out smart BJP in appeasement of the rightist ideology which brought your downfall.

Since BJP took over, it has been a descent into hell. They not only followed your footsteps but have been trying to outdo you in every aspect of life in Kashmir. Besides brutally killing small boys every day who join militancy out of the extreme repression, and used pellet gun to spread the dark vision it has envisioned for Kashmir and in spite of world condemnation has not removed it from the field. It has denied any political space to Hurriyat and is trying to decimate them by using NIA now under Doval doctrine to crush the entire movement. They have made elaborate plans of changing the demography of the state by identifying land for Sanik colonies, separate pandit enclaves, ear marked some twenty thousand crores for making shelters for roughly five lac homeless persons from outside the state under NULM central scheme and now seeking judicial route to abrogate art. 35A as the final solution to Kashmir dispute. The repression has reached extreme limits and only political bold initiative could retrieve the situation

It extended SARFESI Act, Central Statistical Act and now GST within a short span of time to bury the remnants of residual sovereignty of the state. PDP has become a willing handmaid of BJP and succumbs before it on every issue for remaining in power.

We were self reliant till 1947  with surplus trade on our side but today we have been reduced to dependent consumer economy with the fraudulent policies  of the centre to weaken our economic power The centre never gave counter gurantees to foreign investors in our proposed power projects.

This Civil Society deposed before Justice Verma commission constituted in the aftermath of Nirbaya episode. While Verma Commission recommended that rape should be delinked from the line of duty which is granted immunity from prosecution in case of violations under purview of AFPSA, it was a congress Minister, Mr Ashwani  who opposed it on the plea that such a move will demoralize the forces and your govt rejected the recommendation.

It was Karan Singh who patronised the West Pakistani Refugees to raise voice for permanent residence in & outside Parliament to change the demographics and politics of Kashmir.

Way Forward

  1. First and foremost,  for making a forward movement , you owe it to the Indian people to educate them about the genesis of Kashmir issue and the pledges made to Kashmiris from time to time by the govt. of India which have remained unfulfilled.

2.Demonstrate your sincerity and seriousness by educating the public opinion, talking about the issue in all relevant fora including the parliament and earn confidence of people of JK by promoting settlement of Kashmir in accordance with the promises made to the people of Kashmir.

3.Educate the Indian public about the actual reasons behind the temporary nature of 370 and article 35A as a protective article of the residual sovereignty of the state. Because state had a sovereign position when it entered into a limited conditional relationship with the Indian union. Kashmir has given India a jurisdiction over three areas, even though majority of Kashmiris interrogate the legitimacy of accession document itself. Be that as it may,India has not granted any special position to the state We are the givers and you are the receivers and not vice versa.Hence the argument that India has given us  special status  is  false factually wrong. This wrong impression you need to correct by using various communication channels with the people of India to tell them that India has not granted any special status to Kashmir.Instead Kashmir has given India some of its sovereign powers.

4.Advocate a halt to all coercive measures resorted to discredit the leadership and businessmen by so-called investigation of their belongings.

5.Float a proposal in parliament for the Restoration of the pre 1953 position as a grand CBM to be followed by the final resolution through meaningful time bound tripartite negotiations.

6.Emphasize on Demilitarizing the entire   civilian space and sending the army and other forces to their original respective places from where they came.

7.Withdrawal of draconian laws like AFSPA, PSA, NSA and other such laws forthwith.

8,Sensitize Indian masses about the actual story of the Kashmir issue.

9.Advocate an end to all human rights abuses and violations and punishment to the guilty personnel and restoration of all civil and political liberties

10.To atone for its wrongs , let congress members educate public   through their writings in daily papers and taking time slots on prime time TV channels to tell the truth about Kashmir.

11.Let leading congress lawyers like M/s Kapil Sibal, Singhvi & Tewari appear before SC to defend Article 35A.

These are only tips of the iceberg . The real story of colossal suffering and tragedies remain untold in the short space. In fact it is almost impossible to make you understand what Kashmir is and has gone through especially for the past three decades of attack on all human rights and freedoms.

O’ intelligence give me the exact word

So that my word becomes the thing itself, the experience itself

Freshly created by my soul

So that you can understand what it means to be held against your will, to be imprisoned in your   soil by forces which are alien to you and who are ever ready to pounce on you!

One Comment

  1. K SHESHU BABU says:

    A lot of damage has been done by congress before the present hindutva rulers began to take advantage and complete the loot and dismantle whatever is left in kashmir autonomy. Hence, the congress owes a lot to the Kashmir problem. At least now, it shuld accept all the wrongs done and pledge support to the people in their struggle for self determination. It should not allow the rss/ vhp hindutva forces to suppress people with armed forces, abolish special status article 370 and treat kashmiris as anti – nationals