Rajmohan Gandhi's opinion on the way forward in Kashmir is out of context, vague and disconnected from reality. He also fails to identify how an Islamist Kashmir has taken shape within secular India.
- Reapan Tikoo
Way forward in Kashmir by Rajmohan Gandhi (Indian Express Dt. 10 June) is out of context, vague and disconnected from reality. Worse, it tries to blame Modi/Shah for trying to keep its poll promise on Kashmir. Rajmohan fails to state the obvious, that we have created an Islamist Kashmir within the shade of secular India. And if this drift isn’t arrested, Kashmir will be worse than Syria, Nigeria, Chad and Afghanistan. And biggest sufferes are and will be Kashmiris.
In August’1947, our State had a standstill agreement with Pakistan and India; this was violated by Pakistan by attacking us in October’1947. After Maharaja signed the accession treaty did the Indian Army came to save Kashmir and drove out the enemy with the active support of Kashmir's Salamati Fauj. This truth not being told to our children has destroyed Kashmir. Pakistan has to vacate occupied Kashmir (PoK), settle all the native Hindu/Sikh refugees back in PoK and move out the Punjabi settlers from Gilgat and transfer State land back from China to J&K. This is the only discussion on the table with Pakistan.
In 2002, J&K High Court went against Article 35A and upheld the Citizenship of female permanent resident even if she marries outsider. J&K Government implemented it as - females who marry outsiders, their children and spouse aren’t the State Citizen; and J&K Government went to Assembly with Permanent Resident Women Disqualification Bill to bypass the said High Court Judgment. In 2004, the unjust bill was not passed in the Assembly. This made possible the petition in the Supreme Court, later.
On 16th December’2016, Supreme Court stated that the J&K has no vestige of sovereignty outside the Constitution of India (CoI). CoI promises equality for all its Citizens. Gender inequality is unacceptable under CoI. Article-35A is devoid of equality & justice and is insular & inward in nature. World is changing. Tunisia, sometime back has repelled the law that banned the marriage of its women to non-Muslims. Saudi has allowed its women to drive cars and allows them to enter stadiums.
Rajmohan states, a Muslim majority area living and prospering in a Hindu majority India; this is so very incorrect. In 1947 the light Mahatama Gandhi saw in Kashmir is all encompassing darkness now. Majority of Hindu’s have fled Kashmir, more so since 1989.
In pre-independence census of Kashmir Province done by Scottish Missionary Doctor, Dr. Elmslie, the Hindus were around 19% in the Kashmiri Province. Before 1947, Muzafarabad was part of Kashmir region and is now part of PoK; it now has no non-Muslims. As per last census of 2011, Hindus are around 2% ( indigenous Pandits are few thousand, balance comprises mostly Hindu blue-collared workers from Bihar) and sex ratio is 854, one of the worse.
Rajmohan states, …ominous hints to transfer Hindu and Sikh population from elsewhere into Kashmir. Our own hundred thousand Hindu/Sikh State Subject refugees from J&K (Muzafarabad, Gilgat, Mirpur etc) in 1947 and later Refugees in 1965, 1971 and 1990 (Pandit Refugees), never got settled in Kashmir, despite most of them being from Kashmir Province. J&K Government granted citizenship rights to Uyghur Muslims in 1952 & Tibetan Muslims in 1959 and settled them in Srinagar. Even today children born in J&K to the Refugees Valmakis or Nepalese haven’t been provided citizenship. Ironically, as per Rajmohan, talent won’t be allowed to settle in our State if they are Hindu/Sikhs, while himself working in an equal opportunity country that welcomes talent from across the world. We need talented people of all shades so badly.
India can’t deny the rights to people of J&K that it offers to its other Citizens. Our isolation has to end. Our Children’s future can’t be mortgaged to past.