Of elections and K-resolution
NEW DELHI APPOINTED INTERLOCUTOR ON KASHMIR, PROF MM ANSARI WRITES ABOUT THE RECENTLY HELD PANCHAYAT ELECTIONS IN JAMMU AND KASHMIR AND THE RESOLUTION OF KASHMIR ISSUE
An overwhelming people’s response to the recent Panchayat elections in Jammu and Kashmir and its expected outcome offer a fresh opportunity for evolving an acceptable solution responsive to the aspirations of all residents of the State.
A decentralized form of participatory governance under the aegis of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRI) is most suited to J&K, which is extremely diverse in terms of geo-climatic conditions, endowment of natural resources, ethnicity and politico-economic aspirations.
Empowerment of Panchayats with adequate resources, commensurate with the requirements for discharge of local responsibilities provides an ample opportunity to resolve all the outstanding issues, which have contributed to the process of alienation among the people.
The emerging opportunities, mainly devolution of power to local bodies, to deal with the governance issue, is seen as a significant departure from the initiatives taken in the past to reach out a negotiated settlement, which focused on: (i) evolving consensus on the contentious issues between the Kashmiri leaderships, both mainstream and off-stream political parties, as well as the leadership of Jammu and Ladakh, and (ii) improving India-Pakistan relations, which has significant bearing on resolution of Kashmir conflict.
Aam Admi (Common man) has realized that :(i) resorting to violent methods for securing peace or for separation of a legally held territory is generally counter-productive; and (ii) a durable and acceptable solution can be worked out only through a dialogue process, which should be based on realistic and practical approaches.
The degree of insurgency and militancy in the state has, of late, appreciably declined, rather negligible, as compared to the security environment obtaining in the previous years. This augurs well for both reductions in all forms of violations and moving towards a solution based on dialogue and negotiations.
The separatist leaders have, however, declined the offer of joining the process of peaceful negotiations on the pretext of non-seriousness of India to resolve the matter. Without being clear about their objectives of seeking self-determination in a fundamentally democratic country, they tend to put pre-conditions for participation in the dialogue process, which are unacceptable on legal and administrative grounds. They may have now sensed the public mood and sprit of upholding democratic principles for solving internal problems.
Truly speaking, a time span of over six decades is too a long period for a community to live with sour feelings of loss of dignity and broken promises made by national leaders and statesmen. The need of hour is not only to assuage the feelings of neglect and apply healing touches but also to move from confrontation to reconciliation for securing peace of a permanent nature.
India’s long-term goal of maintaining the territorial unity, integrity secular character of the State, participatory governance and the rights based approach to provide essential service forms a sound basis for assuring human dignity and welfare of people.
A permanent and peaceful solution of Kashmir issue would largely depend on the extent to which all the major stakeholders, particularly the diverse socio-economic and ethnic groups of people of J&K, are empowered to share and reap the benefits of development. Through a concerted policy planning, every section should be placed in a win-win situation to be able to realize economic aspirations, which is, however, not possible without mainstreaming the people in the democratic process of self- governance and participatory development. The system of local governance under PRI offers a hugely enhanced opportunity in this regard.
The status of pre-1947 J&K has changed. The provinces of J&K are administered, in parts, by India, Pakistan and China. On the present reckoning, it seems unlikely, rather impossible, that in the foreseeable future any of these countries would vacate the occupied territories for which they have fought prolonged wars at huge political risks and economic costs, the burden of which have been borne by the poorest of the poor people of the world living in these countries. Recognizing the legal validity of accession to India, a compromise on the basis of maintaining the status quo, with or without minor adjustments, has to be reached between India and Pakistan.
The UN Resolution of 1949, which mandated the conduct of a plebiscite in the pre 1947 J&K provinces is the major source of fueling the separatist’s sentiments and feelings of alienation among certain sectarian groups. Until this resolution is made inapplicable, it may be difficult to contain the violent agitations by the separatist groups, who have a mistaken view that the said Resolution provides for an option to secure Independence for Kashmir Valley, of the nature, which India and Pakistan attained in 1947.
The fact that India and Pakistan agreed under the Shimla Agreement of 1972 to mutually resolve the dispute through dialogue and negotiations and that there is constitutional linkage between the Indian Union and the J&K State, there is no scope for mediation of any third party in the internal matter of India. Obviously, Kashmir conflict cannot be legally resolved at international level.
Kashmir issue, therefore, boils down to the task of recognizing Line of control as international border and working out a fine balance of greater autonomy versus integration of different provinces of the State and that too without compromising on matters relating to the unity, integrity and secular character of the State. An effort in this direction would surely reduce the alleged trust deficit between the Centre and the state and thus allow the state to function autonomously, for which all the political parties aspire.
In effect, thus, good governance under the aegis of Panchayat institutions can alone remove alienation and economic frustration among the people. A reasonably high degree of accountability in functioning of the State would surely justify greater autonomy. It is, therefore, incumbent upon every section of society to exercise democratic rights and participate in the development process and to promote the culture of peaceful co-existence in a secular society.
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Lastupdate on : Mon, 27 Jun 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 27 Jun 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 28 Jun 2011 00:00:00 IST
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