Right to express, assaulted
Prashant Bhushan is law incarnate holding fast the ideals supreme in the world
COMMENT BY DR A MAJID SIRAJ
A highly respected member of the India’s civil society and a top Supreme Court lawyer was assaulted in his own chamber because he expressed dispassionate and veritable views that are already entrenched in the dispute overwhelming Kashmir politics. Prashant made a statement to stop ruthless treatment of people in Kashmir and accept their demands. These are the two main ingredients of this episode. Prashant is politically and legally right. Where has he gone wrong, legally or politically? All this happened within the dome of protection laws and constitution of India, that offers its people immunity from bully and assault. In the shadows of Article 19 in which freedom of expression is guaranteed and Article 32 of the Indian Constitution safeguarding the fundamental rights of its individuals this gentleman was invaded by apparently men with a political motive expressed in a lynch mob mentality. Prashant Bhushan is an important member of Team Anna and a prominent political activist who is proactive in fighting corruption. They have achieved success in creating Lokayat surveillance to the detriment of corrupt villains of Indian administration. At the very epitome of law and order they misused nationalist emotions and caused mayhem. The root cause identified as a threat to national integrity. In order to prevent such an eventuality they will deny a right to a plebiscite as their incentive to violence.
Shri Ram Sena and Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena militant activists who attacked Prashant call him antinational and seditious only because he exhorts a call to offer people the right to determine themselves. Does it not occur to them that denial of this right equals to peremptory occupation and therefore a violation of international laws? Terms A; 1 (1) of ICCPR 1966 obligates States to permit people to freely determine their political status. Inadvertently and to the detriment of the extremist all this commotion has highlighted and further publicized the sacrosanct demand of people of Jammu & Kashmir to restore them the credibility of their demands for the right to self-determination. As Prashant has quoted the ‘Apex court has ruled in Kedarnath VS State of Bihar case that; ‘you cannot be a traitor and be accused of sedition unless you preach public disorder or violence’. In fact the attackers that caused disorder if they start beating respected citizens and their leaders encourage the perpetrators by saying well done and start beating up at random, then they are the culprits. They have already been booked for illegal trespass, assault and causing hurt. They must also stand charges to promote hatred and disharmony.
While Prashant has no regrets and will not withdraw his statement, meantime the Lokayat team has been put on pressure. Arvind Kerjiwal was obliged to parrot the melody that Kashmir is integral to India. The conglomerate extremist parties where this pressure steams off will never give you an argument of validation of their claim and how they stand to scrutiny? Prashant in simple words has said that plebiscite is an offer made to Kashmiris and should be considered. How can you govern a place if people are not with you? Shiv Sena Chief Bal Thackeray applauded physical assault on Prashant that is an open support for a criminal act, justifying the act of violence by assertion that Prashant supported the demands of Pakistan. Nothing was said about people of Kashmir who are out in a bloody times for over sixty years making their political demand. Prashant is an eminent lawyer and would not expect him to voice an illegal claim. He knows plebiscite is a mandatory practice or opinion juris et necessitates for any member State if there is a standing agreement with a section of people under its control. He presumed knowledge of UN Res. 13 August 1948 in which India is a party, fully endorsed by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
Prashant must have taken into consideration the hostility shown by some parties against plebiscite. In listing a few I quote the author S Bose who stated the salience of GOI stand as 1. Entrenched interests of India and Pakistan; 2. Political diversity; Plebiscite will be undemocratic if the vote will be divided between India and Pakistan. The contention that people of Kashmir have already expressed their choice by partaking in local elections has been refuted by all authorities in international forums. On political diversity I will quote my meeting with J.N.Dixit the veteran Indian politician and Minister. In Oxford University workshop on Kashmir he gave figures of disparate groups like Gujars, Shias, Bakerwals, Pundits, Hindus and loyalist Muslims and reiterated that plebiscite for the remaining hardliner Muslims would be meaningless. I interceded with a rejoinder in the full house seminar that simply said ‘Why for the sake of peace in the region do we not permit a plebiscite and let all groups have their chance and India will still have the support they want?’ Prashant also knows that the condition of complete military withdrawal by Pakistan as a precondition to plebiscite was not fulfilled. The simple answer is ‘why hold people of Kashmir hostage to an infringement committed by Pakistan’? Or why not ask Pakistan to pinch their earlobes with right hand fingers, say sorry and start complete withdrawal of military now, as agreed and hold a plebiscite under UN supervision?
The stalwarts have put words in their mouth and even the Team Anna will say that Kashmir is an integral part of Indian Union. Why can someone not volunteer and rationalize that statement without wrapping it in emotional covers. There is an obligation to International Laws for the greatest democracy on Earth. It was reiterated in the Western Sahara Case (1975) (GA Res. 2229(xxi) G.O.A.R 21st sess. That ‘People determine the destiny of the territory and not the territory to determine the destiny of the people’. This has now become a customary law and India is a party. Prashant Bhushan is law incarnate and will hold fast the ideals that are supreme in the world.
Lastupdate on : Sat, 15 Oct 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 15 Oct 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 16 Oct 2011 00:00:00 IST
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