Interlocutors' report is silent about some grave issues
ABDUL MAJID ZARGAR
With the publication of New Delhi's nominated interlocutors report on Jammu Kashmir, the genie is finally out of the bottle- Barely a few months ago, in response to an application under RIT, the Home Ministry had denied its publication on the ground of “National security”. Whether during this short interregnum, the parameters of National security have changed or the hearts & minds of My- Lords in New-Delhi, remains to be seen. Interestingly the report has been made public when a senior official of the Home Ministry was in Pakistan to negotiate the Siachen issue. The timing appears to have been arranged to get a first hand reaction from Pakistani establishment.
The interlocutors have ruled out return of the Delhi-Srinagar relations to pre-1953 position using the infamous metaphor that hands of a clock cannot be turned back. Wisdom should have dawned on them to realize that when a clock gets stuck and does not display correct time, its hands have to be moved, even backward, if that is the shortest distance to reach the correct time.
The report calls for a “review” of all laws extended to the state after 1952. It suggests setting up of a Constitutional committee to look into perceptions of erosion of various freedoms enjoyed by the state before 1952, but adds that the review must safeguard India’s sovereignty and security and also keep the welfare of the state in mind. That is akin to a thief acknowledging stealing of valuables but refusing to return on extraneous considerations.
It has also recommended replacing word “special” against “temporary” appearing before Article 370 of the Indian constitution. It is a known fact that the use of word “temporary” prefixed to article 370 (originally article 306A) was to facilitate the promise of self determination given to people of State. The interlocutors should have done well to refresh their knowledge by looking at the Indian Constituent Assembly debate in this regard. Against this backdrop, the recommendation of interlocutors to replace the Word “temporary” with “special” amounts to further erosion of the Article instead of giving it some strength.
Even the regional council formula has problems. J&K's three regions have contradictory views on Article 370 and its impact. While Hindus of Jammu and Budhists of Leh favour integration, the majority view in the rest favor right of self determination. This would be de facto trifurcation of Kashmir with Budhist Leh and Hindu Jammu pulling one way and the rest another. The report has even suggested leaving Pakistan out of the scene, if necessary but recommended making LoC irrelevant. It is beyond comprehension as to how that can be achieved without going to a war with Pakistan.
It calls for future Central laws not to be applied except for "internal or external security or for vital economic interests like water resources". That is a definition that could include pretty much anything, including the controversial issue of NHPC-run hydel plants, a deal every person from J&K feels is unfair. Making laws on State’s water resources tantamount to a license to New-Delhi to loot & plunder States natural resources, as our previous experience has shown.
Besides repeating an oft-heard rhetoric of zero-tolerance, the report is almost silent on the grave human rights violations committed by security forces in the State. If the report could recommend central funding for one institution or the other, what prevented it from recommending extradition of Major Avtar Singh enjoying his life in USA with State patronage? Why it is silent on those who have committed mass rapes in Kunanposhpora? The interlocutors themselves visited Shopian and heard the story of victims families and even shed tears. Then what prevented them in castigating the government & its agencies for their hush-up operation. The least it could have done was to suggest a road map for punishing men-in-uniform who can easily be accused of committing war crimes & crimes against humanity in our State.
The interlocutors claim to have met numerous organizations & forums and have appended an annexture identifying them by name. From a cursory look at the annexture it can safely be said that most among them are either fake or one-man letter head organizations dubiously funded by the state to be of some use in times of need. Many names have been added twice or thrice indirectly in an attempt to lend artificial credence to the report. That dents the credibility of report & interlocutors.
(The author is a practicing chartered Accountant. Feedback at email@example.com)
Lastupdate on : Sun, 10 Jun 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 10 Jun 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 11 Jun 2012 00:00:00 IST
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