Abdullah's Autonomy

What we are going through at present is the sequel of what has happened with us in the past

“We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing,     
  while others judge us by what we have already done.”    
  Henry Wadsworth


Here is a rejoinder of an article titled as “Disingenuous Analysis” (GK 2nd Aug 2016), by  National Conference spokesperson, Juniad Mattu written in response to my viewpoint titled “The Memorandum of Gratitude” (GK on 31st July 2016). My write up has been termed as mendacious, alleging that I have handpicked only some part of the memorandum to reach a pre-established conclusion. The NC spokesperson further holds that I quote, “We – with all the baggage of a complicated and complex history – will continue to seek justice and resolution from the system we are a part of – no matter how imperfect it is and no matter how many compulsions and challenges we face.”. He retreats further that, “While our party believes that the restoration of Autonomy is the most feasible, practical and sustainable solution to the vexed political issue – we don’t want to ride on fifty coffins to further a partisan agenda”. What is this baggage of complicated and complex history, the spokesperson is talking about ……?. As a member of civilized society, it becomes our duty to throw light on the historical facts which has led to Kashmir conflict and the present unrest in Kashmir.

Kashmir is caged for last more than three weeks now and has claimed sixty lives so far, more than 4000 injured and few hundreds having lost their eye sight. For almost last seven decades, the whole of Indian subcontinent in general and people of Jammu & Kashmir in particular are caught in the worst political turmoil, which has consumed three generations with more than a lac of people have sacrificed their lives. How we landed in this worst kind of conflict and oppression. The continued unrest has its roots in the Kashmir conflict which is as old as the ‘Conditional Accession’, of which the architect was Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah though it was signed by Maharaja Hari Singh.  The political discourse and the direction of the freedom struggle of people of Kashmir changed, when in 1938 Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah because of his proximity with Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, converted Muslim Conference into National Conference. Against the laid down principles of partition plan of 3rd June 1947 of  Indian Independence Act, to click the deal in favour of India, stress circumstances were created in favour of Maharaja Hari Singh to compel him to sign the instrument of accession in favour of India. As mentioned by Tarif Naaz in his book ‘Sheikh Abdullah a victim of betrayal’, “Sheikh Abdullah who was present in Delhi on 25th of Oct, 1947 also requested Pt. Nehru to accede to Maharaja’s request for Military help, when the same was being discussed in defense cabinet committee meeting under the chairmanship of Lord Mount Batten”. Mahatma Gandhi substantiated the same while speaking at a prayer meeting on Jan 4, 1948 in New Delhi, when he said, “if Pakistan harasses Kashmir and if Sheikh Abdullah who is the leader of Kashmir asks the Indian union for help, the latter is bound to send help. Such help therefore was sent to Kashmir”. It is worthwhile to mention here that Gandhi was instrumental in persuading the Maharaja to release Sheikh Muhammed Abdullah from the jail when he visited Srinagar on Ist August 1947. During the visit he also assured Begum Abdullah about the release of Sheikh, when he tasted Kashmiri Kulcha and goats milk at her residence at Soura. 


After Maharaja Hari Singh acceded to India on 26th Oct 1947, the Indian Government was under tremendous international pressure to implement the UN Security Council resolutions passed on 21st April 1948 and 13th August 1948, which directed both India and Pakistan to resolve Kashmir dispute through impartial plebiscite. Sheikh  Muhammad Abdullah opposed the UN resolution during his historical speech in UN Security Council on 5th February 1948, where he said, “if Pakistan comes forward and says, we question the legality of Accession, I am prepared to discuss……………………. We shall prove before the Security Council that Kashmir and the people of Kashmir have lawfully and constitutionally acceded to the Dominion of India, and Pakistan has no right to question that Accession”.  Again in 1950 when UN nominated Sir Owen Dixon, an Australian jurist, as the United Nations representative recommended ‘Regional Plebiscite in Jammu & Kashmir’, National Conference was the first to reject it in its General Council meeting on 27th Oct 1950. Sheikh decided to convene a Constituent Assembly to ratify the Accession of Jammu & Kashmir State with India and on 5th Nov 1951, while making an inaugural speech in the Constituent Assembly of Jammu & Kashmir, while pleading for ratification of Accession with India, he had all praises for its secular democracy and reminded the house that, “that the only powerful argument which can be advanced in favour of Accession with Pakistan is that it is a Muslim State and Jammu & Kashmir is having a big majority of Muslim population.  The appeal to religion constitutes a sentimental and wrong approach to the question. Sentiments has its own place in life but often it leads to irrational action”.  In 1953 on the question of state – centre relationship suspicion fueled between Delhi and Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah when he was arrested on 9th Aug 1953. To reinvent himself with the sentiments of people of Kashmir, he through Mirza Muhammad Afzal Beig, floated a new political party ‘Plebiscite Front’ on 9th Aug 1955. After his release, in 1972, Sheikh again showed an Olive branch to New Delhi for his rehabilitation, when he entered into an agreement, on 13th Nov 1974, famously known as ‘Indira – Sheikh Accord’. The accord was nothing but the surrender of ‘freedom struggle’ of Kashmir. Massive mandate of 1977 was a public approval for restoration of internal Autonomy. Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah  ruled the state up to Sept 1982 but Autonomy remained un-achieved. 


The ongoing unrest triggered by the killing of Burhan Wani, is a part of ongoing struggle for implementation of UN resolutions and holding “plebiscite” as demanded by Hurriyat Conference and Pakistan. Having opposed the UN resolutions in United Nations, Omar Abdullah in the memorandum has no moral right to plead that the union Govt. should initiate a sustain dialogue process with Pakistan and Hurriyat Conference. The present unrest is never aimed at Mufti’s mis-governance or judicial probes and restoration of mobiles / internet / newspaper services which are the main demands of NC in the memorandum. I still believe that National Conference and the Sheikh Dynasty has a “Choli Daman ka Sath” with the Kashmir conflict, as they have been a part of the problem, though always claiming to be the part of solution demanding Plebiscite, Aazadi, and Autonomy right from Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah to Omar Abdullah. In view of the chequered political history of Kashmir, Omar Abdullah having remained silent in the memorandum on the conflict resolution and expressing gratitude to Hon’ble Prime Minister and Hon’ble Home Minister for sending eye specialists is absolutely immoral. 


I, for one is neither in politics nor a politician but as a citizen has a constitutional right of freedom of expression which cannot be gagged off.   I, having drawn the salary / pension from the state ex-chaqure, is my earned right and is no body’s charity.  



 (Ab Qayoom Khan  (IFS) Rtd. is Member  All India Muslim Majlis – e- Mushawarat)