Friday, July 20, 2001,
Chandigarh, India



Life beyond terrorism and follies over Kashmir

This refers to Mr Hari Jaisingh’s “There is life beyond terrorism” (July 13). The seeds of the Kashmir dispute were sown at the time of partition by Maharaja Hari Singh, the then ruler of J&K, when he chose to remain independent and not accede to either India or Pakistan.

He failed to realise that being situated on the border and militarily weak, J&K will be vulnerable to aggression from any of the unscrupulous neighbours.

India committed follies after follies over Kashmir resulting in today’s messy situation. First in their zeal to taste power in haste, the Indian leaders had no time to persuade the Maharaja to desist from this suicidal course.

India’s second mistake was when it delayed intervention after Pakistan’s invasion of Kashmir until the Maharaja signed the instrument of accession. It may have been right morally and legally, but all is fair in love and war. The delay enabled Pakistan to occupy one-third of Kashmir without resistance.

When it did intervene and our forces got the upper hand, Gandhian morals again came in the way and it declared a ceasefire without completing the task of throwing out the invaders. That was its third folly for which we are paying with our blood even today.

Luckily for India, some of its many other princely states like Junagarh, which also entertained similar ideas as J&K, were situated far from the border and thus away from our neighbour’s mischief. Otherwise, we could have had many more Kashmirs on our hands.

WG CDR C. L. SEHGAL (retd), Jalandhar


Kashmir issue:
Even a novice in politics knows that quitting Kashmir is not possible for India in ordinary circumstances. It will turn so-called secular India into a Hindu-dominated India. Furthermore, it will encourage separatist movements elsewhere in India to follow the course of Kashmir

India will seriously consider the Kashmir issue only when it becomes impossible for it to hold on to Kashmir.

The West and Israel are at the back of India to take the Islamic militants’ punch. The forces in India, who are loyal to such western interests, will not allow any resolution of the issue.


A solution: The Kashmir problem must be sorted out by negotiations among various political parties of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. There must be a consensus on some formula. There should be no room for Pakistan as well as Islamic fundamentalist and secessionist forces.

If the peace process fails among the Kashmiris, then Jammu and Kashmir should be reorganised. The people of Jammu demand a separate state and similarly the people of Ladakh demand UT status. This can be another solution to the Kashmir problem.


Accept realities: General Musharraf’s point that the reality of two wars between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, the uprising of Kashmiris for self-determination etc. should be accepted by India and forward efforts be made to solve the problem before other issues pressed by India can be addressed.

Pakistan has to admit the reality of 33 crore Muslim population in India, far more than the total population of Pakistan. They have full rights to participate in elections and governance.

Why can’t the Muslims of Kashmir, even less than one crore, live the same way?


Return of Chohan

This refers to P.C. Dogra’s “Ex-terrorists’ threat to Punjab peace” (July 10). The return of Jagjit Singh Chohan, Wassan Singh Zaffarwal et. al. may turn out to be a sinister ISI plan to revive the Khalistan movement. Lt Gen Javed Nasir, Chairman, Pakistan Sikh Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (who was once the chief of the ISI), has also stated that the Sikhs’ separate identity should be incorporated in the Constitution of India.

It is ironical that our political masterminds find nothing serious or wrong in these sinister developments. Instead, Zaffarwal and Chohan are being given political patronage, little realising that the present day peace in Punjab has been very dearly attained after sacrificing the lives of more than 12,000 civilians and 2,000 policemen.


A good gesture: We should be optimistic that militant groups have decided to shun violence and achieve Khalistan through peaceful means. After all they have come to the conclusion that violence cannot be useful for achieving their goal. I think it is the attachment for their motherland that they are returning to it to spend their remaining life. They may be given a chance to do so.

If the leaders who had burnt copies of Article 25 can be given a chance to become ministers and even Chief Minister, why ex-terrorists cannot be given a chance to lead a peaceful life in their homeland?

Dr Dogra is right in his opinion that the terrorists who masterminded massacres are being welcomed with open arms whereas the police officers who combated terrorism at grave risk are being prosecuted. The cases of both terrorists as well as police officials should be sympathetically considered as a goodwill gesture.


Declining interest rate

Senior citizens have a sinking feeling over the falling rates of interest of bank and post office deposits. Most of them depend mainly on interest income. The Finance Minister should allow an additional rate of interest of at least 1 per cent on the deposits made by those above 60.

R. K. JAIN, Jagadhri


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