Friday, August 9, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Handling men, matters and militants: PM’s unfinished agenda in Kashmir

In his article (Aug 2), Hari Jaisingh wants Mr Vajpayee to find a final solution to the J&K problem. In case the PM does decide to do it, the examples are right there before him. India has to handle Kashmir as China handled Tibet, or as Russia handled Chechnia, or even as the USA handled the Taliban. Today the UN or other countries do not talk of Tibet. China talks only of China. India, too, has to deal with Kashmir in the like manner. Silently, but effectively. Above all, fearlessly. The Government of China cannot guarantee human rights to those who do not recognise that government. A traitor is a traitor, and has to be dealt with as such. Could there be a better-principled or a more logical stand? At this stage we start talking of democracy, but our half-baked politicians and the over-zealous TV-anchors must realise that even democracy has to function within the parameters of nationalism and patriotism.

Hari Jaisingh finds "the absence of India's assertion of its claim on PoK intriguing." As the aggrieved party, it is India that should have made PoK an issue; paradoxically it is Pakistan that succeeded in making an issue of J&K. We do not like to admit it, but the Pakistanis have far excelled our politicians and media persons. Jinnah succeeded where Nehru and Gandhi failed. Indira Gandhi made a diplomatic mess of the excellent military victory whereas Bhutto carried the day in spite of the devastating defeat. And now Musharraf has made Vajpayee, Gujral and Bhatia look like pygmies for the act of talking of ever-lasting bonds between the two peoples just because they happen to have a few personal friends across the border.


To top it all, Pakistan won China's friendship by gifting it Indian territory and this nation of 100 crores sat and stared helplessly like a pack of fools.

Those who talk of trifurcating J&K should realise that unification is always a better choice. Culturally, contiguous areas like Chamba, Kangra and Pathankot etc should be merged with J&K and every Indian should be given the freedom to settle and serve in any Indian state. The Congress owes an apology to the nation on this count and should now come up with active support to enable the present government to remove all legal bottlenecks in this effort.

Mr Vajpayee has been wise in refusing to talk Kashmir with anyone except the Kashmiris. May he have the strength to stick to that! All other parties and the people need to extend their support to the PM in his resolve. Parliament, too, should atone for the past inaction by unanimously asking the J&K CM to lead Kashmiri Pandits back to Kashmir and ensure their safety, or quit the post he holds. In the latter event all the MPs should themselves undertake the job.

L. R. SHARMA, Solan

Centre's non-policies: The fanaticism of murderous gangs holding peace, people and politics to ransom in Kashmir is the result of non-policies of the powers that be at the Centre.

For a variety of reasons the people have been deprived of the right to good governance leading to frustration. The secessionist demands and communal riots are the manifestation of this frustration. And when these occur the situation is used by the authorities as another reason for the denial of democratic rights.

And this vicious circle continues in which lapses of citizens, the administration, the politicians and the system re-inforce one another. Holding elections in the valley, I am sure, will usher in a new life in politics and administration.


No miracles: To expect from the aging and ailing political leaders to bring or produce miracles would be foolish as they expert only in making long speeches without producing the desired results. Just see the Pakistan President's visit to Bangladesh. With a single stroke of his pen, he has pleased every person of that country barring a few. And the same is the case of his visit to Sri Lanka.

The main aim of Pakistanis is to clear the Kashmir valley of every Hindu and mostly they have succeeded in their design. Kashmiri Pandits have left their houses and property only to be looted by militants. To restore Kashmir’s old image and integrity, I would suggest to do what the then government did for the Andamans where poaching was done by foreign countries and no one wanted to settle there. Somebody in his/her wisdom found a noble idea of asking for volunteers from among the servicemen and many from Punjab settled there. During my visit to that place during the eighties, I found the Andamans flourishing better than Punjab.

Let us remove all hurdles without caring for any one and remove Article 370 and send volunteers from among servicemen to settle there to make a balance in the population. One can see the results over night.


Two-nation theory: The author has summed up the crux of the problem in the very first sentence that India has never been clear about what it wants in J&K. Pakistan, on the other hand, has been absolutely clear from the day one that Kashmir is a problem of Hindu-Muslim divide and is just a follow-up of the two-nation theory engineered into acceptance by India by the wily Britishers as their last mischief. Pakistani diplomats have been highly successful in marketing this distortion of grammar of politics to the pan-Islamic and European, especially American, forums.

For the first time in the last 50 years, America publicly took the stand that the demand for a plebiscite in J&K has become historically redundant. Colin Powell last week very cleverly staged a somersault by suggesting that the coming elections in J&K should be ensured to be free with the release of all political detainees (without making distinction between their belief in bullets or ballots), posting of international observers and similar other stipulations which will tantamount to converting the elections virtually into a plebiscite.

Regarding the demand for trifurcation of J&K, the author has adequately dealt with the dubious proposition. Suffice it to say that it will be playing into the hands of Pakistan's theocratic hypothesis and will have a chain reaction in other states where Muslims have a sizable population. There could be demand for bifurcation of those states within the Union as a way for protection of the minorities by citing the aberration of Gujarat.

Lastly, the author has rightly pointed out that the situation in J&K has become desperate due to the intricate global setting. Now desperate situations need drastic remedies. India must seriously think of one as a Lone Ranger to come out of the cul-de-sac in J&K.

R. C. KHANNA, Amritsar


Q. What can be the signature tune of our Petroleum Minister after the petrol pump scandal?

A. “Naik nahin, khalnaik hoon mein.”

A. P. Singh, Ludhiana

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