J&K

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HUMAN
Vol. 8—No. 5

Perspective

RIGHTS
Sep.-Oct., 2010

Bimonthly Review of Jammu and Kashmir Affairs with Human Rights Perspective

Lessons of the First Visit of Kashmir Interlocutors

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irst visit of Centre’s three interlocutors to Kashmir and Jammu, from October 23 to October 28, was significant mainly because it should have added to their understanding of the ground realities of the State. Predictably, the separatist leaders refused to meet them. When senior leaders of India, as part of the All Parties Group, took the initiative of calling on them, it was a gesture of goodwill. But even they could not assure the separatists any solution of the Kashmir problem beyond the limits of Indian Constitution. So far as mainstream parties are concerned, PDP, the main opposition party in Kashmir region, called it an exercise in futility. The ruling coalition partners, the National Conference and J&K Pradesh Congress Committee, expressed dismay over the non-inclusion of a politician among the interlocutors. The views of the mainstream parties are well known, and were reiterated at the All Party Conference held in Delhi, before the All Parties Group visited the State. They had also participated in the five Round Table Conferences, convened by the Prime Minister. Positives of the Visit On the positive side, the central team met the youth leaders in the jail as the Prime Minister, and Mrs Sonia had advised them. I have been campaigning for recognition of the fact that current movement was started by teenagers, and that their leaders should be contacted to know the motivations and causes of their discontent, and disillusionment. I had briefed the Prime Minister and the

Congress president with my views. The meeting of the interlocutors with them was first such contact made. In jail, the interlocutors also met some militants who offered them a peace plan at the end of about an hour and a half talk that Dileep Padgaonkar, the leader of the threemember interlocutor team, described as very useful. They further agreed to present a detailed road map in their next meeting. The visit to the house of Shakeel, husband and brother of the two young women, raped and murdered in May 2009, without notice, was a positive gesture. So was the visit to the office of Parveena Ahangar, president of the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons. Two members of the team—Dileep Padgaonkar and Radha Kumar—visited Jammu. They came on October 27 afternoon, and left for Delhi on 28 afternoon. The third member MM Ansari had to rush to Delhi due his engagements with the Central Information Commission, where he was working. Reaction in Jammu Some of the statements of the team members in Kashmir had provoked hostile reaction in Jammu. Padgaonkar, for instance, said that Pakistan had to be involved for a permanent solution to Kashmir dispute. Radha Kumar is reported to have said that Indian Constitution was flexible enough to accommodate the sentiment of Azadi, though she clarified that she was not properly quoted. Though there is nothing wrong with these views, but as interlocutors their job

Interlocutors’ job is to listen to all views and avoid expressing their own
was to listen to all views, and avoid expressing their own. Expectedly, Jammubased parties concluded that they were trying to appease Kashmiris, and were hostile to Jammu. Accordingly, the BJP and the Panthers Party boycotted the interlocutors. The BJP raised the issue at the national level, when its spokesperson expressed the fear that the comment of the head of the team “is unnecessarily internationalizing the process.” But despite these apprehensions, Jammu being not as homogeneous as Kashmir, where no voice of dissent is raised, many smaller groups— organizations of Muslims, Gujjars, Paharis, and refugees from Pakistan administered Kashmir—competed with each other to get an appointment with the interlocutors. I was the first person on whom they called. I briefed them on various aspects of the Kashmir issue—internal, external and international; and highlighted the need for harmonizing aspirations of the three regions of the State, and all its ethnic diversities through a federal decentralized constitutional and institutional set-up. I
(Contd. on page 8)

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September-October, 2010

Options for Kashmiri Leaders
vital question that the separatist leaders must decide is whether they want azadi (or any other such status outside India) for the whole State, or just for the Kashmiri-speaking community in the Valley. In either case, they must consider its implications. In the former case, (that is, the whole State) they must also decide the question of inter-regional relations, and constitutionalinstitutional arrangements to satisfy urges of all ethnic diversities in the new arrangement. I posed this question to Syed Ali Shah Geelani, when he was the president of the United Hurriyat. He assured me “We will treat Jammu and Ladakh much better than the present State government.” I, in turn, said that for his offer to come true two conditions were necessary: one, that he will remain supreme in the new set up; and two, that he be immortal. He then asked “do you want to constitutionalise the system?” I replied in the affirmative. Needless to say, that never happened. On another occasion, I offered to the Hurriyat leaders to organize an All Parties’ Conference on the internal constitutional setup of the State, irrespective of their views on its external status. The Hurriyat leaders told me “you are always welcome to discuss the matter with us.” I insisted that I want a formal decision of all the parties. After some time Yasin Malik came to Jammu, and asked me to revive my proposal. I replied that when I had made the proposal, the Hurriyat was united. I could invite it as sole representative of Kashmir region. Now it was divided. Moreover, an elected government was in power. Whatever be its support, the fact cannot be ignored. “If you are willing to sit with the other Hurriyat and the National Conference, I could still convene an All Parties’ Conference.” Obviously, Yasin was unwilling. I may invite the attention of the separatist leaders to State Peoples’ Convention convened by Sheikh Abdullah in 1968, as leader of the Plebiscite Front, the most popular secessionist group of the time. It was also attended, inter alia, by Mirwaiz Farooq, father of Mirwaiz Umar; Jamaat-e-Islami, of which Geelani was a member; besides GM Karra’s pro-Pakistan Peoples’ Conference. It unanimously accepted my draft on internal constitutional set-up of the State, irrespective of its status. It provided for regional autonomy and devolution of power to the district, block and panchayat levels. Would Mirwaiz and Geelani, the leaders

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of the rival Hurriyats accept this proposal, to which Mirwaiz Farooq and Jamaat-e-Islami were committed? Implications of Division of the State The other alternative is to divide the State and be prepared for its implications. Sajjad Lone, in his manifesto Achievable Nationhood, has offered to the Hindu areas of Jammu, and Buddhists of Ladakh the option to optout of the State. The Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council has endorsed the idea and demanded Union Territory status of Ladakh. Balraj Madhok, Dr. Karan Singh and Syed Shahabuddin had supported the idea of division of the State some time back at one stage or the other. The idea was also advocated by, among others, the Kashmir Study Group, a think-tank formed by the New York-based Farooq Kathwari, the richest and most influential Kashmiri in the US, and Selig Harrison, a leading American expert on the Indian subcontinent. Most of them modified their stand, after I discussed the implications of the idea with them. Farooq Kathwari, in a long telephonic talk, told me that the Kashmir Study Group, no longer supported the idea of division of the State and the best first step should be Regional Autonomy. At one stage, the BJP-led NDA government supported the idea of division of the State. I organized a conference of former Prime Ministers, and other leading personalities of the country in Delhi, to oppose the idea. I conveyed our message to the then Prime Minister Vajpayee, and also had detailed discussions with the then Deputy Prime Minister, LK Advani. When on the eve of General Musharraf’s first visit to India, some voices in BJP parivar were again raised in favour of the State’s division, I sought an appointment with Advani. He suggested we meet after Musharraf’s return, when he would have more time. I insisted on meeting him before the visit of Pakistan President. He agreed to meet me just a day before the visit. I told him that the idea of division of the State had been welcomed by Pakistan, and asked him why had his party become so generous to Pakistan. He replied that he was convinced after talking with me that the division of the State was a remedy worse than the disease, but the RSS was not. I offered to discuss the idea with the RSS leaders. Advani arranged my meeting with an RSS representative. After some discussion, he was disarmed and suggested that I should talk with the then RSS chief K.

Sudarshan. I agreed to, but since he was travelling through my stay in Delhi, we were not able to meet. Now, once again, an RSS ideologue Vaidya has recommended that Kashmir region be granted pre-1953 autonomy, and Jammu and Ladakh be fully merged with the Indian Union. The Jana Sangh founder Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukerjee once thought the same, and entered into prolonged correspondence with Pandit Nehru and Sheikh Abdullah. The Sheikh quotes him of having said, “If the people of the Kashmir Valley think otherwise, there can be special provision for that zone. We would readily agree to treat the Valley with Sheikh Abdullah as its head in any special manner for such time as he would like but Jammu and Ladakh must he fully integrated with India.” In his reply to Mukerjee vide his letter dated February 4, 1953, the Sheikh wrote: “You are perhaps not unaware that the attempts are being made to force a decision by disrupting the unity of the State. Once the ranks of the State people are divided any solution can be foisted on them?” Eventually, Mukerjee accepted Delhi Agreement in full. A crucial question in case of division of the State would be the future of Muslimmajority districts of Jammu, and the Muslimmajority district of Kargil in Ladakh. It is doubtful that Muslim-majority areas will want to become part of a Hindu-majority State. Similarly, the movement for Union Territory status in Ladakh is confined to Leh. Kargil is unlikely to join, even though its Muslim majority is not happy with what it considers a Kashmiri-dominated State. Already division of Ladakh into a Buddhist-majority Leh and Muslim-majority Kargil, and non-recognition of its regional status in the Constitution of the State (which recognizes only Jammu and Kashmir regions), has sown the seeds of religious division of Ladakh. If the State is divided on religious lines, no Muslim will be secure in Hindu-majority Jammu, nor would a Hindu be secure in Muslimmajority part of the region. Sizeable minorities live at present in both parts. Similar insecurities will be created in Leh and Kargil. Any issue can ignite communal clashes anywhere which can lead to chain of communal riots with repercussions in the rest of India. The secular basis of the country would thereby be undermined. The worst sufferer will, in that case, be the Kashmir Valley, and its thousands of years old great civilization.

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J&K HUMAN RIGHTS Perspective

September-October, 2010

Beginning of the Present Phase of Alienation in Kashmir:

When Loyalty to India and Government of India became Synonymous

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nion Home Minister, P. Chidambaram observed, in an exclusive interview to Hindustan Times, that there was a need to look into the promises made in the Delhi Agreement in the 1952, Indira-Sheikh Accord in 1972, and in the understanding of 1986 (between Rajiv Gandhi and Farooq Abdullah). In the present context, the understanding of 1986 is most relevant. Commenting on it then, I had written in an article "net effect of the Accord would be that Kashmir will go Punjab way (when it was in the grip of terrorism) and Farooq (the then Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir) would go the Barnala (the dismissed and isolated Chief Minister of Punjab) way." Farooq Abdullah met me the same day when the article was published and asked me how I could compare him with Barnala, who used to live in a fortress whereas he was roaming freely. I replied that it took Barnala two months to destroy himself politically, whereas Farooq's father had left such rich assets that even if he squandered it with both hands, it could last for another two years. It was a friendly warning. If he listened to it, he might be saved. Almost after two years, the first incident of militancy occurred when the president of a block committee of the ruling National Conference was killed in Srinagar by a militant. My argument was that before the accord the National Conference provided an outlet to anti-Centre sentiment, whereas the Congress had become an effective outlet for anti-State government sentiments. The accord destroyed both outlets, making a secessionist vent inevitable. Rajiv Gandhi is reported to have realized that “the accord was the single biggest mistake he made while in office.” He told Vir Sanghvi, the then editor of the Sunday (weekly) that he thought “it was important that the Congress and the National Conference remained at opposite ends of the political spectrum.” Otherwise, he said, “protest vote would end up going to the extremists.” (Hindustan Times, November 2, 2005)

Earlier, the Farooq government was dismissed in 1984, after he hosted a conclave of opposition parties, which were no less patriotic than the ruling party. The moral in both cases (1984 and 1986) was that Kashmir, unlike other states of India, could not elect a government which was not loyal to the party in power at the Centre. The Indira-Abdullah Accord of 1975 had received massive popular applause. In the first election to the State

First step to a rational Kashmir policy should be that the State gets as much autonomy as other states
Assembly in 1977, the Janata Party, the ruling party at the Centre, mobilised all the anti-Abdullah elements. Some of them had become anti-India or proPakistan for want of a pro-India outlet. This was made available in the form of the Janata Party. They joined it, even though it included the Jana Sangh in Jammu; while in Kashmir Valley, it was a joint front of Mirwaiz Farooq’s Awami Action Committee, Jamaat-e-Islami and G M Karra’s Pro-Pakistan Political Conference, besides other disgruntled groups. In the fairest election so far, the National Conference swept the poll, the ruling Janata party won only two out of 42 seats in Kashmir valley. The rout of the ruling party at the Centre by the regional party was a unique and thrilling experience for the people. It made them realize, for the first time, the potentialities of being a citizen of India and marked a momentous step towards the emotional integration of Kashmir with the rest of India, as it established that loyalty to India and to the government of India were not synonymous. The Sheikh, who remained in power in the State from 1975 to 1982, could make people of the Valley feel proud Kashmiris as well as proud

Indians. The Sheikh’s son and successor, Farooq Abdullah, also won a resounding victory in the Assembly elections of 1983, defeating the main opposition which was, at the time, the Congress, the ruling party at the Centre. Within a year he was dismissed for what Indira Gandhi called “hobnobbing with the opposition parties of India." He had the audacity of convening an opposition conclave. When BK Nehru, the then Governor of the State, was reluctant to remove the government, he was transferred to Gujarat and replaced by Jagmohan who dutifully carried out the instructions of Delhi. Meanwhile, 12 MLAs of the National Conference were purchased to reduce the majority of its member in this Assembly. G. M. Shah, Farooq’s brother-in-law, formed the new government supported by the Congress, which survived with the help of curfew, and was so nicknamed curfew sarkar. It collapsed soon. Farooq again returned to power. But he was so shaken by the experience that he welcomed Rajiv's offer of an Accord in 1986. Later he switched loyalty to any party that came to power, including the BJPled NDA government in which Omar was a minister of state for external affairs. The Centre, too, got used to this pattern. This is evident in the latest eight-point package for J&K announced by the Centre on September 25. Seven points of the package were within the jurisdiction of the State government. Any dictation from the centre on them was uncalled for. The Congress party could, at the most, advise the Chief Minister through its coalition partner, the State branch of the party on these points, or directly. The first step for a rational Kashmir policy should be that the State government gets, at least, as much autonomy as other state governments in federal India have got. The State government should be persuaded to adopt a federal and decentralized set up so that urges of its three regions, and all ethnic identities are reconciled.

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J&K HUMAN RIGHTS Perspective

September-October, 2010

HUMAN RIGHTS UPDATE
Incidents of human rights violations given below are such specimen in which victims are innocent civilians, whosoever be responsible for the violations.

Two ReT teachers kidnapped
JAMMU, Oct 27: Two Rehbar-eTaleem (ReT) teachers were kidnapped by the militants in Marwah area of Kishtwar district last night. While one of them managed to escape from captivity of the militants, other was still held hostage by the ultras of Hizbul Mujahideen outfit. Official sources said Ghulam Mohammad son of Ghulam Rasool R/o Tata Pani, Marwah and Irshad Ahmed son of Habibullah R/o Kadarna, Marwah were kidnapped by the militants when they were returning from their duties. The kidnappers included Sajjad Ahmed alias Rezwan and Shakir Hussain alias Chota Hafeez besides their two unidentified associates. Sources said Ghulam Mohammad escaped from the captivity of the militants last night and reached safely in his house. Troops of 11 Rashtriya Rifles and police have launched searches in Marwah to rescue the hostage teacher and trace the militants. SP Kishtwar Dr Haseeb Mughal said the efforts have been intensified to get the kidnapped teacher released. (Daily Excelsior, Oct 28, 2010)

Custodial killing of bank manager
SSP Poonch asked to explain
SRINAGAR, Oct 24: The case related to the death of a bank manger due to torture in police custody in police station Trehgam in 1999 has surfaced again. The then SP Kupwara and now the SSP Poonch Manmohan Singh has been asked by the State home department to clarify the circumstance of his death within 10 days, failing which strict. Steps will be taken against the SSP. The investigations into the custodial death of the bank manger may land SSP Manmohan Singh into trouble as a letter has been shot to him describing him as an “incapable” officer and have warned the SSP action under the service. Ghulam Ahmad Pir, a resident of

Hurdona Handwara, the then manger Kamraz Rural Bank Trehgam was arrested by the cops of police station Trehgam Kupwara on the charges of cheating with the department. He was arrested vide FIR number 139/ 1989 under sections 420, 409, and 467 on 11 February 1999. He died in police lock up due to torture on the same day. The death of Pir triggered widespread condemnation and the then chief minister Dr Farooq Abdullah assured on floor of the house that case would be investigated however was not investigated. Sources said that the State home department has shot a letter to SSP Singh vide number, Home/71/209/IAS and has asked him to explain the circumstance leading to the death of bank manager in custody. The home department in their letter to SSP has also said, “In the tenure as SP Kupwara you were not able to investigate the custodial death and the death was caused by torture carried out by the police officers at. Trehgam working under you,” Sources added that the SSP has been warned that in case he was not able to clarify about the under service rules (4) 08 of 1969, other steps against him would be taken. SSP Manmohan Singh had also been asked whether he would attend before an inquiry or no. (Kashmir Times, Oct 25, 2010)

in view of the fact that he was failing trial before a criminal court from where he has been acquitted. Counsel for the petitioner Advocate Surinder Kour submitted that recourse taken to the sub-rule (iii) of Rule 19 is uncalled for, as the respondents could not have proceeded against the petitioner, in view of the fact that he was acquitted under Sub Clause (i) of Rule 19. On the other hand, K.K. Pangotra, ASGI, appearing for the Union of India and ors clearly stated that action against the petitioner has been taken under Rule 19 (iii) which contemplates that where issue regarding security of State is involved, it is not expedient to hold an enquiry in such matters. ASGI further submitted that during the course of interrogation conducted by the Army Agencies on December 5, 2004, the petitioner was not cooperating and tried to mislead the interrogators regarding his links with the militants and also accompanied with two foreign terrorists in killing of five civilians. Justice Sunil Hali after hearing both the sides observed that the petitioner’s case was considered by the respondent, the respondents have clearly stated in the affidavit that the petitioner were dismissed from service by invoking Rule 19 (iii). Court is of the view that there is a sufficient compliance of the said rule and dismissed the petition along with connected CMP filed by the petitioner. (Early Times, Oct 5, 2010)

HC upholds dismissal of Army personal allegedly involved in killing of five civilians
Jammu, Oct 4: Justice Sunil Hali of Jammu and Kashmir High Court Jammu Wing has upheld the dismissal from service of Mohd Hussain, and Army personal whose links with the militants and also accompanied with two foreign terrorists in killing of five civilian in Gurdanbala on July 19, 2010. In the petition, the petitioner who was working as conservancy safaiwala in the Army, was dismissed from service on April 4, 2005. The petitioner has challenged his dismissal on the ground that the same could not had been issued

Army Col into Machhil encounter
The Army has restarted a probe into the Machhil fake encounter in Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir, after the civil administration agreed to provide the witnesses in the case. Civil authorities had been delaying its request to query key witnesses in the alleged fake encounter that took place on April 30. (Times of India, Sept 29, 2010)

724 booked under PSA since 2009.
Government on Wednesday said that
(Contd. on page 5)
J&K HUMAN RIGHTS Perspective

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September-October, 2010

Human Rights Update...
(Contd. from page 4)

724 people have been detained under Public Safety Act (PSA) since January last year. Responding to the questions of legislator of opposition parties and independent legislator Er Rashid over the number of people booked under PSA and TADA and whether the government intends to grant hem amnesty to restore normalcy in the State, Home Minister on the floor of the house today said that 724 persons have been booked under PSA since January 2009 till date. However, no person the Home Minister said has been booked under TADA. Since January this year, the minister said 322 people have been booked under the PSA. The detainees, he said include 49 local militants, 43 over-ground workers (OGW’s), 22 Separatists, 50 stone pelters, 13 drug peddlers, 51 foreign militants, 11 foreign nationals, 15 Burmese nationals. 27 Bangladeshi nationals and 41 timber smugglers etc. “A meeting of the unified combined command headquarters was held on Sept 29 under the chairmanship of Chief Minister. Among other things, it was decided to immediately release youths/ students who have been arrested for stone pelting. It was also decided to convene a meeting of review committee on October 6, this year to review the cases of persons detained under PSA,” the minister added. About the number of prisoners released since the Omar Abdullah government took over, the minister said that 183 prisoners have been released from jails by the NC-Congress coalition government till September this year. (Kashmir Images, Oct 7, 2010)

Gangbugh Batamaloo was allegedly beaten to death by CRPF troopers and his body thrown in a stream on July 5. Medicos, who performed his autopsy, revealed that he had injury marks in the head. The youngest victim, 9-year-old Sameer Ahmed Rah was beaten to death by paramilitary CRPF troopers in Batamaloo. Syed Farakh Bukhari was allegedly killed in police custody after being arrested at Choora Sangrama on July 28 for participating in protests. His body was recovered a fortnight later with multiple torture marks. Muhammad Abbas Dhobi of Islamabad succumbed to injuries in August after being beaten by forces. Seventeen-year old Omar Qayoom Bhat succumbed to his injuries at SKIMS on Aug 25 after alleged tortured in police custody. (Greater Kashmir, Oct 6, 2010)

some to destroy the country. “There are no limits to the way they are using this freedom,” he said. (Times of India, Oct 27, 2010)

‘Roy entitled to her right to expression’
Allahabad: Two days after disapproving the accusations made by BJP on the Centre’s three-member team of interlocutors, Rajya Sabha member Ram Jethmalani on said that Arundhati Roy is fully entitled to her right to freedom of expression even though he “sees no merit in her observations”. “I do not approve of what Arundhati Roy has been saying on Kashmir these days. I do not see any merit in her observations. Yet, it must be kept in mind that she is fully entitled to her right to freedom of expression,” Jethmalani said. He was responding to queries on Roy’s recent comments, which has ensued the demand that she, along with Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani, be tried for sedition. (Indian Express, Oct 29, 2010)

Arundhati: ‘I said what J&K’s millions say’
New Delhi: Under attack for her statements on Kashmir, writer Arundhati Roy on Tuesday said she only spoke what “millions of people” in Kashmir have been saying everyday for years. She issued a statement coming out strongly against moves to “silence” her. “Pity the nation that has no silence its writers for speaking their minds,” Roy said in a statement from Srinagar where she is on a visit. “Pity the nation needs to jail those who ask for justice while communal killers, mass murderers, corporate scamsters, looters, rapists and those who prey on the poorest of the poor, roam free,” she said. “I said what millions of people here say every day, I said what I as well as other commentators have written and said for years.” Roy has made two speeches in New Delhi and Srinagar in the past few days in which she sought independence for Kashmir from India. (Times of India, Oct 27, 2010)

PUCL supports Arundhati for expressing views on Kashmir
New Delhi, Oct 28: People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PCUL), a human rights organization has come out in support of writer and activist Arundhati Roy, who has come under criticism from several groups for her “anti-India speech” in a function here recently. “We strongly urge the government to desist from taking any action against Roy or any other citizen for expressing views on the Kashmir Issue,” PUCL said in a statement yesterday. The group added that the government should allow people to speak freely on the Kashmir issue and listen to all shades of opinions of the people for the solution to the matter. Attacking sarcastically the political leaders, PUCL said these leaders were responsible for the crisis in the Valley. “They had ample time to win over the secular and peace loving people of Kashmir and provide them a life better than under any alternative arrangement,” it added. (UNI, Oct 28, 2010)

7th torture death
Srinagar, Oct 15: With the death of Ghulam Nabi Mir after thrashing by police, the total number of persons killed by torture and thrashing of police and paramilitary CRPF troopers in the ongoing unrest has gone up to seven. The first victim, Rafiq Ahmed Bangroo, was severely beaten by CRPF troopers in June. After battling for life for a week, he breathed his last at SKIMS. He had received multiple injuries in head and other parts of body. Muzaffar Ahmed Bhat (17) of

Farooq: Too much freedom in India
Commenting on the furore caused by “Azadi” remarks, Union Minister Farooq Abdullah said there was “too much of freedom” in India that was being used by

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J&K HUMAN RIGHTS Perspective

September-October, 2010 By Luv Puri

Across the Line of Control
hile the Indian side of Jammu and Kashmir is hogging the international attention for the youth unrest, significant contemporary events in Pakistani-administered Jammu and Kashmir have largely been ignored. In fact, there seems to be a paucity of scholarship and information available about the political, ethnic and economic aspects of Pakistan -administered Jammu and Kashmir. The region known as ‘Azad Kashmir’ in Pakistan has a population of more than three million, and area-wise, it is one-third of the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. The region came in focus during 2005 earthquake. In the recent past, it has also been sporadically studied in the counter terrorism circles in India. However, the region’s impact on South Asian politics, and outside has received relatively little attention of contemporary scholarship; despite the fact that it forms one of the largest sections of the South Asian diaspora living in Britain, which has played a central role in internationalizing Kashmir issue since early 1990s. Several youth, in their teens and early twenties from this region, recruited by militant outfits have died fighting Indian troops in the last 20 years. Memorials built in remembrance of the youth, buried on the Indian side of J&K, in remote villages of PAJK are a pointer to the deep involvement of this region in the on-going armed conflict. Pakistani elite has often marketed PAJK as a model for the entire region of Jammu and Kashmir, and left no opportunity to compare it with the political conditions on the Indian side of Jammu and Kashmir. In January 2006, Sardar Abdul Qayuum Khan, the former PAJK president and the father of the present Prime Minister, Attique Khan, told me in Muzaffarabad that his party’s (Muslim Conference) struggle would continue till the Indian side of

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J&K got the same degree of political freedom as enjoyed in his own region. Some of the basic myths about PAJK need to be demolished before further discussion about its politics. The region is quite distinct from Kashmir Valley and the majority of the people are Pothowari speaking, which on the Indian side is referred as Pahari. Except religion, there is hardly anything— linguistically or ethnically—in common between Kashmir Valley and PAJK. The political set-up of the region and its relationship with Islamabad can be better understood from the recent developments. In January 2009, Sardar Attique Khan, the then PAJK Prime Minister, blamed the loss of his majority in the Legislative Assembly on Pakistani federal government. More than a year later, Attique Khan is back again as the Prime Minister of the region, and it was now the turn of Farooq Haider, the just deposed prime minister of PAJK, to give vent to his anger against the federal government. Haider, in his recent statement, accused the Pakistan Peoples' Partyled federal government of colluding with his political rivals in the State, leading to his resignation. Like on previous occasions, the Prime Minister apparently lost his majority in the Legislative Assembly. This is the third time in the last four years that a sitting Prime Minister has lost his majority in the Assembly. These events are a consequence of the region’s peculiar political history and institutional structure. PAJK has its own Supreme Court, High Court, and flag, besides a Legislative Assembly comprising of forty-nine members. Forty-one of these are directly elected, and eight are nominated by the government—one each from technocrats, scholars, and overseas PAJK nationals, and five women. The Head of the Government in PAJK is known as Prime Minister and the Head of the State is designated

as the President. A culture of institutionalized patronage has characterized the sixdecade old relationship of PAJK’s political elite with the Pakistani state. In 1949, the Muslim Conference, one of the political outfits in the state, was recognized as the permanent representative of PAJK, with the power to strike agreements with the Pakistani federal government. This was seen as a political reward for Muslim Conference for supporting J&K’s accession to Pakistan in its July 1947 executive body session at Srinagar. In the political system that existed from 1947 to 1960, the head of the Muslim Conference was the nominated President of PAJK. A major constitutional change came in 1970, when adult franchise and a democratic set-up were introduced, through the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Act. For the first time, the members of the Legislative Assembly, as well as the President, were elected on the basis of adult franchise. The presidential system of government continued for about four years, till the parliamentary system was introduced in PAJK, under the 1974 Azad Jammu and Kashmir Interim Constitution. The term ‘interim’ was used so as to not dilute Pakistan’s stand about the unsettled character of the Kashmir dispute. The Pakistani federal government—both democratic and military dispensation—continued to bring arbitrary executive changes in the region. In 1990, for example, the PAJK Prime Minister, Mumtaz Rathore, was ‘escorted’ to Islamabad in a helicopter and forced to sign a letter of resignation by the Nawaz Shariff government. There are visible contradictions between the Pakistani and PAJK constitutions. For instance, while the Article 257 of the Pakistani Constitution holds that the ‘people of Jammu and Kashmir will define their relationship
(Contd. on page 7)

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J&K HUMAN RIGHTS Perspective

September-October, 2010

Across the Line of...
(Contd. from page 6)

Accession has no degrees

with Pakistan after obtaining freedom;’ under section 5 (2) (vii) of the PAJK Legislative Assembly Election Ordinance 1970, ‘a person will be disqualified for propagating any opinion or action in any manner prejudicial to the ideology of Pakistan, the ideology of state's accession to Pakistan or the sovereignty and integrity of Pakistan’. Islamabad-based ‘Azad Jammu and Kashmir Council’ is headed by the Prime Minister of Pakistan. The body is the key institutional body that shapes the economic policy of the region. Interestingly, the recently deposed Prime Minister, Farooq Haider, had asked for abolition of the Council as according to him ‘it is an unconstitutional body.’ The post-1990 phase has opened up space for new political players in the region with the assertion of Jat and Rajput leadership in south PAJK. This is partly a consequence of the financial clout these groups enjoy, with a large number of their members living in Britain. This is in sharp contrast to the earlier political monopoly of Sudhans and Abbasi caste groups from the central PAJK. These changes are going to further impact the region’s political events as political competition will invariably lead to demands for democratisation, and respect for autonomy of the region’s institutions by the federal government. The understanding of various aspects relating to PAJK, a lesser studied subject, and other factors in Pakistan is a pre-requisite for any constructive and result-oriented dialogue on the vexed issue of Jammu and Kashmir between India and Pakistan. The writer is an author of Across the LOC, Penguin (November, 2010). The book is based on field study in Pakistan and Pakistan-administered Jammu and Kashmir.
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n October 6, Chief Minister in his 90-minute speech in the State Legislative Assembly said, “accession of the State to India has occurred under an agreement. We have not broken that agreement but you have gradually demolished it and people are aggrieved and angry for your act.” He further drew a distinction between accession of the State and that of other states, and between accession and merger. The statement was hailed in separatist circles. Syed Ali Shah Geelani said “Omar’s stand is not only vindication, but also victory of the conglomerate’s stand.” On the contrary, the statement has shaken the pro-India elements. The BJP has made it a national issue and proposes to raise its protest in Parliament. The fact is that: Accession has no degrees. It is either accession or secession. The slogan raised by Jana Sangh in 1953 for full accession had no meaning. It just made accession a matter of dispute. All princely states acceded to India Union on the same terms, and rulers signed the same Instrument of Accession. The Constitution of India in 1950 divided the states into three parts: a) Erstwhile British provinces ruled by an elected legislature and State governor; b) Princely States ruled by an elected legislature and a rajpramukh (often a former prince). c) States directly ruled by the Centre. After some time, changes took place in the Constitution. Some states merged together, others merged with the neighbouring provinces. Most of the states willingly opted for status equal to part A states. In the case of J&K, no major changes took place till 1964. The Head of the State continued to be called Sadar-iRiyasat and Head of the Government, the Prime Minister. In post-Nehru period major changes took place in the Constitutional relationship between

the State, and the Union, much against popular sentiment in the Valley, when its most popular leader, Sheikh Abdullah was in jail. Omar Abdullah’s statement reflects his confused state of mind, which may be due to the impact of unrest in Kashmir, and his reaction to that situation. An unnecessary debate has been created in the country over accession of J&K. No state of the country has fully merged in India, and every state has some amount of autonomy. There have been demands in states like Tamil Nadu, Punjab, West Bengal and North East for more autonomy. Gradually, Indian federal system has been able to satisfy most of these. In our State, partly on account of regional tensions, and partially due to follies of the Central government, discontent continues in the Kashmir Valley. The first step should be to reconcile aspirations and urges of all diversities of the State, whether regional, ethnic or geographic. The National Conference wants larger autonomy for Jammu & Kashmir State which can be considered. The 1952 Agreement, under which it demands autonomy, also includes has a provision for Regional Autonomy—a provision well within the jurisdiction of State Assembly. If the latter were to grant Regional Autonomy, it will reduce tensions between the regions. And it will then be possible for the people of Jammu and Ladakh to be able to consider the case of autonomy of the State, as a whole.

SIMMERING VOLCANO
A Study of Jammu’s Relations with Kashmir
Author: Balraj Puri Available from

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: BALRAJ PURI Associate Editor: ELLORA PURI : Karan Nagar, Jammu - 180 005 (J&K) INDIA. : 91-191-2542687, 2543556 Mobile: 94191-02055 • E-mail : balraj_puri1@rediffmail.com
Back issues are also available on our website www.humanrightsjournal.com
J&K HUMAN RIGHTS Perspective

SEVEN

September-October, 2010

PUCL National Convention on Attack on Life, Liberty and Democratic Rights
he National convention of the PUCL was held on 5th September 2010. The PUCL representatives from more than 20 states attended the convention. The day-long convention deliberated on the increasing restrictions on people’s democratic rights of public protest and right to dissent through strikes, sit-ins, rallies all over the country by the central and the state Governments. It was felt that the laws aimed at countering the terrorism in the country are being used to silence the dissent of the people, human rights activities and the people’s movements. The following resolution was passed by the house: That the PUCL believes that it is an inseparable characteristic of a democratic Government to attach great value to the life and personal liberty of the individual and citizen and be committed to the rule of law and democratic values as enshrined in our constitution. It is our belief that more killings, encounters, disappearances, putting people inconvenient of the Government or who raise their voice against these atrocities, behind bars, killing them in custody have become a regular trend of the central and the State government in free India than under British rule. A white paper must be produced by the Government of India giving the actual figures of such incidents after independence. It is well known fact that governments— federal and the states—have consistently armed themselves with laws of preventive detention and sedition, except for the three year period soon after the emergency. Such laws like AFSPA, the UAPA, the various Goonda Acts, Organized Crime Acts, Anti Social Activities Acts, Public Safety Acts, the various conversion laws as well as certain IPC sections on security have given sweeping powers to the government to punish people for holding dissenting opinions and diverse views. When booked under these laws, the judiciary have also at times erred and failed to uphold these supreme rights of life and liberty and have overlooked these crimes of the State. The PUCL is of the belief that legislating and implementing laws that criminalize

Options for Kashmiri Leaders
I read your article in Tribune on the above subject with interest. I agree with you fully that given the complex demography of the State unless there are concrete steps taken in the direction of effective internal autonomy within the State, the Kashmir-centric dialogue/ deliberation will not lead to anywhere and at the end might backfire. The problem in the State has got from bad to worse. The centre seems to have no clue of the thing and the State parties are just praying for their time in power to pass without much trouble to them, as they enjoy power. This applies to all of them irrespective of the ideology they profess. Pushkar Raj General Secretary, PUCL 270A, Patpar Gunj, Mayur Vihar-1 Delhi-110 091

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dissent and intent is unacceptable in a democracy. These must be repealed. Until then all those booked under these laws should be tried under a multi-bench courts as was even done during the British rule. The PUCL resolves that it will continue to challenge these laws in the court of law and outside democratically. It is also of the understanding that the central and state government have often used the police and the paramilitary forces against the people to suppress their legitimate protests virtually giving them a license to kill in the form of legal impunity in large parts of the country. The Prevention of Torture Bill that is currently being legislated by the government shows the intent of the government to completely protest the police rather than make it accountable. The PUCL holds the belief that Democracy in the country has been hijacked by a few powerful stake holders and it is only working for a microscopic minority including the elite bureaucracy, Corporates, industrialists and the political parties. That resources are being appropriated by only a few, that the development paradigm has led to increasing impoverishment and marginalization of the Tribals, Dalits, women and farmers, millions of people have been displaced by the mega projects, more than 50% children are born malnourished and the majority of women have anaemia, more than a third of the country’s population do not get two squares meals a day and thousands of people are dying of hunger despite over flowing FCI godowns. Since the human rights are integrally connected to the socio-economic situation of the country, this concern is paramount for the PUCL and it would work with other people’s movement to combat this. The PUCL condemns the CPI (Maoists) for resorting to inhuman acts of holding security forces personnel and indulging in bargain with the State. It also condemns the organization’s attempt to indulge in killing of political activities of over ground likeminded ideological rival group as in Bihar recently. It calls upon both the parties-government and the CPI (Maoists)-involved in the conflict to enter into dialogue for the long-term interest of the people and the nation. — Pushkar Raj, General Secretary, PUCL

Lessons of the First Visit...
(Contd. from page 1)

also stressed the role of Kashmiri Pandits, without whom Kashmiri identity was incomplete. Ladakh Disappointed Since the team did not visit Ladakh, the residents felt let down. Ladakhis living in Jammu held a protest demonstration against the continued discrimination against the region, including by the interlocutor team. The latter told the media persons that it will visit Ladakh also in its next visit to the State. Padgaonkar said, any solution of the Kashmir issue must be acceptable to all regions, and all sections o the people of the State and should have complete endorsement of public opinion as is expressed in Parliament. If the team learns proper lessons, their first visit will not be in vain, and will make their future year-long engagement with the Kashmir issue more fruitful. By Balraj Puri
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EIGHT

J&K HUMAN RIGHTS Perspective

Edited, Printed and Published by Balraj Puri for Institute of Jammu & Kashmir Affairs, Karan Nagar, Jammu. Printed at ESS ESS ESS Offset Press, Wazarat Road, Jammu.

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