Opposition National Conference on Sunday said the frequent unrests in Kashmir were due to New Delhi’s “continued refusal” to undo the wrongs of history and restore constitutionally legitimate rights of Jammu and Kashmir.
“From 1953 till 2016 today, New Delhi’s continued refusal to undo the wrongs of history and restore the constitutionally legitimate political rights of J&K and its people have resulted in a pervasive sense of alienation and isolation in Kashmir,” it said in its memorandum submitted to the all-party delegation in Srinagar.
“It is this sense of alienation and isolation that fuels all agitations in Kashmir including the current one,” it said. The Opposition party said in recent years in successive efforts to pacify recurring agitations in the state, New Delhi has taken political initiatives in times of unrest only to abandon them in times of peace. “The failure to implement the recommendations of the Prime Minister’s Working Groups on Kashmir as well as the shocking
indifference and contempt shown towards the Interlocutors Report are recent examples of this pattern of apathy and callousness,” the party said.
“Similarly, the then central government refused to even acknowledge the Autonomy Resolution passed by the J&K Legislative Assembly in 2000 with two-thirds majority. These glaring failures have provoked violence and instability in Kashmir,” it said.
The NC said there was a needed for an acknowledgement of historical injustices perpetuated against the people of Jammu and Kashmir under the fig-leaf of “national interest” and “integration”.
“The fact that J&K has acceded to the Union of India under a certain set of conditions and has not merged with the Union needs to be respected. The erosion of the state’s autonomy from 1953 to 1975 needs to be reversed to uphold the integrity of promises made by the Union of India with the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” the party said. “The relationship between the state and the rest of the country is unique and constitutionally validated and no amount of shrill rhetoric or jingoism can change this reality,” it said.
The party said that the genesis of the political issue in Kashmir lay in the erosion of the state’s internal autonomy and a number of broken promises that violated good-faith agreements between the leadership of the state and successive central governments.
“The dismissal of a popular, elected government in 1953 and the incarceration of J&K’s Prime Minister late Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah was the first blow that demolished the bond of good faith between Kashmir and New Delhi,” it said.
The NC said that for the last couple of years the political narrative vis-a-vis J&K’s special status and Article 370 of the Constitution had become increasingly “reductionist, regressive and jingoist”. “The resulting atmosphere of shrill rhetoric has created a sense of insecurity among the people of the state and taken us further away from the overarching goal of reconciliation,” the principal Opposition party said.
“Unfortunately the goal of appeasing respective political constituencies has taken precedence over the goal of a stable and peaceful J&K,” it said.
Noting that Pakistan is a party to Kashmir issue, the NC called for involvement of Pakistani establishment in finding a solution to it. “We cannot shy away from the fact that the Kashmir issue has both internal as well as external dimensions. A tit-for-tat diplomatic policy of one-upmanship between New Delhi and Islamabad will change precious little as far as restoring peace and stability in Kashmir is concerned,” it said.
“Pakistan, by the very nature of this political issue and the fact that a large part of J&K’s territory is administered by Islamabad, is a party to the issue. Any serious, meaningful process of finding a lasting solution to the Kashmir issue has to not only include an engagement with stakeholders of various
opinions within J&K but also with the Pakistani establishment,” it added.
The NC said that New Delhi’s conventional investment in a policy of containment and operational management of the political sentiment in Kashmir had created a prolonged phase of political vacuum.
“The very fact that initiatives of political outreach, such as the visit of this all-parties delegation from New Delhi, are seen as reactionary manoeuvres rather than proactive initiatives, points at the reason for the sense of scepticism in the Valley,” it said.