Greater Autonomy for
(If the present Government persists
with their present approach, they will make future of Kashmir extremely dark and
JK Local Press 30-6-96:
Granting autonomy to Kashmir in the present situation
would be getting into a trap because neither fundamentalists nor Pakistan will
be satisfied with this. It will definitely strengthen the separatist mentality
in the state.
Former Director General of Border Security Force
JK Local Press 29-6-96:
The move of granting greater autonomy would not only
increase Pakistani interference into Kashmir but would also put Jammmuites to
the "Yoke" of Kashmiris. If there was any need of this autonomy, only
Kashmir be given this course leaving aside Jammu and Ladakh regions.
President Jammu Mukti Morcha
JK Local Press 28-6-96:
The executive body of All India Kashmiri Pandit
Conference opposes autonomy criticising Harkrishan Singh Surjeet and Farooq
JK Local Press 28-6-96:
If greater autonomy is granted to one state on the
basis of religious considerations no one can check such like autonomy to many
other states. This will lead to balakisation of the country.
Creation of Pakistan was the
result of such like thinking and if Jinnah had pleaded his case of two nations
theory based on religion, the leaders of National Congress and their
pseudo-secular supporters are pleading for special status for Kashmir on similar
basis and thus, giving birth to three nation theory.
Prof. C.L.Gupta (M.P.)
JK Local Press 19-6-96:
Vaidya Vishnu Dutt, Pradesh Chief of the Bharatiya
Janta Party took strong exception to the policy of the new Prime Mhlister Mr.
Gowda with regard to grant of "the maximum degree of autonomy" instead
of bringing the state under the proposcd move of the central government to
review the centre-state relations in accordance with the recommendations of
JK Local Press 17-6-96:
Jammu & Kashmir was already enjoying special
status under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. Autonomy is already there.
Ghulam Mohd. Shah
Former Chief Minister & President Awami
JK Local Press 25-6-96:
Any such retrograde step (Greater Autonomy) shall
invite a violent reaction from the people of Jammu and Ladakh. The autonomy will
make the future of the state "more uncertain" and invite more
interference from Pakistan and other international powers.
Jammu Mukti Morcha
JK Local Press 3-7-96:
Union Home Minister Indrajit Gupta was accused of
sending wrong signals to the militants in J&K instead of crushing militancy
by BJP Pradesh leader in Rural areas of Jammu while addressing people.
July 2, 1996 (D.E.)
B.L. Kak- noted New Delhi based journalist (An
It is tragic most of the Indian politicians consider
themselves experts on Kashmir despite the fact that none of them had, over the
years, bothered to have an in-depth study of men and matters in Kashmir and the
Constitution of India and Constitution of J&K. And Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav
is one among them. Within days of taking over as India's Defence Minister, Mr.
Yadav suddenly undertook the task of resolving the Kashmir crisis.
Both Mr. Deve Gowda and Mr. Yadav
should know that Article 370 was specially meant to be a temporary provision.
This article limited the powers of Parliament to make laws about matters
detailed in the Union List and Concurrent List of the Constitution.
Thus while remaining within the
framework of the Indian Constitution the J&K, state virtually attained all
autonomous status not enjoyed by any other state of the Indian Union. However,
the Constitution makers envisaged the day when the need of the temporary
provision would end and the Article 370 abrogated.
Hindustan Times 30-6-1996:
In a letter to the Prime Minister Mr. Surrinder Kumar
Singla, Senior Congress Rajya Sabha member said that he was shocked to read the
Defence Minister, Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav's statement about the "total
autonomy" to J&K, including the Government's intention of tabling a
legislation on this issue on the forthcoming session of Parliament.
Hindustan Times 1-7-1996:
The conflicting perceptions of the parties comprising
thc UF Government notwithstanding the statements of top leaders on the autonomy
issue have not only evoked confusion, but exposed the ignorance of those
interested in granting more autonomy to the state.
On one side of the political
spectrum, the National Conference, headed by Dr. Farooq Abdullah, has demanded
pre-1953 position. This would have the direct control of the centre on Defence,
Foreign Affairs and Communications, the rest being left to the whims and fancies
of the local rulers. The demand in simple terms is an attempt to regain the
state administrative set-up as a fiefdom for the select few, in the state.
The demand of the National
Conference ignoring the emergence of new political forces in the state and
entails reversion to a position wherein institutions like the Supreme Court, the
Election Commission and Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) will have no role
Ignoring the dangerous dimensions
of the NC demand, particularly in terms of negating the democratic rights of the
Kashmiri populace (which, over the years, have been protected by national
institutions) one may ask a simple question: Does the National Conference have
an absolute right to speak for the 'aspirations of the people of the state'?
That, too, when the support-base of the NC has been considerably eroded in
On the other hand of the spectrum,
stands the surprise announcement of the Defence Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav
that the UF Government was prepared to enact a law in Parliament to ensure
greater autonomy to the state. Never mind that the announcement does not spell
out the parameters of the autonomy on a wide range of issues linked with the
special status of J&K state.
Daily Excelsior 30-6-96:
Balraj Puri, Convener of Jammu Autonomy Front, has
cautioned the United Front Government that any decision on the change of
Constitutional Status of the state is unlikely to be acceptible to the people of
Jammu in which their leaders are not a party and till identity and autonomy of
their region are not conceded.
D.E. 26-6-96 (Excerpt from
Maximum autonomy or minimum is something that strictly
falls within the competence of State Assembly. Article 370 guarantees autonomous
status to the state. As long as Article 370 is there in the statute book any
talk of maximum or minimum autonomy is superfluous exercise. In this context the
envisaged resolution to be moved in Parliament is influctuous. Surely.
constitution is supreme and Parliament has lower order. Under Article 370 state
assembly can seek more autonomy or removal of the laws already extended to the
state. This is the law. Once state has its own constitution Mulayam Singh or
anybody in the ruling hierarchy cannot temper with it unilaterally. We expect
country's Defence Minister to read the J&K history throughout. The laws
already extended to the state went through the normal channels of State
Assembly. If the process is to be reversed, it has to be in the same order.
The next poser regarding autonomy
pertains to its acceptability. For all we know it was not the issue in the
recently concluded Lok Sabha polls. People voted overwhelmingly for Joining the
mainstream. JD is direct beneficiary of such favourable tilt towards national
parties in preference to independents and regional ones as it won Anantnag Lok
Sabha seat which it lost Srinagar by a very narrow margin of 1600 votes even as
it logged good votes in other constituencies. Surely this favourable verdict was
not based on maximum autonomy but for peace and normalcy. Further, Congress
Party with 140 MPs has already disputed this course even as it is strongly
opposed by BJP. According to PCC(I) such courses would wipe out Congress base in
Jammu even as it is no more a salable theme in valley as far as people are
concerned. The people of Jammu and Ladakh regions are in no mood to tolerate any
more hegemony of Kashmir region over them and to that extent the issue is
confined to appeasing some odd leader or outfit purely for party gains. Other
parties having more stakes in J&K surely won't take it lying down.
A map of Islamic state in
In 1983 a map of Islamic state of Kashmir was
distributed in Srinagar. declaring that henceforth no Kafir will be allowed to
remain in the valley and it will be run on Islamic Lines. It was brought to the
notice of I.B. and Smt. Indira Gandhi in person. This objective has now been
achieved by the terrorists. Kashmir is there but sans-Hindu.
Dr. Ramesh Kumar Sharma
LLB., M.A, Ph.D, D.Litt.
Retired Prof. & H.O.D of Hindi & Sanskrit,
of Jammu Kashmir, June-July 1996, No. 14