Posted Sat, 04/10/2010 – 14:56
By Muhammad Farooq Rehmani
Parliament elections in every free, sovereign and democratic country symbolize freedom and fraternity of a nation. They bring change and pride to every civil society, and protect their unfettered liberties with reasonable duties and responsibilities.
But, unfortunately from day one, when the Sub Continent become independent, Kashmir elections continue to be controversial, and disputed like the political dispute of Kashmir. India’s Independence or her Republican declaration could never give even an iota of credibility to any election process or any such Assembly in J&K during the last 50 years.
Kashmir has always remained a region of tension and uncertainty, while these so called elections after every five or six years have added only fuel to fire. India has never paid any sort of heed towards the resolution of this conflict, except relying on farcical and mock polls since 1951, to perpetuate her illegal rule over the state.
This highly controversial chapter was opened by ruling National Conference on 27 Oct, 1950 to condemn the Dixton Report, the then United Nation’s mediator, appointed to negotiate a settlement on the demilitarization of the state and the induction of the plebiscite administrator into his office. On the one hand General Council of the National Conference voiced its rejection of the suggestions made by sir Owen Dixton to partition the state, while on the other hand by yet another resolution, the General council issued a mandate to its Supreme National executive to convene a Constitutional Assembly in the state, based upon adult franchise to determine the future shape and affiliations of the state of J&K state.
The leadership of the National Conference was short-sighted .Its leaders wanted to protect their short term interests and were harping over the slogan of Kashmiri suzerainty which looked very very ridiculous and absurd in the presence of Indian army on the soil of J&K.
The General Council had extended support to the Government of India which had rejected the proposal, made by Owen Dixton. “However, the Conference leaders were motivated by their own interests to seek the convocation of the Constituent Assembly and vest it with powers to determine the final disposition of the state. The conference leaders did not favour a plebiscite, for they realized that far too well that a vote for Pakistan would spell their doom and if the plebiscite turned in favor of India, their endeavors to organize the state into a separate political identity based on the Muslim majority character of its population would fall through.” writes Prof Mohan Krishan Teng a constitutional expert of Kashmir.
Why India despite her pledge of a plebiscite, supported the idea of a Constituent Assembly in Kashmir. Prof Teng writes, “Perhaps they (Indian leaders) sought to use it to controvert the various pressures which were building upon the Government of India in the Security Council after it had turned down the proposals made by Owen Dixton. However the inspiration to convene the constituent Assembly did not come from them.”
The Security Council debated this situation and passed a resolution on March 30, 51, in which it affirmed that the convening of a constituent Assembly as recommended by the General Council of the “All J&K National Conference” and any action that Assembly might attempt to take to determine the future shape and affiliation of the entire state or any part thereof would not constitute a disposition of the state in accordance with the above principle.” Brazil, China, Eckador, France, Netherlands, Turkey, UK & USA favored the resolution, none opposed, but India, USSR & Yugoslavia abstained. The Security Council reaffirmed resolution No 91(1951) and adopted Resolution 122(1957) at its 765th meeting on 24 January, 1957. Australia, China, Colombia, Cuba, France, Iraq, Philippines, Sweden, UK & US voted in favor, none opposed, but only USSR abstained from the voting.
Now whether we may refer to UNCIP resolution of 1948 and 1949, resolutions on the question of the formation of a constituent Assembly, or subsequent resolutions passed by the Security Council, each one basically is concerned about the future of the people of the state, their right of self determination and the methodology of plebiscite under which the international body is duty bound to arrange and apply the doctrine of right of self determination to the dispute of Kashmir for a just, fair and peaceful resolution.
India always with her ill designs tried to confuse the right of self determination with the state Assembly elections, though the two words are not synonyms— in definition or in scope. The right of self determination is not exercised every time by the inhabitants of a country, but surely elections to form a representative Government to run the administration of a state or Republic can be held after the expiry of a term or whenever the situation may demand so.
India’s stand is basically malicious and fallacious. Why India every time takes her refuge under elections especially when she is urged by the people of Kashmir and the world community to grant right of self determination to Kashmiris. Is India’s theory logical and moral to be sold to the international community, which voted in favour of a plebiscite in the Security Council, not once, or thrice but a number of times. So, the people of Kashmir are right in concluding that election for forming an Assembly can never be a substitute to a plebiscite as defined in the Security Council resolutions. No election in the past proved to be a substitute and no such exercise will ever prove so, not to speak of the so called elections for the State Assembly to be held in Sept/Oct 2002, for many neo political, social or humanitarian phenomena, of the war-torn Kashmir and nuclear South Asia.
Kashmir Assemblies, their members or leaders could neither contribute to the peaceful solution of Kashmir dispute in the past, nor we expect so in future. The first constitutional Assembly of 1951 was an image of terror. Its memory haunts people, historians and readers even today. Dr. Joseph Korbel commented in “Danger in Kashmir” “No dictator could do better.” This was the first Indian conceived so called Constituent Assembly of Kashmir. It was the same Assembly that threw out her patron, in 1953 & kept him in prison for about 20 years. Assemblies formed between 1956 and (after the adoption of the new constitution of J&K) and 1975, were never recognized as lawful by Sheikh Abdullah and Miss Mirdholah Sarabai—a famous Gandhian and supporter of Sheikh Abdullah during those times. Corruption, fraud, rigging, impersonation became hallmarks of assembly members in the years of measured terror by India and India’s puppets in Kashmir.
Nevertheless, a homegrown alliance of some Kashmiri political and religious parties with their intentions, to test the sincerity of Indian leaders, and to turn tables, joined ballot fight, with a massive support in 1987, but the polling was worse than the sham elections of 1951 and its subsequent decades of Kashmir. Having learnt some lessons the people of Kashmir boycotted the previous two elections, i.e., held in 1992 & 1996.
India always equated her manipulated elections in Kashmir with the right of self determination. They say that India allowed Kashmiris a number of times to exercise the right of self determination. How generous Indian leaders are towards the people of Kashmir! But, is the right of self determination granted to a people after every five or six years in the same shameful manner elsewhere by any member of the world body?
From past we can learn and judge better and can tell to everybody in the world that the present elections in J&K are no different and cannot resolve the core issue, i.e. the right of self determination. These polls also follow the rules and regulations of the constitution of India, which is a big impediment for the last 50 years in the way of the resolution of our issue. India is harshly, wrongfully defending her Constitution(at the cost of Kashmiris)—applied in contravention of the charter of UN and resolutions of the security council to Kashmir, while the people of Kashmir want to change the status quo in accordance with the ongoing great human sacrifices which in the shape of thousands of graves of martyrs, forcibly disappeared persons, widows, orphans, disabled, and imprisoned people around Jammu & Kashmir are imprinted on the heart of every son/daughter/mother of the soil in Kashmir.
Again, is it moral or legal to hold elections in the absence of thousands of refugees living temporarily in Pakistan and AJK? Is it proper to hold polls when so many other youths who fled from Kashmir to different parts of the world to escape wrath and revenge of Indian army?
Is it just, fair and practical to demand oath of allegiance to the constitution of India, when the whole nation of Kashmir is fighting and laying down lives for the demilitarization of Kashmir for the last 14 years. Where is the writ of the Indian-sponsored rulers in Kashmir? Who is ruling over Kashmir—the rifle holder soldier in a bunker or a so called leader of the Assembly? The Indian soldier and Policeman armed with sophisticated weapons committing heinous crimes delivers, sermons on polling, democracy and morality, and the helpless and innocent inhabitants are asked to vote for loyal puppies of the Indian regime in Kashmir. Treachery and tyranny—thy another name is shame.
Kashmiri people have complete graphic description of every type of horror that happened and is happening in the name of councils and assemblies in the state. It is against this background that they abhor and boycott Assembly elections again and again in Kashmir and call upon the world to grant us first of all the right to self determination and freedom from oppression and foreign domination.
Of course, the civil society of Kashmir, which has been fighting so desperately since 1980s for freedom, would never be contended with some constitutional toys. We can not sell our freedom struggle for some trifles. The elections in Kashmir are meaningless as long as they go contrary to international commitments with the people of Kashmir. The historical concept of freedom should never be confused with the limited concept of elections, and every such step should be taken by the global community that elevates sacrifices of the people for freedom and right of self determination, and also ensures permanent peace between two nuclear South Asian states. The world should think above elections in Jammu and Kashmir. The roadmap to Kashmir solution must be vetted by Kashmiris and all the parties of the dispute should sit together under the auspices of the world community to discover a durable solution of Kashmir question. Dated:06.09.2002