Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sacrifices, realism and elections

Pro-freedom politicians should stick to their stand. This is the only realism which is acknowledged by all, and even followed by pro-India politicians.

"I wanted there should be free and fair elections in the Hajan constituency. So, along with Mushtaq Lone (former Home Minister who was killed later) I met General Dhillion and asked him to ensure free and fair elections. But the commander said that on Hajan seat we wouldn’t compromise. That seat would be given to Muhammad Yousuf Parray (Kuka Parray). I say this on record. And when Parray was declared winner, seven people were killed in Sadder Court to celebrate the win.” This is what the Deputy Speaker of the Assembly and Senior National Conference leader Muhammad Akbar Lone said in an interview with journalist Ahmad Ali Fayaz on Take-1 TV on Tuesday June 3, 2008. Lone revealed many more things. That Farooq Abdullah when informed about it said he would protest before the then Governor. The then Governor met everyone but refused to meet Mr Lone saying, “I won’t meet this man.”
This is the truth about the elections in Jammu and Kashmir and this truth should not be told to people who are in the pro-India camp like Mr. Lone because they know it and they understand it as well. This should be understood by pro-freedom camp, which is being presently enticed by Delhi based columnists to participate in elections to prove their representative character.
There are scores of other examples.
In August 2004, Muzaffer Hussain Baig was stopped again and again by Mangat Ram Sharma when he was speaking on permanent residence (disqualification) bill in the Legislative Assembly. At one point Mangat Ram pulled Baig’s shirt. Infuriated, Baig shouted and asked Mr Sharma to stop it. But Sharma wanted Baig should not continue his speech. Baig responded to Sharma and the slogans raised by the Congress MLAs that Kashmiri rule is not acceptable. “Emotive slogans were raised in the House that Kashmiri Raj is not acceptable. The fact of matter is that Kashmiris have never ruled the State. Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah had not started his innings, that you brought Bakshi Ghulam Muhammad, Bakshi Sahib was about to sit that you brought Sadiq Sahib and for Sadiq Sahib you brought Mir Qasim. Kashmiris have never ruled the State. We have been always at the beck and call of New Delhi,” Baig said. He concluded his speech with a threat of resignation, which he never tendered. This is the truth about “elected representatives.” They are so powerful that they don’t have powers even to pass the domicile law.
In 1997 the then National Conference Government enacted the Disturbed Area Act 1997 declaring the whole State as “disturbed.” The law was enacted even though the Armed Forces Special Powers Act was already in vogue in the State. Former Home Minister Ali Muhammad Sagar is on record saying that the Government of India forced them to enact the law. The moral is “elected representatives” enact laws on the directions of New Delhi.
Truth about the elections in Jammu and Kashmir is that they are New Delhi’s elections and its terms and conditions are fixed in New Delhi. And this is admission of people who have been installed by New Delhi to rule Kashmir. And despite that they unashamedly call pro-freedom camps to participate in the elections.
Besides, what about the “elected representatives” and their powers? In 1990 the state was kept under the governor’s rule and then president’s rule for five years. And when the government of India realized that continuation of president’s rule causes embarrassment and to continue it further it needs constitutional amendment, it decided to bring “elected representatives” for cover up.
The National Conference willingly offered itself for the services and New Delhi rewarded it with the power, though some of its elected members got less than 300 votes. The Governor’s rule continued but it had now the face of the National Conference in the form of “elected representatives.” And who elected these elected representatives, the whole Jammu and Kashmir knows that. In those elections people didn’t come out and whosoever came out were herded towards polling booths. These ‘elected representatives’ passed autonomy resolution and New Delhi rejected the same without reading it. If the autonomy as envisaged by Farooq was rejected by New Delhi without having a look at it, what New Delhi has to offer to Sajjad Gani Lone and Mirwaiz Umar, who say though sacrifices are supreme, realism is that sacrifices are no guarantee for Azadi. Does autonomy fit in their realism? If yes, then why should New Delhi give it to them when it disdainfully rejected to grant it to its loyalist Dr Farooq Abdullah? And if the United States of Kashmir or the Muslim Kashmir is realism of Mirwaiz Umar and Sajjad Gani Lone respectively, then why should New Delhi budge before these demands, which are close to independence. Mirwaiz and Sajjad should tell us why New Delhi would give them the United States of Kashmir or the Muslim Kashmir. Or is their realism something else.
In Mufti Muhammad Sayeed’s rule, who according to the Delhi’s Mathew Jacob came to power following “free and fair” elections, he too faced the same fate as that of Farooq. Describing 2002 elections “free and fairer” is candid admission about the fairness of all other elections held in Jammu and Kashmir. And calling 2002 elections “free and fairer” means negation of all reports by the independent observers who reported how people were literary dragged to polling booths by the security agencies of the State to cast votes.
The “free and fair” argument apart, in his ‘rule’ “Mufti’s government” brought permanent residence (disqualification) bill. The bill was tabled. But before it could have been passed in the upper House the bill took whole India by storm and Sonia Gandhi too commented on it describing it as “anti-woman.” The bill was that if a woman of Jammu and Kashmiri marries to non-State subject she loses her State subject. But how could New Delhi approve any decision of the State. It scuttled the bill. New Delhi does not even tolerate the joint ventures of the State with foreign companies in the power sector and you are asking that Hurriyat would bring Naya Kashmir if placed in place of Mufti or Farooq.
Those who come up with laughable ‘arguments’ that Hurriyat should participate in elections should reread history. Mufti Muhammad Sayeed was Home Minister of India, the portfolio that was not given to any Muslim politician right from Moulana Azad to Salman Khursheed. He is New Delhi’s loyalist and no one can deny it. And when New Delhi could not tolerate Mufti enacting a domicile law, how come it will tolerate Mirwaiz Umar or Sajjad Lone, who rose to the present position by condemning and opposing New Delhi’s oppression in Jammu and Kashmir. Mufti apparently tried to oppose extension of Amarnath yatra on administrative grounds but the Governor put his foot down and Mufti could not do anything. This is truth about elected representatives. Both Farooq and Mufti could revoke the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act in the assembly, but they won’t. They know they don’t have to cross the Laxman Rekha.
New Delhi always says it is for talks. And when other party agrees to talk about the issues, New Delhi then comes up with argument that it would talk only about that Kashmir which is under Pakistan and will have talks only under the ambit of Indian constitution. This is the way New Delhi looks at Kashmir issue and Mr. Mathew is inviting Hurriyat to participate in election so that they would see Naya Kashmir.
There is other argument, which comes from New Delhi, that “shunning mainstream politics will further shrink the political space of Hurriyat as mainstream parties such as PDP which are already encroaching on traditional dissent space.” This is not a feather in pro-India cap. If pro-India politicians are speaking voice of pro-freedom politicians, it means success of the argument of the pro-freedom politicians. Loyalists of India do not only acknowledge pro-freedom stand, they follow it as well. So, pro-freedom politicians should stick to their stand. That is the only realism and this realism is acknowledged and admired by all.