Advani’s autobiography reveals that New Delhi neither forgets nor forgives those who challenge its power.
Naseer A Ganai
P.V. Narasimha Rao, former prime minister of India was famous for not taking decisions. He was once asked why he is not taking decisions. His response was too pat, “I have taken a decision not to take a decision,” he said and it became his famous quote. The same Narashima Rao during his premiership went to Burkina Fasco, a little known Island in West Africa and from there he promised “anything short of Azadi to people of Jammu and Kashmir.” It was in 1995.
Presuming “anything short of Azadi” could be only Autonomy, when National Conference was brought to power by New Delhi in 1996, it constituted a committee to examine the restoration of the autonomy to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The committee prepared report and the resolution was brought in the Assembly, which passed it. Here NC’s role came to an end and New Delhi entered the scene. The then National Democratic Alliance led by BJP rejected the resolution without examining it. And National Conference continued to remain in power. But how could New Delhi forgive National Conference for coming out with the autonomy report and then passing it in the State Assembly.
So New Delhi had to hit back at Farooq with Advani’s revelations, in which the latter openly says that “Shyama Prasad Mukherjee’s martyrdom in Srinagar was for the cause of Jammu and Kashmir’s full integration into the Indian State.” And the autonomy resolution was an open challenge to the “martyrdom” of Mookerjee.” For this, Advani or New Delhi could never forgive Farooq.
What Advani has written and whether it should be viewed as truth or not, but he in his “revelations” tried his best to put the National Conference in the dock which has either intentionally or unintentionally produced a legal document in the shape of the autonomy report to challenge everything which New Delhi has done in the State of Jammu and Kashmir since 1953. And which Dr Abdullah rightly describes the document which New Delhi can neither afford to digest nor afford to vomit out. New Delhi was promising anything short of Azadi to people of Jammu and Kashmir who were seeking right to self-determination as promised by the United Nations to them and when Farooq came up with the autonomy report, it shattered New Delhi and now it has no answers. It has no answers to questions like if it is not willing to give the autonomy for those who believe in the Indian constitution, what it could offer to the pro-freedom groups.
Passing of the autonomy resolution was not the blunder committed by the National Conference but sticking to the power was. One is not sure whether Farooq sacrificed the resolution for his son Omer Abdullah as stated by Advani or was he lured by the promises made to him by Vajpayee and Advani as claimed by Farooq, but the fact is that the resolution has brought NC into the bad books of New Delhi. And it seems that for long time it would be viewed suspiciously by New Delhi. Particularly after recent events in Kosovo where parliament declared independence shocking not only Serbia but New Delhi too. It has fears of being Jammu and Kashmir having, even for name’s sake, its own constitution.
Advani’s other revelation’s are about Mirwaiz Umar Farooq led Hurriyat Conference. If Farooq Abdullah described Advani’s statement that he preferred to be in power than quit after rejection of the autonomy resolution as “untrue and unbecoming of the persons who wants to be the Prime Minister of India,” Mirwaiz too reacted on the same lines. He has been accused by Advani of agreeing to hold talks with the Government of India under the ambit of Indian constitution. Mirwaiz is not among the favorites of New Delhi either. He has been over the years presented by the Government of Pakistan as the sole resistance face of freedom struggle of Jammu and Kashmir. It is Mirwaiz Umar who is being recognized in the western countries as resistance voice of Kashmir. It is Mirwaiz who says after Kosovo, it is the turn of Kashmir. It is Mirwaiz who could make western countries understand the Kashmir conflict in a language which they understand and appreciate. Consequently he is becoming a serious challenge to New Delhi in international arena. So he has to be taught a lesson. Hence— “revelations.”
Advani has cleared his position and his party’s position—that full integration of the State of Jammu and Kashmir is BJP’s agenda and it won’t sacrifice it. BJP as they say is the soul of Indian politics and congress is its body. And whatever BJP says should be construed as policy of New Delhi. But in Advani’s revelations whether they are true or a part of BJP’s agenda there are some lessons for all Kashmiri politicians whether it is National Conference, Peoples Democratic Party or the pro-freedom parties like both the factions of Hurriyat Conference: That New Delhi should be taken very seriously. And those who take it lightly, pay a heavy price.
NC should have resigned once its autonomy resolution was rejected. It was a Himalayan blunder and they would continue to pay a heavy price for it. And Hurriyat led by Mirwaiz committed a much bigger blunder by entering into a dialogue process with New Delhi without any preconditions. And that made its position vulnerable to more and more “revelations.”
It seems except Peoples Democratic Party patron Mufti Muhammad Sayeed no one among pro-India politicians understands the maneuvers of New Delhi. For last five years the PDP is working on the document of the self-rule literally without working on it. It is not that the PDP is not in position to come up with the document. It can. But it won’t. It knows the price the National Conference had to pay for the autonomy resolution and it also knows the price it will have to pay for slogans of demilitarization, local currency. It will be fragmented and the process it seems has already began. And in these circumstances if it tries to reveal the sphinx of the self-rule, if there is any, it would be a greater risk for it. It seems Muftis have realized it. So they have now given up all slogans including demilitarization, local currency and self-rule and have confined themselves to Srinagar-Muzafferabad bus, hoping with this bus New Delhi would bring them back to power.
Syed Ali Shah Geelani is popular resistance leader in Kashmir and he knows why. He never trusts New Delhi and fixes pre-conditions for the dialogue. It seems he knows the fate of all those who have entered into the dialogue with New Delhi. Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah gave Kashmir to New Delhi literally on platter. And he was paid back in different coin— 22 years in jail and then Chief Ministership. No pre-1953 position. That is it.
Advani has again proved Geelani right. And henceforth whosoever tries to enter into dialogue with New Delhi from pro-freedom camp, they would have no choice but to be doubly cautious. The danger of “revelations” will always haunt them from those who promise “anything short of Azadi” and give nothing except “revelations.”