Kashmir Portal

A digital Kashmir Info Network

Barking the wrong tree

Posted by Kashmir Portal on June 16, 2009

What needs to be done when and how is the essence of leadership

Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani

It has been a good while since May 30 when Asiya and Neelofar were found dead near a stream close to their home in South Kashmir’s Shopian town. Cases for rape and murder have been registered. People have expressed their anger and chose to listen to some and ignore other ‘HARTAL’ calls. Union Home Minister P Chidambaram’s two day visit to Valley also concluded on Friday. The second FSL report has been submitted to the Justice Jan commission. It has confirmed that the two women were gang raped. What next?

In Kashmir we seem to have a situation where one finds himself faced with a grim reality that we have handed over Kare Najar Ba Daste Gilkar. Rape and murder of Asiya and Neelofar and the questions of AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act) and withdrawal of troops from the valley demand answers from people with a reliable understanding and mature judgment.

It is important for an honest leader in Hurriyat and Mainstream political camp that he/she raves courage to identify from the army of leaders which ones are capable to handle these issues beyond this point. Attracting adverse attention under PSA, house arrest and marches do not provide the ultimate remedy. The system has activated its process. It has registered the cases of rape and murder and has set up a commission of enquiry. Is that also enough?

One faction of Hurriyat has given a deadline of two months to the new Government of India to resume dialogue with them. It is a good thing to propose dialogue as an instrument for resolving a dispute. However, we have to bear in mind that some political and militant leaders who had proposed dialogue as the best instrument earlier were silenced and are laid in the graveyard.

Hurriyat has not made it clear whether it would discuss with India, the duration of Instrument of Accession, her obligations under this agreement, the UN mechanism under UNCIP resolutions on the resolution of Kashmir question or the four point agenda of General Pervez Musharraf. It again seems a situation where we have Kare Najar Ba Daste Gilkar.

It seems that Kashmiri leaders and civil society representatives have made a bad judgment and have failed to engage Union Home Minister during his 2 day Valley visit in the cause of the common man and woman. It would have been in pursuance to Hurriyat demand of the resumption of a dialogue, if they had asked for an urgent meeting with the Home Minister to discuss the question of AFSPA and concentration of troops in the Valley. They should have asked for this meeting before the Home Minister’s meeting with the leadership of the Unified Command – the highest security management body in the state headed by the chief minister.

Officers of the Indian Army, intelligence agencies and paramilitary forces and top functionaries of the Jammu and Kashmir government who have briefed the home minister about the internal security in the state may have done so as conformists of a system in full obeisance to official protocol. Hurriyat, civil society leaders, Bar Association, Journalists, Youth Groups and Women would have advocated the case of the common man and woman without fear or favour in honesty and in good conscience. People with mature judgment and a reliable understanding of the case would have been able to address the specific obligations of the Indian army in Kashmir.

The Indian Home Minister could have been put on a formal notice in the meeting for the failure of the Government of India to regulate the role of its security forces in Jammu and Kashmir. He may further have been formally notified about a criminal liability accrued by the Union Government through the deeds of its security forces in Kashmir and the Shopian incident should have remained as the lead argument. Union Minister could have been further formally put on notice for the failure of Indian Government to regulate the behaviour and number of Indian security forces in Kashmir as stipulated under UN resolutions on Kashmir.

Kashmir Bar Association or any lawyer/s with a reliable knowledge of the jurisprudence of Kashmir case could have used the meeting to formally point out to the failure of the Indian Government to discharge her obligations stipulated in Security Council Resolution 47 (1948) of 21 April 1948. Government of India under item 2 (c) (i) (ii) and (iii) is required that:

2 (c) (i) That the presence of troops should not afford any intimidation or appearance of intimidation to the inhabitants of the State;

2 (c) (ii) That as small a number as possible should be retained in forward areas;

2 (c) (iii) Thant any reserve of troops which may be included in the local strength should be located within their present base area.

The role of Indian security forces in Kashmir is defined in the instrument of accession (provisional) and the union of India has a legal contract with the Government of Kashmir. The number, behaviour and habitat of Indian army are further regulated under UN Security Council resolutions. It is pretty obvious to common sense that State chief minister and his administration for some known reasons could not argue or address the situation with Home Minister along this legal format in the best interests of the people. It can be argued with a reliable degree of certainty that officers of the Indian Army, intelligence agencies and paramilitary forces and top functionaries of the Jammu and Kashmir government who have briefed the home minister about the internal security in the State would not be knowledgeable about these two disciplines, one bilateral and the other international, which apply to Indian security forces in Kashmir.

The Harvard education in law, his hard core leftist liberal and prosperous Chettiars background of Tamil Nadu make the Union Home Minister the best candidate to argue the role of Indian security forces under the disciplines of Accession agreement and UN SC resolutions on Kashmir. He was India’s best person who could have listened to the urgent need to reconcile the difficulty in AFSPA with the guarantees provided to the people of J&K under a bilateral and one international instrument.

Here we had a lead person from the present Indian Government with very rich and helpful credentials in Kashmir and we failed to unfold our scroll of wisdom.. We failed to argue and bring home to him the urgent need to regulate the role, number and behaviour of Indian security forces strictly as undertaken by the Government of India in the Accession Agreement and at the UN on 21 April 1948. Union Home Minister would have used this independent input from the various cross sections of civil society of Kashmir and challenged the view expressed by Officers of the Indian Army, intelligence agencies and paramilitary forces and top functionaries of the Jammu and Kashmir government who briefed him at the Unified Command meeting.

Unfortunately we have remained content at the sight where Kare Najar remains in the hands of Gilkar. We seem to have decided to live upon mediocre guidance of press and media and on grossly stretched single option of Hartal & Chalo call. The Hartal call too seems to have turned into a monopoly and has caused cracks in leadership ranks. The Hartal call given by Asiya Andrabi of Dukhtaran-e- Millat was unceremoniously dismissed by both factions of Hurriyat. Every political discipline, male or female, seems to have a divine right to dictate the day’s beginning and its end. There is no genuine and convincing attempt to return to the logic of re-arresting the Najar’s work from the hands of Gilkar.

It is discouraging to note that our leadership in all disciplines of life has failed to understand the credentials of the visitor. They failed to stitch the button in time to save nine. A meetin
g with Home Minister of India is legitimate political action and remains in the best interests of common Kashmiri. Unfortunately our leaders meet Indian leaders in their private interest and are used to crying wolf when it comes to meeting them in public interest.

(Author is London based Secretary General of JKCHR – NGO in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations. He can be contacted at dr-nazirgilani@ jkchr.com )

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