Essay

It is a revolt

Print edition : August 19, 2016

New Delhi, July 20, 1950: Prime Ministers Liaquat Ali Khan of Pakistan and Jawaharlal Nehru of India meeting with Sir Owen Dixon, United Nations mediator on Kashmir. "I must have Kashmir," Nehru is said to have once told Liaquat Ali Khan. Photo: THE HINDU ARCHIVES

April 8, 1964: Sheikh Abdullah with his wife, son Farooq and daughter Khalida Shah after the announcement of his release after 11 years in prison from August 8, 1954. Photo: THE HINDU ARCHIVES

V.K. Krishna Menon with Jawaharlal Nehru. Krishna Menon told the U.N. Security Council on February 8, 1957: "If as a result of a plebiscite, if ever it did come, the people decided that they did not want to stay with India, then our duty at that time would be to adopt those constitutional procedures which would enable us to separate that territory." Photo: THE HINDU ARCHIVES

Mehbooba Muft, who took over as J&K's first woman Chief Minister on April 4, leading a PDP-BJP government. While reports suggest that she knew about the operation to take out Burhan Wani, Mehbooba denied it. Photo: Nissar Ahmad

From Jayaprakash Narayan's letter in 1956 to Jawaharlal Nehru, the part where he outlines his views on Kashmir.

As the Third Kashmir Crisis unfolds, Kashmiris seek a new order by a new compact and not redress of their grievances. But with India firm on not conceding anything, the fear is that the worst is yet to come.

“I MUST have Kashmir.”—Jawaharlal Nehru to Liaquat Ali Khan (Lionel Carter Ed.; Weakened States Seeking Renewal: British Official Reports from South Asia, Part 1; Manohar; page 416).

“From all the information that I have, 95 per cent of Kashmiri Muslims do not wish to be or remain Indian citizens. I doubt therefore the wisdom of trying to ‘keep’ people by force where they do not wish to stay. This cannot but have serious long-term political consequences, though immediately it may suit policy and please public opinion.”—Jayaprakash Narayan’s letter to Nehru, May 1, 1956 (Bimal Prasad (Ed.), Selected Works of Jayaprakash Narayan; Vol. 7; Manohar; page 115).

“If Kashmir remains with India against the will of the State’s people it will always find itself in political turmoil.” —Prem Nath Bazaz, a close associate of Sheikh Abdullah in the National Conference; The History of the Struggle for Freedom in Kashmir; Pamposh Publications; 1954).

“Behind the facade of the constitutional apparatus rests the nitty-gritty of rude fact: the Valley is an occupied territory; remove for a day India’s Army and security forces and it is impossible to gauge what might transpire at the next instant. Some of the stone-pelters may nurse illusions about Pakistan, some may think in terms of a sovereign, self-governing Kashmir, but they certainly do not want to be any part of India… the great Indian nation, with its load of civilisation stretching 5,000 years, is extraordinarily mum.…

“One is suddenly hit by a fearsome realisation: Indians by and large do not perhaps feel at all, this way or that, about the Valley’s people. In other words, the Indian nation is alienated from Kashmir” (Ashok Mitra; The Telegraph, August 27, 2010).

Mir Qasim opposed Sheikh Abdullah in 1953, became Chief Minister, presided over rigged elections and joined Indira Gandhi’s Cabinet. Asked, “What do the people of Kashmir demand?”, he replied: “They clearly say that they would not like to remain in India. They would like to go out of India. They ask for a plebiscite so that they will be allowed to answer whether they want to remain in India or go out of India.” This was written in 1992.

What the country has witnessed since July 8, 2016, in Kashmir is not one of the periodic “eruptions” there. It is far graver than even the grave one of 2010 following the murder of Tufail Mattoo. That subsided; as did the previous ones, fortifying long-held delusions in India. But this one was a virtual revolt waiting to happen. It will linger. I write “virtual” advisedly, for it is still not quite a revolt proper. But that can well occur with fearful consequences. When news arrived at Versailles of the fall of the Bastille in 1789, Louis XVI asked, “Is it a revolt?” La Rochefoucauld-Liancourt gave the perfect reply, “No, Sir, it is a revolution.” No army can forever subdue a people who reject rule by those who sent it across to subdue them.

2016 only proves, yet once again, that the people of Kashmir have not acquiesced in the State of Jammu & Kashmir’s accession to India which the tribal raiders from Pakistan, sent on October 22, 1947, criminally ensured by force majeure.

That was how the First Kashmir Crisis began, though Nehru and Vallabhbhai Patel had begun their intrigues to secure Kashmir through the Maharaja since at least June 1947 regardless of Sheikh Abdullah who was in prison and with full knowledge of the people’s opposition to it. Nehru wanted Kashmir, anyhow. Nearly 70 years later, we are facing the consequences of that territorial greed. It ensured popular backing which Nehru craved for. Some in the media and academia have enlisted themselves in the service of the State; others go along in a mistaken notion of nationalism.

Having acquired the nuclear option, and frustrated at India’s obstinate refusal to negotiate the Kashmir dispute, Pakistan decided to use force in 1989 covertly as it had done earlier openly in 1965. A spark was lit. A people, inflamed by India’s behaviour, accepted Pakistan’s gun. In an interview to Sunday (March 18, 1990), Amanullah Khan said, “Our armed struggle started on 31 July 1988 by blasting three buildings belonging to the Government of India in Srinagar.” M.A. Niazi revealed in The Nation (Lahore, May 21, 1990) that the “operations mounted during the late Zia-ul-Haq’s time caused fierce debate in policy-making circles with opponents warning that such activities would cause war”. This venture petered out. Kashmir has 200 militants now, mostly local. It is not Pakistan but the people of Kashmir who have had to face the consequences since 1990. The Second Kashmir Crisis ended militarily; but it made the people assertive.

Mehbooba was in the loop

The Third Kashmir Crisis of 2016 is far worse. The Valley is no longer “on the boil”. It is in an incipient revolt which can get worse. It builds on the renewed awakening through militancy and is mostly local in origin. Therein lies the significance of Burhan Muzaffar Wani. This 22-year-old tech-savvy militant became an icon. He had to be done away with. Reportedly, a decision to “take him out” was taken at the highest level in New Delhi. Shiv Murari Sahai, Additional Director General of Police, called a hurried press conference on July 9 to confirm Wani’s death.

Showkat A. Motta reported from Srinagar: “By the time it was over, at least 13 protesters had fallen to security forces’ bullets. Sahai said Mehbooba [Mufti, the Chief Minister] also the Home Minister knew of the op” ( Onlooker, July 25, 2016). On July 24, Indian Express carried a report from Kashmir which confirmed this. “Highly placed sources said she was informed, in writing, of the June 8 raid as well as an operation targeting Burhan Wani in March” (emphasis added, throughout).

These authoritative disclosures prove four things: (1) The decision to kill Wani was taken in March 2016 by New Delhi; (2) Mehbooba Mufti was in the loop about the entire operation and did not object; (3) She was also informed “in writing” of the raid on July 8 in pursuance of the decision of March. It was timed for execution immediately after the Ramzan Id; (4) Her statement that she learnt of the killing in the evening of July 8 just as she had finished her prayers is an elaborate falsehood. This is in keeping with the disgraceful action against the press on July 16. A government spokesman said it was “in view of apprehensions of serious trouble in Kashmir in the next three days” ( The Hindu, July 17). Nayeem Akhtar, a Minister and spokesman, said, “The undesirable step was taken to ensure peace” ( Hindustan Times, July 17). On July 18, Mehbooba Mufti’s “political adviser”, one Amitabh Mattoo, said action would be taken against officials who had acted thus. On July 19, he said Mehbooba was not in the know ( Hindustan Times, July 20). All three emerged with battered credibility. The editors refused to resume publication unless the State “owns the ban”.

On July 21, the Chief Minister urged “reviving the dialogue process”. This was to appease the people. On July 24, she attacked Pakistan—to appease Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who was in Srinagar. She might have saved the situation a bit had she been honest. Now people have none to turn to. Mufti Mohammed Sayeed had in Jammu on May 4, 2007, criticised Farooq Abdullah’s announcement of revival of his National Conference’s links with the Bharatiya Janata Party ( Kashmir Times, May 5, 2007). He formed a coalition with it in 2014.

Stark realities face us—the refusal to reject the use of pellets and all that it symbolises; the people’s rejection of the Union; the Indian state’s calculated, systematic violation of Kashmir’s autonomy, its violation of human rights and use of bribery and force to buttress its rule in the State. The last is a wilful rejection of the realities whose acceptance alone can ensure redress. This is not a “state of denial”. It is an arrogant recourse to suppression with the lie as a companion to force.

Stone, the only weapon

Stone-pelting has a hallowed tradition in Kashmir. It is the only weapon an unarmed people can use. The famous poet Zareef Ahmed Zareef traced its origin to the Mughal conquest when young men called “dilawar” (the brave) pelted with stones patrolling Mughal soldiers. Syed Ali Shah Geelani said on March 11, 2010, “nobody should resort to stone-pelting”.

Refusal to accept the realities was well reflected in the debates in Parliament on July 17, 18 and 19. They were set themes of old: “Whatever is happening in Kashmir is Pakistan-sponsored,” Rajnath Singh said on July 18, belatedly, 10 days after the protests erupted. This is an insult to the lakhs of people who protested and to the very young who joined in the protests at the risk of their lives as is his charge that it had “misguided our own people” (July 17).

Two ludicrous assertions are that it affects India’s territorial integrity and its secularism. Evidently, they were not affected when India pledged plebiscite from 1947 to 1954—closer to the partition of 1947. Jayaprakash Narayan refuted this devastatingly in an article in Hindustan Times of May 15, 1964. “Kashmir is deemed to be of great value to us because we wish to hold it up as an example of our secularism. I wonder if the spokesmen of secularism are aware of the irony of the present situation. The same Kashmir that is supposed to be an example of Indian secularism has occasioned a nasty upsurge of Hindu communalism. It is not easy to discern this process, because it is happening under the cover of nationalism. India being a Hindu-majority country, it is not difficult, as has been remarked by many observers, for Hindu communalism to trot out in the garb of Indian nationalism.…

“What is meant by Kashmir being an example of Indian secularism? It means, I believe, that the people of India have given such proof of their non-communal outlook that the Muslims of Kashmir, even though they are in a majority there, have freely decided to live with India which is a Hindu-majority but a secular country, rather than with Pakistan which is a Muslim-majority but an Islamic State. But suppose we had to keep the Muslims of Kashmir within India by force, would that also be an example of our secularism? The very question exposes its absurdity. And yet, how widespread is the mentality today that in order to defend the secular basis of our nation, we must keep Kashmir, if necessary by force, within the Indian Union!” On this, Nehru agreed. In a speech in Kolkata on New Year’s Day 1952, he said, “If tomorrow, Sheikh Abdullah wanted Kashmir to join Pakistan, neither I nor all the forces of India would be able to stop it because if the leader decides it will happen. So what the Jan Sangh and the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh are doing is to play into the hands of Pakistan…. Just imagine what would have happened in Kashmir if the Jan Sangh or any other communal party had been at the helm of affairs. The people of Kashmir say that they are fed up with this communalism. Why should they live in a country where the Jan Sangh and the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh are constantly beleaguering them? They will go elsewhere and they will not stay with us” ( Selected Works of Jawaharlal Nehru, Vol. 17; pages 77-78).

On June 26, Jitendra Singh said in Jammu: “Jammu and Kashmir is jugular vein of Indian democracy” ( The Hindu, June 27). He had spearheaded the Amarnath Sangarsh Samiti that called for a Kashmir blockade in 2008. Modi rewarded him as a Minister of State (MoS) in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). Where did the “jugular vein” reside when plebiscite was our policy (1947-54)?

History of accession

The record establishes that throwing to the winds the AICC resolution of June 15, 1947, that “the people of the States must have a dominating voice in any decision regarding them”, both Nehru and Vallabhbhai Patel began plotting for Jammu & Kashmir’s accession to India with the Maharaja before Independence and the Radcliffe Award, regardless of the wishes of the people and behind the back of Sheikh Abdullah, who was in prison. Nehru began this as early on April 22, 1947, at a meeting with Mountbatten and sent him a note on June 17 warning against its accession to Pakistan and demanding its accession to India.

To Patel, Kashmir was “a Hindu State situated in Muslim surroundings”. On July 3 he wrote to R.C. Kak, the Dewan, “I realise the peculiar difficulties of Kashmir and its history and traditions, it has in my opinion, no other choice” but to accede to India. The ruler offered a standstill agreement to Pakistan and India. On August 12 Pakistan agreed. The post and other links lay with Pakistan not India. India demurred and asked for talks because its draft standstill agreement was a veiled Instrument of Accession. Item 7 covered “foreign affairs”.

On accession, the Sheikh was not a decisive factor. As Chitralekha Zutshi, an eminent scholar, records: “Several Kashmiris remember that in the 1940s, even the National Conference followers in Srinagar accepted Jinnah’s leadership beyond the Valley. The Kashmiri poet Ghulam Ahmad Mahjoor, the most articulate member of the National Conference, wrote a poem in October 1947 that began, ‘though I would like to sacrifice my life and body for India, yet my heart is in Pakistan’. Not only did the National Conference government put him behind bars for this poem, the poem itself cannot be located in the Indian part of Kashmir. Furthermore, according to those who lived through those years, it was a common sight for followers of both the Muslim Conference and National Conference, and other parties in Srinagar, to have photographs of Sheikh Abdullah, Jinnah and Mohamad Iqbal hang side by side on the walls of their shops or homes” ( Languages of Belonging; Permanent Black; page 303). The tribal raid came as a godsend.

Even then India’s leaders knew very well that the people were against accession to India. Hence Nehru’s advice to Kashmir’s Prime Minister, Meher Chand Mahajan, as late as on October 21, 1947, just a day before Pakistan’s tribal raid into Kashmir: “I feel it will probably be undesirable to make any declaration of adhesion [to India] at this stage” ( SWJN, Volume 4, page 274). Kashmir’s Prime Minister Janak Singh opined on August 13, 1947, that “the bulk of Muslims will not accept (a) decision to accede to India”. Nehru told a Cabinet Committee on October 25, 1947: “The question was whether temporary accession would help the people in general to side with India or whether it would only act as an irritant. There was bound to be propaganda to the effect that the accession was not temporary and tempers might be inflamed.” Why? Because the people would resent Kashmir’s accession to India. The next day, N. Gopalaswamy Ayyangar, a former Dewan of Jammu & Kashmir, said that “immediate accession might create further opposition”. Nehru opined that he would “not mind Kashmir remaining an independent country [sic] under India’s sphere of influence”. It was then decided to accept the accession “subject to the proviso that a plebiscite would be held in Kashmir”. The Ministry of States was directed to prepare a letter to the Maharaja on “the temporary acceptance of the Instrument of Accession.” (Prem Shankar Jha; Kashmir 1947; OUP; Appendices IV and V).

Even as a war was raging to oust the raiders, the people remained opposed to India, as Indira Gandhi discovered. She wrote to her father from Srinagar on May 14, 1948: “This is the talk of the town. They say that only Sheikh Saheb is confident of winning the plebiscite.… Personally, I feel that all this political talk will count for nothing if the economic situation can be dealt with. Because after all the people are concerned with only [one] thing—they want to sell their goods and to have food and salt.

“The Kashmir Government is finding it impossible to collect any revenue—this loss will have to be made up by the Indian Govt. Communications with India must improve. It should not take very long to make an all-weather track at the Srinagar Aerodrome. But most important of all—and, I feel, the only thing that can save Kashmir for India and the Kashmiris—will be an influx of visitors this summer, preferably from Bombay & Ahmedabad, since those are ones [who] buy the most.” (Sonia Gandhi (Ed.); Two Alone, Two Together; Penguin Books, 2004, pages 577-578. It was published much earlier by a publisher in the U.K.). The tell-tale suspension marks after the word “plebiscite” are put by Sonia Gandhi for reasons one can only guess.

This was the origin of “the development thesis” with a contempt for the people as its subtext—they have no views, no soul; and can be won over (“concerned with only [one] thing—they want to sell their goods and to have food and salt”). Nehru himself espoused it in his Note to Abdullah on August 25, 1952. He had decided against a plebiscite in 1948—so the solemn pledges from 1947-1954 were a deception—and added: “It must be remembered that the people of the Kashmir Valley and round about, though highly gifted in many ways—in intelligence, in artisanship, etc.—are not what are called a virile people. They are soft and addicted to easy living…. The common people are primarily interested in a few things—an honest administration and cheap and honest food” ( SWJN, Volume 19, pages 328-329). No Kashmiri would utter those words for his own people. Nehru’s outlook was moulded in the political climate of Uttar Pradesh, to which he really belonged. It was exposed even to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Bogra, when they met in New Delhi on August 17, 1953: “Most people, of course, were hardly political and only cared for their economic betterment” ( S WJN, Volume 23, page 332)”.

Nehru asked the Sheikh to finalise the accession, which the Sheikh knew he could not get the people to accept. He set up a committee to evolve proposals for an Indo-Pak accord on Kashmir. Three of its eight members were non-Muslims.

Nehru had him put in prison for 11 years from August 8, 1953, to April 8, 1964, bar a few months in 1958. The dismissal from office was on the grounds that the Cabinet was split; imprisonment, to avert instability; and prosecution in 1958 on the charge that he and his colleagues had “between August 1953 to 29 April 1958, conspired to overawe by means of criminal force and show of criminal force the legally and constitutionally established Government of Jammu and Kashmir and facilitating the wrongful annexation of the Jammu and Kashmir State by Pakistan” (Court Papers). Later, in the sessions court, the charge of waging war was also added. No such charge was levelled by Nehru in 1953 nor until October 23, 1958, when a complaint was filed.

Wrecking autonomy

Having removed the obstacle in the way in 1958, India went about wrecking Jammu & Kashmir’s autonomy from 1954 to 1994 by 47 presidential orders. The State’s Constitution was framed in 1956 with the Sheikh in prison. Nehru said in the Lok Sabha on November 27, 1963: “It [Article 370] has been eroded, if I may use the word, and many things have been done in the last few years which have made the relationship of Kashmir with the Union of India very close. There is no doubt that Kashmir is fully integrated.”

Home Minister G.L. Nanda said on December 4, 1964: “The only avenue of taking the Constitution into Jammu and Kashmir is through the application of the provisions of Article 370.… Article 370 is neither a wall nor a mountain, but that it is a tunnel. It is through this tunnel that a good deal of traffic has already passed and more will.”

Two hundred and sixty of the 395 Articles of India’s Constitution were extended to Jammu & Kashmir. So were 94 of the 97 entries in the Union List and 26 of the 47 in the Concurrent List—all by unconstitutional abuse of Article 370. Jammu & Kashmir is in an inferior position compared with other States. The extension of President’s Rule beyond the outer time limit requires a constitutional amendment, as it did in Punjab. In Jammu & Kashmir an executive order by the President will suffice.

Broken promises

The Delhi Agreement of 1952 was scrapped inter alia by replacing the elected Sadar-e-Riyasat with a Governor appointed by New Delhi. Every single promise to Kashmir has been broken—the Instrument of Accession; Article 370, which is a compact negotiated for five months from May to October 1949; the Delhi Agreement; and the 1975 accord.

“The tunnel” theory has been revived by the Modi government. On February 25, 2015, MoS Home, Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary, said in the Rajya Sabha: “Through this Article [370] the Union Parliament gets jurisdiction to enact laws on matters specified either in the Instrument of Accession or by later addition with the concurrence of the State of Jammu & Kashmir.” This was on the eve of Mufti Mohammed Sayeed becoming Chief Minister on March 1, 2015. The State government’s power to accord “concurrence” surely ended when the State’s Constituent Assembly met in 1951 and was subject to its ratification. The Assembly was dissolved in 1956. All later additions to the Centre’s powers or the provisions of the Constitution are void. Kashmir’s entire constitutional edifice rests on fraud. Article 370 is a wreck. The People’s Democratic Party (PDP)-BJP alliance endorsed the status quo in a total sell-out by the Muftis.

Politically, the Centre planted two political parties there—the Congress and the PDP—while the National Conference under Farooq and Omar Abdullah reduced itself to one.

Disclosures of bribery by the Centre in 2012 shook the State. The source was Gen. (Retd) V.K. Singh, now Union Minister. He was explicit: “Kashmir is a different issue altogether.” Why? “Because there are things which happen in J&K which are inimical to the country. We have a job—that is to keep the country together.” By bribery and corruption? He received support from some in the Army. Lt. Col Manoj Channon of the Armoured Corps, who has served in Kashmir, candidly said: “Anyone who claims that payments are not made is lying through his teeth. Funding is done to ensure the territorial integrity of India and bring the misguided youth into the national mainstream” ( The Tribune, September 29). V.K. Singh made matters worse. In Chennai on October 3, he asserted: “The secret you are talking.… Whatever was revealed by me was revealed by former U.S. Ambassador to India David Mulford. It was published by The Economic Times on September 5, 2011. Please read it. U.S. Ambassador Mulford said everybody in Kashmir gets money and I have said the same thing” ( The Times of India, October 4). His endorsement of Mulford flatly contradicts his own claim, disingenuous though it was, that the payments were not bribes. For, Mulford had spoken of bribery and corruption.

The report was filed by The Economic Times’ Srinagar correspondent, Masood Hussain. Mulford’s report to the U.S. State Department was based on the U.S. Embassy official’s visit to Srinagar between April 3 and 5, 2006. Sample these bits: Corruption cuts across party lines and most Kashmiris take it as an article of faith that politically connected Kashmiris take money from both India and Pakistan and “Security officers bribe their way into Kashmir assignments that give access to lucrative civil affairs and logistics contracts”. Mulford alleged: “Omar and Farooq Abdullah, descendants of the Sheikh who first figured out Delhi’s money game, live in fabulous houses in Srinagar and Delhi, wear matching Panerai watches, serve Blue Label to guests and travel all over the world first class courtesy the Indian government.” All this has won V.K. Singh’s endorsement.

In 2015, ex-RAW chief and ex-I.B. chief in Jammu & Kashmir A.S. Dulat corroborated the sordid tale—the I.B. was “key… to the Central government’s hold on Kashmir” ( Kashmir : T he Vajpayee Years, page 61). Spies cannot accomplish that unless they use bribery and poll rigging. A former Jammu & Kashmir Governor, B.K. Nehru, reveals how money came in “the mail pouches of the Intelligence Bureau” ( Nice Guys Finish Second; page 627).

This explains why the Centre denies the people of Kashmir the right to assemble freely and to freedom of speech. Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who has consistently denounced stone-pelting, has been under house arrest since 2010. Mirwaiz Umar Farooq is often prevented from leading the Friday prayers in the Jama Masjid. Their speeches in public would prompt an inflamed populace to revolt.

Denial of plebiscite

It is utterly unconstitutional to deny Kashmiris the right to demand a plebiscite in Kashmir. The Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1954, applies Article 253 of the Indian Constitution to Kashmir with one overriding proviso. It reads thus: “Provided that after the commencement of the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1954, no decision affecting the disposition of the State of Jammu and Kashmir shall be made by the Government of India without the consent of the Government of that State.” What else does it imply but that a “decision” regarding the “disposition” of Kashmir is yet to be made by international “agreement” or at an “international conference”?

The Order of 1954 was made by the President on May 14, 1954. The very next day Nehru said: “India still stands by her international commitments on the Kashmir issue and will implement them at the appropriate time.”

Article 370 was drafted in 1949 at a time when negotiations on a plebiscite were on. When Pakistan objected to the United Nations Commission on India and Pakistan, Girija Shankar Bajpai, then Secretary-General of the Ministry of External Affairs, wrote to the UNCIP on November 21, 1949, that it did not preclude plebiscite. V.K. Krishna Menon told the U.N. Security Council on February 8, 1957: “The accession [of Kashmir], it is true, can be terminated by our sovereign will. It is possible for any sovereign state to cede territory.” Why, then, can its citizens not urge it, if she or he so felt in its interests, that the state do, indeed, exercise its “sovereign will” by cession?

Krishna Menon continued more explicitly: “If as a result of a plebiscite, if ever it did come, the people decided that they did not want to stay with India, then our duty at that time would be to adopt those constitutional procedures which would enable us to separate that territory.” That procedure is laid down in clause (3) of Article 370—a presidential order to “declare that this Article shall cease to be operative”. Its consequence will be that Article 1 of the Constitution, which is applied to Kashmir by Article 370, will cease to apply to Kashmir and it will no longer be a part of the Union. Menon’s speech, like many of Nehru’s pledges on plebiscite, were made after the Constitution of India came into force on January 26, 1950.

The Government of India’s policy on plebiscite changed from 1955. In this writer’s view, after Pakistan’s aggression in 1965 neither plebiscite nor independence is possible. But the dispute remains. It is open to another citizen to disagree. And she or he would be perfectly within her or his constitutional rights in advocating a plebiscite, however wrong. For, the Constitution and fundamental rights are not dependent on changes in the Government of India’s policy.

India has nothing to offer to Kashmir, not even to pliable Unionists. On June 26, 2000, Jammu & Kashmir’s Assembly adopted a resolution endorsing the Report of the State Autonomy Committee and urging restoration of the Delhi Agreement of 1952. On August 4, the Vajpayee Cabinet brusquely rejected it on the grounds that it “would take the clock back and reverse the Natural (sic.) process of harmonising the aspirations of the people of J&K with the integrity of the nation” ( The Hindu, July 5, 2000).

Kashmiris will accept no accord with India unless Pakistan is also a party to it. It is not an “internal matter”. Paragraph six of the Simla Pact itself mentions “a final settlement of Jammu and Kashmir”. Pakistan is not only a party to the dispute, it is also a party present in Kashmir itself. On April 21, 2016, even Farooq Abdullah testified: “Here in Kashmir, people love Pakistan. Even if you [New Delhi] throw all your treasures upon them, you can’t take away the sentiment from their hearts” ( Greater Kashmir, April 22, 2016).

Since India will not concede anything, a dreadful prospect faces us. The deadlock is complete. For, the Kashmiris will not yield either. They do not seek redress of grievances; they seek a new order by a new compact. India’s recipe was unfolded to this writer by a senior official in 2000—“What about the Kurds?” he asked. So, we will also suppress and life will go on. Repression and resistance will go on. The worst is yet to come, one fears. More effective and peaceful forms of protest will be devised; poems, for instance.

The top Kashmiri leadership should unite on a strategy of peaceful assertion. As Edmund Burke said, reason is fatigued; invention is exhausted; experience has given judgment, but obstinacy is not conquered.

There is a far more ominous warning of his in a speech to the House of Commons on March 22, 1775: “America, Gentlemen say, is a noble object. It is an object well worth fighting for. Certainly it is, if fighting a people be the best way of gaining them.

“Sir, permit me to observe that the use of force alone is but temporary. It may subdue for a moment; but it does not remove the necessity of subduing again; and a nation is not governed, which is perpetually to be conquered.

“My next objection is its uncertainty. Terror is not always the effect of force; and an armament is not a victory. If you do not succeed, you are without resource; for, conciliation failing, force remains; but, force failing, no further hope of reconciliation is left. Power and authority are sometimes bought by kindness; but they can never be begged as alms by an impoverished and defeated violence.”

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