Dear Prime Minister,
We have been constrained to approach you on behalf of the Bharatiya Janata Party in view of the serious situation that has been existing in the State of Jammu & Kashmir for the past three months. The situation in the State is slipping out of control. It appears to us that the Central Government has no clear action plan to deal with the situation.
Kashmir has been a part of the unfinished agenda of Pakistan emanating from India’s partition. Pakistan has never reconciled to the fact of Kashmir being an integral part of India. Its tactics have ranged from internationalizing the dispute, creating internal insurgencies through cross-border terrorism and supporting mob violence in order to create instability in the State. The Bharatiya Janata Party believes that historical mistakes committed in the past 63 years on the Indian side have further compounded the problem. Time has come to look back and review whether our policy in the past 63 years has led to a fuller integration of the State of Jammu & Kashmir into India or has generated further problems. Separate and special status, even though transient and temporary, gave rise to a psyche which prevented the full psychological integration as a State of India. It renewed the hopes of separatists that the political and constitutional relationship between India and Jammu & Kashmir could be further weakened. Demands ranging from autonomy to the pre-1953 status and self-rule emanating from some political parties of the State have only added to this psyche. We learn from the newspapers as also statements of government functionaries that some political steps are being announced purportedly to deal with the present situation.
While the Government is formulating its political position, it must necessarily ponder over the question whether its policy of the last 63 years has evolved the situation from separate status to separatism. Any step to be taken must be judged on the touchstone of whether it will fully integrate the State with India or will it weaken further the political and constitutional relationship of the State with India. The problems in the State emanate from cross-border terrorism, internal insurgency, lack of economic development and sub-regional discrimination. Does any of these problems or a proposed solution has anything to do with the inadequacy of power both legislative and executive in the State? The Central Government’s powers are today confined to security, defence of India, currency, foreign affairs and telecommunications. Are we in a position to abdicate any of these ? Are we in a position to go back to even suggest that the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and the Election Commission will not extend to the State as some have demanded? Let us not mislead ourselves. The demand for autonomy, self-rule or dilution of Central Government’s authority have nothing to do with the present problem in the Kashmir valley. Autonomy or self-rule are only interim steps towards ‘Azadi’ The people of India will never accept either of these.
If you analyse the nature of the present demands, they are all intended to weaken Indi’s sovereignty. Dilution of Army’s presence in the valley, dilution of the provisions of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, dilution of the Line of Control and allowing legitimacy to infiltration are only some examples of this kind.
There is a need to strengthen the Security scenario in the State. It is only when the security scenario is strengthened that economic development can effectively take place in the State. Mainstream political process has to be resumed not by weakening India’s sovereignty but by letting the separatists know that ‘Azadi’ is not even a distant dream, it is an impossibility which can never be realized. Additionally, the discrimination against Jammu, Leh and Ladakh has to effectively end.
Jammu & Kashmir stands at a historic turn. We hope you will take steps which strengthen India’s sovereignty rather than weaken it.