How can exposing J&K to EU MPs be wrong?
By Amba Charan Vashishth
The opposition by some opposition parties to the visit of a delegation of the European Union (EU) MPs to Jammu & Kashmir is nothing new; it is in conformity with the India’s sacred Opposition dharma which ordains its faithfuls to always go against any word, policy and action of a ruling party. It goes to the credit of our opposition parties that they have religiously followed this dharma without any instance of their going astray from this path. Infidels to this great dharma have always been punished severely by the dharma gurus (supreme leaders) lest it instills loss of faith in the great dharma.
But this great dharma does make an exception. When it is a matter of enhancing pay, perks and privileges of public representatives, the opposition stands as a rock behind the ruling party in realization of this great interest of the nation.
From practical, legal and constitutional view, the fact is that practitioners of the Opposition dharma are always in minority and it is but natural that the majority represented by the ruling party and their members-followers-supporters should not be subscribing to this dharma’s teachings and principles however sublime these may be.
The EU MPs visit is all the more necessary to make the world countries aware of the background and reality of the government action on J&K.
Both the ruling and the opposition parties vie with each other in claiming the legacy of both the Iron Man and first Home Minister Sardar Ballabhbhai Patel and Law Minister Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar. The first integrated more than five hundred princely States into the Indian Union. The second is recognize as the creator of our Constitution. Both these great men were on a different wavelength on Article 370 which is Pandit Nehru’s special gift to J&K.
A majority of the countrymen have never been able to understand the rationality of Pandit Nehru to be so benevolent to extend special status to J&K through this Article which could not be justified on any ground. It was a measure to which both Sardar Patel and Dr. Ambedkar were vehemently opposed to. Sardar Patel told his secretary V. Shankar: “Jawaharlal royega (will weep over this)", and Dr. Ambedkar refused to attend the session that passed the motion.
The revocation of Article 370 has been done through a regular process of law provided under the Constitution. The resolution to revoke the “Temporary and Transitional” Article and the bill for reorganization of J&K was debated and passed by the Rajya Sabha with 125 (67%) votes in favour and 61 (33%) against and in Lok Sabha with 370 (86 %) votes for and 70 (14%) against.
Surprisingly — and to an extent, a hypocritical — international human rights groups condemned this action by India. One can only pity their jumping to conclusions without verifying facts. On the contrary, this is an act which has removed discrimination between J&K citizens and the rest of the country. It has removed injustice to women and extended now benefits to dalits and scheduled castes so far denied under the now revoked Article.
In contrast, the move has been supported by many major regional parties and even by some prominent Muslim organisation in India. The Buddhist community in Ladakh has welcomed the decision as, they said, they are now the "owners of our own destiny".
On May 06, 2017 BJP-PDP alliance J&K Chief Minister Ms Mehbooba Mufti declared: “I say today with authority……If anyone can find a solution to Jammu and Kashmir problem, it is Prime Minister Narendra Modi….. He has a strong mandate. Whatever decision he takes, the country will support him.” Now that PM Modi has found a “solution” which, as she then predicted rightly, “the country will support him,” PDP chief has adopted the Opposition dharma and in keeping with its edits changed her tongue and tone.
The opposition leaders have kept tack with their stand. For the self-righteous political leaders and parties the enactments passed by Parliament, of which they are its constituents, are not the laws of the country but of NDA and those who supported it. This stand of theirs is an affront to Parliament and the spirit of the Constitution and democracy.
The likes of Congress leaders, Rahul Gandhi and others had to be returned from the Srinagar airport for two reasons. One, the intention behind their visit was not to help promote and restore peace in the State but to foment trouble with their provocative speeches. Two, they could not be expected to be honest to report what they saw and felt. They would only have spread the unreal negative picture, which actually was not, just to promote their narrow political objective.
To expect our opposition leaders to be objective and constructive is like expecting stones hurled by rioters at the opponents not to hurt but caress them affectionately. Can those who called the stone-pelters as ‘patriots’ and expected their targets just to smilingly get hurt and not react; those who did not condemn those who went on rampage killing innocent people and destroying property following killing of dreaded terrorists in encounters with security forces, can they be expected to be true to tell the country what they saw?
In the stand of those opposing revocation of Article 370, one thing is not understandable. They do oppose it but do not say that if they come to power, they will rescind the revocation and return to pre-August 5, 2019 position in J&K. They must come out with their alternative proposal.
It is immaterial as to which individual or NGO sponsored the visit of EU MPs. What is necessary is to expose elected public representatives from various countries to the reality of the situation in Kashmir. Their eye-witness account will give a lie to the rumour-mills daily churning out falsehood to mislead the world.
Many raised the point that while Indian MPs were turned out and denied entry into J&K, EU MPs were allowed free walk. This was necessary because these MPs had no political axe to grind and they reported what they saw and felt. If it was a “guided tour”, as some opposition parties alleged, the EU MPs would not have spoken about corruption and the need to allow Indian MPs also to visit J&K.
The statements of some of Indian leaders are also providing much-needed raw material to the rumour mills of Pakistan. Some of our opposition leaders appear very popular on the front pages of the Pak print media and get extensive footage in the electronic media.
Since there has been comparatively peace in J&K, on the eve of the EU MPs’ visit Pakistan sponsored, inspired and aided terrorists did try to raise a façade of violence by throwing a hand-grenade at a bus in Sopore. Because of strict vigilance by security forces, terrorists failed to strike where they wanted to show to the visitors that all is not well in the State. In frustration they killed innocent West Bengal labours which only exposed their coward, ugly inhuman face fetching further disgrace to them.
Now that peace and normalcy is fast returning to Kashmir, political leaders there are likely to be set free and there will be no restriction on anybody to see the situation with his own eyes. ***
The writer is a Delhi-based political analyst and commentator.