Saturday, June 02, 2012

Interlocutors suppressed truth to mislead nation 1975 Accord


JAMMU, May 29: The interlocutors for Jammu & Kashmir have not done justice to the assignment they got from New Delhi in October 2010 in the wake of what happened in Kashmir during the summer months. They have, like the canny and communal NC leadership, suppressed and distorted facts to mislead the nation and strengthen the pro-autonomy forces in the Kashmir Valley. That they have suppressed and distorted facts could be seen from their highly controversial assertion: “The terms of the (Indira Gandhi-Sheikh Abdullah Accord negotiated by G Parthasarthy and Mirza Mohammad Afzal Beg) were never implemented”. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s uncle and senior NC leader Mustafa Kamaal, too, has umpteen times made similar statements.

Who did the interlocutors try to fool and mislead by suppressing and distorting the hard fact? The fact is that the controversial 1975 Accord was implemented in full in February 1975 itself. It was under this Accord that Sheikh Abdullah became Chief Minister of the State, despite the fact that his anti-India outfit – Plebiscite Front — didn’t have a single legislator either in the Legislative Assembly or in the Legislative Council. He himself was not a member of either House of the State Legislature. And, still, the interlocutors had the temerity to suggest that the terms of the 1975 Accord were “never implemented”.

Not only this, they also conveniently forgot to inform the nation that Sheikh Abdullah had in 1977 constituted a three-member high-powered Cabinet Sub-Committee to review all the central laws and institutions which had been extended to the state after August 1953 and recommend withdrawal of such laws that had “eroded” the state’s internal autonomy granted under Article 370 and “harmed” the interests of the people of the state. Sheikh Abdullah as chief minister appointed this high-powered committee as per a particular term of the Accord. Initially, the Cabinet sub-Committee was headed by the then Revenue Minister Afzal Beg, one of the two chief architects of the 1975 Accord. Other members of the committee were the Sheikh’s son-in-law G M Shah and Ghulam Nabi Kochak. After sometime, Sheikh Abdullah unceremoniously removed Beg from the committee and was replaced by the then Deputy Chief Minister D D Thakur.

This committee had submitted two contradictory reports. One was from Thakur who said needles of the clock could not be turned back as the application of the Central laws had benefited the state and its people. The other was from Shah and Kochak, who had recommended wholesale withdrawal of the Central laws and institutions saying the extension of those laws and institutions had “eroded” the internal autonomy that the state had enjoyed between 1947 and 1953. The interlocutors have suggested that Sheikh did not lay these reports on the table of the House. They are right. But they are wrong when they indirectly suggested that the Sheikh had not accepted the Thakur report. The Sheikh did accept the Thakur report and reject the other report submitted by Shah and Kochak.

It is true that between 1953 and 1975 the nation witnessed in the state a process leading to closer politico-constitutional ties between Jammu & Kashmir and New Delhi, with the state being brought under the ambit of hundreds of Central Laws and institutions like the Supreme Court, Election Commission and Comptroller and Auditor-General. But it is also equally true that the process of integration of the state into India was very smooth. There was no bitterness, no animosity and no coercion. Everything was done on the demand of or with the concurrence of the state government. Even the NC-appointed Autonomy Committee acknowledged that the Central laws were introduced in the state with the consent of the state. It is different that the members of the autonomy committee thought it prudent not to refer to the 1975 Accord even once in their otherwise very lengthy report, report that was thrown into the dustbin by the BJP-led NDA Government nearly a decade ago.

And, what about those 18-odd Central laws, including POTA, which were introduced in the state between February 1975 and January 19, 1990, when Jammu & Kashmir was ruled by Sheikh Abdullah, his son Farooq Abdullah, G M Shah and again by Farooq Abdullah, all ardent believers in the concept of greater autonomy, bordering on virtual sovereignty. It would have better had they highlighted these points in their report. Such an exercise on their part would have exposed the votaries of greater autonomy and enabled the people to read a true story. That they suppressed and distorted this fact is an indication that their intentions were not pious.

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