Hindu dharma is implicitly at odds with monotheistic intolerance. What is happening in India is a new historical awakening... Indian intellectuals, who want to be secure in their liberal beliefs, may not understand what is going on. But every other Indian knows precisely what is happening: deep down he knows that a larger response is emerging even if at times this response appears in his eyes to be threatening.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Amarnath land grant and the reality around it

by Dina Nath Mishra

In this age of widespread and fast communication, it is not possible to hide facts. But this is exactly what has happened in the case of the so-called transfer of 40 acres of forest land to the Amarnath Shrine Board for providing facilities to pilgrims.

Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Gilani, PDP leader Mufti Mohammed Sayeed and others saw a great opportunity to further the cause of Islamisation in J&K.

Land was to be transferred for two months in a year when Amarnath pilgrims visited and no permanent structure was to be constructed, for Article 370 forbids the same. Both these facts were gagged.

On the contrary a high voltage propaganda was unleashed to convey that the Central Government wanted to change the outlook of the place and had planned a permanent structure. The propaganda was multiplied by withdrawal of PDP from the coalition Government. It was this fact, which caused turmoil in the valley. Large demonstrations followed. Para-military forces were targeted. Ghulam Nabi Azad, did the easiest thing; cancel the transfer order. The continuing Yatra was terminated. But for how long?

Then there was counter reaction in Jammu and throughout India. The area was so tense that it was placed under curfew for days. On Thursday there was an All India bandh call. Till now I have not heard or read about a single Muslim gentleman condemning it.

The NGOs and human rights activists, who have been in the forefront for defending terrorists, are nowhere to be seen at this moment of Hindu grief. Those activists who gave full-throated support to save Afzal Guru, the main conspirator of the Parliament attack have become deaf and dumb. Perhaps, removal of Article 370 and introduction of Common Civil Code to all citizens has become the surest litmus test to judge if a matter is communal or not.

Lest people have forgotten, this is the same Mufti Mohd Sayeed who was India's Home Minister in VP Singh's Government when on of his daughters was kidnapped by terrorists. The Central Government approached them to release her in exchange of their group members. In the eyes of secular parties, Sayeed's sterling secularism is not in doubt because he propagates joint control of J&K by India and Pakistan. He also pleads for currencies of both countries to be valid in the valley. If such secularism is there, naturally demand for removal of Article 370 and application of Common Civil Code would naturally tantamount to communalism incarnate.

As far as Article 370 is concerned, before it Article 306 was passed unanimously by the Constituent Assembly in the presence of Sheikh Abdullah, Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed and others. People thought that the matter was over but it was not to be. Sheikh Abdullah gave an interview to some foreign correspondent hinting at independent Kashmir. Later, when Sardar Patel drew his attention to this statement Abdullah said he was mis-interpreted by the media. But it's no secret that he dreamt of an independent Kashmir.

However, Nehru trusted him and started quit Kashmir movement against Maharaja Hari Singh that resulted in his imprisonment. Nehru was so perturbed that he proceeded for Kashmir despite advice of not to go to there, even from the Viceroy. Nehru went to Srinagar. He was arrested and sent back to Delhi. By that time Pakistani rangers invaded Kashmir. Up to Baramula, quite a large part of Kashmir was captured by them. At that time the Maharaja signed a letter of accession to India. Then, the Indian Military was sent to Kashmir to fight Pakistani rangers. Before the operation concluded Nehru stopped the Indian military. The result is that one-third of Kashmir is occupied by Pakistan.

It is a well-known fact that there were 563 princely states when India got freedom in 1947. Sardar Patel by his tactful handling annexed each barring J&K. This state was being handled by Nehru who wrote to Patel that as ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defence and others are involved, he would coordinate the matter himself. Nehru in order to satisfy the whims of Sheikh Abdulla secretly negotiated with him and passed a draft of Article 306A, which later became Article 370 that resulted in two Constitutions, two flags and two Prime Ministers. Apart from that a provision was made by which no Indian could buy any land in J&K, but the State's people could do so throughout the country.

In the altered draft, the writ of Supreme Court did not run there. Nehru ultimately had to put Sheikh Abdullah under house arrest for decades.

Amarnath Shrine episode too goes to Nehru's "credit". Thanks to Indira Gandhi who got this clause amended and J&K was brought under jurisdiction of Supreme Court. Also nomenclature of J&K PM was changed to that of Chief Minister.

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