Letter to the Editor – Autonomy issue: Rejoinder

Daily Excelsior

Updated Jan. 7, 2011 / 09.33 MEZ:

Dear Sir,

Mr. Balraj Puri’s letter of Jan 4 does not dispel, rather adds more confusion to what he had said in his article of 23 December. Accession of J&K to the Indian Union in October 1947 patently took place under very special circumstances notwithstanding uniformity of the instrument of accession for all federating units of the Indian Union.  The specialty was that the state was under incursion by an external power, which had signed a standstill agreement with the Maharaja of J&K. This was not the case with any other Indian princely state at that point of time. The question of no accession without secession was extensively debated at the London Commune of 1898 in which top communist ideologue Rosa Luxemburg had fiercely advocated the right of secession. After great debates, the controversy was set at rest by Lenin in 1905 when he declared that a federating unit could seceded provided it had convincing economic viability and its  secession did not pose security threat to the federation. 

Pakistan’s repeated assertion of no peace in the region unless Kashmir dispute was resolved is a standing threat to India’s security. And Pakistan, like India, is a nuclear power. Of J&K’s economic fragility, there is no second opinion. Therefore the question of allowing secession to J&K does not arise. Since Mr. Puri says his formula is only for sub-regional, meaning internal autonomy, and has nothing to do with the greater autonomy for the entire state as demanded by the NC (which may or may not be granted), then this is a matter strictly within the jurisdiction of state legislative assembly. In other words, Mr. Puri is not thinking of any lasting solution for Kashmir tangle, and hence, the centre does not come into the picture of his sub-regional autonomy concept. Is that going to satisfy the separatists or is that going to restore normalcy in the disturbed state? And for internal/sub-regional autonomy, it is the majority party in power which has the privilege to concede it or not depending on the intensity of public demand. Mr. Puri will also need to stretch his imagination to a situation arising for each region individually in case greater autonomy is granted to the entire state for the bare reason that these are divergent from one another in more than one aspect.

K.N. Pandita

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