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Remedying social aberrations

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By K.N. Pandita – Recently uncovered sex scandal has rocked the city of Srinagar. A totally unacceptable social evil like this one has to be eradicated lock, stock and barrel.

Societies as these have evolved are ridden with aberrations and infirmities. There is hardly a civil society in the world, which can claim to be all virtue and no vice. But then the guardians of social behavior cannot allow the aberration go unchecked.

One feels that the sex scandal in Srinagar has been politicized rather than socialized. Many political strings are being pulled while demanding investigation.

Last year a sex scandal was uncovered in Jammu also. It also received much media hype and we were told that high ranking officers were involved. There was resentment in the civil society against this social evil but it did not take political colour and did not cross the limits of reason and social surveillance. The police and the judiciary dealt with the case in accordance with law, and proper action was taken. The judicial verdict emphatically stated that the accused woman was intentionally maligned and defamed. The matter ended there.

Srinagar mobs, prompted by some groups (perhaps with a vested interest) tried to hold the government at ransom till the veil was lifted and involved persons identified and punished. The big demonstrations that hurled accusations on unknown and unidentified culprits aimed at not allowing the law take its normal course.

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Kashmir: no more evasive tactics

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By K.N. Pandita – PM’s Kashmir roundtables have proved disastrous. Known separatist and secessionist groups absented themselves from the Second Roundtable at Srinagar. Even the lone dissident PDLP led by Hashim Qureshi opted out. Significantly the BJP, too, abstained though for different reasons. Just 40 odd persons were left in the conference hall to listen to the rhetoric of the rulers of India who had come for a jamboree of summer holiday in the Paradise on Earth. In according them reception, 33 innocent Kashmiris had to fall to the bullets of the militants’ Kalashnikovs.

Isn’’t it a pitiable and a lamentable scenario? The PM has been slighted to the extent where every freedom loving Indian would hang his head in shame.

Who is responsible for drawing the country’s highest office to this debacle and disrepute? Obviously, the advisers of the PM, the mandarins and the intelligence sleuths who are either abysmally incompetent in Kashmir affairs or deliberately keep the PM misinformed.. Somebody should have the courage to call a spade by its proper name.

All these talks and roundtables are only antics to bid time, to wear out the separatists and dissidents, to give an impression to the world outside that New Delhi is addressing the Kashmir problem and thus drag the game of procrastination to its end. APHC (Mir Waiz) was right in saying that it is no use to indulge in procrastination exercise.

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Kashmir: Towards a Logical Conclusion

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By K.N. Pandita – Early in January 1990, the news of Kashmir armed insurgency was brought to Rajeev Gandhi in New Delhi. His spontaneous reaction was, “Kashmir is lost to us.” For many observers it was a shocking comment.

Was it possible to avert the loss? Secession of a federating unit is an issue fiercely debated in academic circles and a federation is invariably loath to allow it. The US had to go through a bloody civil war to suppress the secessionist movement. The Baltic States wrested it from a tottering Soviet Union and Indonesia conceded it only when she came under tremendous international pressure on East Timor.

In Kashmir an underground section of the Muslim majority population launched an armed uprising in late 1989. Not too surprising, the uprising received cooperation from the vast over ground majority. True that arms, training and logistics flowed from a neighbouring country yet local population hailed it as an uprising against the Indian presence in the valley. A Muslim sectarian uprising in essence its leadership persistently projected it a mass political movement for freedom from Indian control.

It has to be noted that separation of religion and politics is outside the process of Islamic history. However, that does not preclude induction of tactical moves and strategies for rapid success of a given mission.

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Putting and end to alienation

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By K.N. Pandita – Much has to be done to put an end to the alienation of the people of Kashmir. A decade and half of insurgency and counter insurgency has intermittently thrown up many ugly situations in which both physical and emotional alienation took its toll. No state can afford to leave a chunk of its citizenry alienated for one reason or the other.

The recent letter of J&K Chief Minister to the CMs of no fewer than 11 states entreating them to deal with Kashmir traders and students with dignity and consideration is one more step in the direction of wooing the alienated people.

The CM has strong argument to take this rather unusual step. He is said to have received reports that the traders from the valley who travel far and wide in the country during winter months for trading Kashmir handicrafts and Kashmiri students who have sought admission in different educational institutions in the country are reported to be put under surveillance by the local police and intelligence outfits. In the process, they feel they are subjected to unnecessary questioning and investigation.

On the face of it, if that is actually happening, one can say it is trespassing on the privacy of a person, which is disallowed by law. It is also violation of the right to freedom of movement. In a democratic country such violation of human rights cannot be tolerated.

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The great betrayal in Kashmir

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By K.N. Pandita – In one of my recent articles in these columns dealing with tenuous Nepal political situation, I had promised to tell readers some insides about New Delhi’s betrayal of Maharaja Hari Singh in 1947.

I am not recounting this story as a pro-royalist: I have no sympathy with autocrats wherever they are. Likewise, I have never been an admirer of Maharaja Hari Singh. Let this be clear to the readers at the very outset.

This piece is to be adjudged on purely historical basis and as a historian’s point of view. Since I found some similarity in New Delhi’s treatment of Nepal King Gyanendra and that of Hari Singh of Kashmir in 1947, I am inclined to share with my readers the facts of this sordid story.

Maharaja Hari Singh was not readily prepared to sign the document of accession with Indian Union. New Delhi was making frantic efforts to elicit his signature. Two persons were leading the campaign and flying in and out of Srinagar. They were Dwarkanath Kachru – Nehru’s private secretary — and Menon, the Cabinet Secretary.

In the meanwhile Hari Singh was trying to contact some sources (most probably Lord Auchinleck) beseaching him to call a halt to the tribal incursion and begin talks for the final disposal of the state.

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