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J&K Assembly Elections

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By K.N. Pandit

Behind this argument lies the fallacy that elections mean legitimizing Indian presence in the state.

Election Commission is about to declare the dates of election in Jammu and Kashmir despite the separatists, PDP and NC demanding deferment.

In the beginning Congress showed signs of vacillation but now it appears to have recovered its confidence.

Those demanding deferment till political climate of the state becomes conducive argue that memories of recent upheaval in the valley are still fresh in the minds of the people. Behind this argument lies the fallacy that elections mean legitimizing Indian presence in the state.  Continue Reading…

Northern border security concerns

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By K.N. Pandit

If the Indian state has the will to do, restructuring of J&K State should not be difficult to achieve.

Was there a churning in BJP’s think tank on party’s new ideas on Kashmir before its President, Rajnath Singh, divulged them in Bangalore conclave? The ideas are about an enclave for the internally displaced people from the valley, and nationalization of Amaranth cave route.

PDP chairperson Mahbooba Mufti, an adept in political gimmick, came out with livid reaction to these ideas — patent Kashmiri exclusives.

An “Enclave” for IDPs in the valley and nationalization of Amarnath route are not the brainchild of BJP chief.  In the Marg Darshan resolution adopted in December 1990 at Jammu, Panun Kashmir — the frontline political party of Pandit IDPs — demanded centrally administered Homeland in the valley with a road link to the national highway.  Continue Reading…

Kashmiri Pandit Enclave

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By K.N. Pandit

International law and Human Rights Charter emphatically recommend creation of safe enclaves for IDPs in their places of origin.

Reflections on Kashmir situation could not escape the notice of BP leadership during its recently concluded Bangalore conclave. The President is reported to have made “sensational” demands namely “enclave” in the valley for the extirpated Pandits, and “nationalization” of Pir Panchal – Baltal road.

Not only  to Congress, but to the Leftists and their cohorts too, and in particular to overt pro-Muslim lobbies in other parties like SP and RJD too, Rajnath Singh’s  Kashmir-related demands are  a red rag to the bull.

The twin demands are not the brainchild of BJP. Its President has only formally reiterated what the Kashmir IDPs have been demanding for two decades. Hopefully now BJP higher echelons will begin to appreciate its potential in resolving the Kashmir tangle.

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Re-visiting Our Northern Security Strategy

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By K.N. Pandit,

In reply to BJP President Rajnath Singh’s idea of an enclave for the internally displaced Kashmiri Pandits and nationalization of the Amarnath route floated during the BJP conclave in Bangalore recently, the PDP chairperson has reacted frantically and threatened a mass uprising in the valley. Handing unbridled, albeit meaningless, threats and blackmail, is her style of politicking.

Theo-fascists have accelerated their destructive activities targeting major cities in the country.

In recent months Kashmir separatists have been persistently defying law enforcing authority and obstructing normal flow of administration in the valley. They issue threats to those who intend to participate in the democratic process of electing their representatives.  Continue Reading…

From land row to election row

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By K.N. Pandit

Emotive land row over Amaranth Shrine yatra has barely died down when another row – the election row -  has surfaced to keep Kashmir pot boiling. October elections to the legislative assembly in the J&K State appear to be in doldrums with two mainstream political parties, namely National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party formally declaring situation not conducive. The Hurriyat Conference, known for its uncompromising opposition to democratic process, had already expressed itself against it.

However, the PCC, finding itself on the horns of dilemma as usual, has come out with a very ambiguous statement. It said that the high command shall decide what to do as if it shares no responsibility of sharp downslide in the political situation of the State weeks before it quit office in utter ignominy.

With two mainstream parties and the opposition poised for postponement of elections, it can be safely inferred that the government’s insistence of sticking to the schedule is likely to meet with some hard-hitting reaction of these parties like declaring a boycott. They seem to have chalked out their strategy and now the ball is in the court of Union Home Ministry.

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The Myth of Kashmir Tourism

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By K.N. Pandit

Loud noise is raised about Kashmir tourism as the mainstay of Kashmir economy. It is not nor can it be.

This claim is made on the basis of luxuriant nature, abundant verdure and enervating climate of the valley. Are these really meaningful allurements for a tourist and a visitor to Kashmir?

An excursion or a picnic to some attractive spot is different from a tour of a landlocked region with only one serpentine mountain road connecting it to outside world.

A region earmarked for international tourism must have accompanying infrastructure. Kashmir does not have any.

A place does not become a tourist spot just because it has woods and meadows and springs and streams. At best, these objects become a catalyst to tourism industry only when supported and complemented by a viable, ultra-modern and sustainable infrastructure. If famished, poverty-stricken, illiterate and conservative people inhabit the peripheries and suburbs of these locales of natural beauty, then that kills the very spirit of tourism.

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Kashmir issue: The Grassroots

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By K.N. Pandit

Accession of J&K State to the Indian Union on October 27, 1947 came about in abnormal conditions.  Tribesmen of NWFP had swept into the valley on Pakistan’s behest.  In early summer of 1947, the British and NWFP Governor had drawn discreet roadmap for the incursion.

Any far-looking historian could predict the unease dogging the accession process notwithstanding the false aura created by Nehru-Sheikh camaraderie. The Sheikh never made a direct request for accession nor confirmed it anywhere in writing.  Nehru never demanded anything of the sort. There were only verbal commitments, words that could be distorted or misrepresented.

Ever since accession three Accords have been signed between Kashmir leadership and New Delhi regimes. The Nehru-Sheikh Accord of 1952 happened when Nehru sensed the Sheikh’s ambivalence.  He hoped an accord would change the Sheikh’s subtle overtures to the Americans and re-assure him of Kashmir’s identity and integrity.  But harsh realities  belied Nehruvian  Utopia.

The Indira-Sheikh Accord came about in 1974 when the Sheikh realized that Pakistan’s defeat in the Indo-Pak war of 1972 had  blasted his dream of Kashmir Sultanate.

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Talking to Kashmir separatists

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By K.N. Pandit

Recent turmoil in Jammu and Kashmir State saw some harsh comments from sections of national press.

This has hurt Kashmiri separatists.  It should not have happened. Some positive steps to normalize trilateral relations were in the process. An understanding on this complicated issue has to be brought about only through dialogue.

Masses trying to cross the line of control was not a wise decision. People should not have succumbed to irresponsible noise meant to raise people’s sentiments.

Expulsion of entire Hindu minority from the valley in 1990, another mistake,  is inexcusable; in fact a festering sore.

A feeling is that in the light of recent history of the subcontinent common Kashmiri is not educated objectively on his pro-Pak hunch.

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