Settle 10 lakh ex-servicemen in the Kashmir Valley, who would create the circumstance conducive to the return of the Pandits, and end the strife there – this is BJP leader Subramanian Swamy’s suggestion to his party.
Subramanian Swamy made the point at a function to launch a book, Plight of Kashmir: The Unknown Files, written by G D Sharma, a retired judge of the J&K high court. “The ex-servicemen should be given the money and arms, and tasked with retrieving the property of the Pandits,” Swamy added.
Around 3.5 lakh Hindu Pandits had been forced to leave the Valley because they had been made the systematic objects of militant violence in the 1990s, and the BJP, which is gearing up to give a tough fight to established political parties, National Conference and PDP in the state, has repeatedly raised the issue of rehabilitating them. The party had made the issue a part of its manifesto in the run up to the 2014 general elections and allocated Rs 500 crore for this in the 2014-15 Union budget. The union home minister, Rajnath Singh, is also reported to have written to the state chief minister Omar Abdullah for allocation of “suitable” land for building houses for these displaced families.
Justice Sharma, who had also served as member of the J&K State Special Tribunal and J&K public safety board, argues in his book that Article 370 must be abrogated if the Jammu and Kashmir “problem” is to be resolved and separatist movements ended, argues a new book on the troubled state that goes to elections soon. It makes the case that Jawaharlal Nehru’s political footsie with the state’s first chief minister Sheikh Abdullah, especially the latter’s appeal to religion and Kashmiriyat, are what lie at the root of the issue. “Maharaja was ready for merger of the State before October 26, 1947 nd possibly even before August 15, 1947, but Pandit Nehru had insister for transfer of power to Sheikh Abdullah for internal administration for the best reasons known to hi,” writes Sharma.
The corruption of the state’s political leadership, especially the Abdullahs, and the favours they showed to the militants and their organisations further aggravated the disaffection into a separatist movement, Sharma goes on to argue.
He further accuses the National Human Rights Commission of not acting with the “same alacrity and alarm” when Hindus in the state were being targeted, as it was in the case of the 2002 Gujarat riots when it took up the Best Bakery case suo moto. Even the Election Commission comes in for not questioning the steady increase in the number of electorates in Kashmir, via-a-vis Jammu, which has titled the balance of power in the state to the valley.
The “voice of secession is not the voice of the majority of the people of Kashmir region” Sharma argues, pointing out how the Jammu and Ladakh regions of the state, which form a significant chunk in area and population, have been neglected in terms of budget allocation and infrastructure.
Given how closely Sharma’s views echo that of the ruling BJP, it was only natural that the launch in the capital on Monday evening, attended by the controversial RSS leader Indresh Kumar and Swamy, should be an occasion for articulating their nationalistic line on Kashmir.
Indresh Kumar, whose name features in the 2007 Ajmer blast charge sheet, said, “The religious majority argument does not stand. Amarkot, which was a Hindu majority kingdom, went to Pakistan and no one raised any protest.”
Arguing for the abrogation of Article 370, Swamy said that the president could, at any time, notify that abrogation of the provision – that it did not need a parliamentary resolution. He also expressed confidence that the BJP would get 30 seats in the 87-member state assembly which would either mean president’s rule or a greater say for the party in the government – allowing it to affect these changes.