August 13, 2016 1:16:09 pm
Former Deputy CM and MP Muzaffar Hussain Baig represented the ruling Peoples Democratic Party in the all-party meeting convened by the Centre to discuss the current Kashmir uprising. PDP is BJP’s coalition partner in J&K and Baig’s suggestions at the all-party meet are essential to understand where PDP stands on Kashmir issue and how it wants New Delhi to respond to the current unrest. Here is what Baig said he told the Prime Minister in the all-party meet.
On the Kashmir problem
“I told (the all party meet) that there is a narrative of religious extremism. This narrative is created in madrassas. Our teachers and schools don’t have such commitment or reach. These kids are trained in the religious texts without context. Now there is a revival of Khilafat, which has taken the form of ISIS. It is bound to influence the youth of Kashmir. I told them (All Party meeting) that what is taught in Madrassa is not real Islam. They teach them politicized Islam. They (the students) get two sets of kameez pajamas from their families and these vulnerable minds are told that if you die in Jihad, you will go to paradise and if you survive you will be a hero. We should have had a counter narrative (in Kashmir)”.
“I reminded Prime Minister (Modi) of his speech during election campaign at Kishtwar (in J&K). I said Vajpayee had used Insaniyat and Jhumhuriyat only. In Kishtwar you introduced and added Kashmiriyat. I was happy to see you introducing Kashmiriyat. For us, it means a centrist between Shaivite Hinduism where unity of God, fraternity and equality of human being are its foundations, which was later supplemented and enriched by Sufiism. That is Kashmiriyat. It has two facets– one is civilisation value and other is the political status. The unique status of Kashmir in Indian Union was necessary to preserve and foster its civilisational values and tradition. It isn’t a Muslim identity but a mixed identity. We need to build a counter narrative centered around this Kashmiriyat”.
On the protests
“These protests have become all-pervasive and women too are taking part in large numbers. Women cook food and then come out to protests after 8, 9 PM. In my own village (In Baramulla), women who are my own relatives go out to protest in the night after they cook dinner. It is happening across Kashmir. That’s why night curfew was imposed. There is 73 per cent rural population who were bystanders earlier, they are participating fully now. The protests are there in Rajouri, Chinab valley etc in Jammu. It has reached almost all the places with Muslim population in the State. The 70 per cent of the protesters are teenagers. These are some unique facets of these protests”.
India can’t give away Kashmir land
“I said you (India) couldn’t give away territory of Kashmir even if you enter into a treaty with another country. It is because of Constitution of the (J&K) State that you cannot do so. You can do that in respect of any other part of India but not Kashmir”.
“There is a misconception that we are special. We have a different status. States were admitted to the Union of India on different conditions and article 2 (of the Indian Constitution) authorised that. It is this article that confirmed the accession (of J&K), which took place under different terms and conditions. You have power to give away the territory of anywhere in the country to any other country after entering into a treaty. But you don’t have that power in terms of Kashmir. You have to understand the benefit of J&K Constitution”.
On the way forward
“I told him (PM Modi) you should apply your own mantra that you preached to the executive committee of BJP in Allahabad. You had talked about the moral conduct in public policy. You had talked about six elements and I remember five. Balance, Patience, Positive thinking, Empathy and Dialogue. These are the elements of a good political policy and we want you to apply it to the problem of Kashmir. We must accept that historically Kashmir has been let down by mainstream politicians both in State as well at the Centre. We must introspect and recognize that we are also responsible for this and then frame a balanced policy. We shouldn’t agitate on excessive use of force, pellets etc and rather have patience. We have reached here in 60 years and we can’t find solutions in five days. We must have a positive mind and a quick fix shouldn’t be there (to Kashmir problem) because at subterranean level it is a volcano. You should understand the pain of the people. Empathy ke bagair kaisay ho ga (How could it work without empathy). We are not prepared to share their (Kashmiris) pain. Once we understand their pain, then there should be process of dialogue. That would be meaningful”.
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