Of Democracy & Denied Rights
Senior advocate Syed Tassaduq Hussain comments on state of democracy in India with reference to Dr Muhammad Qasim’s incarceration
Adv. Syed Tassaduq Hussain
The rise of Hindutva was salient since 2000 and I at that stage pointed out that Hindutva brigade being in command made resolution of Kashmir dispute or talks with militants, a meaningless exercise. I pointed out that state’s ‘s mission for confabulations with Kashmir leadership is undoubtedly a camp theatrical performance, meant to devitalise the emotive issue of Kashmir‘s autonomy within the framework of Indian constitution. The elected representatives of Jammu and Kashmir State are collusively complicit in this high voltage Political drama that in conclusion would imperatively be reduced to the level of a burlesque. National Conference denuded of its popularity raised the issue of autonomy within Indian Union as a survival ploy. None of its leaders have endeavoured sedulously to comprehend the import of the concept of autonomy symbolised by the assurances contained in semantics of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. It took ninety seconds for the constituent Assembly of India to institute Article 370 in the body fabric of the Indian Constitution disregarding the protestations of Shiekh Abdullah, who was invited to the constituent Assembly to offer his expostulations to this provision and who was dumbfounded amazed, and flummoxed, when even before he could rise and open his mouth the unanimous Assembly by voice vote had sanctified this provision with constitutional legality.
It is an irony of fate that this very provision, which Shiekh wanted to denounce, has become the survival ploy of National Conference. So far PDP is concerned it wants to undermine the demand for autonomy and supplant it with a demand for greater powers for the State Legislature, a euphemism for economic trifurcation of the State, so that the financial, executive administrative control of the J&K Government upon Ladakh affairs is loosened, and Ladakh functions factually as a Union territory. The purpose of this demarche is obvious. If Ladakh functions as an autonomous region, the Kashmir Valley and its leadership become automatically irrelevant to the U.S.A. So the state has come to achieve this specific political objective. In other words greater powers to J&K State implies, first the economic trifurcation of the State in the name of regional development second, it implies a policy to encourage J&K State to raise its resources by heavily borrowing from Indian multinational companies, and from some foreign states that are collaborating with India, Israel and Russia. That has formed an axis of Power in South Asia. The Government of India imperatively will stand as guarantor for these myriad financial transactions, leading to financial dependence of this state upon Central Government. Indebted states forego demands for autonomy.
The upshot of this policy is manifest. First, Planning Commission of India, now NITI Ayog, would allocate funds on population basis but funds received from Centre would be utilized on regional basis so that Ladakh with one Lakh population will compete equally with Kashmir and Jammu region second the funds received from Centre would be utilized for defense related development i.e. that means of communication like roads and bridges would get top priority ignoring other social sectors. Thirdly the money will also be utilized to build dams for diverting waters of rivers that flow to the neighbouring country for building pressure of an economic nature, so as to influence its policies. This would be development related to foreign affairs objectives, provoking a reaction from neighbouring country, Fourth, the Jammu region will receive greater boost because Indian financial Institutions, Banks, multinationals will feel assured and secure about their investments in Jammu region than in Kashmir region. Fifth some sort of Panchayat Raj will be introduced in the State so that economic output of Panchayats is utilized for controlling Villages in an indirect manner by the central Government. Vohra‘s mission of greater powers to the State has set for its objective of achieving these targets in a structured manner. An autonomy package within the parameters of these political objectives will be offered to the Hurriyat in due course of time. However Pakistan is going to throw its spanner in these works. Kashmir is jugular vein for Pakistan that cannot survive without the waters flowing from J&K State to Pakistan.
Pakistanis quest for river waters is its quest for survival. This is obvious to anyone well versed with Kashmir affairs. National Conference is the political debris of an edifice that was built by the ideologues of Indian National Congress on shifting sands of time. PDP is an instrumentality of the Indian politicians to achieve their objectives shrouded in sheer nebulosity. So ‘s dialogue with Kashmiri interlocutors is going to prove a dialogue of the deaf. It would be remarkable for one pre-eminent and prominent fact, namely; ―the interlocutor would not know, about what they are talking, the interlocutor would not know, how they should confabulate and in the end: the interlocutor would not know who says what and who means what? However the interlocutor will realise that in a serious political discussions undertaken by them it is imperative to talk sense, and yet under compulsion of the incomprehensible situation would deliberately talk non-sense leading to tosh. The fabric of these confabulations will be embroidered with glaring inconsistencies, irrelevancies, oxymoron expressions emotively exaggerated sentiments and stultified conclusions leaving the state to push through his agenda of greater powers for Jammu and Kashmir State: Untrammeled, unencumbered, and totally bereft of Kashmiri aspirations.
So far so good but the real danger is that to undo the effect of these machinations, forces inimical to Indian rule in Kashmir will try to polarise and augment the current Civil strife. In my view China will be the bell weather of this anti-Indian, movement. Kashmir is a disaster prone area and a perpetual liability for India. Even if Pakistan agrees to Indian demands still China will ensure that Kashmir remains an albatross round the Indian neck. As a student of Politics I have never discounted the importance of Chinese factor as an imponderable to be reckoned seriously while evaluating the political scenario in Kashmir. I am of the firm view that Chinese influence is bound to permeate the peripheral states of Bhutan, Sikkim, Nepal and ultimately will influence the thinking in Ladakh who are at the thresh hold of a demographic change. Imperceptible population invasion of Ladakh by Tibetans who will be encouraged to forge matrimonial alliances with Ladakhis after economic upheavals are experienced in South Asia due to US Iraq conflict in the offing, is a visible possibility. Jewish ideologues have always fascinated me with their scintillating contorted ideas that form the bedrock of current western political thought. So I have read and re-read Samuel Huntington in order to grasp the political apercu of South Asian Politics. One cannot ignore the Salience of two broad features that predominate the strategic politics of South Asia. First we have to realise that India, Russia, Israel Axis is an extension of Westernism in Asia. Second, Pakistan, Iran and China and Central Asian countries in South Asia represent the forces of Asianism or anti-westernism. Third, Iraq spearheads anti-westernism in west Asia. So the real problem in South Asia is the imminent impending clash between westernism and antiwesterism. India although a South Asian power has joined forces of westernism only because westernism in Asia, has an anti-Islamic orientation.
In this back drop one has to evaluate the core thought of Samuel Huntington who says, Under these conditions, the Confucian-Islamic connection will continue and perhaps broaden and deepen. Central to this connection has been the Co-operation of Muslim and sinic societies opposing the west on weapons proliferation human rights and other issues. At the core has been the close relations among Pakistan. China, Iran which crystallised in the early 1990s with visits of President Yang Shang Kun to Iran and Pakistan and of President Rafsanjani to Pakistan and China. These pointed to emergence of an embryonic alliance between Pakistan, Iran and China. In my view this scenario has not undergone any appreciable transformation. So transfer of weapons from China to militant groups in Nepal, Kashmir is a reasonable possibility. China will utilize Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sikkim; Kargil areas as conduits for weapons transfer to insurgents. Kashmir will be the future battlefield for a clash between forces of westernism and anti- westernism. Vohra‘s mission in Kashmir is an integer of the policy of westernism being pursued by India. The consequences are full of many imponderables shrouded in deep tenebrity only if India mends its fences with Pakistan it can save itself from a catastrophe.
This exercise was taken way back in 2003. Now if India realizes it will have to face a renewed militancy in Kashmir supported by China and not Pakistan. It should cease to act as a tyrant state. Many Kashmiri freedom fighters are languishing in jails after hastily held and hastily conducted Kangaroo trials, under draconian laws like TADA. The case of Dr. Muhammad. Qasim, an outstanding intellectual and Muslim Scholar, who was subjected to atrocious third degree methods, denied of a legitimate investigation as the entire investigation trumped up charges of murder of a Kashmiri Pandith H.N. Wanehoo, was carried on, when he was under preventive detention and he was deprived of Magisterial monitoring of his investigation by police, that is something diabolical, in a democratic polity. He was non-chalantly on the basis of a confession obtained under sustained coercion sentenced to life imprisonment that is a cruel and degrading punishment worse than death. He has already spent fourteen long years, mandatory period of the life imprisonment for premature release for which he as eligible from January 31, 2008 incarceration in Prison, He is Prisoner of Conscience. Habitual thieves, robbers, dacoits, rapists, murderers have been released, yet Dr. Muhammad Qasim is suffering because the government does not want to release him as a matter of political revenge. The entire theory of retribution inherent in Indian Penal system is grounded upon the appeasement of the Primitive passion called revenge, the entire doctrine of proportionality of punishment, shows that revenge is the real soul force that guides the state. Dr. Muhammad. Qasim‘s case is an archetypal case of people languishing in Prisons for uncommitted political offences. The government of India, should release him and initiate a peace process in the state. Entering into a dialogue with “Kashmiri freedom fighter” is imperative. Even otherwise a penal statute that restricts judicial discretion to impositions of penalties like murder or life imprisonment is an encroachment upon judicial power, and, something revulsive, nefarious and absolutely humonguous, something totally discordant with the ideas of a democratic state. The case of Dr. Muhammad Qasim and other prisoners of conscience should receive urgent public attention. Media also has an eminent role to play in this behalf.
Blurbs: The rise of Hindutva was salient since 2000 and I at that stage pointed out that Hindutva brigade being in command made resolution of Kashmir dispute or talks with militants, a meaningless exercise
So far so good but the real danger is that to undo the effect of these machinations, forces inimical to Indian rule in Kashmir will try to polarise and augment the current Civil strife. In my view China will be the bell weather of this anti-Indian, movement
Dr. Muhammad. Qasim‘s case is an archetypal case of people languishing in Prisons for uncommitted political offences. The government of India, should release him and initiate a peace process in the state. Entering into a dialogue with “Kashmiri freedom fighter” is imperative