Writings on Kashmir
By Manju Gupta
Religion, Inter-community Relations and the Kashmir Conflict, Yoginder Sikand, Rupa & Co., Pp 196, Rs 595.00
In this compilation of articles by the author, one gets the impression that he is pro-separatist as he admits in the preface itself, after expounding on his various visits to Jammu & Kashmir, that he believes “in the right of every nationality to political self-determination.” He blatantly advises supporters of the Indian stand on Kashmir that Indian leaders had repeatedly vowed to respect the basic right of the people of Jammu & Kashmir “when in its own initiative, India took the Kashmir issue to the United Nations, agreeing before the entire international community to hold a plebiscite in the region to allow the people of the state to decide their own political future.” He openly attacks the Indian State by stating that the “ongoing conflict in Kashmir is principally the result of the Indian State reneging on such a solemn promise.”
Talking of Jammu’s Hindus and Leh’s Buddhists who would resist the agenda of an independent Jammu & Kashmir, the author makes a realistic suggestion that any forced union of the disparate nationalities in Jammu & Kashmir in the form of a separate independent State that Kashmir nationalists champion (as now do even some Kashmiri Islamists, former passionate advocates for union with Pakistan, who, flowing with the tide, have realised that their earlier stance has increasingly few takers among the Kashmiris, given their disenchantment with Pakistan) would be a sure recipe for a civil war. It is time therefore, that pro-azadi Kashmiri leaders publicly admit what is such an obvious fact that it requires no explanation whatsoever.” He, however, adds that Jammu & Kashmir should not be divided on religious lines “for surely that would only further harden communal boundaries and rivalries,” but recognises the state’s plural character instead.
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