Prof Hari Om
Gone are the days when National Conference (NC) used to put forth an atrocious demand seeking restoration of pre-1953 politico-constitutional status for Jammu & Kashmir or limited accession with India, bordering on virtual sovereignty. Also gone are the days when the NC leaders like Farooq Abdullah and his son and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah would simply say that Jammu & Kashmir only acceded to India and not merged with it.
But today’s NC is no different from the outfits of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mohammad Yasin Malik, as it has become absolutely impossible to distinguish between these four Kashmir-based outfits. In fact, the NC has turned more radical and wants to take Jammu & Kashmir back to the medieval ages, when anarchy, forced migration, bloodshed, wars, political instability, persecution, conversion from the Indian religion to the foreign religion, loot and plunder, destruction of ancient Hindu temples and symbols of Indian civilisation was the order of the day.
Today’s NC has turned more radical as compared to Mirwaiz Hurriyat Conference, Geelani Hurriyat and Yasin Malik’s Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) could be seen from the latest demand put forth by NC General Secretary Sheikh Nazir whose writ runs in the party and who has been setting the agenda for the party for more than 40 years now.
Addressing the party workers at Srinagar, Sheikh Nazir, who reluctantly visited Delhi not only demanded independent country status for Kashmir but also batted for a system that existed in the Valley between 1300 A.D and 1420 A.D., or a system that was prevalent during the regime of Sultan Shahab-ud-Din. Sultan Shahab-ud-Din ruled over Kashmir before Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin (1420-1470 A.D.), also known in the history of Kashmir as Badshah.
It is important to note that during the regimes of the predecessors of Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin, including Sultan Shahab-ud-Din and Sultan Sikander, also called Butshikan (iconoclast), fanaticism, fundamentalism, intolerance, discriminatory policies and murder of “Kafirs” were the five chief features of the Sultans’ religious policy. The Kashmiri Hindus had three options – death, conversion or migration from the Valley, also called Land of Vitasta (Jhelum). To be more precise, the period between 1300 A.D. and 1420 A.D. was a period in Kashmir that witnessed persecution and conversion of the Hindus on an unprecedented scale and the result was that almost all the Kashmiri Hindus migrated out of their 5,000-year-old habitat.
It was Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin who did try to reverse the trend and was able to induce some of the exiled Kashmiri Hindus to return to their homeland.
National Conference wants New Delhi to allow Kashmir go out of India, enable it to achieve an independent country status and restore in Kashmir the position as it existed during the rule of Sultan Shahab-ud-Din.
It is a matter of grave concern that the NC that is constitutionally bound to protect Indian Constitution and Indian State, is brazenly indulging in politics of secession, based on religious fanaticism. Even more disturbing is the stoic silence of the Congress Party that is an integral and most crucial constituent of the Jammu & Kashmir Government despite the fact that the provocation caused by the NC is highly grave.
The NC and the Congress are two sides of the same coin. For, Jammu & Kashmir Congress Pradesh Committee chief Saif-ud-Din Soz is on record having said that the Congress believes that the State is a trilateral issue and dialogue between Srinagar and New Delhi, Srinagar and Islamabad and New Delhi and Islamabad is a must to break the so-called Kashmir impasse, end alienation of Kashmiri Muslims and forge a lasting peace in South Asia.
Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley only hits the nail on the head when he says that the grant of “separate status” to Jammu & Kashmir has only resulted in “politics of separation from India” and that if this negative trend in the State politics is to be reversed, then the nation has to work for the removal of Article 370 from the Indian statute book. On its part, the Jammu & Kashmir unit of the BJP took up the issue in a big way and urged State Governor N N Vohra to discharge his constitutional obligations towards the Indian State and Indian nation by dismissing the secessionist NC-led coalition Government by invoking Section 92 of Jammu & Kashmir Constitution saying the continuation of the NC in the office even for a day would be dangerous for the country.