Intro: While taking up a special debate on Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), British Parliament raises dissenting voices against ‘referendum on Self-determination of Scotland’. This shows that some people in Britain still have a colonial mindset. It also underlines that the British democracy too is also grappling with vote bank politics like India, where headcounts are more important than democratic values.
The House of Commons of British parliament has took up a special debate on (J&K). The timing of the debate is ironic. One the one hand J&K is facing unprecedented floods; on the other hand UK is engulfed in panic with Scotland voting on referendum for self-determination on 18th September 2014. It has been stated position of the British government that territorial issue of J&K can be addressed only in the bilateral framework between India and Pakistan. Then, why the British Parliament is meddling in the internal affairs of India? Is it because of the continuation of their colonial mindset? Or, Is it because they want to fulfill their unfinished agenda of keeping strategically important Kashmir valley under their control? Or is it just succumbing to vote bank politics in the UK where Pakistani migrants have become substantial number of voters?
Though it is true that this petition is not going to change the fact that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and if at all any issue is pending, it is of illegal occupation of Indian Territory by Pakistan. Still the content, intent and proponent of the petition need to be questioned so that fraudulent representation on J&K is exposed.
The petition brings issues of human rights, Article 370 and presence of army to the forefront. The selection of issues itself shows the intent, because the petition conveniently twists the issues to support the separatist voices from Pakistan. For instance, the motion starts with ‘human rights in Kashmir’ but ends with ‘self-determination for Jammu and Kashmir’. Since independence, it is the people of Jammu and Ladakh who are denied the basic human rights, why not talk about them? There are three generations of West Pak refugees who are still living in camps. What about their human rights? Contrary to the democratic rights and developmental avenues provided in Jammu and Kashmir, the people of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) are in a miserable state of living. Not bringing these issues in discussion means supporting human rights violations.
The petition also mentions about the stand of the new government in India on ‘Article 370’ which ‘grants special status to Jammu & Kashmir’. They forget that the same Indian Constitution has marked Article 370 as ‘temporary and transitional’ provision, which Indian parliament can do away with due Constitutional procedure. Opposition to debate on repealing of Article 370 is undemocratic and nobody should support that.
The petition also brings the issue of presence of Army to the forefront. The petitioner forgets that the issue is linked to the cross-border terrorism from Pakistan side. Indian army that faces the ire of the public in the Valley have been the one who by their grit and determination have saved more that 100,000 people of the state during the unprecedented natural calamity of floods in J&K and have turned the allegations of human rights violations flat.
The root cause of this petition lies in the intent of the petitioner. The British parliamentarian David Ward who proposed this petition is an MP from Bradford East. He is known for his notorious comments supporting Haamas for which his Liberal Democratic Party had given him a notice. He represents the constituency which has 3 million members of the Indian/Pakistani community, out of which 100,000 are from Jammu and Kashmir. Through this petition, Ward is just catering to this constituency of his by harping on either Palestine or ‘Kashmir’ time and again. It is unfortunate that British Parliament is succumbing to his pressures and is meddling with the internal affairs of India.
Both India and UK are partners against terrorism. While India is busy rehabilitating the flood hit J&K, UK is dealing with the referendum in Scotland. Therefore, it is better that the UK manages its own affairs while allowing India to manage its own. Otherwise, unfortunately, the beneficiaries will be the anti-democratic forces.