Over a period of time now, some very serious statements are flowing out from Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha's office about the prevailing situation in J&K. He himself has been seen and observed 'batting' on the front foot with complete grip, confidence and authority. It is for the first time in the recent political history of Jammu and Kashmir that any authority with the official mandate of the government of India would speak with such credence, trust and reliance about the intent of the State regarding the social-political scenario in Jammu and Kashmir. Surely, Manoj Sinha is on fire.
His statement that 'nothing would be done to purchase peace in Kashmir' is an overloaded statement with a clear message having different parameters. However, the intent is visible and stark. He said, "…..that time is now gone. Now the administration is trying to maintain and establish peace in Kashmir. This is the major shift in the policy along with a change in the situation in Kashmir. All those involved in anti-national activities or trying to create hurdles in peace will be strictly dealt with. No one will be allowed to harm the unity and sovereignty of the country. We won’t hesitate in dealing sternly with those involved in anti-national activities and the elements creating hurdles in the path of peace in Jammu and Kashmir. The Government wants peace and brotherhood to be maintained in the UT".
He also said "that the Kashmiri Pandits, who were driven away from Kashmir by Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in 1989-90, leaving behind their homes and hearths, will get back their property within a time limit", adding "the Government will help them to get their property within a timeframe and resettle them"………"The Kashmir culture is incomplete without Kashmiri Pandits".
This should give immense happiness and satisfaction to the nationalist constituency in the Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory that the government has finally expressed its resolve, publicly, that it won't buy peace in J&K. LG's statement is a great reassurance which states unambiguously that there was a time when an attempt was made to buy peace, but with change in the situation, there has been a shift in the policy of the government as well in the post August-2019 situation.
LG Manoj Sinha is absolutely correct, historically speaking. Jammu and Kashmir has a long history since 1947 when in order to maintain law and order, peace would be purchased by the government of India both internally as well as externally. In fact, the basis and precedence of it was laid during the pre-accession period when top Congress leader Pt. Nehru, in the Sopore Convention of the National Conference in 1945, asked the Hindu minorities of Kashmir to follow the majority community otherwise there would be no guanrantee of safety and security for them in the valley.
In the post 1947 era, the biggest compromise was to deny the status of the past ruler of the state to Maharaja Hari Singh and force him to surrender all his due rights in order to have peace. Again, then what followed was the grant of Article 370 singularly to the J&K state with the so-called political nomenclature of special status. As if it was not enough, Delhi Agreement between Sheikh Abdullah and the government of India was inked in 1952 against the wishes of the provinces of Jammu and Ladakh.
When Sheikh Abdullah was arrested under Kashmir Conspiracy case in 1953, Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad was given the charge of the J&K state only to be followed by bringing Article 35A of the Constitution, surreptitiously in 1954, even without the knowledge and approval of the parliament. Bakshi also didn't agree to any dilution of Article 370 during his regime and instead brought a separate constitution for the state in 1957 and got it approved by the then Asssembly. And everything was done in order to purchase peace in Kashmir.
In 1975, Sheikh Abdullah was again installed as the Chief Minister of the state by asking the duly elected government in the state to step down thus, presumably, to bring to an end the past compromises. But the history had compromises after compromises to follow in order to have peace in Kashmir. Sheikh Abdullah led National Conference's victory in 1977 Assembly elections founded the pedestal for political barter of a big magnitude when indoctrination, extremism, communalism, radicalisation and separatism became the hallmark of the new regime in almost all fields of governance in Jammu and Kashmir state. Reports after reports from intelligence authorities, political masters, Governors, media and other authorities about the impending situation in J&K were thrown into dustbin by the Central government. And all was done, again, to buy peace in Kashmir.
The agreement between Congress and National Conference in 1987 was one more bad deal to unleash a violent plot to 'establish' terrorism as a part of life in Kashmir valley which remains a challenge till date. The compromise of 1989 exchange of 5 terrorists in lieu of release of Mufti Sayeed's daughter, Rubaiya Sayeed, 3 terrorists in lieu of Saifudin Soz's daughter, Nahida Akhtar, 3 dreaded terrorists in lieu of the passengers of the Indian Airlines aircraft in Kandhar, supply of Biryani etc and offer of safe passage to the terrorists who had put Hazratbal shrine under their seige and then having joined with separatist and terrorist leaders on the same table over tea, lunch and dinners by the powers that be, all were compromises and purchases in order to ensure the mirage of peace in Kashmir.
The biggest and the most shameful purchase was to malign Jagmohan, the then Governor of the state, for the forced exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits and calling it a 'migration' instead of 'mass-exodus' or 'ethnic-cleansing'. Inspite of National Human Rights Commission's decision that "acts akin to genocide were committed against the Kashmiri Pandits in Kashmir …and a genocide type design may exist against them…." the powers that be chose to be silent and non-committal about it and avoided to pursue the issue in the higher judiciary and/or in the administration just to buy peace with those who mattered politically in Kashmir including the separatist and terrorist elements like Huriyat and others.
Elements responsible for killing of Kashmiri Pandits, IAF personnel in the valley and other minority community members in the Jammu province were allowed to roam free and enjoy the status of VIPs and have the social status of leaders and activists at the expanse of the government exchequer. The embezzlements, scams, frauds, exploitation of the power corridors and authority, hawala exchanges and misuse of position and status were all ignored only to purchase peace, to be very honest and truthful.
This story of compromises, purchases and clandestine deals forms the brazen part of the political history of Jammu and Kashmir which the past rulers both at the centre and in the state, right from 1947, wieved, wittingly and unwittingly. In this context, the statements of the LG Manoj Sinha are tantamount to an absolute thinking revolution.
His statement that 'there was need for maintaining strict vigil against the anti-national elements in Jammu and Kashmir and teaching a lesson to those trying to play with unity and integrity of the country and that there has been meaningful change in situation in the Union Territory which is witnessing new dawn of development' is greatly significant. He rightly said that there had been a meaningful change during the last 13 months in Jammu and Kashmir and the Union Territory was witnessing a new dawn of development by overcoming all difficulties.
In a separate statement, he was categorical that the government won't be allowed to run on the whims and fancies of some persons. This is definetly welcome and heartening keeping In view the past & vast experiences of unwanted compromises. The nationalist constituency in Jammu and Kashmir is surely fatigued of the past experimentation and failures in Kashmir. In this context, the statement, position and stance taken by the LG Manoj Sinha are positively reassuring and inspiring too.
The recent air show by the IAF over the Dal lake is one more positive & representative statement of the government under the leadership of the LG. It is hoped that with this comes to an end the bad chapter of political agreements, deals and bargains in Jammu and Kashmir. 'Peace will be established and maintained at all costs' will be the guiding principle of the State and the powers representing the intent of the State.