By Dr Bhagwati Prakash Sharma
Sudden release of the report of a group of 3 interlocutors appointed against the explicit intent of the Parliament on Kashmir was unwarranted and out of context on May 24, 2012.
It reflects deliberate malice of the government to fill wind in the sails of separatists and add fresh fuel to Kashmir problem at a time, when the jehadi separatists have lost steam and the Pakistan is also striped of its energy and intent to breed any fresh problem.
Timing of release of this retrograde report, seven months after its submission and without any fresh context for its release, is just to divert the attention of the public and opposition away from the utter failure of the Sonia-Manmohan government on the economic front.
Release of such an anti-India and retrograde report replete with illegitimate recommendations is the most sinister design, though in vain, to legitimise altogether anti-national recommendations which are also ultra-vires the constitutional provisions. This report had to be rejected in toto, instead of being released at the behest of the government for public debate, which explicitly undermines the intent of the Parliament.
It is needless to remind that the Parliament had unanimously resolved on February 22, 1994 that the accession and integration of the Jammu & Kashmir into the Union of India is full and final. The unfinished agenda to be fulfilled on the front of Jammu & Kashmir, is to take back the Pak occupied territories of it.
But, in contravention of this explicit resolution of the Parliament, the release of this interlocutors’ report recommending to undo all the actions and decisions of the Parliament on Jammu & Kashmir is unconstitutional. How can the 3 interlocutors devoid of any constitutional locus standi can recommend to water down all the parliamentary enactments on Jammu & Kashmir brought since 1952. What authority the government has, to release such anti-national and retrograde recommendations, officially for public debate, which question the very wisdom of the Parliament on all its pronouncements on Kashmir. It is nonetheless than clear breach of privilege of the Parliament.
Though, the separatist factions too have rejected the report in toto. Yet, official release of this illegitimate report authored by a committee lacking any locus standii de jure, will equip traitors and anti-national forces, in and out of India, to draw pseudo legitimacy for anti-India demands related to Jammu & Kashmir.
How could the Government of India dare to put in public domain, even for informal debate a report reversing the integration of Jammu & Kashmir into Indian Union. It is altogether anti-national on the part of the Central Government to put into public domain the recommendations that attempt to revive the pre-1953 status of Jammu & Kashmir. These recommendations include setting up of a Constitutional Committee (CC) to review all central laws and articles of the Constitution of India extended to the state after 1952, to identity which of these have dented Jammu & Kashmir’s special status and abridged the state government’s powers.
Equally detrimental to the national integrity and unity of the country is the another recommendation which aims to curtail the Parliament’s power to make laws for the state (Jammu & Kashmir) except relating to country’s security and vital economic interests in the areas of energy and water resources.
Thirdly the committee has also recommended to make the Article 370 permanent. How can it (a committee of dubius track record) prevail over the Parliament’s vision and power to amend the Constitution and enact laws. It was not a commission constituted by the Constituent Assembly or Parliament to recommend constitutional reforms, including the censure of the Parliament’s law making authority and to curb it. Then, how such a committee constituted by an executive order can recommend to limit the Parliament’s power?
The government has no right to circulate any such report which is violative of the Parliament’s unanimous resolution dated February 22, 1994. Unless the Parliament itself takes a different stand, no such interlocutors can interfere with the Parliamentary pronouncements. The unanimous resolution adopted by the Lok Sabha with regard to J&K firmly declares that (a) the state of J&K has been, is and shall be integral part of India and any attempts to separate it from the rest of the country will be resisted by all necessary means; (b) India has the will and capacity to firmly counter all designs against its unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity, (c) India demands that Pakistan must vacate the areas of the Indian state of J&K which it has occupied through aggression and resolve that; (d) all attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of India will be met resolutely.
It is again most deplorable that two members of this three-member committee were alleged of attending parties hosted by Pakistani ISI lobbyists during their tenure as interlocutors. Now, their very report is questioning the Parliaments’ wisdom, since 1953, in enacting laws for Jammu & Kashmir and in extending the Articles of the Constitution of India to Jammu & Kashmir. The committee has not stopped itself there, but, has even recommended to stripe the Parliament of India, of its power to make laws for the state of Jammu & Kashmir.
It is also treacherous to dilute India’s claim on the Pak occupied Kashmir by deliberate use of the words ‘Pak Administered Kashmir (PAK)’ by these interlocutors, instead of ‘Pak Occupied Kashmir (POK)’ being used officially by India. Change of the words to ‘Pak Administered Kashmir’ adds legitimacy to Pakistan’s continued occupation of areas of Kashmir. While the words ‘Pak Occupied Kashmir’, being used by India, throughout these years, since Pak occupation, describes it (Pakistan) as illegal occupant. In terms of International Law, this easing out of India’s claim on ‘Pak Occupied Kashmir’ by using the words ‘Pak Administered Kashmir’ adds legitimacy to Pakistan’s governance over that area and jeopardises India’s position. This mischievous change in the phrase has to be condemned and such a lapse on the part of the government to officially release such a treacherous report jeopardising India’s position on J&K vis a vis Pakistan is unpardonable.
It is even more deplorable that this report has been authored by the members being alleged to have enjoyed parties hosted by Pakistan ISI lobbysts, and they have even recommended to curb the Parliament’s power to make laws for J&K as well as to roll back the constitutional provisions made applicable in J&K after 1952. The government has an explicit responsibility to uphold the sanctity of the Constitution and Parliament of the country. Therefore, release of a report questioning the sanctity of Constitutional provisions and the Parliament’s law making authority should not have been released by the Union Government.
Prof. Bhagwati Prakash Sharma is an economist, columnist and national co-convener Swadeshi Jagran Manch. By arrangement with Organiser, New Delhi.