Thursday, August 28, 2008

The real indicators - stop the humbug called 'Kashmir is hurt' -- R. Vaidyanathan

The real indicators – stop the humbug called ‘Kashmir is hurt’ – R. Vaidyanathan

IT is fashionable for the bleeding heart liberals (BHL) in India to talk out of turn and use POTA (Pulled out of Thin Hair) data to justify their rantings. They fail to recognise the thin line between being a liberal and a subversive and often forget the English word called ‘democracy’.

The lumpen liberals like that one book wonder Arundhati Roy (who proudly proclaimed in the USA a couple of months ago that she has ceded from India since India is not a democracy) need not bother us since we need some infinite degree algebraic brainless wonders in our political discourse to have some buffoonery. But when the other BHLs like Vir Sanghvi and Swaminathan Aiyar and P B Mehta talk about Kashmir and say ‘Kashmir is hurt,’ we need to sit back and wonder what is happening. The first two even suggest a plebiscite in Kashmir about their choices due to their hurt.
Why are Kashmiris hurt? The first reason given is that polls were mostly rigged in J & K (not just in K) except the recent one where the screaming Mehbooba’s scheming father (Mufti Sayeed) could become chief minister. This argument is specious since the first candidate to cede from India on this ground should be Bi har since time immemorial polls were rigged in that state.

Just glance at the newspapers of the Seventies and Eighties.Then you will find in every poll the maximum number of people have been killed in that state.
What about Bengal? Jyoti Basu could not have lost Baranagar to a CPI candidate but for rigging by Siddhartha Ray’s Juba Congress boys. Now in every poll CPM indulges in scientific rigging according to its opponents. The Dalits of Western UP will tell horror stories of rigging by Jats till the arrival of Seshan and BSP in that order. So are the Dalits in Tamil Nadu. But none of these states are encouraged to cede from India by the BHLs.

In spite of the fact that some polls might have been rigged in J & K we should recognise that our general elections are different from that of Pakistan where generals get always “elected.” Do the “hurt” Kashmiris really prefer generals getting “elected” or general elections? It is for all of us to discuss. But interestingly or intriguingly every chief minister of Kashmir after 1947 is a Muslim.

This is in spite of the fact that J & K has a population of nearly 10 million and one third of that is Hindus, according to the 2001 Census. Andhra Pradesh with less than five percent Christians has current ly a Christian CM.

The second issue of hurt is regarding their socio-economic condition. In every indicator J & K stands in the top rung of all the states.

Some of the indicators are:

1. Per capita Consumption of Electricity at 759KWh (2006-2007) is much higher than in UP , MP , Rajasthan, Bihar,WB, etc. (Rajya Sabha Question No.2908-21-04-08).
2. Per Capita Central assistance at Rs. 2860 (in 2000) much higher than all states; with TN at Rs.260 and UP at 385 and WB at 426 and all India figure of Rs. 395. If at all; the rest of India should be hurt about it.Even total assistance of Rs 2631 crore in 2000 is the highest among states. (Rajya Sabha Question Nb.1370 dated 0308-2000.) 3. State-wise per capita availability of Milk in India (2005-2006) at 353 gms per day for J & K is much higher than most of the states with all-India average at 241 gms per day . (Rajya Sabha Question 1801 dated 11-08-2006).
4. State-wise per capita allocation for Agriculture and Rural development (2002-2003) at Rs. 305 (Rs.245 and Rs.60) is much higher than most states including TN at Rs. 188 and AP at Rs. 125, Maharashtra Rs 202 (leave alone BIMARU states) with all-India average at Rs. 152.(Lok Sabha Question 4659 dated 2304-03).
5. State-wise per capita expenditure (Current and capital) on health in India in 2001 at Rs. 363 is much higher than most states with TN at 170, AP at 146, UP at Rs. 83 and WB at Rs. 206 and a national average of 167. (Rajya Sabha question no. 756 dated 28-07-2003) 6. State-wise average monthly per capita consumption expenditure of farmers in India in 2003 at Rs. 712 for J & K is the third highest in India next to Punjab at Rs 828 and Haryana at Rs. Rs 741 with national average being Rs 502. (Rajya Sabha Question 1759 dated 08-12-2005).
7. The distribution of households in terms of ownership of dwellings at 94 per cent is one of the highest in India (Table H-5 Census of India —The StateJ&K — Census 2001).

We find that this state is among the top quartile or among the top percentile in every socio economic indicator.

The other major complaint is regarding owning land /property in Kashmir— in relation to the Amarnath Board getting 40 acres with “usage rights” during the yatra season.
It is surprising that our investigative media has not explored the real estate in Bangalore/Mumbai/Hyderabad owned by the Kashmiri leaders like Sheikh /Omar Abdullah, Mufti Syed, Mehbooba Begum, Mirwazi, Yasin Mallik, Geelani and various others taking extreme or moderate positions.

The mindless youngsters shouting azadi on the streets of Kashmir should be clear whether they would like to be part of India that is democratic and becoming a world power or want to be ruled by the army of Pakistan to protect their religion from imagined crisis.

If it is the later then the road to Muzzafarabad can be opened for the willing to leave to the land of honey and milk.

As far as India is concerned, it should conduct a referendum encompassing the entire country about the future of Kashmir and the need to keep Article 370.
That is the only referendum we should think of.

The bleeding heart liberals should realise that they are subverting democracy and the thin line between a liberal and terrorist is getting blurred.

Enough of this nonsense called ‘Kashmiri is hurt.’ (The author is Professor of Finance, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. The views are personal and do not reflect that of his organisation.)

Some key indicators of inequity in Jammu vis-à-vis Kashmir region of J&K State:
1 Area-26293 sq kms (Jammu) 15948 sq kms (Kashmir)
2 Total revenue generated-75 % (Jammu) 20% (Kashmir)
3 Total voters-3059986 (Jammu); 2883950 (Kashmir)
4 Assembly seats allotted-37 (Jammu); 46 (Kashmir)
5 Loksabha seats-2 (Jammu); 3 (Kashmir)
6 Cabinet ministers(till 7th July,08) –5 (Jammu); 14 (Kashmir)
7 Unemployment status-69.70 % (Jammu); 29.30% (Kashmir)
8 Representation in state govt. jobs-1.2 lakhs (Jammu); 3lakhs (Kashmir)
9 Percentage of employees from local area-less than 25% (Jammu); 99% (Kashmir)
10 Power generation -22 Mega Watt (Jammu); 304 Mega Watt (Kashmir)
11 Rural electrification-less than 70% (Jammu); 100% (Kashmir)


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Amarnath sangharsh as national swarajyam movement: Evil state attempts to shut out public opinion.

Amarnath sangharsh as national swarajyam movement: Evil state attempts to shut out expression of public opinion.

Governor of Punjab refused to meet representatives of Forum on Integrated National Security, Chandigarh led by its President, former DGP of Punjab, Shri PC Dogra ji.

The draft of the memorandum of the Forum is appended.

In the context of the Governor’s refusal, the memorandum was presented to the People of India in a press conference held on 26th August 08.

English and Hindi print media as well as the local news channels gave wide publicity to the press conference.

This is an example of the depths of insensitivity reached by the executive wing in the state in the largest democracy on the face of the globe – even on issues related to national security and national integrity.

When civil discourse is shut out, the result will be either anarchy or peoples’ revolt.

It is time for the people of Hindusthan to rise in revolt as the National Movement on land for Sri Amarnath heralds a new swarajyam movement.


Pak’s political instability can affect India badly: SASS

Posted online: Tuesday, August 26, 2008 at 1803 hrs IST
Chandigarh, August 26:

Sri Amarnath Sangarsh Samiti (SASS), spearheading protests over the Amarnath land issue, on Tuesday expressed apprehensions that the political instability in Pakistan may have “adverse” effects on the country.
“Pakistan has again plunged into political instability and it can divert the issue by indulging in any misadventure with India,” Samiti Punjab unit convener Mahant Ram Prakash Dass and Chandigarh Forum on Integrated National Security president P C Dogra told a joint press conference in Chandigarh.
Dogra, a former Punjab police chief, said protests over the land transfer will continue until 40 hectares of land was restored to Sri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB).
“The protest by the Samiti is a fight against separatist elements. The innocuous act of diversion of land has been whipped up by separatists.”
The Samiti reiterated its demands for the restoration of autonomy of the Shrine Board, withdrawal of cases against protesters and registration of cases against police officials over alleged excesses.

Memorandum (Presented to H.E. The Governor of Punjab through the People of India)

The annual Amarnath Yatra, which draws about five lakhs of devotees from all over the world, has been an eye sore to the fanatic segments of the Kashmir valley from the very beginning. They have missed no opportunity to sabotage this Yatra. However it had no effect on the faithful. Bomb blasts, grenade attacks, fatal firing that resulted in the killing of score of yatris did not deter the Shivbhaktas from paying their obeisance to the Shivling.

The separatists in the state are also frightened by the increasing number of pilgrims who visit the cave for worship. To cater to the ground swell of devotees, the Governor had to increase the number of days of Yatra from fifteen to sixty. When all other devious attempts failed, the separatists and some valley based politicians came together and joined hands to use the diversion of land to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board as their latest ploy in the secessionist designs.

Shri Amarnath Shrine Board was constituted under an Act of the Govt. of J&K headed by Dr Farooq Abdullah. The diversion of land was unanimously approved by coalition Govt of Sh. Gulam Nabi Azad. Sh. Qazi Afzal Forest Minister, a PDP nominee initiated the proposal. It was approved by the then Dy. Chief Minister Muzaffar Hussain Beg again a nominee of PDP. It took three years for the Govt to finally decide the issue. This tract of 40 hectares was to be used for putting up prefabricated structures for only two months for the duration of yatra. It was never meant to be a permanent transfer as has been pointedly put forth in the memorandum of J&K Govt.

This innocuous act of diversion of land has been used to whip up public frenzy by the separatists as if diverting 40 hectares of land to another constitutional entity of the state is a prelude to colonization by some aliens. Certainly it is a challenge to the Indian nationhood.

Our demands are:
1. 40 hectares of land which was diverted for putting up pre fabricated structures for providing facilities against the inclement weather by the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board must be restored back.
2. Restoration of the autonomy of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board.
3. Withdrawal of cases against the protestors.
4. Judicial enquiry in to the criminal misconduct of the local police in attempting to dispose off the dead body of the martyr Kuldeep Dogra secretively and shamefully by not allowing the family to observe the last rites as per Hindu customs and traditions, burning the body with rubber tyres and the kerosene oil. It was the greatest act of sacrilege.
5. Registration of criminal cases against all other police officials who have committed atrocities on the innocent protestors and also their suspension.
6. Compensation to the families of martyrs and also to the transporters, fruit growers, farmers and traders.

With our utmost regard

Diamond trade, hawala, PNs and Soverign Wealth Funds in foreign bank accounts

Diamond trade, hawala, PNs and Soverign Wealth Funds in foreign bank accounts

Participatory notes (PNs) are a clever way to convert black money into foreign currency. With the FIIs managing the PNs based in Mauritius, a route exists for corrupt politicians and money-sharks to destabilise the Indian economy and fiscal system by the PN route which ensures anonymity for these traitors.

Here is a remarkable acccount on how diamond trade is abused for money laundering.

A Hindusthan Patriot Act should be passed including severest penalties for the criminals indulging in such activities.

It doesn't take a brain surgeon to recognize the use of money power by the political chamcha-s as evidenced in the recent horse-trading of MPs' votes to stay in sattaa by 10 Janpath chamchas.


Report Calls for Curbing Abuses in Diamond Trade to Combat Money Laundering

By Jeff Miller Posted: 08/05/08 15:25

RAPAPORT... A 2008 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, prepared by the U.S. Department of State and KPMG, found that India's status as an emerging financial center and its informal cross-border money flows have contributed to the country’s money laundering activities.
The report specifically blamed the diamond trade, illegal drugs and weapons, and wildlife smuggling as key factors on the criminal side. KPMG predicted that India's challenge going forward is to bring these activies under control.
"Historically, because of its location between the heroin-producing countries of the Golden Triangle and Golden Crescent, India continues to be a drug-transit country," the U.S. Department of State wrote in the report.
The report suggested reducing informal money transfer channels, focus upon anti-money laundering policies and procedures, and ensuring sanctions compliance.
"India should devote more law enforcement and customs resources to curb abuses in the diamond trade. It should also consider the establishment of a Trade Transparency Unit (TTU) that promotes trade transparency; in India, trade is the 'back door' to underground financial systems. The government also needs to strengthen regulations and enforcement targeting illegal transactions in informal money transfer channels," according to the report.

"...Large portions of illegal proceeds are often laundered through 'hawala' or 'hundi' networks or other informal money transfer systems. Hawala is an alternative remittance system that is popular among not only immigrant workers, but all strata of Indian society. Hawala transaction costs are less than the formal sector; hawala is perceived to be efficient and reliable; the system is based on trust and it is part of the Indian culture. According to Indian observers, funds transferred through the hawala market are equal to between 30 to 40 percent of the formal market. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI,) India’s central bank, estimates that remittances to India sent through legal, formal channels in 2006-2007 amounted to $28.2 billion. Due to the large number of expatriate Indians in North America and the Middle East, India continues to retain its position as the leading recipient of remittances in the world, followed by China and Mexico," according to the report.

The hawala system can provide the same remittance service as a bank with little or no documentation and at lower rates and provide anonymity and security for their customers. Hawala is also used to avoid currency restrictions, assists in capital flight, facilitates tax evasion, and avoids government scrutiny in financial transactions. India neither regulates hawala dealers nor requires them to register with the government. The RBI argues that hawala dealers cannot be regulated since they operate illegally and therefore cannot be registered. Indian analysts also note that hawala operators are often protected by some politicians.
In December 2005, the RBI issued guidelines requiring financial institutions, including money changers, to follow “know your customer” guidelines and maintain transaction records for the sale and purchase of foreign currency.

Foreigners and nonresident Indians are permitted to receive cash payments up to $3,000 or its equivalent in other currencies from moneychangers. Recently, the RBI has been taking additional steps to crack down on unlicensed money transmitters and increase monitoring of nonbanking money transfer operations like currency exchange kiosks and wire transfer services. In September 2007, the RBI asked Western Union’s subsidiary, Western Union Services India, to desist from appointing any more sub-agents until further instruction. Western Union officials have explained to U.S. government officials that this is due to a new policy the Ministry of Home Affairs is formulating to require wire transfer businesses to perform due diligence on sub-agents and seek RBI and MHA approval before appointing new sub-agents.
Historically, in Indian hawala transactions, gold has been one of the most important commodities. In recent years, the growing diamond trade has been considered an important factor in providing counter-valuation; a method of “balancing the books” in external hawala transactions. Invoice manipulation is also used extensively to avoid both customs duties, taxes, and to launder illicit proceeds through trade-based money laundering, the report found.

With tax evasion a widespread problem in India, the government is gradually making changes to the tax system and now requires individuals to use a personal identification number to pay taxes, purchase foreign exchange, and apply for passports. The government also introduced a central value added tax (VAT) in April 2005 which replaced numerous complicated state sales taxes and excise taxes with one national uniform VAT rate. As a result, the incentives and opportunities for entrepreneurs and businesses to conceal their sales or income levels have been reduced. Except for Uttar Pradesh, all Indian states have implemented the national VAT mandate. Uttar Pradesh announced in late October 2007 that it would also implement the VAT.

In the aftermath of September 11, India joined the global community in addressing concerns about money laundering and terrorist finance by implementing the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in January 2003. The PMLA criminalized money laundering, established fines and sentences for money laundering offenses, imposed reporting and record keeping requirements on financial institutions, provided for the seizure and confiscation of criminal proceeds, and established a financial intelligence unit (FIU.) In July 2005, the PMLA’s implementing rules and regulations were promulgated. The legislation outlines predicate offenses for money laundering. Predicate offenses are listed in a schedule to the Act, but these do not include many of the predicate offenses listed as essential by the FATF recommendations, including organized crime, fraud, smuggling, and insider trading.

Penalties for offenses under the PMLA are severe and may include imprisonment for three to seven years and fines as high as $12,500. The PMLA mandates that banks, financial institutions, and intermediaries of the securities market (such as stock market brokers) maintain records of all cash transactions (deposits/withdrawals, etc.) exceeding $25,000 and keep a record of all transactions dating back 10 years.
Economic Intelligence Council

To assist in enhancing coordination among various enforcement agencies and directorates, India established an Economic Intelligence Council (EIC.) This provides a forum to strengthen intelligence and operational coordination, to formulate common strategies to combat economic offenses, and to discuss cases requiring interagency cooperation. In addition to the central EIC, there are eighteen regional economic committees in India. The Central Economic Intelligence Bureau (CEIB) functions as the secretariat for the EIC in the MOF. The CEIB interacts with the National Security Council, the Intelligence Bureau, and the Ministry of Home Affairs on matters concerning national security and terrorism.
Prompted by the RBI’s 2002 notice to commercial banks to adopt due diligence rules, many of these institutions have taken steps to combat money laundering. For example, most private banks and several public banks have hired anti-money laundering compliance officers to design systems and training to ensure compliance with these regulations. The Indian Bankers Association has also established a working group to develop self-regulatory anti-money laundering procedures and assist banks in adopting the mandated rules.
The RBI and SEBI have worked together to tighten regulations, strengthen supervision, and ensure compliance with "know your customer" norms. This includes, for example, provisions that banks must identify politically involved account holders who reside outside of India and identify the source of these funds before accepting deposits of more than $10,000. The RBI continues to update its due diligence guidelines based on FATF recommendations. For banks that are found noncompliant, the RBI has the power to order banks to freeze assets.
"The government should move forward expeditiously with amendments to the PMLA that explicitly criminalize terrorist financing, and expand the list of predicate offenses so as to meet FATF’s core recommendations," the report concluded. "Further steps in tax reform will also assist in negating the popularity of hawala and in reducing money laundering, fraud, and financial crimes. The government should ratify the U.N. Conventions against Transnational Organized Crime and Corruption, and it needs to promulgate and implement new regulations for nongovernment organizations including charities.
"Given the number of terrorist attacks in India and the fact that in India hawala is directly linked to terrorist financing, the government should prioritize cooperation with international initiatives that provide increased transparency in alternative remittance systems," the report concluded.


Swiss Bank Accounts: Separating Fact From Fiction
By Mark Koba
Web Editor
| 20 Aug 2008 | 11:38 AM ET
Mention the words Swiss bank account and it can bring to mind corrupt politicians hiding vast sums of money, drug lords laundering ill gotten gains or filthy rich American citizens trying to avoid paying taxes. The reality, however, is quite different from the myths.
“Swiss banks must verify your identity and won’t accept your business if they think it is illegal, says Ken Wassell, CEO of Los Angeles, California-based Offshore Company, a firm that aids its customers in overseas financial services. “About five percent of applications a year are turned down because of possible fraud,” says Wassell.
It doesn't stop there. James Nason, spokesman for the Swiss Bankers Association, adds that Swiss banks must not only verify your identity but also verify the source of the funds you are putting in the bank. “And besides that,” says Nason, “the beneficiary of the funds must also be positively identified.”
That’s not to say there isn’t secrecy in having a Swiss bank account. Any Swiss banker today who reveals your information without your consent risks prison time by law. And there is secrecy when it comes to issues like inheritance or divorce. It’s up to plaintiffs to prove someone has a bank account in Switzerland, if they want access to it through a lawsuit. Full Coverage Of European News
There are, of course, exceptions to the secrecy rule, especially concerning crimes such as gun running and drug trafficking. Swiss banks are forbidden by law to accept money which they know might be as a result of a crime.
And when it comes to names, the so-called secret numbered accounts in Swiss banks are not completely secret.
"Yes, banks can set up an account by number only," says Nason," but you will have to go through the same process to open the account as a named account—at greater expense. Your name will be known to several upper management types in the bank and there are records of ownership."
Origins Of Secrecy
The concept got its start in the 18th century, when a group called The Great Council of Geneva passed a law in 1713, preventing banks from sharing information about their clients.
The modern Swiss banking system started in 1934 during the global depression era when France and Germany pressured Switzerland to divulge depositor information as part of an effort to prevent capital flight. Switzerland, in trying to maintain sovereignty, passed a law making the disclosure of such information a crime. And in 1984, some 73-percent of all Swiss citizens voted to keep bank secrecy.
Any American Swiss bank account holder does not pay taxes to Switzerland. But if an American is looking to hide money from the IRS, a Swiss bank account won’t do much good. As of January 1, 2001, unless a foreign bank obtained a status of QI or “qualified intermediary,” the bank must report to the IRS all earnings received from the U.S. and the names of the beneficial owners. If the bank does have a QI, which keeps a bank’s secrecy if it follows strict regulations, U.S. citizens can only have money in the bank if they are willing to disclose their identity to the IRS.
Opening An Account
If you still want to open an account, it's not complicated but it does take some time, effort and of course, money. A search on the Internet for Swiss bank accounts suggests that you don’t need much money to open an account, but that is one of the myths about how the system works.
Nason says that while the deposit amount varies for each of the more than 400 banks in Switzerland, most of them are looking to invest the money for a depositor, and not just hold it to generate a minimal amount of interest.
“I get letters nearly once a month from Americans asking about Swiss banks,” says Nason. “I recently got one from a man in Virginia, asking for help in finding a bank to hold his retirement savings account for him and his wife. But that’s not what Swiss banks really do. They are into professional asset management. A six-figure sum is usually the starting point for opening an account.”
Wassel says it’s more like $250,000. “Most people opening a Swiss bank account or doing so for privacy and from potential litigation,” says Wassel, “and to protect their assets.”
Besides the right amount of money, there is also the vast amount paper work to consider. Here’s what you more than likely need to have to set up an account:
● Valid Passport ● Verification of Address ● Documents to prove economic background ● Documents to prove economic origin of money being deposited ● Identification of any beneficiaries of the account ● You must be 18 years old● You must go in person or have a financial service company open it for you
"Americans account for a very small percentage of our business currently," says Francois Xavier of Micheloud & Co., an immigration and financial consultancy based in Switzerland, which helps people set up accounts in Swiss banks.
"The QI regulations are definitely slowing banks down when it comes to Americans opening Swiss accounts," says Nason." It's a lot of regulation for these banks to conform with."
“There are less Americans now then during the Reagan administration because inflation was so high then,” explains Xavier. “People tried to escape the erosion of the American dollar. Maybe if things [economically] get worse in the U.S., that will change and more of them will open accounts.”
© 2008

Read this document on Scribd: swissbanksassn

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

NJ Court transcript: Sonia Gandhi will have to come to NJ.

Excerpts from the NJ Court transcript: Sonia Gandhi will have to come to NJ.

It is wonderful to see what the New Jersey Court said. It provides enough justification to have a Commission of Inquiry to investigate Sonia Gandhi (aka Antonia Maino). A remarkable part of the judgement is that Indian Overseas Congress clearly recognized as wholly-owned subsidiary of Sonia's party Indian National Congress Party(of which Antronia Maino is the Chairwoman).

I am sure the Indian justice system -- taking the path of justice shown by the New Jersey Court -- will take up the issues further to unravel and punish for the illegalities perpetrated by this Chairwoman.


Marc Haefner is the attorney for the defendants. Andrew Miller is the attorney for the plaintiff Indian National Overseas Congress Inc.

Mr. Haefner: I query, am I going to be back in this Court when the caterer for the Indian National Overseas Congress Party says oh well, Indian National Overseas Congress, they cancelled all the events that they have scheduled and I had,, I was going to be the one to cater those events, now I can’t because of this ad that ran.

That’s not a crazy hypothetical that I h’ve offered Your Honor, that’s just one more step removed from the claim of defamation that’s being offered here. And it’s not a valid claim of defamation…

Mr. Miller:…What we said in our complaint and what we said in our opposing papers is that we intend to prove something very specific here. We intend to answer the question why was this advertisement published in the New York Times. Why in America…

The Court: You still haven’t answered my question. Why are, why should I allow this case to go on? This is not, you don’t have the right parties here. I don’t think so…

Mr. Miller: Well we do, Your Honor, because we intend to prove, we believe unquestionably that the reason for this advertisement was published was not to attack an entity in India per se but to attack specifically the Indian National Congress Party of America here. It’s operations here, because it was published here. If you want to attack the aspect of the party that’s operating in India you publish there, you know publish there.

Their purpose was to attack the arm of the party, that operates here in the United States and specifically our affidavit from our clients specifically says they achieved that. And they cost them at least $200,000 in lost donations and support to his party because of this. And this is why they did it. They were very successful in doing it, they used the prestige and the power of the New York Times, specifically to go after the parties attempt to generate support in the United States and they achieved there. We intend to prove that. We agree that if at the end of discovery there’s insufficient evidence to prove that that’s what they were doing, some other party should be here. But we are very comfortable and confident that this can and will be done.

The Court: Thank you.

Now this matter comes before the Court on motion by the defendants to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Rule 4:6-2. The plaintiff the Indian National Overseas Congress, hereinafter INOC has filed an action alleging that an advertisement placed in the New York Times on October 6th, 2007 was defamatory and seeks damages.

The plaintiff alleges that the advertisement defames Sonia Gandhi and her son. Now Sonia Gandhi is the Chairwoman of the Indian National Congress Party which appears – and that’s the INCP, which appears to be a political party situated in India, which to me is a separate and distinct entity, different than the plaintiff.

The plaintiff is not mentioned in the advertisement which is alleged to be defamatory. The plaintiff contends that it is a New York domestic not for profit corporation which is wholly owned subsidiary of Mrs. Gandhi’s party, the Indian National Congress Party.

Rule 4:26-1 requires every action instituted in New Jersey to be prosecuted in the name of the real party in interest. Generally speaking the litigant must have a sufficient stake in the matter with a substantial case. See In Re: New Jersey Board of Public Utilities 200 New Jersey Super 544, (App Div 1985).

An examination of the contents of the alleged libelous statement fails to disclose any reference to the plaintiff. The advertisement attacks Ms. Gandhi personally. There were references to her political party, but that political party is not the plaintiff. It is clear to the Court that the plaintiff has no real interest in the outcome of the case since it is not the one who is being libeled. It is impossible for the Court to determine how references to Ms. Gandhi relate to the plaintiff.

So since the Court has determined that the plaintiff is not the real party of interest, no further analysis is necessary and the complaint will be dismissed…

Mr. Miller: You Honor, I assume that’s without prejudice so that Sonia Gandhi may be brought in as…

The Court: Of course.

Mr. Miller: …a party.

Mr. Haefner: Your Honor, I would think that that dismissal would be with prejudice because now there is no pending plaintiff. Ms. Gandhi is still within the statute of limitations.

The Court: They can bring another action with somebody else. Can’t they bring another action with somebody else. Can’t they bring another -- they can bring another action if they have the right party.

Mr. Haefner: That’s my point, she is still within the statute of limitations. If Ms. Gandhi wants to come to New Jersey to…

The Court: Then she’ll have to.

Mr. Haefner: … she can do that, but there’s no reason to keep this case open.

The Court: No, this case isn’t open. Okay, thank you.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Stop repression of Hindus: Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh Samiti

The Kautilyan Perspective

Constitutionally Recognized Separatism

By U. Mahesh Prabhu

During the time of India's partition, in the year 1947, all the states of the subcontinent were given the rights, under the Indian Independence Act, to accede either to India or Pakistan. Displaying his grand statesmanship the then Indian Union Home Minister, Sardar Patel, succeeded in merging 565 princely states with the Indian Union. As a result of obstinacy and rigidity of Hyderabad and Junagarh, Sardar Patel merged them by employing military means.

But the issue of Jammu & Kashmir was retained by Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru. His national outlook and his capacity to take decision were eclipsed by his affection for Sheikh Abdullah and his animosity with Maharaja Hari Singh and his ingrained Kashmiriyat. This personal ego, of Nehru, is the reason because of which India is loosing, though unconsciously, the state of Kashmir, today.

Jenab Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah was the Prime Minister, and not the Chief Minister of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The state was governed by its own constitution and not by the Constitution of India. The National Conference flag was the state flag and NOT the tricolour. The Indians needed a 'permit' for visiting Jammu and Kashmir. There were several other such separatist concessions and customs which Nehru offered, as his gift, in connection with the delight on Sheikh becoming the 'sultan of the state'. And yet, Sheikh was not pleased.

There was one special reason behind this dissatisfaction of Sheikh Abdullah despite having the blessings from the Prime Minister of India, support of the UN Security Council and Pakistan. He had 'fears' that Hindus of India may come and settle in the state. He had fears that Kashmiri Muslims may be swept by the national mainstream. He had fears that Kashmir may be recognized on the basis of its ancient culture, Kashmir may be amalgamated like other states in India, after Nehru. Such fear would spoil his sleep.

Thus, in order to realize his dream of total independence for Kashmir, it was necessary to keep Jammu and Kashmir away from India permanently. He needed an instrument through which he could protect the seed; he himself had sown, of separatism in Kashmir. He again took Nehru for a ride and brought him under the clutches of his schemes. By incorporating Article 370 in the Constitution of India, Nehru offered him that instrument.

Article 370 of the Constitution gave constitutional validity to Abdullah's separatist ideas and international intrigues and gave a special position to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Its stamp 'confirmed', to many, the fact that 'Muslim majority cannot remain with India.'

This Article 370 of the Constitution, which has grouped Jammu & Kashmir as a special and different state, actually ridicules this declaration that Kashmir is an inseparable part of India. This special status delinks the state from rest of the country. It won't be an exaggeration if it is called 'constitutionally recognized separatism'.

Is accession of Jammu & Kashmir complete like other states? If the accession is complete then why is this special appeasement? Is it so because there is Muslim majority? Had there been a Hindu majority in the Kashmir valley, would there have been this clause of the Constitution?

It's a fact that Maharaja Hari Singh signed the accession papers on October 26, 1947 under which the state acceded to India. The accession of J&K with India was carried out on the same patter as other states acceded to it. But as a result of the misfortune of the country, Nehru pressurized the Maharaja for handing over power to Sheikh Abdullah. The Maharaja gulped with bitter draught and exhibited his patriotism. The misfortune does not end here. On the request of Sheikh Abdullah it was decided that the State Assembly will take the final decision on the accession and it was done to appease the Muslim society in Kashmir. From here the State was given the special status. The question arose as to what should be done till the Assembly took the final decision? For this period Article 370 was incorporated in the Constitution as a 'temporary measure'. But even when the State Assembly ratified the state's accession to India, the Article was not scrapped. Could there be another bigger instance of treachery than the interest of the vote bank and the politics of appeasement than this? I truly wonder.

With the blindfold of political interest we lent permanency to the temporary character of the Article making our position not only ridiculous before the world but also provided a golden opportunity and solid base for separatist-oriented terrorism to grow in Kashmir. The most shameful part is that we are not ready even now to throw off the soiled blindfold. Instead, it seems as if, we are keen to keep this blindfold as a permanent failure.

It is because of this Article that the Government of India cannot enforce any law connected with Jammu and Kashmir without the approval or concurrence of the State Government. Only defence, external affairs and communications fall in the Central's list. The Parliament has the powers to frame laws for rest of the states in the country. But Article 370 of the Constitution restricts the hands of the Union Government and the Parliament in doing this in case of Jammu and Kashmir. Its dangerous consequence has been witnessed in the past decades, when the law prohibiting misuse of religious places could not be extended to Jammu and Kashmir, with the result the state does not come within the ambit of secularism. And even after the independence the ignoble thing happened in Kashmir when hundreds of temples were destroyed and where people belonging to a particular community were victimised and subjected to cruelties. On the question of Ayodhya and the consequent Babri Masjid episode the Union Home Ministry had been issuing threats to the Uttar Pradesh Government and ultimately the Government was dismissed under the Article 356 of the constitution but this article cannot be implemented directly in Jammu and Kashmir.

There is only one system of citizenship for the people of India but in case of J&K, its dual citizenship, one of the state and the other of India. The citizens of J&K are citizens of India but the citizens of the rest of India cannot be citizens of J&K. If a girl belonging to J&K marries a boy from outside the state, who is not a state subject, she looses all her rights in the state. Even wealth tax cannot be imposed in the state. The Urban Land Act, 1976, which is in force in the entire country is not applicable to J&K. The result of this is that rich landlords, belonging to the majority community in the Valley, indulge in economic exploitation of the poor and the Indian citizens, who are non-state subjects and living in the valley, cannot even secure loans from the financial institutions.

It is quiet evident that Article 370 has not integrated J&K with India but it has delinked it. There in Kashmir is no place for secularism and nationalism in the mind of youth. The feelings of regionalism, communalism and separatism have developed in their mind. Instead of coming closer to the national mainstream, they have distanced themselves from it and have now started raking up the question of independence.

The ongoing row over the land transfer to Amarnath Shrine Board, too, is just a small consequence of this historical blunder, of including article 370 in the Indian Constitution. I am unable to understand why is it that Hindus cannot be allowed to have lands allotted for their religious purposes in Kashmir, when Muslims can have thousands of mosques anywhere in this country?

U Mahesh Prabhu

'We didn't anticipate such a reaction from Jammu'

Aasha Khosa in New Delhi | August 10, 2008 | 21:55 IST
It was the timing of the land allotment for the Amarnath yatra that led to the present crisis in the state, Ghulam Nabi Azad, former J&K chief minister, tells Aasha Khosa.

To put it bluntly, you politicians have created a mess in Jammu & Kashmir.

Frankly, no politician would like to create a situation as it is today. What led to the present crisis was an action taken by my government in good faith. Nobody realised then that things would come to such a stage. I feel that had it not been for the coming elections in the state, the cabinet decision (to allot land to the Amarnath shrine board) would not have been even noticed. It was the timing of the decision that resulted in a bad situation.

Looking back, don't you feel that it was lack of understanding of the ground situation on your part?

I feel the decision of the cabinet was a routine one. The land was sought in good faith and it was sanctioned in the same spirit. In fact, all over the country, during the last five-six years, transfer of forest or government land for infrastructure projects has become a routine administrative exercise. There is not much need to be cautious about it. On that day too, there were four to five other land transfer cases and I didn't feel anything was amiss in this particular case.

It has become a blame game between you and the PDP, when till recently, you were allies. Why?

The fact is that it was Mufti Mohammad Sayeed's government that first transferred 40 hectares to the shrine board in 2005. The order was cancelled after three months as it was felt that proper procedure was not followed. Neither the separatists nor the political parties raised a finger then.

Now, before the PDP pulled out from my government on this issue, the separatists started the propaganda that the land was being allotted permanently to the shrine board. They said India had plans to set up multi-storied apartments and fancy buildings on this land, where NRI would be settled, and it would change the demography of Kashmir in five years.
The PDP suddenly thought why not encash this emotive issue. Mehbooba Mufti had her eyes fixed on the coming elections and she thought such a stand would get her votes.

Your detractors are saying that things came to such a pass because you did not have enough administrative experience and political understanding.

I know that behind these detractors are nobody but PDP leaders. Mehbooba Mufti feels her rhetoric will mislead the people on this. She is too inexperienced to realise that all government orders and decisions are in files and in black and white. I have exposed her duplicity as I circulated a white paper on the role of the PDP in the (land) transfer order.

It was the forest minister, belonging to the PDP, who had been diligently working on the proposal for three years. It is he who sent the proposal to the central empowered committee of the Supreme Court for clearance. Then, the deputy chief minister, also from the PDP, who was also my law minister, okayed it on legal grounds.

The two PDP ministers, in fact, defended their decisions at two separate press conferences before Mehbooba Mufti landed up in Srinagar from London and asked them to shut up.

It is convenient to blame the PDP while you, being the chief minister, also could not defend your decision

Where was the time? The PDP gave a deadline of June 30 for withdrawal of support. On June 28, I held meetings with all PDP ministers, first separately, and later together. Meanwhile, news came that the PDP has withdrawn support two days before the deadline. It was nothing but betrayal and cheating.

It now appears that in Kashmir, and later in Jammu, there were rumours that led to agitations. Why did your government fail to counter these?

I did try to set the record straight. In Kashmir, the agitationists got emboldened by the stand of the PDP and the National Conference against the decision. It was a shot in their arm. However, in Jammu, people's reaction was so sudden that they were apparently in no mood to listen to logic and facts.

Mistrust between the Congress and the PDP was also one of the causes of the present crisis

Let me reveal a hitherto unknown fact of history. It was a quirk of fate that brought the PDP and the Congress together after the 2002 elections. In fact, I was elected leader of the Congress, which was the second largest party with 20 members. Other 22 independents and smaller parties extended their support to me.

I was set for my swearing in when I thought why not take Mufti Mohammad Sayeed along? I called up Mufti Sahib and he was ready. Though I gave the names of MLAs supporting the Congress to the governor, I rushed to Delhi. It was the National Conference, which offered unconditional support to my government and warned us against tying up with the Muftis.

Then Madam (Sonia) Gandhi agreed. After we worked out a power-sharing formula, the Mufti started complaining. He told Madam that it would be an insult to him if he was not given the first chance to head the government. I remember Madam Gandhi magnanimously saying yes to the Mufti's proposal.

Being the first chief minister of J&K from the Jammu region, why did you fail to read the anger brewing there before ordering cancellation of the land transfer?

I agree we did not anticipate such a reaction from Jammu. I believe the people of Jammu saw a gang-up in Kashmir against their religious sentiments. They would not have minded the Hurriyat opposing the land transfer but when parties like the NC and the PDP joined in the protests, the people were shocked, and hence the reaction. Initially, the Jammu agitation was based on religious sentiments, but now it has turned into a regional issue. It's unprecedented and unfortunate.

Political pundits have started writing the obituary of the Congress in J&K after this agitation.

It's too early for that. Raising passions and organising protests is one thing and running the government is another. When they decide to vote, the people will surely keep in mind that it was during my tenure that 550 development projects were undertaken. I can claim to have ushered in work culture in the state. This cannot go unnoticed by the voters after the dust settles. The Congress will come back to power in the state once again.

On the table, a way out: go by law on shrine board powers, court rulings
Muzamil Jaleel
Posted online: Monday, August 11, 2008 at 0337 hrs IST
The Amarnath shrine land transfer row, which has paralysed Jammu and Kashmir for two months, today seemed to have moved a step towards a possible resolution. One way out, already being called the most viable, has incidentally come from a BJP national leader — a solution which calls for adherence to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board Act and court interpretations of the Act outlining the powers and functions of the Board.
“Stick to two things: the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board Act, a legislation passed by the J&K Legislative Assembly in 2000, that led to the formation of Amarnath Shrine Board and the court directions interpreting its powers and functions regarding the Yatra,” said sources, disclosing what lies at the heart of this proposed solution. “The rest — land transfer, its revocation and everything else — be treated as null and void.”
As per Section 16 of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board Act, the Board has the following roles and responsibilities:
• To undertake for the benefit of worshippers and pilgrims the construction of buildings for their accommodation (the Board had already been planning insulated huts with cushioned bunks keeping in view the fragile ecology of the region)
• Construction of sanitary works
• Improvement of means of communication
• Make provision of medical relief to pilgrims
• Arrange for proper worship at shrine
• Undertake developmental activity concerning the areas of the shrine and its surroundings
• Make arrangements for safe custody of funds, valuables and jewellery and preservation of Board funds
• Make provision for suitable emoluments to salaried staff
• Make suitable arrangements for imparting religious instructions and general education to pilgrims
• To do all such things as may be incidental and conducive to efficient management, maintenance and administration of shrine, and Board funds and for the convenience of pilgrims.
Sources said what the courts have done is to interpret the Act and outline the powers and functions of the Board.
The sources said the reason why this proposal is not immediately being made public is because it still needs to be discussed. Moreover, there is apprehension of a negative reaction from the Sangh Parivar which is actively directing the agitation in Jammu and sponsoring the Shri Amarnath Yatra Sangarsh Samiti, a conglomerate of Hindu organisations in Jammu that has been spearheading the agitation.
Former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, sources said, has informally supported the proposal which will possibly be discussed with other political parties to bring about a consensus. In fact, former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad too indicated that the government was trying to work out a solution.
“We are working on a solution which will resolve the issue amicably and I am sure we will do that soon,” said Azad, soon after the all-party meeting here with the delegation accompanying Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil.
During the deliberations between the Central delegation led by Patil and the representatives of various J&K political parties, the main focus was on the economic blockade of Kashmir Valley and Rajouri, Poonch and Doda districts besides the attacks on Muslim Gujjars across Jammu province.
“Nobody from the Central delegation spoke at the meeting,” National Conference leader Mehboob Beig, who was part of his party’s delegation, told The Indian Express. “The Union Home Minister did respond to the issue of Muslims being targeted in Jammu and the economic blockade. He assured that law and order would be strictly maintained to prevent communal violence. Regarding the economic blockade, he (Patil) said that the government would take all necessary steps to keep the highway open at all costs, not only between Jammu and Srinagar but beyond Jammu, even in Punjab,” Beig said.
At a press conference, Patil said: “We are laying emphasis on the supply of essential commodities like medicine, mutton and other stuff in Kashmir. And we will make sure that the road is not blocked.”
He, however, came up with a strange solution to the problems faced by Kashmiri fruit-growers whose produce are rotting because of the “economic blockade” of the Valley. “We will not let fruit-growers suffer losses, we will take all necessary steps. If they are unable to send their fruits to the market, we will ask people in the government to buy it from them here. The police and the CRPF will buy it. Or we will buy it and give it to school children,” he said. “If the losses still continue, we will pay them compensation as we do in other parts of the country.”
He underlined that there should be no regional or communal divide. “This is what everybody has told me from Jammu to here and it is a good thing,” he said. He said the Yatra had been going on smoothly. “We will have to look for a solution for the land issue — a solution which will not have any negative impact on Kashmir or Jammu,” he said.
He also said that both the state government and the Centre would pay compensation to the next of kin of every person who has lost his life in Kashmir in connection with these incidents. “We want to share the grief of our brothers here,” he said.

Govt toys with turning clock back
Pioneer News Service | New Delhi/Jammu/Srinagar
Amarnath land standoffThe all-party delegation returned to New Delhi on Sunday after spending two days in Jammu and Kashmir with a slew of proposals on resolving the Amarnath land row. Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil, who led the delegation, is expected to brief Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about the outcome of the two-day exercise and apprise him of the suggestions received from various quarters to end the standoff.

With Jammu on the boil and an alarming situation developing in Srinagar, the Government has little time to act. Throwing its lot with the separatist Hurriyat Conference, the PDP has threatened to cross over to PoK to bring in essential goods if the protesters in Jammu continued with their economic blockade of the Valley.

As a precautionary measure, the authorities in Srinagar have placed Hurriyat Conference chief Mirwaiz Omer Farooq and separatist leader Ahmad Shah Gilani under house arrest.

Among the various options under consideration of the Government was a suggestion to fall back on a State high court order that made it incumbent on the Government to safeguard the interests of the Amarnath yatris.

The directive under this order could be shoehorned with the demands of the protesters in Jammu to arrive at a solution, sources said.

According to the proposal, all the controversial decisions that led to the flare-up will be cancelled, including the Cabinet decision transferring land to the Amarnath Shrine Board and also the decision revoking that order, sources told NDTV. In their place the old high court order will continue to operate. This order asks the Government to safeguard the yatris' interests, according to the channel.

Hinting that the delegation may have something in its pocket, former J and K Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah said, "They (all-party delegation) have a solution. It is being cooked. It takes time for the broth."

"It is not that we (Kashmiris) do not want to give land or they (Jammuites) want to take the land... We have to find a solution and that can be found only by talking," Abdullah said.

His son and NC president Omar Abdullah was more specific. He suggested reconstitution of the Amarnath shrine board and demanded that it be given the responsibility to conduct the annual pilgrimage from next year.

"If it's the yatra that matters, then let's set our egos aside and concentrate on the yatra. Let's the SASB with only state subjects. Let's get the Governor to pass an ordinance to make the SASB chairman also a state subject...

"...Let the SASB conduct next year's yatra with as much land and facilities as it requires, facilities created at the expense not of the SASB but of the State Government and see if this satisfies the yatris who come from all over the country," Omar said in his last write-up on his blog.

"Even after this, if the need is felt to reduce the yatra to 800 kanals (nearly 40 hectares) of land, I'm sure that a case can be made to trade 800 kanals for the 3,200 or more kanals of land that won't be used in the future," the NC president said.

BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley, who was part of the delegation, said that talks should have been held long before. He felt that the exercise of the talks could help in finding a solution to the row.

Home Minister Patil said, "the situation was improving and blockades have been removed. The road from Valley to Jammu and to Punjab has been cleared, he said and promised compensation to the victims of the ongoing agitation.

To a question on the sanctity of the delegation sans leaders from the Valley, Patil said some leaders withdrew themselves on a demand made by Shri Amarnath Sangharsh Samiti that it would not sit for talks till Saifuddin Soz (Congress), Mehbooba Mufti (PDP) and Farooq Abdullah (National Conference) were present.

Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad cautioned against some separatist groups trying to misuse the situation by threatening to cross the LoC and counter the economic blockade.

CPI leader D Raja was "optimistic" of a solution and Union Minister A Raja described the talks as "fruitful and positive".

Earlier in Srinagar, Patil told a press conference that communal harmony will not be allowed to be disturbed, and the land row will be resolved in a manner that it does not hurt the people of Jammu or Kashmir regions.

Patil said there is no "economic blockade" and traffic is plying as usual from the Valley to Jammu and Punjab.

Meanwhile, Mehbooba Mufti has said that the PDP has decided to join the march to Muzaffarabad on Monday, the call for which has been given by fruit growers' association.

Mufti said party workers and sympathisers led by senior leader Abdul Aziz Zargar and Mohammad Dilawar Mir will constitute part of the main convoy.

She said, "the march should be seen as the assertion of Kashmir's inalienable right to trade and travel without restrictions."

The PDP president also demanded that the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road be opened for goods traffic.

The Hurriyat Conference as well as other separatist outfits have announced that they would march to Muzaffarabad on Monday to "counter the economic blockade" of the Valley.

"We will have to seek how to deal with the (Amarnath) land issue. We will definitely make efforts that it is resolved in a manner in which it does not hurt (the sentiments) of people of Jammu as well as of Kashmir," Patil told mediapersons in Srinagar after chairing a nearly three-hour-long all-party meeting there.

The meeting came a day after the leaders of Shri Amarnath Sangharsh Samiti, spearheading the agitation in Jammu, held talks with Patil-led delegation. But no headway was made at the Jammu meeting as the samiti stuck to its demand for restoration of land to the Amarnath shrine board and removal of Governor NN Vohra.

On the "economic blockade" of the Valley in the wake of the stir, the Home Minister said all measures would be taken to ensure that the Jammu-Srinagar national highway remains open at all times for transport of essential commodities and goods.

Patil, who reflected the views voiced by the delegation leaders, noted that the Amarnath yatra should go on as before. "The Prime Minister has also said that it should continue (as in the past)."

The Home Minister said all parties at the meet felt that "there should be no communalisation of the situation. There have been some incidents but the situation will be tackled.

Besides leaders from Congress, BJP, CPI (M), CPI, Samajwadi Party and RJD, the meeting was attended by former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Ministers Farooq Abdullah and Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mehbooba Mufti (PDP) and Saifuddin Soz (Cong) besides local leaders.

In Jammu, Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh Samiti insisted on its demand for recall of Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra, saying it would build a congenial atmosphere in Jammu.

"We want removal of NN Vohra from the post of Governor of the Sate as this will help in building a congenial atmosphere in Jammu," the samiti said in a two-page memorandum to the all-party delegation led by Patil.

The samiti also demanded withdrawal of the letter written by Vohra dated June 29, 2008 as chairman of SASB to the State Government asking it to take over the land diverted to the board.

It also asked for rescinding the decision of the State Cabinet on July 1, 2008 accepting the request of the SASB chairman and restoration of the land at Baltal to the board.

"These demands are very easy to be fulfilled without any legal or legislative implications. Nothing less than this will be acceptable to the people of Jammu," the memorandum said.

"We have chosen to address your goodself in a situation where an all out repression and intimidation has been unleashed by the State Government on the people of Jammu to suppress their views," it added.

Video: terror in Kashmir, 1990

'Throw every separatist out of this country'. 'Why can we not have land in Kashmir?'

'Throw every separatist out of this country'. 'Why can we not have land in Kashmir?'

Rashid Ahmad, Hindustan Times

Domail (Baltal), August 10, 2008

First Published: 00:03 IST(10/8/2008)

Last Updated: 00:25 IST(10/8/2008)
Jammu vs Kashmir: Reign of peace

From Domail (Baltal), at a place called Baltal, begins the shortcut to God. The Amarnath caves are just 16 km away from this piece of land the size of a football field — the Himalayas towering around it and the Sindh river gently gurgling past. Pilgrims begin the quickest climb to the shrine from here.

Shortcuts often come with dangers.

In the last six weeks, this piece of land 93 km from Srinagar has triggered one of the deepest communal divides in independent India in the Valley, with 10 people killed and more than 500 injured on the streets of Jammu and Srinagar.

On Saturday, the streets still burned, even as the Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh Samiti, the organisation demanding that the Baltal land be returned to a temple trust, climbed down a bit by agreeing to peace talks with Home Minister Shivraj Patil.

At Baltal’s Ground Zero, however, peace has never had to be talked out in the 30 years that pilgrims have been pitching tent here.

In an extension of a 160-year-old tradition of Hindu pilgrims being helped by Muslim workers on the older route to Amarnath from Pahalgam, around 300 Muslim labourers and seasonal workers escort people to the cave, carrying the old on their shoulders, providing mules to others, supplying water and helping with backpacks and other luggage.

There is little sense of the street rage and deep religious divide sweeping Jammu and Srinagar.

“I am here for more than a month, helping yatris,” said Ashiq Hussain (25), a resident of nearby Kangan. Hussain is an Arts graduate but could not get a government job. His three younger brothers, two sisters and widowed mother depend solely on him for livelihood.

“This is the time I earn for my family. We have no other means,” he said. Ashiq has earned around Rs 12,000 in a month.

The piece of land at the centre of the conflict has pre-fabricated structures, including latrines, bathrooms and shelter sheds.

The control over the conduct of the yatra, which rested with the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (which now looks only after religious matters), is now with the state tourism department.

On Saturday, about 200 yatris were ready to set out on the trek. Officials said 250 yatris had already left. Those who could afford were taking the helicopter service.

Abdul Gani Khan, another resident, said he had been associated with the annual pilgrimage for 15 years.

“We have never treated yatris like outsiders invading the Valley. They are like family,” said the 55-year-old.

Akhel Kumar, a 23-year-old Delhi student, agrees. “We have no problem here. When my friend Abhishek and I decided to leave for the yatra, friends and relatives advised against it,” he said. “We faced problems in Jammu. Agitators threw stones on our vehicle at Samba and Kuthua. We thought the worst might be waiting in the Valley. But we are surprised to see the hospitality and generosity of the people here.”

On the way from his home state Chattisgarh, driver Anil Kumar’s Scorpio was stopped at several places in Jammu by protesters who asked him to go back. “At Samba some people hurled stones at us,” said Kumar (35). “But it is all calm once I reached the piece of land over which battles are being fought.”

Om Prakash Karlekar (45), a pilgrim from Maharashtra, termed the rioting over the yatra as a “political stunt”.

“This is disgusting. We must not be swayed by what is being said and done,” he said.

Aurangzeb Naqshbandi, Hindustan Times

Email Author

New Delhi, August 10, 2008

First Published: 00:01 IST(10/8/2008)

Last Updated: 00:02 IST(10/8/2008)
Solution: Do as Rajiv did in 1987, Mr PM

If Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is looking to douse the flames lit by the Amarnath shrine land row, all he needs to do is flip through the pages of history. In 1987, then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi defused a similar divisive situation within weeks.

On October 7, 1987, then Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah tried to end the century-old practice of Darbar Move by which government offices were shifted from Srinagar to Jammu during the six winter months.

Abdullah ordered the permanent stationing of 20 departments in Srinagar and 17 in Jammu. The people of Hindu-dominated Jammu took this as an act of discrimination, fearing that it would lead eventually to Srinagar being the year-round capital of the state. They also felt that the region’s economy, boosted every year by the Darbar Move, would take a hit.

What followed was a backlash similar to the current one, triggered by the grant of 100 acres of forestland to the Amarnath shrine authorities for pilgrim facilities and a subsequent revocation of the order.

The shutdown in Jammu, Udhampur and other Hindu-dominated areas lasted five weeks. As in the past few days, supplies to the Valley were cut off.

The crisis was resolved after Gandhi intervened, rushing his Home Minister Buta Singh to the state. Singh persuaded Abdullah to revoke his order.

Though this revocation too led to angry reactions, they were few and lasted only four days. Normalcy was restored in both regions soon.

Coffee Break / Sunday Pioneer / August 10, 2008

The bushfire of Hindu rage by Kanchan Gupta

For the past five weeks Jammu has been witnessing a veritable uprising against the pro-Muslim, anti-Hindu politics and policies of the establishment in Srinagar and the Government in New Delhi. At the heart of the dispute is the contrived controversy over the allotment of 97 acres of land to Sri Amarnath Shrine Board for creating temporary facilities for Hindu pilgrims who trek to the hill cave shrine every summer. The Muslims of Kashmir Valley -- let us not be coy and refer to them as 'Kashmiris' so as to suppress the fact that they are Muslims -- took to the streets, chanting blood-curdling slogans and waving the Pakistani flag, to scuttle the allotment of land. The National Conference of the Abdullah clan and the People's Democratic Party of the Mufti clan joined the fanatics in insisting that Muslim Kashmir would not tolerate such Hindu intrusion.
Instead of standing up to the rank communalists who have Hindu blood on their hands, the Congress and its stooge, who now occupies the Governor's office, meekly surrendered to them, thus delivering a crippling blow against the Indian state, though not for the first time. And how did the media react to this abject surrender? The cancellation of the allotment of land was hailed as a judicious decision, an assertion of secular values, to protect 'Kashmiriyat'; it was praised as being mindful of 'Kashmiri sentiments' and 'Kashmiri psyche'. Stripped of its sophistry, what all this means is that the Congress has done well to pander to Islamic fanaticism and mollycoddle those who heap abuse on India and curse Hindus. Such is the standard used by the media for judging secularism in this wondrous land of ours.
And how has the media responded to the snow-balling protest against Muslim appeasement, which has engulfed all of Jammu region and brought men, women and children out into the streets to brave bullets and batons? There has been universal condemnation; the agitation has been dubbed as 'communal', 'distressing', 'disruptive', 'anti-Muslim' and 'needlessly provocative'. Kashmir's Muslims have been described as 'tolerant' and Jammu's Hindus as 'ingrates'. For 365 days a year Kashmir's Muslims hold the Indian state to ransom and not an eyebrow is lifted. For 35 days Jammu's Hindus petition the Indian state to protect their rights and they are ridiculed. Much concern is expressed over the manufactured grievances and imagined victimhood of Kashmir's Muslims by the lib-left intelligentsia that dominates media. But scorn is poured on the genuine grievances and victimisation of Jammu's Hindus.
Ever since the first violent protest in downtown Srinagar against the allotment of land to Sri Amarnath Shrine Board, facts have been twisted and the truth has been obfuscated to portray Kashmir's Muslim fanatics as saints who wouldn't swat a fly and Jammu's Hindus as a violent, unruly and communal lot which should be crushed into submission. There is nothing new about this perversity: We have seen in the past how the cleansing of Kashmir Valley of Hindus has been whitewashed; how massacre after massacre of entire Hindu families have been treated by media as 'minor incidents' not worthy of notice; how lakhs of Pandits thrown out of their ancestral land have been reduced to refugees in their own country; and, how bogus terms like 'Kashmiriyat' have been used as a convenient cover to hide the brutalities inflicted by Kashmir's Muslims. All that and more is not 'communal' but in keeping with the 'secular' principles of the Indian state; if Hindus raise their voice in protest, it is not only 'communal' but an assault on the 'secular' Indian state!
For the benefit of those who have come of age in the last two decades, among them many of the 24x7 news channel anchors who talk utter gibberish while donning an air of supreme confidence to camouflage their limitless ignorance, let me recount the events of January 1990, which mark the beginning of the latest crusade against the Hindus of Jammu & Kashmir. Since 'secularists' are allergic to events of the distant past, we need not go into the details of how Hindus were decapitated by the Sword of Islam wielded by the original Islamists. The present will suffice to highlight the duplicity of those whose hearts beat for the hate-India hordes in Kashmir.
Srinagar, January 4, 1990. Aftab, a local Urdu newspaper, publishes a Press release issued by Hizb-ul Mujahideen, set up by the Jamaat-e-Islami in 1989 to wage jihad for Jammu & Kashmir's secession from India and accession to Pakistan, asking all Hindus to pack up and leave. Another local paper, Al Safa, repeats this expulsion order. In the following days, there is near chaos in the Kashmir Valley with then Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah and his National Conference Government abdicating all responsibilities. Masked men run amok, waving Kalashnikovs, shooting to kill and shouting anti-India slogans. Reports of killing of Hindus, invariably Kashmiri Pandits, begin to trickle in; there are explosions; inflammatory speeches are made from the pulpits of mosques, using public address systems meant for calling the faithful to prayers. A terrifying fear psychosis begins to take grip of Kashmiri Pandits.
Srinagar, January 19, 1990. Mr Jagmohan arrives to take charge as Governor. Mr Farooq Abdullah, whose pathetic, whimpering, snivelling Government has all but ceased to exist, resigns and goes into a sulk. Curfew is imposed as a first measure to restore some semblance of law and order. But it fails to have a deterrent effect. Throughout the day, Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front and Hizb-ul Mujahideen terrorists use public address systems at mosques to exhort people to defy curfew and take to the streets. Masked men, firing from their Kalashnikovs, march up and down, terrorising Pandits. As evening falls, the exhortations become louder and shriller. Three taped slogans are repeatedly played the whole night from mosques: "Kashmir mei agar rehna hai, Allah-hu-Akbar kehna hai" (If you want to stay in Kashmir, you have to say Allah-hu-Akbar); "Yahan kya chalega, Nizam-e-Mustafa" (What do we want here? Rule of shari'ah); "Asi gachchi Pakistan, batao roas te batanev san" (We want Pakistan along with Hindu women but without their men). As the night of January 19, 1990, wears itself out, despondency gives way to desperation. And tens of thousands of Kashmiri Pandits across the Valley take a painful decision: To flee their homeland to save their lives. Thus takes place a 20th century Exodus.
Their wounds, as also the wounds of Hindu India, have been festering for 18 years. The simmering anger of Hindus has now burst into a raging bush fire that threatens to burn to ashes media's perverse notions of 'secularism' and destroy the politics of Muslim appeasement. Consternation and panic in Delhi and Srinagar are understandable.

Jammu burns with pent-up anger

SANKARSHAN THAKUR (Kolkata, Telegraph, 10 Aug. 2008)

Jammu, Aug. 9: This might sound like an exaggeration, but that’s perhaps because you’ve been tuned too finely to pervasive political correctness. The trouble in Jammu isn’t merely over 80-odd acres of land around a faraway mountain shrine, it is over reordering the entire political landscape of a state that doesn’t care being polite about its bitter and visceral faultlines any more — Valley versus the rest, Kashmir versus Jammu, Hindu versus Muslim, if it comes down to that.

And, in the ringing words of Lila Karan Sharma, convener of the storm called the Shri Amarnath Sangharsh Samiti, it is even “Tricolour-carrying patriots of Jammu versus Pakistani flag-bearers of Kashmir”.

History is often a cause-and-effect lesson. The immediate cause of what’s unfolding today probably goes back to 1990 and the exodus of Pandits from the Valley under the sweep of the “azadi” movement. The accumulated causes go even further back the decades. Amarnath is probably merely the latest flashpoint.

Jammu, were you to get a sense of reigning sentiment in this shuttered, khaki and concertina-ridden city, is feeding sackfuls of its old and perceived grudges to these fires.

“We’ve put up with this for 60 years, 60 long years,” says Rati Razdan, a politically unaffiliated schoolteacher who has been at the barricades in Gandhinagar each morning, “all in the name of national unity. Those who blackmail the nation with threats of separation have been pampered, those who have been loyal have been ignored. What am I to do to be heard, pick up a green flag and shout anti-India slogans? Why can we not have land in Kashmir, why must Kashmiris have their way all the time in this country?”

Why does the Valley have more seats in the state Assembly even though Jammu is greater both in population and land area? Why must they have three MPs and we only two? Why must they have all chief ministers and we none? Why do they get 80 per cent of government jobs? Why must they have 60 per cent of power? Why must they have reservation in colleges and technical institutions even though our boys and girls do better? Why is it that we can be thrown out of our homes in the Valley and nothing happens? Why is there such a crisis if we want to set up facilities in the Valley for two months each year? Why do their leaders get to build private mansions in the forests of Jammu’s vaunted Bhatindi outskirts whereas we can’t even be granted land in the name of a shrine? Why are they part of an all-party delegation? They are the creators of this problem, why should they now become judges? And why should we go to them?

Why? Why? Why? Us and Them. Us and Them. Us and Them. Jammu is an angry trigger-burst of questions wherever you go. And they are well aware who they are firing them at. The casting out of all Valley leaders — Farooq Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti, Saifuddin Soz — from the all-party delegation before the Samiti agreed even to come to the Raj Bhavan this afternoon was a stark demonstration of where and how Jammu is marking the divide.

“This is a disturbing flashpoint in the state’s history,” says professor Dipankar Sengupta who teaches economics at the University of Jammu, “this is the first time Jammu has shaken up the country and the Valley, and that is because of the accumulated history of grievances. The Valley has got too much national attention too consistently, it is Jammu’s turn now and it believes it has reasons to scream. It wants corrections.”

Sengupta, like many others you’d call liberal or middle-of-the-road, is not unaware that a virulent brand of Hindu nationalism is the flaming head of this extended tumult. It isn’t as if the consequences of things getting out of hand don’t alarm them. But, equally, they aren’t prepared to damn Jammu’s uproar as cynical rightwing opportunism alone.

“It is true the Sangh is the spearhead,” says Sengupta, “but that is because of the nature of when and how these frustrations have come to be vented. There are more people behind this than just the BJP, although the BJP is very happily behind it. Don’t forget the local Congress is straining to get on board as well, something must be pushing them.”A retired Kashmiri bureaucrat who is settled in Jammu and has no time for the Hindu rightwing, concedes there is more to this than just the row over land around the Amarnath cave. “It is true that the Sangh and its front organisations are in the forefront, it is also possible that the BJP will draw electoral mileage from this not only in Jammu but elsewhere too.

“But remember two important factors: this is still a city ruled by the Congress, the BJP won but a single seat in the last election. But more important, this is essentially a mercantile city. Businessmen and shopkeepers don’t tolerate such long closures if they don’t feel deeply about issues. Jammu has been closed 40 days and there is still no sign things will open up. There’s a sign for you.”

Jammu agitation a fight of nationalist forces: BJP

Chandigarh (PTI): The BJP on Sunday claimed the agitation in Jammu over the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board land transfer controversy is a "nationalist movement to throw out anti-Indian forces" out of the country.

In a statement, BJP's investor cell and the party's Punjab state chief Sukhminderpal Singh Grewal said the "row is not between Jammu Hindus and Kashmiri Muslims as branded by some section of the media but rather a fight of nationalist forces against separatist elements".

"You can see Hindus, Sikhs and even Muslims out on roads to support the movement," he added to corroborate his claim.

Grewal further claimed that the movement is not restricted to relinquish the land to the shrine board but "it's a movement of four lakh Kashmiri Pandits who are bearing the brunt of being refugees in their own country for over 19 years and it's a movement of every Indian who consider Jammu and Kashmir as integral part of India".

"This public outcry is to throw out each and every separatist out of this country so that people of Jammu and Kashmir and rest of India could shun fear forever and live in peace and tranquillity," he asserted.

He also said the Congress-led UPA Government had "failed" miserably to pacify agitators and sense public mood. Grewal demanded that the UPA Government should accede to the demand of people and restore control of forest land back to the shrine board immediately.

He further cautioned the government saying that defying the wishes of the people is playing with fire and every Indian is watching the situation. "If the government will not relinquish control of the land immediately to the shrine board then every road and every Indian will lead to Jammu and Kashmir," Grewal added.

Dangerous divide: Jammu officials put it in black and white

Muzamil Jaleel

Posted online: Sunday, August 10, 2008 at 0139 hrs IST

Srinagar, August 8
The Jammu administration told the visiting all-party delegation today that the Amarnath land revocation order has “hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus in the state” and their protests have “assumed the dimension of a mass movement”. And “public mobilisation” fanned by provocative speeches by religious leaders and “vested interests” had created “regional and communal polarisation amongst the population”.

The all-party delegation will be briefed by the administration in Srinagar tomorrow.

In fact, the Jammu administration today gave data to the all-party team to underline the communal dimension of the agitation. The visiting team was told that 3,758 protests took place in Jammu city, 2,270 in Kathua, 1,850 in Samba, 1,480 in Udhampur, 740 in Riyasi, 115 in Doda, 74 in Ramban, 74 in Kishtwar, 37 in Poonch and 115 in Rajouri district.

The administration provided a detailed Hindu-Muslim population break-up which shows that Hindu-dominated districts saw the most protests and that any communal violence could have alarming repercussions.

As per population details provided by the administration, in Jammu and Samba, Hindus make up 86% of the population while Muslims constitute 5.68%. In Udhampur and Riyasi, Hindus are 73% of the population while Muslims 25.57%. In Doda-Kishtwar-Ramban, 41.46% of the population is Hindu while 57.92% is Muslim. In Kathua, Hindus are 89.8% of the population and 8.14% are Muslims; 37.28% of the population in Rajouri is Hindu while 60.23% is Muslim while Poonch has 5.2% Hindu and 91.92% Muslim population.

The salient points of the briefing:

* 18 cases have been registered in connection with communal violence in which 20 persons were injured, 72 Kulas (hutments) of Gujjars were burnt down, 22 vehicles damaged and several trucks carrying supplies looted. “These are only reported incidents. Many such incidents have taken place, which have not been reported so far,” the officers told the team.

* 117 police personnel and 78 civilians were injured including two policemen who were lynched and are “battling for life” in PGI Chandigarh while six civilians were killed, including three in police and Army action.

* 129 cases were registered against the rioters. A total of 1171 arrests were made but most of them are now out on bail.

* 10, 513 protest demonstrations and 359 serious incidents of violence have taken place across Jammu in which 28 government buildings, 15 police vehicles and 118 private vehicles have been damaged.

The violence has taken its toll on pilgrims bound for Vaishnodevi and Amarnath. In May and June, the average number of yatris per day to Vaishnodevi was 29,126 and to Amarnath 3310. These have dipped to 8619 and 347 respectively. All schools, colleges, government offices and services, including utilities — hospitals to post offices — were paralysed.

The administration was critical of the role of local media in Jammu. “Local media channels and newspapers not only supported the agitation but often fueled it by publishing inflammatory photographs and reports and glorifying violent incidents,” the administration said. “Two local cable networks repeatedly used highly provocative clips for long duration to encourage and incite violence and create law and order problems in gross violation of Cable TV Regulation Act 1995. National channels giving less coverage received threats from agitators”. The administration also talked about the misuse of SMS service to foment “communal violence”.

The administration also gave details about the economic blockade, saying that the “agitators stopped blocking the national highway repeatedly with a view to alter supplies to the Valley, including the supply of LPG, diesel, petrol.”

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Jammu's Hindu revolution in a historical perspective

Columnists may indulge in semantics: about tales, towards an uprising or a hindu uprising. When the history of hindu civilization is written, the ongoing revolution in Jammu will be recognised as such, a revolution of such spontaneity that sets the limits to hindu tolerance against adharma perpetrated by chamchas.

But, read: The Wonder That Was Kashmir. In "Kashmir and its People: Studies in the Evolution of Kashmiri Society." M.K. Kaw (ed.), A.P.H., New Delhi, 2004. ISBN 81-7648-537-3.

Background on J&K history of conversions at the following URLs (extracted texts appended):

J&K a historical perspective (beware, official account)
Memorial of mistakes, converted Kashmir, a bitter saga of religious conversion by Narender Sehgal version by Narender Sehgal



In Jammu, a tangled tale is written in blood
August 09, 2008

The land row is widely seen as a galvanising factor for the people of Jammu to unite and stand up against the Valley.
"From bureaucracy to politics to other service sectors, Jammu has been neglected for long. Its geographical area is more, but the power goes to the Valley. Its population is more, but the Valley has more constituencies. All development projects are Valley-centric," Joshi points out.
SASS member Baldev Singh Salathia, who stepped down as the assistant advocate general to join the agitation, argues, "People have seen the discrimination and suffered for 60 years. Now they see this as a god sent opportunity to voice their anger."
A pro-Jammu local newspaper, the State Times, stated in its editorial, 'For Jammuites who were being exploited for 60 years, it came to a breaking point and acted as a unifying factor -- maybe under a religious emblem. But what is wrong with it?
'It is not against any other religion as it is against the Valley move that targeted Hindus.'
Interestingly, the Muslims of Jammu do not see eye to eye with their co-religionists in Kashmir. Leader of the Muslim Federation Abdul Majid says, "What the state has done is wrong. We are fully in support of revoking the order and giving the land for use by pilgrims. If you want to understand this, you must first understand that the feelings of the Kashmir Muslim and the Jammu Muslim are different. First, they are a majority force there and we are a minority people here. Second, and more important, is the fact that for us people here, Jammu comes first. So, naturally we will be with the people of Jammu."
Thus, the movement in Jammu has ceased to be a political issue and has become a mass movement with people of all faiths -- Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus -- joining it. In the Valley, politicians started it and the separatists hijacked it; in Jammu, politicians started it and now the disenfranchised people have hijacked it.
And now, all parties face one ineluctable fact: There is no solution that can reconcile the differing stands of the two regions, and any solution that favours one region will be immediately -- and violently -- rejected by the other.
What was started by politicians for electoral gains has metastasized into an issue of regional pride as Jammu, neglected for decades, demands its due and demands it now.
The area is completely deserted. The authorities have been using the curfew to test the popular temperature. Thus, on Thursday, it was first lifted from 5 am to 9 am, then extended to 11 am before being clamped again. On Friday, it was lifted at 5 am, and gradually extended till 1 pm.
While on the surface this might suggest a return to normalcy, there is the underlying sense that this is merely the calm before a cataclysmic storm. Though the army has managed to put down the violent protests, it is now facing a different sort of problem: the friendly neighbourhood protestor.
The phenomenon starts around sunset, gathers momentum as darkness pervades, and ends abruptly around 7 pm. Here is what happens:
Though people honour the curfew, at around 5.30 pm they start trickling out of their homes. At first, this happens in groups of two and three, say two elderly women stepping out of their gates for a harmless evening stroll or a couple of youngsters shooting the breeze. Since they confine themselves to their residential lanes, the army personnel stationed on every main road of the city leaves them alone, though they know this casual borderline defiance of the curfew is just a beginning.
As the minutes tick away, the number of people out on the streets swell; gradually, women and children appear in increasing numbers, and then the men begin to join in. Suddenly, what was an isolated evening walk has become a crowd of about 60, 70 people.
And then an anonymous hoarse voice yells 'Bam Bam..' The crowd responds with a full throated 'Bole!'

Suddenly, it is a full-fledged religious procession � but it still remains confined to the lanes and bylanes, so the army continues to observe.
Gradually, the group finds its way to the army pickets at the place where the lane joins the main road. A solitary soldier steps up to the barbed wire, asks them to stop, and to return to their homes. Curfew is on, he reminds them.
The crowd taunts him. The volume of the chanting gradually picks up. An effigy materialises out of nowhere -- Mehbooba Mufti, president of the People's Democratic Party, appears to be the favourite muse of effigy makers.
The crowd garlands it with torn slippers, and sets it on fire. The lone soldier now gets backup in the form of four or five more colleagues, who roll up in an army van. And just when you would assume that a flashpoint has been reached, and a violent confrontation is a heartbeat away, the crowd melts away, its job for the day done.
The next day, the dangerous game of chicken, played out between restive crowds and tentative army personnel, begins afresh.
Seventy-year-old Santosh Aroura is soaked in sweat as she returns home after the daily game. She is ill; it is difficult to walk back down the lane to her home. So why take the trouble, why subject the body to a strain it is clearly incapable of taking?
"We have spent enough years thinking why to get out," she says, as she clambers painfully into the car of a friend. "And we have been paying the price for it for 60 years. This time things have gone too far, and there is no point sitting at home and lamenting our fate. If we don�t come out, how will the youngsters come out?"
"We will show the Mehbooba Muftis of the world and the Kashmir Valley what Jammu is made of," says another elderly lady with a toddler on her hip and no name she wants to share with the world. "All these years, the people of the Valley have gotten away with a lot of things. This time they have stooped so low as to make an issue of a piece of land that was going to be used for a pilgrimage for just two months? How can they twist it into such a big issue? This time we will not back off till the government withdraws its order."
This is the woman who made the Mufti effigy. "At my age, I sat for two hours and made it. But I don't mind as long as we get something out of it."
This is not an isolated story of a random lane but a template that has been institutionalised across the troubled region. In every lane adjoining an arterial road, evening brings at least 50 'friendly' protestors for the ritual eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation with the military.
For them, it is no longer an issue of the use of land for two months in the year for the comfort of Amarnath pilgrims � Jammu�s pride is on the line.
Talk to protestors, and they recount their story. Move a few lanes over, talk to another group, and you get the same story, almost verbatim. Either they have been impeccably tutored, or many minds have begun thinking alike. This is their story:
The People's Democratic Party was in the coalition when the move to divert land for providing yatris with temporary facilities was taken. Then, with an eye to the elections around the corner, it withdrew support to the government and protested the diversion of land. The minority government, also wanting to gain political mileage in the Valley, withdrew the order. But the separatists hijacked the issue, saying that this was a ploy to settle Hindus in the Valley, though the land is within the forest, and is uninhabitable.
That is the casus belli, as Jammu-ites recount it. If the initial problem was triggered by local politicians in the Valley, in Jammu too it was politics that triggered the backlash and has since kept it burning, with the Bharatiya Janata Party backing the initial protests. Locals say the party has been forced to soften its stand after the all-party meet that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh convened on Thursday.
While both the Shri Amarnath Sangharsh Samiti and the BJP maintain the issue is not communal, observers say there was an effort to give it a communal tinge in the Jammu region.
"Badly-phrased terms like 'Quit Jammu' and 'economic blockade of the Valley' were definitely used by some sections of the political spectrum. Thankfully, they have toned down their rhetoric," Arun Joshi, a veteran journalist from Jammu working for Hindustan Times, said.
While care has been taken to keep the issue from becoming overtly communal, some say the current scenario, pitching Jammu against Kashmir, could prove to be very difficult to solve.
"When the people in Jammu see the administration standing as mute spectators while separatists hoist the Pakistani flag, and the same administration clamping curfews and using force against people who are carrying the Indian flag, there is bound to be unrest. The people in Jammu want the anti-national sentiment to be reversed," Joshi said.
Text: Krishnakumar P in Jammu | Photographs: Tauseef Mustafa/AFP/Getty Images
See: Kanchan Gupta’s Jammu’s Hindu uprising
See: Swapan Dasgupta’s Towards an uprising

J&K a historical perspective (beware, official account)
Memorial of mistakes, converted Kashmir, a bitter saga of religious conversion by Narender Sehgal version by Narender Sehgal

J & K : A Historical Perspective
Jammu and Kashmir came into being as a single political and geographical entity following the Treaty of Amristar between the British Government and Gulab singh signed on March 16, 1846. The Treaty handed over the control of the Kashmir State to the Dogra ruler of Jammu who had earlier annexed Ladakh. Thus a new State comprising three distinct religions of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh was formed with Maharaja Gulab Singh as its founder ruler. The feudal dispensation in the State, however, was too harsh for the people to live under and towards the end of a hundred years of this rule when their Indian brethren were fighting for independence from the British under the inspiring leadership of Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, the Kashmiris led by a towering personality, the Sher-I-Kashmir Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, rose against the autocracy. The autocratic rule came down heavily on the people’s freedom movement. However, the people laid their lives in the cause of freedom and to uphold the ideals of secularism, equality, democracy and brotherhood.
The high point of the movement was July 13, 1931 when 22 protesters were martyred. The event strengthened the movement and contrary to the expectations of the then rulers, the peopled emerged more determined in their resolution to seek an end to autocratic rule. By the time the rulers could realise the futility of breaking the will of the people with the might of the State, the National Conference, headed by Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, had become a mass movement and a force to reckon with. It broke the barriers of region and religion and became a popular and secular voice of the people of the State whose collective yearning was freedom from autocracy and the establishment of a popular rule. The people’s movement spearheaded by the National Conference saw several ups and downs with its leaders particularly the Sher-I-Kashmir suffering vissitudes and long internment.
Jammu and Kashmir was one of about 565 princely States of India on which the British paramountcy lapsed at the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947. While the power was transferred to the people in British India, the rulers of the princely States were given an option to join either of the two Dominions – India or Pakistan.
The Government of India Act 1935, as adopted in the Indian Independence Act, 1947, provided, "An Indian State shall be deemed to have acceded to the Dominion if the Governor General has signified the acceptance of an Instrument of Accession executed by the rule thereof." India, Pakistan and even Britain were party to these provisions. So the choice of joining either of the Dominions was left to the Rulers of the States concerned. Moreover, in the Indian Independence Act, 1947, there was no provision for any conditional accession.
Kashmir Hamara Hai "historical speech of Sheikh Mohammd Abdulla
in presence of Pandit Nehru in Lal Chowk.
The Ruler of Jammu and Kashmir, Maharaja Hari Singh did not exercise the option immediately and instead offered a proposal of Standstill Agreement to both the Dominion, pending final decision on State’s accession. On August 12, 1947, the Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir sent identical communications to the Government of India and Pakistan which read, "Jammu and Kashmir Government would welcome Standstill Agreement with Union of India/Pakistan on all matters on which there exists arrangements with the outgoing British India Government." Pakistan accepted the offer and sent a communication to J&K Prime Minster on August 15, 1947. It read, "The Government of Pakistan agrees to have Standstill Agreement with Jammu and Kashmir for the continuation of existing arrangements …". India did not agree to the offer and advised the Maharaja to send his authorized representative to Delhi for discussion on the offer.

The Story Behind
Pakistan, though entered into Standstill Agreement, had an eye on Jammu and Kashmir. Even before the lapse of the British paramountcy on J&K, Mr.Mohammed Ali Jinnah, author of two-nation theory, had plans to grab the Paradise on Earth. He had once boastfully declared that "Kashmir is blank cheque in my pocket." The Pakistan’s designs on Kashmir could be well judged from the comments appearing on August 24, 1947 issue of its semi-official daily Dawn, "… the time has come to tell the Maharaja of Kashmir that he must make his choice and choose Pakistan…. Should Kashmir fail to join Pakistan the gravest possible trouble will inevitably ensue." In his bid to woo Sher-I-Kashmir Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah, the undisputed leader of Kashmir, Mr.Jinnah visited Srinagar a couple of times, but failed to achieve his objective. Even his arrogance and browbeating tactic did not pay him.
The Maharaja was already facing a formidable challenge from the people who had launched the Quit Kashmir movement under the leadership of Sher-I-Kashmir Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah against the autocratic rule. Quit Kashmir movement ran parallel to the national movement with Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah having close association with the leaders of the national movement against British rule. The national leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Nehru too espoused the cause of the people of Kashmir seeking political freedom from autocratic rule. To deal with the people’s upsurge, Maharaja had even detained Sheikh Abdullah on May 20, 1946 for spearheading ‘Quit-Kashmir’ movement. Faced with new alarming situation arising out of repeated violations of the Standstill Agreement by Pakistan and blocking of Pindi-Srinagar road, the Maharaja set him free on September 29, 1947. Sher-I-Kashmir, as he was fondly called by the people for his unmatched courage, deputed his close aide Kh.G.M.Sadiq to Pakistan to tell Pak leaders about the sentiments of the people who can not be taken for granted and coerced to join them. This plain speaking did not desist Pak for her designs.

While addressing a mammoth public meeting at Hazuri Bagh, Srinagar on October 1, 1947, Sher-I-Kashmir had made things about the future of the state obvious when he said, "Till the last drop of my blood, I will not believe in two-nation theory." It was yet another rebuff to Mr.Jinnah.Finding their designs on Kashmir not fructifying, Pakistan rulers launched an armed attack on Jammu and Kashmir to annex it. Tribals in thousands alongwith Pak regular troops entered the State on October 22, 1947 from several points and indulged in bloodshed and mayhem. The bewildered people of the estate were not expecting an attack from Pakistan especially in view of the Standstill Agreement.
Bowing before the wishes of the people as reflected by Muslim dominated National Conference and to push back the invaders, the Maharaja signed the Instrument of Accession in favour of India on October 26, 1947 on the prescribed terms and conditions. This was accepted by the Governor General of India, Lord Mountbattan next day. The Instrument of Accession executed by Maharaja Hari Singh was the same which was signed by other rulers of the princely States. Similarly, the acceptance of the Instrument of Accession by the Governor General was also identical in respect of all such instruments. He was to write, "I do hereby accept the Instrument of Accession." It could not be conditional as mere acceptance by the Governor General was complete and final.
With J&K becoming legal and constitutional part of Union of India, the troops were rushed to the state to push back the invaders and vacate aggression from the territory of the state. The first batch of Indian Army troops arrived at Srinagar airport immediately after the Accession was signed. On October 30, 1947 an Emergency Government was formed in the State with Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah as its head. The Army fought sustained battle with the tribals and after several sacrifices pushed them out of the Valley and other areas in the Jammu region.
Meanwhile, the people of Kashmir under the towering leadership of Sher-I-Kashmir were mobilised and they resisted the marching columns of the enemy. Till the arrival of the troops, it were mainly the Muslim volunteers under the command of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah who braved death to push back invaders. Lt.General P.C.Sen who as Brigadier functioned as Commander of 161 Infantry Brigade in Srinagar during 1947-48, wrote in his book, ‘Slander was the Thread’, "These volunteers moved across the mountains and forests with speed and gave accurate information the army about enemy’s strength, location and movements". While the army pushed back the invaders, there are several instances where people put up a gallant resistance and stopped the advance of the invaders. The most glaring examples of people’s resistance was the martyrdom of Mohammad Maqbool Sherwani and Master Abdul Aziz.
Shaheed Sherwani, a staunch follower of Sher-I-Kashmir, did not oblige the invaders when they enquired from him the route to Srinagar. Instead, he put them on a wrong track gaining time for troops to come. Somehow the tribesmen came to know about his tactics and nailed him at a Baramulla crossing and asked him to raise pro-Pakistan slogans. He did raise slogans but these were different. These were pro-Hindu Muslim amity and in favour of Sher-I-Kashmir. Engaged by this, the ruthless tribesmen emptied their guns on him.
The sacrifice of Master Abdul Aziz too was exemplary. The invaders who raped the nuns and wanted other non-Muslim women to handed over to them, Master Abdul Aziz, a tailor by profession, held the holy Quran in his hand and said that they can touch the women only over his dead body and the holy Quran. The brutal killers did not spare him.
On January 1, 1948 India took up the issue of Pak aggression in Jammu and Kashmir in UNO under Article 35 of its charter. The Government of India in its letter to the Security Council said, "…Such a situation now exists between India and Pakistan owing to the aid which invaders, consisting of nationals of Pakistan and tribesmen… are drawing from Pakistan for operations against Jammu and Kashmir, a State which has acceded to the Dominion of India and is part of India. The Government of India requests the Security Council to call upon Pakistan to put an end immediately to the giving of such assistance which is an act of aggression against India. If Pakistan does not do so, the Government of India may be compelled, in self defence, to enter into Pakistan territory to take military action against the invaders." After long debates, cease-fire came into operation on the midnight of January 1, 1949. Presence of Pak regular troops in the Valley was attested even by UNCIP documents (UNCIP first report).
At the time of cease-fire, Pakistan was holding 78114 sq.Kms illegally and this aggression on that territory continues even today. On March 5, 1948, the Maharaja announced the formation of an interim popular Government with Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah as the Prime Minister. Subsequently, the Maharaja signed a proclamation making Yuvraj Karan Singh as the Regent.
Pandit Shyam Lal Saraf, an old worker and known leader
of the National Conference, Supplies Minister
During one of the debates in UN Security Council on February 5, 1948, Sher-I-Kashmir, said "aggression and not the accession is the issue." The Security council, however, passed a resolution on plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir subject to certain conditions. The resolution had three parts, one relating to cease-fire while the second, the most important and relevant, was a truce agreement which provided the mechanism for plebiscite. As per the agreement, Pakistan Government agreed to withdraw its troops from the State and undertake to secure the withdrawal of its tribesmen and nationals who had invaded the State. The territory thus evacuated by the Pakistani troops would be administered by local authorities under the surveillance of UN Commission for India and Pakistan.
The second part of this agreement related to the obligation of Government of India which would have come into force after Pakistan had fulfilled its obligation in part A of the agreement and thereby terminated the situation which occasioned the presence of Indian troops. On being notified that Pakistan had withdrawn its forces, the Government of India would begin withdrawal of bulk of its forces in stages but she will maintain the minimum strength of its forces necessary for law and order with the Commission stationing its observers.
The third part related to reaffirmation of both the countries to determine the wish of the people.
Pakistan, knowing well the fate of such plebiscite at that time did not take any step to fulfil its obligations under the agreement and continued to hold the territory of the State illegally and forcefully even today. The issue plebiscite was linked with the condition of withdrawal of Pakistani forces and tribesmen from the occupied territory of the state which it never fulfilled, making the resolution absolutely irrelevant. On the other hand, J&K after attaining political freedom, marched ahead to strengthen democratic structure. Moreover, the truce agreement on plebiscite was superseded by the Shimla Agreement between India and Pakistan signed on July 3, 1972 itself, the two countries undertook to resolve all differences bilaterally and peacefully. Pakistan, through its commitments enshrined in this Agreement, accepted the need to once and for all shift the Kashmir question from the UN to the bilateral plane.
The first important speech of Pandit Nehru in Lal Chowk.
"India will never let down Kashmir" and the Indian army
will fight on till the last raider is driven out.
In 1951, the State Constituent Assembly was elected by the people. The Assembly met for the first time in Srinagar on October 31, 1951. Close on the heels of this, the Delhi Agreement was signed between the two Prime Ministers of India and Jammu and Kashmir giving special position to the State under the Indian Constitutional framework. The Constituent Assembly elected the Yuvraj as the Sadar-I-Riyasat on November 15, 1952, thus bringing to end the 106 year old hereditary rule in Jammu and Kashmir. The State Constituent Assembly ratified the accession of the State to the Union of India on February 6, 1954 and the President of India subsequently issued the Constitution (Application to J&K) Order under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution extending the Union Constitution to the State with some exceptions and modifications. The State’s own Constitution came into force on January 26, 1957 under which the elections to the State Legislative Assembly were held for the first time on the basis of adult franchise the same year. This Constitution ratified the State’s accession to Union of India. Section 3 of the Constitution makes this historic fact a reality. This section 3 of the Constitution says, "The Sate of Jammu and Kashmir is and shall be an integral part of the Union of India." The Section 4 of the Constitution defined the territories which on the fifteenth day f August, 1947, were under the sovereignty of suzerainty of the Ruler of the State." Since then eight assembly elections have been held in the state besides Lok Sabha elections where the people exercised their franchise freely.
While the people of the state continue to march ahead for socio-economic emancipation as per the Naya Kashmir charter for better quality of life, Pakistan continued with her plans to grab Kashmir through force. Pakistan waged two wars in 1965 and 1971 to annex Kashmir but the people gave her befitting reply and repulsed her attacks with the help of army like they did in 1947-48. Failing to match India’s military power, it launched a low intensity war through militancy in 1990 which took a toll of 20,000 human lives besides destroying private and public property.
Memorial of mistakes, converted Kashmir, a bitter saga of religious conversion by Narender Sehgal

Writing of history was not a tradition in India. Reason being its dependence on Vedic and post-Vedic religion and Brahminism. Our ancient literature is rich but sans history. What is religion in it? What are its qualities ? These find full description and definition in the ancient scriptures like contentment, forgiveness, life, purgation knowledge, education, truth and peace etc. There is enough material in upanishadas and scriptures but less of history.
Many of our scholars consider the Puranas as history but the Puranas do not fulfil all the requirements of history. There is description of kings and rulers but is not known when and where they existed. Possibly paper shortage has been the reason for it. Writing on birch was not an easy affair. That is why our entire purpose has remained dependent on the Vedic discourse.
In India Emperor Ashoka got his teachings engraved on stones which are still available in different places. Later Gupta rulers and Bokhrias too ordered stone engravings. All the teachings of Emperor Ashoka, whether engraved on stones or on iron pillars, are in Brahmi, simple and common dialect. But the Gupta rulers used Sanskrit while propagating their sayings. No one had knowledge of Brahmi dialect a hundred years ago. This is the reason that scholars of that period remained entangled in the illusions connected with the dialect. During that period western scholars had started coming to India. They would ask our scholars about the dialect. Their queries would remain almost without an answer. They started research and found the key to Brahmi dialect. Engravings on stones and iron pillars were deciphered and they revealed history. Similarly the history of Gupta rulers is packed on the stone engravings. Whatever history is recorded on those engravings has paved a way for writing history of the middle ages.
There has been meagre research on the Puranas. Some work has been done but no research on history in them. Historians have remained indifferent towards them.
Rajtarangani is one such book in Sanskrit which has all the ingredients of history. It has history and a description of the periods of different kings and rulers. Each chapter carries a reference of "Kashmir, Mahabharata, Champak, Prabhu Butta". Kalhana had started writing Rajtarangani in 1147 and completed it in two years. Kalhana may have received help from his father, Champak, who was the Prime Minister. He has mentioned the names of the books used as reference material for completing the book. He had also studied thoroughly Mahabharata and Ramayana. At that time there were 11 books connected with the history of Kashmir and it appears that he had read some of them. These include "History of Kashmir" written by Suvrat, "Nripavali" of Hemendra and "Parthivavli" written by Helaraj. These three books are not available these days. It seems he had studied thoroughly Neelmat Puran. Besides this, Kalhana used stone engravings, copper plates, documents available in temples. He has given description of ancient edicts, manuscripts and coins. There is reference to folk tales also in the book. This way Rajtarangani is a book of history. Kalhana's great work cannot be underestimated.
After Kalhana Joanraj wrote history in 1150. In it there is scanty reference to Kalhana. In addition to this he wrote some books in which names of Muslim rulers and their work find description.
As far writing of history in Jammu is concerned nobody had written history against the Government. Yes, Kahan Singh Baleria wrote history of Jammu rulers which was based on the lineage charts the courtiers possessed. But this does not give evidence of history. After this Hashmatullah too wrote history. Some 20 years ago Editor-owner of an Urdu weekly "Chaand" Narsimh Das Nargis wrote a voluminous book on history in Urdu. This book was more voluminous than others. Besides this, KM. Panikar's Gulab Singh, and Saligrem's Gulab Singh are worth reading. There have been some attempts at writing of history but the history of Jammu and Kashmir has many controversies and illusions which await solution. A reference to these is carried in the "Converted Kashmir" book and the readers will see it. One thing deserves special mention. This pertains to autobiographies written by some politicians which, no doubt, carry some historical facts and data but have generated many controversies.
Many learned people ask why there has been major conversion in Kashmir when in rest of India some conversions have taken place. Mr. Narender Sehgal explains the genesis of it. It is one such question which needs explanation.
The importance of this historical book can be judged and evaluated by the experts on history. In fact foreigners have played an important role in the writing of India's history. Among them are Max Muller, Keith, Macnold and others who have worked in this field but their attempt has been that they did not consider India's civilisation more ancient than Egypt and other countries. Max Muller kicked up a controversy by writing that the Rig Veda belonged to the period 800 years before Christ. But when names of Indra (lord of de ities), Marut (lord of wind), Ashwani Kumar (son of the Sun) and Varuna (son of Kashyap) deities were found engraved on the iron pillar excavated in Asia Minor, Max Muller accepted his mistake. The reason being that foreign experts had traced the date of the pillar to 1500 B.C. All these four deities belonged to the Vedic period.
It is a matter of distress that during the British rule books written by foreign authors were taught in schools, colleges and universities in India. But even after the independence these book's were not excluded from the curriculum. In these books importance has been given to invasions of Huns, Syrianst Parshians and Greeks on India and an attempt has been made to prove that right from the beginning India had remained under foreign rule. The names of Hun rulers, Meharkul and Torman, have found special mention. Foreign scholars have made a scanty mention of big defeat Meharkul faced in the hands of Baladitya Yashovardhan and Hun ruler Torman having taken shelter in Kashmir. Kalhana, in his Rajtarangani, has given a detailed account of it. Readers will find a detailed account of it in this book, 'Converted Kashmir'.

The major reason for the current serious problem in Kashmir has been the separate status for the state. The Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir had acceded to India on October 26,1947 without any condition which was as wise a step as other rulers and Nawabs had taken. Why was accession then declared temporary at that stage? The Government of India appointed Governors in all the states but in Jummu and Kashmir an Agent was posted. Restrictions were imposed on travel from and into Jammu and Kashmir and the permit system was introduced which was not prevalent in any part of the country. In addition to this the state was kept under the Ministry of External Affairs by delinking it from the Ministry of Home Affairs and one Secretary was kept incharge of the state. The seeds of separatism were sown then. Not only this, the state's trade Agents were posted in Delhi, Amritsar and Pathankot.
Besides this, the Government of India gave special powers to the State and the State Government. These special powers had not been given to any other State. In Jammu and Kashmir powers were given to the Government to frame its own constitution. Permission was given to have Sadar-i-Riyasat in place of Governor and to hoist National Conference flags, instead of the National flag, on the Government buildings. At that time the Finance Commission and the Election Commission had no jurisdiction in the State. No Central law could be applied to the State. The Government of India paid no attention to its dangerous consequences. The Government of India set up a Radio Station in Jammu and Kashmir but instead of naming it All India Radio, Srinagar, or Jammu, it was christened Radio Kashmir Srinagar and Radio Kashmir Jammu.
If anyone slightly opposed it, he was dubbed as communal and anti-India. Those who protested against it collectively were jailed. These special powers received legitimacy by incorporating Article 370 in the Constitution of India. This Article is dangerous. The slogan of separatism that is being shouted in Kashmir is directly connected with Article 370. The purpose of this Article is not to give special status to the State. The meaning is straight. Under it the Muslim majority in the State is to get as much powers as it can to keep itself totally protected. Kashmiri leaders have many times stated that this Muslim majority state was joining Hindu majority country and the majority community in this State should be protected. Therefore, article 370 of the Constitution was adopted. The Article is clearly communal. Its aim is to keep the State separate from India and nothing else. It is surprising that the Government of India and many political parties consider it essential. They do not know that Kashmiri Muslims have been, over the years, saying that "we are not an inseparable part of India and we can decide our future ourselves."
It is not so that every Kashmiri treats this Article necessary. One Chief Minister of the State, G.M. Sadiq, had said that the utility of the Article was nil. This Article should be abrogated. He had tried to get it scrapped and its spirit eroded. He introduced nomenclatures of Governor and Chief Minister in place of Sadar-i-Riyasat and Prime Minister respectively and several central laws in the State. He had said that during his tenure he would gradually go in for complete abrogation of Article 370. But unfortunately his rule lasted for 7 years only. Had he lived for more time, Article 370 would have ceased to exist.
Jawaharlal Nehru had unbounded faith in Sheikh Abdullah. But how the time takes a turn The same Sheikh was arrested on August 9, 1953 and jailed. He remained in the wilderness for 21 years during which he delivered objectionable speeches. When he was released on August 8, 1964 he told a massive public rally in Jammu that "our accession to India is temporary and it had ceased. We demand right of self-determination so that people can decide their future".
Sheikh Abdullah was installed Chief Minister again in February, 1975. At that time he was a patron of the Plebiscite Front. The seeds of insurgency had been sown at that time. One thing more is worth mentioning. At that time one Al-Fatah named terrorist outfit existed in Kashmir which had been declared illegal. Those activists of this outfit, who had been imprisoned, were being defended in the court by Mirza Afzal Beg, Chief Lieutenant of the Sheikh. And the same Beg was sworn in as a cabinet minister in the council of ministers headed by Sheikh Abdullah. He was number two in the cabinet and recruited activists of Al-Fatah in the Government departments.
Today Pakistan is proclaiming in the world that the security forces are committing excesses on Kashmiris. This is totally false. Our Soldiers have come here to establish peace by curbing terrorism. If they are fired at they should have to return the fire in self-defence. Thousands of deadly weapons have been smuggled into Kashmir from Pakistan. Should these weapons be allowed to be in the hands of terrorists ? If it is to be, what should become of law and order ?
Pakistan's false campaign that "India's occupation of Kashmir is illegal and it is part of Pakistan" should be given a strong reply. Under the 1947 Indian Independence Act, the British Government transferred power to the people in India and in the states, power remained in the hands of the rulers. These rulers of the states were free to decide whether they would accede to India or to Pakistan. On August 15, 1947 Maharaja Hari Singh wrote to Government of India and Pakistan suggesting a status quo which was accepted by Pakistan but rejected by India. Possibly the reason was that the Government of India wanted to give to Sheikh Abdullah the power to decide the future of the State.
Rice was available in Kashmir but there was no wheat. Cloth and sugar were imported. The most important matter related to kerosene oil and petrol which were being imported from Pakistan. Pakistan curtailed the export of these items. Not only this, Pakistan brought 5,000 pathans from the frontier Province and collected them at Abettabad. They were given rifles and on October 21, 1947 were sent to Kashmir via Muzafarabad. They were backed by Pakistani troops. They marched ahead creating terror and destruction everywhere and raping women. The Maharaja of Kashmir had no sufficient force to repulse the attack. In order to protect the State he wrote to the Government of India expressing his willingness to accede to India and appealed to Delhi for sending troops. Can Pakistan and its supporters say whether Jammu and Kashmir State was independent or not at the time 5,000 pathans and Pak soldiers invaded Kashmir ? Was not this invasion launched to attack Maharaja's independence ? No one has an answer for this.
One more question can be asked. What does the ongoing terrorist and separatist movement in Kashmir indicate ? This is an established fact, there can be no two opinions about it, that first of all nepotism flourished in Kashmir resulting in the emergence of a section of people which started minting and looting money. One section became rich and the other famished. Those youths who had the backing of National Conference leaders got jobs but those without any recommendation and push remained unemployed. Is it the only reason for terrorism ?
Mr. Narender Sehgal has, in this book, dwelt at length on the historical and political background of the Kashmir problem. Why Kashmiris, who have for 4,000 years refused to surrender before the dreaded invaders, are holding the apron of foreigners and their religion by snapping ties with the Indian culture and nationalism ? Readers will get an answer to it in this book with the support of historical instances. The problem of Kashmir is neither economic nor political in anyway. Separatism is not the result of poverty and backwardness. The problem has roots in religious attitudes and inclinations. Had political and economic inequalities been the cause of separatism, it should have first spread to Jammu and Ladakh when these two regions have been kept backward under a definite plan. In the intoxication of appeasement of the Muslims the Government of India always butchered the legal rights of the people of Jammu. It closed its eyes towards the development of Jammu and Ladakh and focussed its attention towards the Kashmir valley. The dirty politics of votes encouraged anti-national forces in Kashmir. The result is that Kashmir is seemingly becoming a land of religious fundamentalism.
Therefore, the only solution to the problem is to bring Kashmiri youth to the national mainstream. But the politics of self-interest is an obstacle in the noble work. This is the reason that the Central Government and all political parties are not worried over the future of three lakh Hindu migrants from Kashmir. In order to resolve the Kashmir problem it is totally necessary to send these migrants back to their homes in Kashmir safely. The result of settlement of these displaced Hindus in areas outside Kashmir will be that the valley will become a Muslim country.
The "Converted Kashmir" book has been divided in four parts. The matter penned down in these four parts stands the test of historical facts and those of social sciences. By giving a detailed account of Kashmir's shinning cultural and literary heritage in the first part of the book the learned author has concentrated all the remaining material on it to highlight the real picture of Kashmir. It is a fact that this Kashmiriyat is a collective heritage of all Kashmiris. Today's Kashmiri Muslim society is the product of Hindu ancestors. The author has attempted to remind those Kashmiri youths, who have, on instigation from external forces, raised the banner of terrorism and separatism, of this shinning heritage and petriotism on which Kashmiriyat is based upon.
The second part of the book carries a detailed account of painful history of mass conversions of the Hindus by Muslim rulers and Sultans in Kashmir which is substantiated by instances and research work of historians. There is need for accepting this historical fact with an open mind.
In the third part there is an account, based on strong facts, of grave mistakes of the ruling politicians in the present times. There is a laudable description of Maharaja Hari Singh's nationalism, Lord Mountbetten's conspiracy, anti-national activities of Sheikh Abdullah and Nehru's short sightedness.
The last part assumes importance in the light of current developments. The ways for solving the Kashmir problem, given in this part, are strong, suitable and timely.
I believe that besides the bundle of evidences, simple language and attractive style will make the book popular.

Vijaygarh, Jammu D.C. Prashant 4-8-1992 Ex-Member Rajya Sabha

Read this document on Scribd: kashmirwonder