Dr Abdullah also ruled out independence or ‘azaadi’ for Kashmir.
It is interesting that former J&K chief minister and National Conference president Farooq Abdullah should be criticised by the BJP as well as the Kashmiri separatists for his recent comment on the status of the Kashmir Valley and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The senior Abdullah has said the Valley will remain Indian and PoK a part of Pakistan, pointing to the near impossibility of changing this status quo.
Notwithstanding Islamabad’s professed commitment and 70-year-old effort to appropriate the Valley, including through failed military means, and India’s parliamentary resolution of 1995 that PoK is an inalienable part of India, being an integral part of the domains of the former Maharaja of Kashmir that acceded to India, the plain truth is that the political and cultural makeup of the Valley and PoK is such that these regions can’t be anywhere else other than where they are.
The Valley being practically all Muslim doesn’t change this, although diehard pro-Pakistan Islamist elements have tried ideologically and politically to have the Kashmir Valley incorporated with Pakistan, although this goes against the grain of the thinking and living practices of the people.
Dr Abdullah also ruled out independence or “azaadi” for Kashmir, forthrightly saying the Valley can’t be independent as it is ringed by nuclear-armed sovereign entities — India, Pakistan and China. Here the NC leader’s argument is weak though he’s right about not entertaining the notion of “azaadi”.
What if there were no nukes about? Quite simply, the Valley is Indian because it has been so historically, politically and culturally from time immemorial, and the concept of “azaadi” is a wholly contrived one, cooked up by a few taking advantage of Partition, which was itself the product of colonial machination. The historical and cultural factors have enjoyed constitutional reinforcement since accession in 1947.
In spite of the parliamentary resolution and Pakistan’s efforts to detach the Valley from India on the grounds of religious affinity, those in government on both sides recognise the reality. This, in fact, was the basis of the conversations between the governments of President Pervez Musharraf and those of Prime Ministers Atal Behari Vajpayee and Manomhan Singh. The underlying premise was that since the borders cannot be changed, the effort should be to make them irrelevant.
It’s quite clear that for now the NC leader has emphasised the issue of the Kashmir Valley being as firmly Indian as PoK is a part of Pakistan on account of the narrative being pushed by RSS-BJP elements on whittling down and eventually removing Article 370 of the Constitution, from which derives the autonomous status of all of J&K, not just the Valley, as a condition of accession. This is the dominant reality of today as the BJP is in power with a clear majority of its own.