Kashmir: From land to language, everything is facing assault
Views from Srinagar
DR. BASHIR AHMAD VEERI ATIONAL Conference has once again submitted the au tonomy resolution to the Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly for debate and discussion. It is an opportune time to revive the debate on state autonomy. Attempts are being made to systematically change the demography of our state and revoke Article 370 in toto. Recently senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy claimed that work on the Ram Temple at Ayodhya would start before the end of the year and Article 370 would be revoked by the end of year 2017. It is clear by now that the PDP is simply BJP’s Trojan horse created to weaken the state’s special status.
First is the issue of establishing Sanik Colony in the state for ex-soldiers. An order was issued by the government about the allotment of 350 kanals to Sainik Colony in Srinagar. It
Nwas back in November 2014 when Subramanian Swamy suggested for settling 10 lakh ex-servicemen in the Kashmir Valley. “The ex-servicemen should be given the money and arms, and tasked with retrieving the property of the Pandits”.
Another connected issue is the establishment of ‘exclusive colonies’ for Pandits in the Valley. National Conference is clear on the issue. We are craving for the return of Kashmiri Pandits but we are principally opposed to the idea of separate colonies for them. The NC general secretary publicly stated way back in 2015 that, “We are against separate clusters for Kashmiri Pandits.
We welcome them to Kashmir but we will not let the government to create separate colonies for Pandits”. Pandits can come anytime and live with their Muslim brothers. But there are vested interests behind this new project. As Vinayak Razdan, a Kashmir Pandit admitted in a recent interview to Michael Thomas (EPW, May 2016) that there is a definite push coming from RSS for establishing segregated colonies for Pandits.
The third issue is the applicability of National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is a direct infringement on our special status. BJP looks at NEET as a step towards the integration of J&K with the rest of India. In our state, unlike in other states, technical and medical education is in the state list. Section 6 of the J&K constitution provides that only permanent residents of the state shall be eligible to appear in the entrance test for admission to the state medical colleges. Although an ordinance was issued to delay the application of NEET for one year but we must thwart all attempts aimed at disrupting the constitutional scheme between the state and Centre. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has already written to the Prime Minister to ensure that NEET is never forced on her state. Our state constitution provides us enough safeguards to challenge any such application in the court of law.
The final nail in the coffin is the introduction of Devnagri script for Kashmiri language. The Ministry of Human Resource is contemplating to constitute a National Council for Promotion of Kashmiri Language with Devnagri and Sharda as its scripts. A joint statement by our writers and poets amply captures it all. “The move is politically motivated aimed at dividing the Kashmiri community in the name of the script. It is aimed at demolishing our cultural identity as the existing script (Nastaliq) has been in vogue for the past five centuries and entire Kashmiri literature is available in this script. There is no need to have an alternative script that will not only divide the place but also lead to confusion”. Even Kashmiri Pandits are resenting the move.
So, it is time to shun our differences and march together for the restoration of special status to J&K. The BJP, keeping in view assembly elections in states like UP, Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat, will rake-up the issue of abrogation of Article 370 and may try to test of mettle. But we are her to defeat your evil designs. Clause 7 of the ‘Instrument of Accession’ clearly says that we (J&K) will not commit ourselves to the constitution of India. Attempts to fully integrate the state with the Union of India will throw open the question of the ‘Instrument of Accession’. Kashmir will cease to be part of India.