Nava Thakuria in Guwahati
That was an amazing interaction with a senior journalist based in Jammu which was organized through the video-conference at a time when there is wild rumour that entire Jammu & Kashmir was under strict internet censorship as a precautionary measure by the government following the revocation of Article 370 & 35A and also reorganization of the extreme northern State.
Tito Ganju, editor-in-chief of Epilogue, an English newsmagazine published from Jammu, while interacting with members of Guwahati Press Club on 23 August 2019, commented that Article 370 was always a temporary provision in the Constitution of India and architects of the Constitution were clear about its temporary position. Those who say that it forms the basic structure of our Constitution are simply trying to mislead the nation, stated Ganju, who is recognized as an expert on the Constitution, adding that temporary provision is the weakest one among three provisions (other two being Special Provision and Transitory Provision). He categorically pointed out that the government had the legal and constitutional mandate to deal it with the manner it deems fit. Jammu & Kashmir was under President’s rule and hence the legislative power of the State in accordance with the constitutional provisions lied with the Parliament and the Centre took the route of Parliament to bring in the bill to make necessary changes in Article 367 and Article 372.
Mentionable is that nearly 600 eminent displaced Kashmiri Hindus along with their supporters, including Ganju, welcomed the removal of Article 370 and geo-political reorganization of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh in two union territories. Displaced Pandits of Kashmir, who are taking shelter in various parts of the world, believe that it was the foundation where the prejudiced J&K Muslims flourished in the secular India.
Signatories include Anupam Kher, Padamshri Subash Kak, Padamshri Pandit Bhajan Sopori, Padamshri Jawahar Lal Koul, Padamshri Kashi Nath Pandita, PN Razdan, RL Hangloo, Ashok Ogra, Sushil Pandit, Shakti Bhan, Ashoke Pandit, Ratan Parimoo, Ashok Kaul, Hriday Kaul Bharati, Kailash Mehra Sadhu, Kavita Suri, Khema Kaul, Kuldeep Raina, Avtar Krishan Rahbar, Sunil Bhat, Ashok Hak, Kashmiri Khosa, Lalit Ambardar, Ramesh Marhatta, MK Raina, TK Ganjoo, Sanjay Raina, Usha Handoo, Ravinder Raina etc.
Speaking about the return of hundreds of Kashmiri Brahmans to the Kashmir valley, Ganju pointed out their return must be addressed in terms of historical aspect than a cosmetic contemporary understanding. Moreover adequate safety, security and dignity should be the cardinal of any policy on their return and rehabilitation. Kashmiri Pandit families have suffered genocide and their presence in the valley has been eventually reduced from cent-percent to hardly three percent now. Replying to queries on the successful return of Pandit families to the valley, he however commented that time and situation are yet to be conducive for their return. Though Kashmiri Pandits are the aboriginals of the valley with first and uncontested claim over the resources, their demand for a centrally administered region carved out of Kashmir valley should be acknowledged, he asserted.
Organized in the backdrop of historic decision by the Union government in New Delhi to revoke Article 370 & 35A and reorganization of Jammu & Kashmir, Ganju mentioned that the ideology of Panun Kashmir was thus vindicated as everyone is aware of its demand for abrogation of these articles and reorganization of the State.
Narrating the political history of Jammu & Kashmir, Ganju claimed that Maharaja Hari Singh had all moral, ethical and legal rights to decide upon the accession of his kingdom with either dominions (India and Pakistan) and the king duly signed the treaty of accession with Indian Dominion on 26 October 1947.
J&K Maharaja was seeking a better deal with both the Dominions before finally making its mind. The unwanted aggression of Islamabad through Pakistani Army regulars and tribal forces into the erstwhile province of Jammu & Kashmir later compelled the king to seek assistance from New Delhi and eventually he signed the Instrument of Accession.
[NJ Thakuria [email protected]]
An intriguing view on Kashmir
Nava Thakuria in Guwahati