Lecture delivered at LTG Auditorium Copernicus Marg New Delhi

Sheikh Showkat Hussain

On 24th October 2010

 An alternate name of the conference could have been ‘No Option but Self-Determination’, I would prefer it because it is a right guaranteed in the International Covenants on Human Rights, it is a norm that governs resolution disputes pertaining to disposition of territories inhabited by people, because it is a promise made to Kashmiri people by the Indian state and endorsed by the international community through UN resolutions. It also remains conducive to every one by enabling it to vote the way it likes…  People with different perceptions are united on the right to self-determination. Whether the people of Kashmir opt for India, independence or Pakistan through a plebiscite has to be acceptable to all. This is democratic way and has been followed in East Timor & Montenegro in recent past. The pro-Azadi & pro Pak groups have converged on this with assurance of accepting majority decision same way pro India groups can be taken on board with the similar assurance.  Once we talk about right to self-determination we are told that India can’t concede it because so many Indian soldiers have died in Kashmir. But does US have a right to annex Afghanistan, Vietnam, or Iraq simply because so many of its soldiers are killed there? You have thousands of British soldiers buried across India during colonial period that didn’t give British title to enslave India   perpetually. We are also told that so much of investment has been made in Kashmir by India it has aright to retain Kashmir. The British made huge investments in Hong Kong and provided largest net work of railways to India. Does that mean they are entitled to colonise these countries for eternity? All these are false arguments made to deny the right to self-determination. We demand self-determination because it is a universally accepted democratic principle. The Kashmir’s did not ask Indian rulers to take Kashmir to the UN for a resolution. If India can host UN Observers’ Missions for Kashmir at Srinagar and Delhi what makes it shy away from acknowledging that it is an international dispute? What prevents it from conducting a plebiscite to settle the dispute? On one hand Indian state insists that there can be no change of its borders because borders have become irrelevant in the globalised world, in next breath they say that we can’t any solution which involves change of borders. If borders have become irrelevant why are not you ready for resolution involving change of borders? It is also often said that the granting of independence to Kashmir will lead to disintegration of India. Is India’s sense of nationhood so insecure, that its territorial integrity hinges on holding Kashmir by force? Instead of addressing these questions and working for a genuine settlement of the Kashmir dispute, the Indian rulers give packages. They wish to rehabilitate and bribe the leadership, as they did with Sheikh Abdullah in 1975. Rehabilitation of leaders is possible, but it does not mean that the aspirations of the people can be killed or bought over. Indian leadership is often led by illusions created by the beneficiaries of the status quo.Leading selection list of a competitive examination by Kashmiri boy was portrayed as reconciliation of new generations of Kashmir with the status quo. If selection of Subash Chander Bose to ICS didn’t prove to be his reconciliation to colonization of India how selection of a Kashmir boy be interpreted in these terms.  On the one hand Indian state claims that it is the biggest democracy at the same time we are told that secession of Kashmir will make minorities of India insecure, do members of minority communities enjoy rights as human beings and citizens of India or in lieu of hostage status of Kashmiris. Such a formulation is an insult to minorities and should be discarded even if it is sought to be legitimized through fatwa from Deoband. The people in power think in vain that they can carry on with these atrocities and yet retain international image of India in repute.  Aspiration to determine their own future is so deep among the Kashmir’s that no economic package can assuage it, no army can crush it. A lull in the resistance should not be perceived as its defeat, but only as a prelude to a larger resistance. The self-determination of the people of Kashmir is the only logical end to this struggle.

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The language of words is more heavenly than the language of tongues and lips. The Parallel Post is a forum to offer a space for people who dare to speak through their words. The intention is to create an environment to share in words what we perceive in our minds...

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