Kashmir, the “Final” Solution!

Recently there was a news report that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is going to announce the “Final” solution of the Kashmir problem very soon. In fact, the Eurasian Times on September 12 carried an item titled, “PM Modi will divide Kashmir in three parts before 2019 elections”. The writer poses a question, “Is Delhi planning to divide Jammu and Kashmir into three parts i.e. Hindu Majority Jammu, Buddhist and Shia Muslim dominated Ladakh and Sunni Muslim dominated Kashmir Valley? As per reports in a local Jammu and Kashmir daily, Indian PM is keen to change the political map of J&K before Indian elections of 2019”.

“Quoting the sources, the Jammu based paper reported that the PM Modi wants to resolve the Kashmir issue during his first-term itself. “It is possible that the PM may himself in a month or so declare division of Kashmir into three parts,” it said.According to PMO officials, Delhi was working out a plan that would lead to the trifurcation of the J&K state. “If all goes well, the Kashmir map would be changed and Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh would be created as the union territories,” they said.

The report claimed that the ‘division’ of the J&K territory would lead to the ‘resolution’ of many obstacles. “BJP knows that it cannot form a government in Jammu and Kashmir on its own and that it has to depend either on the National Conference or the People’s Democratic Party if it wants to come in power.Under such a situation of joint power-sharing with NC or PDP, Delhi cannot abrogate Article 370 of the constitution. An Indian official at the PM Office claimed that the Modi government would divide the J&K state before the general elections of 2019”.

The word “Final Solution” gives one creeps because of an ominous ring which reminds one about the “Final Solution of the Jewish Problem”, mentioned by Adolf Hitler in his autobiography, Mein Kampf. That final solution which he had designed resulted in the death of six million Jews and created the most notorious concentration camp of Auschwitz! Probably, some of the fanatic followers of Hindutva may be thinking on those lines in regard to Kashmir. Kashmiris to be reduced to a minority in Kashmir! However, the division of the state will not result in that. It will on the contrary create a unit of Kashmiris only with hundred percent Muslim population. Jammu will lose its importance as it is known only because of its association with Kashmir. Jammu as Jammu on its known is not so much known not only abroad but even in India itself. Ladakh does have an independent recognition as the “Little Tibet”. Incidentally, a famous statesman from Jammu, BalrajPuri died with his dream of Regional Autonomy. He did have a viable preposition but no body listened to him. Giving three regions internal autonomy within the overall State of J & K should not have been a problem. It would fulfil the regional aspirations without changing the overall character of the state.

The division of the State into three union territories would change its status in relation to the UN Resolutions passed regarding the final disposal of the erstwhile State of J & K. The case is still on the agenda of the UN Security Council and the UN observers continue to be stationed here. Unilateral division of the State without asking the people their choice violates the UN Mandate. It should normally invite immediate UN intervention. In fact, on the other side, the people living in the former Northern Areas now known as Gilgit-Baltistan had been clamouring for a long time to be declared the fifth province of Pakistan. The same could not be done by the Government of Pakistan because of the UN resolutions on the subject. Reportedly, the feeling there was that such an act would weaken Pakistan’s case. Accordingly, Pakistani’s gave them some sort of autonomy on the pattern of the Ladakh’s Hill Development Councils.

The recent contradictory declarations regarding holding of Indo-Pak foreign ministers meeting in New York and then its abrupt cancellation by India does not augur well. Additionally, the two Army Chiefs have issued somewhat belligerent statements. That straightaway forestalls any “Final Solution” as has reportedly been envisaged by the Prime Minister. That solution, if attempted, may be the spark not only to light a fuse of an unmanageable Indo-Pak conflict but may be the beginning of disintegration of the whole sub-continent.

The author is an I.A.S. (Retired) & Former Director General Tourism, Jammu & Kashmir and can be reached at ashrafmjk@gmail.com